I've remained silent here for some while. Sue's previous post "I Wish" has been rattling around in my now almost five months sober brain and this only adds to my ongoing aspiration to, at times, think I'd like to write about all that has, and is, going on with me, but I never can seem to bring myself to do so. It is interesting as I type this, how good it feels to do so. Maybe I will now come to write more as a result of writing this post.
What an interesting series of exchanges Sue's "I Wish" elicited. Nothing brings polarization to the fore like being critical of a cult, and that is borne out here. Having been forced to live within AA now for five months, I feel much more qualified to confirm my perception that AA is in fact, a cult. Unlike other cults, it is not intended to control its members for exploitative ends. It truly is intended to do good for many people who are suffering with drug and alcohol addiction. It is not exploitative unless you are subject to a provider of the huge industry of U S. drug and alcohol rehabilitation services, or one of the thousands of "professionals" who provide treatment within that extremely lucrative system, which relies on, and feeds the cult in collusion with funding and mandates from our courts that everyone who has drug and alcohol involvement in any issue before a U. S. court, receive "treatment" which entails religious conversion. AA as a collective organization truly intends to help and save poor, worthless drunks and help them to experience a life of redemption.....a sort of spiritual do over. It is, as far as it collectively perceives itself, a benevolent and helpful network of souls all working to save others by having them delivered by god.
There is no surprise that the response of the AA hierarchy in Toronto to the formation of non-god based AA groups was to expel them as heretics (thank you, Selkie, for passing this onto us in the comments to "I Wish.") The folks who tried to establish secular non-God based 12 step AA clones in Toronto confirmed the truth essential to AA. AA is about god first and foremost. If you remove God, there is no AA. Every meeting begins with the serenity prayer and ends with the Lord's Prayer. It is not about recovery, or sobriety, or a healthful lifestyle, or healthy families and communities, or any of the many side effects that many of its cult members would cite as the rationale for AA’s value. AA is a religion, requiring huge adherence to participation in worship services, and continual recitation of prayers, maxims, parables, and dicta from its holy scripture, "The Big Book," which is memorized, ritually read and studied, complete with its “How It Works” substitute for the Nicene Creed, and its twelve steps and traditions (proxies for the Christian ten commandments and beatitudes) which begin each and every meeting everywhere AA meetings occur. And occur they do. There are over 10,000 of them about the U. S. with millions of adherents participating weekly most of whom are, or once were, required to be there to stay out of jail or prison.
I have been depressed about my participation in all this. I took all this seriously and allowed them a foothold in my head……..heck all three of us in this family did. I was scared. It kept me out of jail, and my continued ability to have them believe I am a new convert to the cult will continue to have me “free.” My family was scared of me, and for me, and wanted our love to be borne out to our family’s continuing to have a long, positive future. I have been depressed at buying into their dictum that I am nothing but a worthless drunk like all drunks, that my sobriety is not about me but is simply a miracle granted me by god, and that my intellect and analytical reasoning mind are not assets but liabilities, preventing me from wholly accepting the truth of god’s plan for me if I will only pray to him morning and night, and accept his plan for my life into my heart so that I may be saved despite my being captured by Satan in this evil disease.
But being free has nothing to do with spending several hours each week worshipping The Big Book and testifying that I am a grateful recovering worthless drunk, who is sober today because I have been saved by god from the demon of drink.
I have to pretend to buy this for 33 more weeks in my continuing care group after I recover from my surgery. I can’t participate for some weeks after my surgery, because as it was once explained to me by one of the treatment counselors, “They can’t have me in here (i. e., any aspect of the treatment program) while my brain is poisoned by drugs of any sort, and the pain medication I will be on after my total shoulder replacement qualify and will “poison my brain and prevent me from receiving the truth.” It astounded me as she presented this to me with a totally straight face………she who is supposed to be an educated mental health professional -- but these professionals are the priestesses and priests of the cult and believe this, or at the least support it without question or equivocation.
It is clear I cannot drink, nor will I again. It is clear the only way for me to get through the legal aspects of this is to pretend to become a staunch adherent of the cult for 9 months further after I recover from my surgery and I am determined to do so.
I do feel devalued and worthless as I go forward from here. As I listen to 12 steppers, some of whom commented on the previous post, they make it clear that the only hope I have for a future is adherence to AA’s dogma, discipline, and lifestyle, or jail. I find myself more convinced that, if those are my options, I will chose not to continue to live.