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Thursday, 31 July 2014

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Alcohol research

Interpersonal Factors in the Genesis and Treatment of Alcohol Addiction, Maxwell MA, SOCIAL FORCES, Vol. 29 (4), 443-448, 1951 

Alcohol addiction, said by Bowman and Jellinek to be the central problem of alcohol, has been receiving the increased attention of scientific workers during recent years – and deserves the research interests of more sociologists.

The etiology of alcohol addiction remains an unsolved problem. Nevertheless, a review of the literature reveals a growing consensus that "the problem drinker suffers from a chronic and deeply ingrained disorder of personality." In the writings of many psychiatrists, e.g., Nolan D.C. Lewis, Edward A. Strecker, Robert V. Seliger, Harry M. Tiebout, George N. Thompson, R.S. Banay, Paul Schilder, Edward B. Allen, and Oskar Eiethelm, there are sketched only slightly varying versions of this increasingly held assumption that neurotic factors are prominently involved in the development of alcohol addiction.”

PS For AA Minority Report 2013 click here

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Conference questions (2014) – almost! (contd)

38. Would Conference discuss if AA UK should use or not use the term “self help group” when referring to AA groups?


On the webpage section "Newcomer to AA ‐ Who We Are" it says:
"Through meetings and talking with other alcoholics we are somehow able to stay sober."
This could give the impression AA is a self help group and that talking to others "somehow" keeps us sober. The Big Book has a chapter called "How it Works". It does not mention going to meetings and then "somehow" staying sober. Instead it talks about taking certain steps and through them building a relationship with God that works.
As much as it is understandable that we cannot explain the whole chapter in one sentence at the web, this description on how it works given now on the page, may cause the impression steps have nothing to do with recovery and that we don't know what got us sober in the first place.
In addition the flyer "To Professionals" actually states we were self help groups. As far as I know that is the only piece in AA literature that does so, especially as this information is wrong. Step 2 states exactly that "we came to believe that only a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity" and hereby refers to God, because we cannot help ourselves

Terms of Reference No. 7 Covered by existing literature, for example our Preamble which states AA is a “Fellowship”.”

Comment: Oh dear! Another bloody recovery 'expert'! This is one should really try reading the book sometime maybe starting with the above quoted chapter – Working With Others - and the very beginning of the section no less:

Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail. This is our twelfth suggestion: Carry this message to other alcoholics! You can help when no one else can. You can secure their confidence when others fail. Remember they are very ill.”

(our emphasis)

Presumably “carry[ing] the message” might involve at some stage actually talking with the person concerned. Or perhaps the message is somehow transmitted via the esoteric art of telepathy? As for whether meetings are mentioned in the literature – they are....and guess where! …. The Big Book no less! (A Vision For You, p. 161)

Now, this house will hardly accommodate its weekly visitors, for they number sixty or eighty as a rule. Alcoholics are being attracted from far and near. From surrounding towns, families drive long distances to be present. A community thirty miles away has fifteen fellows of Alcoholics Anonymous. Being a large place, we think that some day its Fellowship will number many hundreds.”

Then, in this eastern city, there are informal meetings such as we have described to you, where you may now see scores of members. There are the same fast friendships, there is the same helpfulness to one another as you find among our western friends.” (p. 162)

Note: From the above it can be seen that 'self-help' refers to one 'self' helping another. Not fixing or curing..... but helping! Jeez! If you're going to cite the literature maybe read it first!

See here for a full list of other questions that didn't quite get through the 'filter'


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

PS How do you do a step Five by the way without talking to someone else? Telepathy again perhaps!! Talking with other alcoholics is referred to all the way through the book!

Monday, 28 July 2014

Is Alcoholics Anonymous turning into a neo-Oxford group cult?

Extracts from the aacultwatch forum (old) 

Hi …....,
Thanks for your post. I think it is very relevant to this forum because I think all 12 step fellowships might be being targeted by the destructive cult(s). It may be that we are dealing with one international cult which at group level goes under a multitude of names and is spread across numbers of 12 step fellowships. I detect a movement operating under various descriptions and corporations targeting 12 step fellowship members with intent to amalgamate them into one evangelical neo-Oxford Group 12 step “recovery community”- a cure all for any addiction or compulsive behaviour. The movement has been powerful enough to split the national group conscience in USA/Canada, leading to AA losing official use of its Circle and Triangle trade mark to outside enterprises. A decision was taken in 1993 for AA World Services Inc. and AA Grapevine Inc. to stop using and protecting the symbol against the weight of around 170 unauthorised users. These included novelty manufacturers, publishers, and treatment centers.
(Box4-5-9 August-September 1993 ‘Letting Go' of the Circle and Triangle As A Legal Mark pp. 5-6: This was also reported in AA Grapevine  December 1993, Vol. 50 No. 7: “Around AA  Whatever Happened to the Circle and Triangle?” 

Unfortunately there was a large enough lobby within the fellowship supporting novelty manufacturers' illegal misuse of the symbol on medallions; this combined with enough timid, complacent or apathetic conference delegates who avoided their responsibilities of leadership in concept IX, to stand firm on traditions and their duty to act as guardians of the fellowship; to actively provide the deterrent to outside entities described in the General Warranties of Conference (specifically Concept XII, Warranty Five). An alternative to letting go of the symbol according to Warranty Five would have been for conference delegates to instruct the boards of AA World Services Inc. and AA Grapevine Inc. to inform the general public of the symbol's illegal misuse, naming the publishers, treatment centers and novelty manufacturers who were using it illegally. And also,to ask Public Information committees  throughout the AA world service structure, local and national, to deploy the protective action in warranty five by informing the general public also.

I think the symbol is still copyright and used in some forms by general service boards in UK and some other countries. So let’s hope the general service boards in these countries can hold onto it before AA loses its identity completely to outside enterprises. The primary aim for cults is to gain power for their leaders, to make them money, and to recruit new members. The profits from cult study guides, sponsor guides, step guides, meeting guides, distorted AA history guides, workbooks, other pre-conference and non conference approved literature, sobriety chips, medallions and other novelty items all head up somewhere to someone's big fat wallet.

You might find it useful to read ….....’s post under the “It has reached us too” thread. Also, the  “TLM in Alanon UK?” thread by …....

I think it has helped me to learn how cults operate, which is why I put up the "Useful Resources" threads in section 3 of this forum. I think large international cults are difficult to recognise because they can have numbers of front companies and groups under different names, continue to evolve, change names, recruitment targets and sometimes locations. They can be recognised more by their behaviour, group structures and type of language they use. The cult group in my AA intergroup was called “There is a Solution,” affiliated to the Primary Purpose Group, Dallas Texas and Dick B literature. Now that it has closed down, after much local opposition, I gather the person who started the group (and main driving force behind it) has relocated to another area. Thanks again for your post, I found the information useful to know."

 I think the evidence is there in the field of sociology that these cults are targeting 12 step fellowships in general. The religious orientation of the cults and the influence they have had in changing the nature of groups are now deterring social workers from referring clients to 12 step fellowships unless they explicitly identify themselves as Christian.”

This is an extract from a paper titled “Addiction, spirituality and 12-step programmes” by Dr. W. Dosset, senior lecturer in religious studies at Chester University.

 Research has shown that there is a resistance to referring individuals to TSPs [Twelve Step Programmes] because of the apparent religious nature of the programmes (as well as for other reasons) and social workers may consider them inappropriate for clients other than those explicitly identifying as Christian and would not wish to risk imposing religious beliefs and practices upon them. (Caldwell, 1999, Kurtz and Chambon, 1987, Laudet,2003) ( Addiction, spirituality and 12-step programmes, Dossett W, International Social Work, 56(3) 369–383)

These are extracts from a book titled “Take Back Your Life, Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships” by Professor J. Lalich, Professor of Sociology at California State University; a textbook used by professionals working in cult rehabilitation. 

There are cults, for example, that focus their recruitment activities in drug-rehabilitation programs, Alcoholics Anonymous, and other twelve-step programs, as that milieu tends to be a ripe hunting ground for potential members.” ( Take Back Your Life: Recovering From Cults And Abusive Relationships, p 91) 

In cases where alcohol or substance abuse was or is a problem, attending meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous may help. However, we caution you to proceed into the 12-step world with your eyes open and your antennae up. Despite its successes, this is an area rife with abuses and incompetencies. Hustlers use 12-step programs as a hunting ground for income and glory. Some counselors and group leaders are not credentialed. Some programs are fronts for cults. Even a well-meaning program may inadvertently promote long-term victimization. Although these groups are set up to reduce codependency, many participants become completely dependent on their 12-step meetings and friends.” ( Take Back Your Life: Recovering From Cults And Abusive Relationships" p194)

amazonbooks.comhttp://www.amazon.com/Take-Back-Your-Life-Relationships/dp/0972002154  amazonbooks.co.uk http://www.amazon.co.uk/Take-Back-Your-Life-Relationships/dp/0972002154/####?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1356182862&sr=1-3 

I think the faith based neo Oxford Group cult phenomena is something all 12 step fellowships are going to have to adjust to and protect against if 12 step fellowships are to survive in the long term. If there’s no opposition to the cults then they’ll just take over as more and more people leave the fellowships and fewer people are referred to them by professionals.”


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

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PPS For new aacultwatch forum see here. Have your say!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Snappy quotes

I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.

Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism.

Alcohol is necessary for a man so that he can have a good opinion of himself, undisturbed be the facts.


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

Questions and Answers on Sponsorship (contd)


Can a sponsor be too casual?

Some sponsors prefer to adopt a casual attitude toward newcomers with whom they work. For example, they are perfectly willing to spend time with the new member who asks for it, but rarely take the time or trouble to call between meetings or help the newcomer get to meetings.

Some newcomers actually flourish best left pretty much on their own. But there may be some danger in this approach: A timid or reserved newcomer may conclude that the group and the individual sponsor are not interested in helping.

Many present members report that they did not make a firm decision to adopt the A.A. Program until months or years after their first contact with A.A., simply because they were allowed to drift away from the group. A growing number of groups try to avoid this by establishing a program for following up with newcomers during a period of weeks or months after an initial approach is made to the group (see pages 23-24).”

Comment: Newcomers' capacity to be able to think for themselves and make their own decisions, and then act in their own interests seems to be grossly underestimated here. Simply because someone has been pouring large quantities of alcohol down their throats for a prolonged period of time doesn't imply that they are idiots when they sober up. In our experience someone who wants to sort their life out and stay sober usually does – sometimes even despite AA! Contrariwise someone who doesn't want to won't even with the best efforts of everyone around them. Remember that bit about “probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism …..” (AA, p. 60, Chapter 5, How It Works). The best thing to do with someone who has set their course upon recovery is - don't get in their way! And the last thing you want to do with someone who's not interested is pester them! (AA, Chapter 7, Working With Others – interestingly this chapter was almost completely ignored by Joe and Charlie (Primary Purpose) in their so-called 'Big Book study' – we wonder why! We quote (from an approved transcript of their talks):

We don’t want to go through this next chapter (Working with Others) we don’t have the time, but I do want to look at two or three things in it very briefly.”

Cult members generally prefer not to follow the guidelines indicated in this section. It really doesn't suit the control freaks!

But remember: a sponsor is NOT ESSENTIAL to recovery. And NO sponsorship is better by far than BAD sponsorship!


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

(to be continued)

Saturday, 26 July 2014

What Is The Third Legacy?, July, 1955, Bill W

See also Links and downloads

PS For AA Minority Report 2013 click here