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Thursday, 18 September 2014

The AA Member – Medications and Other Drugs (contd)

Extract: (our observations in red print)

Note to medical professionals

Cooperation with the professional community has been an objective of Alcoholics Anonymous since its beginnings. Professionals who work with alcoholics share a common purpose with Alcoholics Anonymous: to help the alcoholic stop drinking and lead a healthy, productive life. [Note: not strictly accurate. Some medical experts advocate a 'harm minimisation' approach and do not regard complete abstinence as necessary. Therefore their objectives differ completely from that of AA]

As noted in the introduction, some A.A. members must take prescribed medications. However, our experience indicates that the misuse [Note the use of the word 'misuse' – not 'use'] of prescription medication can threaten the achievement and maintenance of sobriety. [Again AA 'experience' is no substitute for a proper medical diagnosis; the latter should ALWAYS take precedence]. The suggestions provided in our introduction are offered to help A.A. members find the right balance and minimize the risk of relapse.”

(our emphases)


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

To be continued

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Memorial: Dr. Bob, January, 1951, Bill W

See also Links and downloads

PS For AA Minority Report 2013 click here

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

“The Things They Say” – or should it be “The Lies They Tell

Extracts from the aacultwatch forum (old)

Think up your own conception of God, put it on a pedestal, kneel in front of it and ask it for a sober day"... Happy Dennis, Ealing.

This is the idiotic message the "happy one" of Ealing carries to all who have the stomach to listen to him.

Well folks, of course, real AA suggests we do no such thing. Kneeling in front of something that you have made up yourself is little short of narcissism. It is also idolatry.

It is well worth remembering that Happy Dennis (Dennis F.) has a long history of mental illness. I for one have no intention of following made up suggestions from such an individual, none of which are found anywhere in conference approved AA literature.

"You must get a sponsor who has a sponsor" - message carried by various cult groupies in the Ealing area.

Well, if that were the case, AA would never have got off the ground. Bill Wilson didn't have a sponsor who had a sponsor! Nowhere in the Big Book or any other AA book does it say that we must have a sponsor who has a sponsor.

It is interesting to note that the promoters of this non-AA message are descended from the David B line of sponsorship. David B didn't have a sponsor, so the whole house of sponsorship cards falls flat. This particular "sponsorship line" narrative ends in a lie.

What the Big Book and other AA books do suggest however, is that we acquire and develop a faith and trust in a Higher Power of our own understanding. That means of course that we have to reflect upon spiritual matters for ourselves and think about what we are doing, rather than constantly deferring to a human power.

"Don't think! Don't use your brain - it's defective!" - message heard in meetings in Richmond area, no doubt inspired by a sponsor who had a sponsor who was connected to David B who didn't have a sponsor!

AA says - THINK THINK THINK.  (official AA sign)

AA also says - "Just for today I will try to strengthen my mind I will study, I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration."

You can't strengthen your mind if you don't think!

Thinking is discouraged by the cult. Why? Knowledge is power and people who think cant be so easily manipulated and controlled by the cult sponsor. The Truth will set your free.

"My sponsor said he was sober 22 years and had never had a bad day because he always did everything his sponsor said"   - David C Icons.

Well now, when you sponsor yourself I guess you do everything your sponsor says! Lol

"David B tried to find a sponsor in the UK, but just couldn't find anyone who was sufficiently informed or on the program."  -  David C Icons circa 2000 sitting in McDonalds, Victoria, after a Vision meeting sucking on his strawberry milkshake.

OK lets get this straight - he couldn't find a sponsor good enough for him, but he did everything his sponsor said??  That just doesn't add up. Later on David B claimed to be sponsored by a guy named "Frank" in USA. However when this was investigated, the "Frank" in question was drinking and had no idea he was sponsoring anyone. Clearly David B could not be trusted to tell the truth!

David C Icons, however, swallowed David B's porky pies, hook line and sinker.

Dial D for Dumb... or D or Denial... or D for Dishonest. .. take your pick. All three apply.

"People call me God and I think they are afraid of me" - David B (founder of the cult movement in AA in the UK) talking to a Catholic clergyman (and AA member) outside an AA convention in Eastbourne circa the early 1990's.

No comment is needed.”

The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

PS To use “comment” system simply click on the relevant tab below this article and sign in. All comments go through a moderation stage

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

Monday, 15 September 2014

Alcohol research

Alcoholics Anonymous in a Western US City, Jindra NJ, and Forsiund MA, Journal of Studies on Alcohol, Vol. 39(1), 110-120, 1978 

Summary: Description of two groups of Alcoholics Anonymous includes data on the relationship between attendance during a 4-month period and abstinence at 6-month and 30-month follow-up studies.

PS For AA Minority Report 2013 click here

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Conference questions (2014) – almost! (contd)

53. Safeguarding Issues for Alcoholics Anonymous
The current climate of anxiety about the vulnerability of children and adults with special needs has led to a strong emphasis on “Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults”. (1)
In Alcoholics Anonymous we might at first sight dismiss any of the issues emerging from this as none of our business and as something which will not apply to the Fellowship: we are after all protected by the Traditions which give us clear boundaries from the Agencies which have to take Safeguarding considerations into account
(i.e. Health, Education etc.) (2)
Increasingly, however, as many in Service roles will know, we are being asked if we have had “CRB Checks” and do we have a “policy” on safeguarding? This can only continue as more and more agencies come under scrutiny: the Catholic Church for example now has to deal with a failure to take account with its safeguarding failures at an earlier stage.
We could say:
1. We are not an “agency/organisation” for children. Anyone who approaches AA is an adult. Children are not legally entitled to drink until they are 18.
2. On any visits to school or contact with children, it is the responsibility of the school/agency we are working with to ensure they follow their own safeguarding guidelines. Usually they will ensure no contact between members of the Fellowship and children without a member of staff being present at all times. Name badges (Visitor ID) to be worn at all times etc.
3. On 12th Step calls to adults we will ensure that more than one member of the Fellowship is present and 12th stepping is done by the same sex as the person visited. Children under 18 can only be seen with parents present.
The above are common sense approaches which I am sure will be immediately clear to AA members but do we always follow them?
The answer is probably not and sooner or later we may be faced with an allegation or complaint of abuse or failure in a duty of care at some level.
My question to AA is: Do we need to consider the recent rise in Safeguarding Measures and decide whether or not AA should have a policy which protects the Fellowship from risk or scandal?
(1) “Every Child Matters” 2003: Children Act 2004 Lord Laming Report: 2006 “Working Together”, “Multi‐Agency Local Safeguarding Children Boards” (LSCBs)
...A duty on all agencies to make arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.” 2010: “Working Together to Safeguard Children”.
(2) The 12 Traditions “Alcoholics Anonymous” The Big Book
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions” (1952).

Terms of Reference No. 7 The Traditions and Concepts and information contained within existing literature, such as the Structure and Service Handbooks for Great Britain provide guidance on keeping our fellowship out of public controversy. There is also a guidance issued by the General Service Board in January 2013 which refers to Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults. This guidance will be published in the next edition of AA Service News.”

Comment: Some excellent points here. But as indicated the guidance already largely exists; it just has to be implemented. See below for the relevant legislation (in particular relating to vulnerable adults):

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


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Bill and Bob's Excellent Adventure! (contd)

A wildly imaginative dianoetic rambling concerning the the “basic text” of Alcoholics Anonymous (viz. the Big Book) (our comments in red print)


This is the Foreword as it appeared in the first printing of the first edition in 1939.

We, of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body [Note: This statement merely represented a 'snap shot' of the estimated 'membership' at that time. In some quarters much is sometimes made of the fact that a number of these individuals (the figures vary) subsequently relapsed. But no claim is being made here that any of them were permanently 'cured' – only recovered – or recovering if you prefer ie. they're not drinking and they don't fancy the idea either!. 'Recovered' does NOT imply permanence. After all, recovery is 'just for today'!). To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered is the main purpose of this book [But this does not imply that anyone has to follow their example precisely. Moreover since clearly the programme in its present form did not exist prior to the publication of the book it is impossible that any of the aforementioned alcoholics could have applied its principles as subsequently delineated. How could they? Most would have had some knowledge of the Oxford Group and its principles but otherwise would have approached their own recovery in a largely idiosyncratic manner – much as members still do today.]. For them, we hope these pages will prove so convincing that no further authentication will be necessary. We think this account of our experiences will help everyone to better understand the alcoholic. Many do not comprehend that the alcoholic is a very sick person. And besides, we are sure that our way of living has its advantages for all.

It is important that we remain anonymous because we are too few, at present to handle the overwhelming number of personal appeals which may result
from this publication. Being mostly business or professional folk, we could not well carry on our occupations in such an event. We would like it understood that our alcoholic work is an avocation. [ie. a hobby, spare time activity, interest - not full time, paid employment or a profession]

When writing or speaking publicly about alcoholism, we urge each of our Fellowship to omit his personal name, designating himself instead as “a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.” [see above – also helps avoid that other dreadful disease - big shotism!]

Very earnestly we ask the press also, to observe this request, for otherwise we shall be greatly handicapped.

We are not an organization in the conventional sense of the word. There are no fees or dues whatsoever. [It's free – apart from any voluntary contributions towards rent etc] The only requirement for membership is an honest desire to stop drinking. We are not allied with any particular faith, sect or denomination, nor do we oppose anyone [So why is the Lord's Prayer (Christian) used in some meetings? And for that matter why are some groups calling themselves atheist or agnostic etc. The latter are simply the reverse side of the religious coin ie. yet another belief – or non-belief - system]. We simply wish to be helpful to those who are afflicted.

We shall be interested to hear from those who are getting results from this book, particularly from those who have commenced work with other alcoholics. We should like to be helpful to such cases.

Inquiry by scientific, medical, and religious societies will be welcomed.

Alcoholics Anonymous.”

(our emphases)

Additional comment: It's worth noting the qualification above: an “honest desire”. Using this expression with reference to oneself in a meeting is guaranteed to ensure that everyone else present feels a fraud! Similarly introducing yourself as a 'grateful recovering (or even better 'recovered' but with particular emphasis on the word 'grateful') alcoholic' induces in others the uncomfortable sense that they're somehow deficient in this area. It's always useful to maintain a psychological lead when it comes to the 'sobriety stakes'!

The invitation to submit feedback on the effectiveness of the AA message transmitted via this medium (ie. the written word) suggests the author(s) were not entirely convinced of its efficacy, which itself intimates a healthy open-mindedness, if not humility, on their part.

Again it's interesting to observe the repetition of the expression “wish to be helpful” or “like to be helpful”. There is nothing here to suggest that we're out to convert anyone to our point of view. If you don't fancy what we've got to offer - no problem! Such an unintrusive, non-dogmatic stance helps to make AA both more attractive and more inclusive. The converse, of course, has entirely the reverse effect. Kindly take note cult members!

Finally we're not afraid of a bit of scrutiny on the part of the 'establishment'. Why should we be!

Coming next – Foreword to Second Edition


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

Caution: This curse (sorry!!) COURSE is not to be taken as AUTHORITATIVE nor is it to be regarded as DEFINITIVE in any way. Anyone found to be according it any undue status will be reported to the appropriate authorities (ie. GSO York or whoever) who will then do …. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! (quite rightly too we say!). Moreover any person discovered to be quoting from the aforementioned course will be TERMINATED with extreme prejudice!

Friday, 12 September 2014

The AA Member – Medications and Other Drugs

Extract: (our observations in red print)


Because this subject involves important medical decisions, a group of physicians who are members of A.A. and two physicians who are friends of A.A. were asked to review this pamphlet.

Some A.A. members must take prescribed medication for serious medical problems. However, it is generally accepted that the misuse of prescription medication and other drugs can threaten the achievement and maintenance of sobriety. It may be possible to minimize the threat of relapse if the following suggestions are heeded:

No A.A. member should “play doctor”; all medical advice and treatment should come from a qualified physician.
Active participation in the A.A. program of recovery is a major safeguard against alcoholic relapse. [in our view this should read: 'may be a major safeguard' – AA doesn't suit everybody]
Be completely honest with your doctor and yourself about the way you take your medicine. Let your doctor know if you skip doses or take more medicine than prescribed.
Explain to your doctor that you no longer drink alcohol and you are trying a new way of life in recovery.
Let your doctor know at once if you have a desire to take more medicine or if you have side effects that make you feel worse.
Be sensitive to warnings about changes in your behaviour when you start a new medication or when your dose is changed.
If you feel that your doctor does not understand your problems, consider making an appointment with a physician who has experience in the treatment of alcoholism. [the term 'alcoholism' may not be employed by some in the medical profession – 'alcohol abuse' or 'misuse' may be more applicable]
Give your doctor copies of this pamphlet.

From the earliest days of Alcoholics Anonymous it has been clear that many alcoholics have a tendency to become dependent on drugs other than alcohol. [This implies, of course, that many alcoholics do NOT]. There have been tragic incidents of alcoholics who have struggled to achieve sobriety only to develop a serious problem with a different drug. Time and time again, A.A. members have described frightening and sobriety-threatening episodes that could be related to the misuse of medication or other drugs. [Note the term “could be related” especially' ie. not necessarily]

Experience suggests that while some prescribed medications may be safe for most nonalcoholics when taken according to a doctor’s instructions, it is possible that they may affect the alcoholic in a different way. [This 'experience' is no substitute for an informed medical diagnosis. This guidance is itself running contrary to the general theme of the pamphlet. Such matters are best left to a qualified medical practitioner]. It is often true that these substances create dependence as devastating as dependence on alcohol. It is well known that many sedatives have an action in the body similar to the action of alcohol. When these drugs are used without medical supervision, dependence can readily develop.

Many A.A.s who have taken over-the-counter, nonprescription drugs have discovered the alcoholic’s tendency to misuse [And again many do NOT display such a tendency]. Those A.A.s who have used street drugs, ranging from marijuana to heroin, have discovered the alcoholic’s tendency to become dependent on other drugs [Apart from such activities being illegal again see above]. The list goes on and will lengthen as new drugs are developed. [This is a peculiar assumption. Perhaps as new drugs are developed they may be designed not to produce such ill effects . Again the guidance is straying into areas best left to those properly qualified to make such assessments]

Always consult your doctor if you think medication may be helpful or needed.”

(our emphases)

Comment: We echo the last sentiment: always check with your doctor or consultant. AA 'experience' is quite definitely NOT the first or last word on this subject. Some areas of this pamphlet are clearly poorly thought through.


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

To be continued