AA MINORITY REPORT 2013

Click here

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Threats!


Every now and then someone decides to post threats directed against someone they suppose to be the instigator of aacultwatch. Labouring under the misapprehension that we are some kind of sinister conspiracy cooked up by a deeply embittered and resentful 'lone wolf' they desperately cling to the belief they know who's behind it all. Well who is behind aacultwatch? Quite a few AA members it would seem judging by the feedback and contributions we receive. So good luck with finding the 'ringleader'! But then anyone who follows the blog will know precisely what we do when we come across such conduct. We expose it! Who'dve of thought!

We received the following notification via our Twitter account (the offending account has already been reported and blocked):

John Doe @aacultwatch I would strongly advise you remove the 2 pictures of me or there will be consequences. You have been warned!”

Of course it was the exclamation mark at the end of this piece of advice that really set our knees a-trembling! As you will see from the following images


this fellow has been handing out sundry bits of advice (and rather colourful accusations .. kiddy fiddling, drugged up etc (yawn)) but mostly so far for the delectation of his 2 followers (makes our own little collection look positively gigantic by comparison!). But he's only a neophyte. Only 14 tweets in all that time!!! Interestingly he 'outed' our supposed ring leader back in September 2009 giving some poor chap's full name!

But the reference to “2 pictures” awakened the suppressed sleuth buried deep within our hearts. It's only recently that we've put any such photos on the site which means there are relatively few candidates who match the profile. We could use this as an opportunity to run our Rogues Gallery past your eyes once again but then realised there's only such much suffering our readership can take. By a process of elimination we've narrowed it down to two. David B doesn't figure …. because he's rather dead!. Similarly Clancy (who's been dead for years but hasn't yet realised it) is excluded because he can probably spell the word “sponsor” what with him being so fond of the whole sponsorship thing. But rather than spoil the fun we'll leave it to you to figure out who it might be (answers on a postcard sae). Of course it's always possible the outburst reflects yet another cult member's 'wet dream'! Some of them will do anything for a bit of notoriety!!!!!

Cheers 

The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous .. and masters of the exclamation mark!!!!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!! …. and also EXCESSIVE CAPITALISATION BY THE WAY!!) 

PS For AA Minority Report 2013 click here 

PPS Plymouth Intergroup corruption

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

A rationalisation for economic insecurity (or greed)


Source: The Twelve Concepts for World Service (and AA Service Manual)

pp. 60 – 65

See also “profits” (on blog) together with details of AA (Great Britain) accounts at Charity Commission website

Concept XII

General Warranties of the Conference: in all its proceedings, the General Service Conference shall observe the spirit of the A.A. Tradition, taking great care that the conference never becomes the seat of perilous wealth or power; that sufficient operating funds, plus an ample reserve, be its prudent financial principle; that none of the Conference Members shall ever be placed in a position of unqualified authority over any of the others; that all important decisions be reached by discussion, vote, and whenever possible, by substantial unanimity; that no Conference action ever be personally punitive or an incitement to public controversy; that though the Conference may act for the service of Alcoholics Anonymous, it shall never perform any acts of government; and that, like the Society of Alcoholics Anonymous which it serves, the Conference itself will always remain democratic in thought and action........

Warranty One: “The Conference shall never become the seat of perilous wealth or power.” What is meant by “perilous wealth and power”? Does it mean that the Conference should have virtually no money and no authority? Obviously not. Such a condition would be dangerous and absurd. Nothing but an ineffective anarchy could result from it. We must use some money, and there must be some authority to serve. But how much? How and where should we draw these lines?

The principal protection against the accumulation of too much money and too much authority in Conference hands is to be found in the A.A. Tradition itself. So long as our General Service Board refuses to take outside contributions and holds each individual’s gift to A.A.’s world services at a modest figure, we may be sure that we shall not become wealthy in any perilous sense. No great excess of group contributions over legitimate operating expenses is ever likely to be seen. Fortunately the A.A. groups have a healthy reluctance about the creation of unneeded services which might lead to an expensive bureaucracy in our midst. Indeed, it seems that the chief difficulty will continue to be that of effectively informing the A.A. groups as to what the financial needs of their world services actually are. Since it is certain therefore that we shall never become too wealthy through group contributions, we need only to avoid the temptation of taking money from the outside world.

In the matter of giving Delegates, Trustees and staffs enough authority, there can be little risk, either. Long experience, now codified in these Twelve Concepts, suggests that we are unlikely to encounter problems of too much service authority. On the contrary, it appears that our difficulty will be how to maintain enough of it. We must recall that we are protected from the calamities of too much authority by rotation, by voting participation, and by careful chartering. Nevertheless, we do hear warnings about the future rise of a dictator in the Conference or at the Headquarters. To my mind this is an unnecessary worry. Our setup being what it is, such an aspirant couldn’t last a year. And in the brief time he did last, what would he use for money? Our Delegates, directly representing the groups, control the ultimate supply of our service funds. Therefore they constitute a direct check upon the rise of too much personal authority. Taken all together, these factors seem to be reliable safeguards against too much money and too much authority.

We have seen why the Conference can never have any dangerous degree of human power, but we must not overlook the fact that there is another sort of authority and power which it cannot be without: the spiritual power which flows from the activities and attitudes of truly humble, unselfish, and dedicated A.A. servants. This is the real power that causes our Conference to function. It has been well said of our servants, “They do not drive us by mandate; they lead us by example.” While we have made abundantly sure that they will never drive us, I am confident that they will afford us an ever-greater inspiration as they continue to lead by example.

Warranty Two: “Sufficient operating funds, plus an ample Reserve, should be its prudent financial principle.”

In this connection we should pause to review our attitudes concerning money and its relation to service effort.

Our attitude toward the giving of time when compared with our attitude toward giving money presents an interesting contrast. Of course we give a lot of our time to A.A. activities for our own protection and growth. But we also engage ourselves in a truly sacrificial giving for the sake of our groups, our areas and for A.A. as a whole.

Above all, we devote ourselves to the newcomer, and this is our principal Twelfth Step work. In this activity we often take large amounts of time from business hours. Considered in terms of money, these collective sacrifices add up to a huge sum. But we do not think that this is anything unusual. We remember that people once gave their time to us as we struggled for sobriety. We know, too, that nearly the whole combined income of A.A. members, now more than a billion dollars a year, has been a direct result of A.A.’s activity. Had nobody recovered, there would have been no income for any of us.

But when it comes to the actual spending of cash, particularly for A.A. service overhead, many of us are apt to turn a bit reluctant. We think of the loss of all that earning power in our drinking years, of those sums we might have laid by for emergencies or for education of the kids. We find, too, that when we drop money in the meeting hat there is no such bang as when we talk for hours to a newcomer. There is not much romance in paying the landlord. Sometimes we hold off when we are asked to meet area or Intergroup service expenses. As to world services, we may remark, “Well, those activities are a long way off, and our group does not really need them. Maybe nobody needs them.” These are very natural and understandable reactions, easy to justify. We can say, “Let’s not spoil A.A. with money and service organization. Let’s separate the material from the spiritual. That will really keep things simple.”

But in recent years these attitudes are everywhere on the decline; they quickly disappear when the real need for a given A.A. service becomes clear. To make such a need clear is simply a matter of right information and education. We see this in the continuous job now being done with good effect for our world service by Delegates, Committee Members, and General Service Representatives. They are finding that money-begging by pressure exhortation is unwanted and unneeded in A.A [tell that to group treasurers who regularly use emotional manipulation to raise funds eg. 'gratitude week' – the implication being that if you don't contribute you are in some way being 'ungrateful'!]. They simply portray what the giver’s service dollar really brings in terms of steering alcoholics to A.A., and in terms of our over-all unity and effectiveness. This much done, the hoped-for contributions are forthcoming. The donors can seldom see what the exact result has been. They well know, however, that countless thousands of other alcoholics and their families are certain to be helped.

When we look at such truly anonymous contributions in this fashion, and as we gain a better understanding of their continuous urgency, I am sure that the voluntary contributions of our A.A. groups, supplemented by many modest gifts from individual A.A.’s, will pay our world service bills over future years, in good times at any rate.

We can take comfort, too, from the fact that we do not have to maintain an expensive corps of paid workers at World Headquarters. In relation to the ever-growing size of A.A. the number of workers has declined. In the beginning our World Service Office engaged one paid worker to each thousand of A.A. members. Ten years later we employed one paid worker to each three thousand A.A.’s. Today we need only one paid helper to every seven thousand recovered alcoholics.1 The present cost of our world services ($200,000 annually as of 1960) is today seen as a small sum in relationship to the present reach of our Fellowship. Perhaps no other society of our size and activity has such a low general overhead. (with the current employment level standing at 13 in Great Britain this ratio of “one paid helper to every seven thousand recovered alcoholics” would suggest a membership of 110,000. The actual membership is estimated to be 40,000 requiring therefore only 6 to 7 staff)

These reassurances of course cannot be taken as a basis for the abandonment of the policy of financial prudence.

The fact and the symbol of A.A.’s fiscal common sense can be seen in the Reserve Fund of our General Service Board. As of now this amounts to little more than $200,000—about one year’s operating expense of our World Office.2 This is what we have saved over the last twenty years, largely from the income of our books. This is the fund which has repeatedly prevented the severe crippling, and sometimes the near collapse, of our world services.

In about half of the last twenty years, A.A. group contributions have failed to meet our world needs. But the Reserve Fund, constantly renewed by book sales, has been able to meet these deficits—and save money besides. What this has meant in the lives of uncounted alcoholics who might never have reached us had our services been weak or nonexistent [we'd be curious to know exactly how many alcoholics GSO has been responsible for saving directly? We'd guess NONE …. directly. Recovery begins with one alcoholic talking with another – which would happen with or without the General Service Office], no one can guess. Financial prudence has paid off in lives saved.

These facts about our Reserve Fund need to be better understood. For sheer lack of understanding, it is still often remarked: (1) that the Reserve Fund is no longer needed, (2) that if the Reserve Fund continues to grow, perilous wealth will result, (3) that the presence of such a Reserve Fund discourages group contributions, (4) that because we do not abolish the Reserve Fund, we lack faith, (5) that our A.A. book ought to be published at cost so these volumes could be cheapened for hard-up buyers, (6) that profit-making on our basic literature is counter to a sound spirituality. While these views are by no means general, they are typical. Perhaps, then, there is still a need to analyze them and answer the questions they raise.

Let us therefore try to test them. Do these views represent genuine prudence? Do we lack faith when we prudently insist on solvency?

By means of cheap A.A. books should we engage, as a fellowship, in this sort of financial charity? (how does selling literature at cost price constitute “financial charity”? Nobody is suggesting giving the literature away - just not making a profit on it!) Should this sort of giving [paying for a book is not 'giving'. It is a straightforward financial transaction. 'Giving' constitutes a charitable act and does not constitute a contract. A financial transaction clearly does] not be the responsibility of individuals? Is the Headquarters’ income from A.A. books really a profit after all? (Short answer: Yes)

As this is written, 1960, our Headquarters operation is just about breaking even. Group contributions are exceeding our service needs by about 5%. The A.A. Grapevine continues in the red. Compared with earlier days this is wonderful. Nevertheless this is our state in the period of the greatest prosperity that America has ever known. If this is our condition in good times, what would happen in bad times? Suppose that the Headquarters income were decreased 25% by a depression, or that expenses were increased 25% by a steep inflation. What would this mean in hard cash? [what this means is that you retrench, economise, lay people off, cut costs just like the rest of us! In the “good times” where “group contributions are exceeding … service needs by about 5%” you are able build up a reserve to be drawn upon when the bad times come. This is called prudent financial management].

The World Service Office would show a deficit of $50,000 a year and the Grapevine would put a $20,000 annual deficit on top of this. We would be faced with a gaping total deficit of $70,000 every twelve months. If in such an emergency we had no reserve and no book income, we would soon have to discharge one-third of our thirty paid workers and A.A. staff members [see above]. Much mail would go unanswered, pleas for information and help ignored. The Grapevine would have to be shut down or reduced to a second-rate bulletin. The number of Delegates attending our yearly General Service Conference would have to be drastically reduced (no bad thing in itself). Practically and spiritually, these would be the penalties were we to dissipate our Reserve Fund and its book income. [but despite all this AA, its meetings and its essential services would continue unabated. Most people would hardly notice the difference]

Happily, however, we do not have to face any such slash as this. Our present reserve and its book income could see us through several years of hard times without the slightest diminution in the strength and quality of our world effort.

It is the fashion nowadays to believe that America can never see another serious business upset. We can certainly hope and pray that it will not. But is it wise for us of A.A. to make a huge bet — by dissipating our own assets — that this could never happen? Would it not be far better, instead, for us to increase our savings [by how much? And when will these be enough?] in this period when the world about us in all probability has already borrowed more money than can ever be repaid?

Now let us examine the claim that the presence of our Reserve Fund discourages group contributions. It is said that the impression is created that A.A. Headquarters is already well off and that hence there is no need for more money. This is not at all the general attitude, however, and its effect on contributions is probably small.

Next comes the question of whether A.A. as a whole should go in for what amounts to a money charity (see above. Selling books at cost does not “amount” to a “money charity”. Therefore the entire argument subsequently presented by Bill Wilson on this theme is entirely fallacious) to individual newcomers and their sponsors — via the selling of our books at cost or less. Up to now we A.A.’s have strongly believed that money charity to the individual should not be a function of the A.A. groups or of A.A. as a whole. To illustrate: when a sponsor takes a new member in hand, he does not in the least expect that his group is going to pay the expenses he incurs while doing a Twelfth Step job. The sponsor may give his prospect a suit of clothes, may get him a job, or present him with an A.A. book. This sort of thing frequently happens, and it is fine that it does. But such charities are the responsibility of the sponsor and not of the A.A. group itself. If a sponsor cannot give or lend an A.A. book, one can be found in the library. Many groups sell books on the instalment plan. There is no scarcity of A.A. books; more than a half million are now in circulation. Hence there seems no really good reason why A.A. services should supply everybody with cheap books, including the large majority who can easily pay [hardly the point!] the going price. It appears to be altogether clear [is it?] that our world services need those book dollars far more than the buyers do.

Some of us have another concern, and this is related to so-called book “profits.” The fact that A.A. Headquarters and most of the groups sell books for more than they cost is thought to be spiritually bad. But is this sort of noncommercial [simply calling something “noncommercial doesn't make it “noncommercial”!] book income really a profit after all? In my view, it is not [according to the standard definition of profit it it clearly is]. This net income to the groups and to A.A.’s General Services is actually the sum of a great many contributions which the book buyers make to the general welfare of Alcoholics Anonymous. The certain and continuous solvency of our world services rests squarely upon these contributions [but they are not actually 'contributions' in the voluntary sense. They are financial transactions]. Looked at in this way, our Reserve Fund is seen to be actually the aggregate of many small financial sacrifices made by the book buyers [or more properly – financial transactions. Bill's repeated attempts to reframe the argument here simply constitutes a form of semantic camouflage which fails entirely to obscure the underlying reality]. This fund is not the property of private investors; it is wholly owned by A.A. itself.

While on the subject of books, perhaps a word should be said concerning my royalties from them. This royalty income from the book buyers has enabled me to do all the rest of my A.A. work on a full-time volunteer basis. These royalties have also given me the assurance that, like other A.A.’s, I have fully earned my own separate livelihood. This independent income also has enabled me to think and act independently of money influences of any kind—a situation which has at times been very advantageous to A.A. as well as to me personally. Therefore I hope and believe that my royalty status will continue to be considered a fair and wise arrangement …..." [of course an alternative would have been to employ Bill like other full time workers. This seems to us another highly dubious rationalisation. A matter of history now but …..]

________________

1
2013—about one to seventeen thousand, U.S. and Canada.
2
At December 31, 2013, the net assets of the Reserve Fund (excluding the liability for pension benefits) were $15,301,600, and represented 10.9 months of the $16,879,500 of recurring operating expenses of the operating entities. In 2012, the net assets represented a reserve of 11.3 months of operating expenses.”

(our emphases)(our comments in red)

Comment: The above is simply an extended rationalisation (much like Bill's attempt to argue that recitation of the Lord's Prayer (Christian) in AA meetings might not be regarded as implying any kind of religious affiliation on account of its widespread usage elsewhere?) in support of book sale generated profits subsidising GSO (a direct contradiction of Tradition 7). The act of deciding to buy a book - or not - is clearly, in itself, voluntary. However the distinction between voluntary 'giving' and entering into a contract is determined in this instance by who sets the amount. If you as 'buyer' decide (including paying nothing) then it's a voluntary contribution. If the seller decides it's a contract. Moreover it should be remembered that literature is not only sold to AA members but also to treatment centres etc. These are necessarily “outside organisations”. This constitutes yet another breach of Tradition 7!

We propose that books be sold only at cost for those who prefer that kind of 'hard copy' medium (or do not have access to the internet). With regard to digital publications these should all be made freely available with the option to donate a sum if the reader wishes (with the maximum set at the 'hard copy' cost price. A proviso should be added that non-members (ie. outside organisations) donate nothing). Only then will we be operating in accordance with those principles which we, after all, set for ourselves.

Cheers

The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous … and NOT funded by profits from book sales ….. or indeed ANY other kind)

PS For AA Minority Report 2013 click here

PPS Plymouth Intergroup corruption

Monday, 27 July 2015

Five ways to stop the NSA from spying on you …..


. or anyone else for that matter!

See here

On the other hand if you absolutely have to hand information over to other people we highly recommend Facebook (although we wouldn't touch it with a bargepole ourselves). It's amazing the amount of idiotic stuff people post about themselves on this social media platform. See a few prime examples here, here, here, here, here and finally.....here. As a stage for the self-obsessed narcissist Facebook provides the ideal conduit for the ultimate in banal expression!

Cheers

The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous .. and almost entirely anti-social …. media that is!)

PS For AA Minority Report 2013 click here

PPS Plymouth Intergroup corruption

Sunday, 26 July 2015

'Plastic gangstas'!


Yet more 'feedback' from the Road to Recovery Plymouth cult group.

Wayne with one of his little chums 'carrying the AA message':


Hardly 'attractive'!

'Tramp stamp'


Proud to be a Roadie”

Maybe a little bit sad!

And yet another incisive observation from a Roadie (using actual words this time!)


No surprises there then!

Cheers

The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

PS Keep 'em coming Wayne!

PPS For AA Minority Report 2013 click here

PPPS Plymouth Intergroup corruption

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Opt out of global data surveillance programs like PRISM, XKeyscore and Tempora


Help make mass surveillance of entire populations uneconomical! We all have a right to privacy, which you can exercise today by encrypting your communications and ending your reliance on proprietary services.


Cheers

The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholic Anonymous)

Friday, 24 July 2015

Pathways House Rehab, Canterbury (Kent)


A member has contacted us to express his concerns about the above treatment centre and the questionable conduct of both its owner(?)/manager and another member of staff: 

Care Quality Commission report (30th August 2014) on their services. They fail in two categories:
  • Caring for people safely and protecting them from harm
  • Staffing
Pathways House Limited is managed by Kenneth Milne. 

This is the same Kenneth Milne who appears in the following Kent Online article (June 2014):


Not a particularly auspicious recommendation!

Apparently Kenneth (or Kenny to his friends – he must be running short on those by now) is adopting a lower profile these days (presumably no longer displaying his nether regions to the neighbours, which is probably something of a relief for all concerned). Moreover we've been told he has connections with both AA and CA (funny how CA keeps on cropping up isn't it! See Harry K, Richard E).

But he isn't the only 'loose cannon' on the premises. Another of Kenny's colleagues (who shall remain anonymous ...for the time being at least) is well known as an active cult member in both the West and East Kent areas. Employed by Pathways as a general 'gofer' this individual somehow acquired the view that his position qualified him to be a counsellor (presumably through some mysterious form of 'osmosis'!). Unclear about the distinction between counselling professionally (albeit unqualified and with absolutely no experience) and 'sponsorship' he set himself up in some kind of hybrid role and was charging a former client of Pathways House £10 per hour to take him through the steps - something of a bargain we have to say when compared with professional fees. But then you get what you pay for don't you!

In between fleecing other members he also does a bit of conveyancing (no not that kind of conveyancing!) on the side taking punters to the local hard core cult meetings – Friday Canterbury (Quaker) and Dover Monday (not sure if we've come across that one before??). Apparently the former was set up by some geezer called Bill (from Strood – all part of the cult 'franchise') attracting such notables as Laughing Chris (oh dear not another one - we've already got a Happy Dennis on the books) and Arthur. Clearly giggling is permitted in cult circles - but no speaking at meetings until you've got a sponsor. And even then only to chant “happy, joyous and free” and “my sponsor says this, and my sponsor says that” … right up to the point where they finally crack!

Cheers

The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

PS Thanks to our correspondent 

PPS For AA Minority Report 2013 click here  

PPPS Plymouth Intergroup corruption

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Some more (pictorial) offerings from Wayne......Plymouth Road to Recovery cult group


 

How amazingly witty! But of course this does beg the question … how did the boat get holed in the first place? Perhaps Wayne finally managed to retrieve his foot from its usual position (in his mouth) only to place it directly through the hull? We will probably never know.

And then we come to the cult group's motto:

 

Apparently this now appears in banner form at the group's meeting. Interesting isn't it! The only group in the country which seems to take pride in being loathed .......weird! Still at least they've finally got the message …...

Some more skull and cross bones pics. Note the themes!



 

And finally:

Wayne using sign language. Apparently he's given up on oral communication … too complicated!


 

Impressive eh!

Cheers

The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous … and able to string a whole sentence together!)

PS Thanks to our contributors

PPS For AA Minority Report 2013 click here 

PPPS Plymouth Intergroup corruption