You’re right, it has been a long time since I’ve written. Because I have yet to develop healthy coping skills, I spend most of each day trying to negotiate between warring factions in my brain. This is good news, because it means that I’m relying less on unhealthy coping skills, most notably drinking (which I’mContinue reading “Progress, not perfection”
It continually surprises me how many secular A.A.-ers and fellowships remain beholden to the Twelve Steps. They may reject certain theistic ideas about an omnipotent God, but adhere to the Steps with religious zeal nonetheless. My surprise is a matter of perspective, to be sure. I’m not just atheist or agnostic. I’m an out-and-out non-believer,Continue reading “The Twelve Steps”
I have been scolded, warned, and threatened for saying and writing what I think about Alcoholics Anonymous. In all cases, what I have been told boils down to: You shouldn’t criticize a program that has helped millions of people stay sober. Well, why not? First, let me dismiss one kind of counter-argument. One might respondContinue reading “The 13th Tradition: Thou Shall Not Criticize A.A.”
For me, the most glaring contradiction in the ideology of Alcoholics Anonymous is that alcohol addiction is called an illness (or even disease), and the treatment for it is regarded to be a “spiritual” and moral change of the individual’s life. I’m not going to take any position about what exactly in addiction is, butContinue reading “A question of morality”
It doesn’t take long to encounter an old-timer who says that an alcoholic’s “best thinking got you into this room” or that the alcoholic’s “thinker is broke.” Often following that observation is the advice to “take the cotton out of your ears and stuff it in your mouth,” or as a colorful local articulates it,Continue reading “A paradox of reason – Part I”
As a philosopher, I’m accustomed to being misunderstood. When I’ve discussed or written in this space about “outside issues” or prayer in traditional AA meetings, a lot of responses have frankly missed my point. I am not seeking advice on how to deal with my life. I know that I can leave an AA meetingContinue reading “Being a philosopher in recovery”
Hanging on many an AA room’s wall is the Twelve Traditions. The Tenth may be the most frequently cited: Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy. To understand what this means, one might consult Bill Wilson’s Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. Wilson notesContinue reading ““Outside issues””
“Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, p 164. Meetings in my local traditional AA groups end with “A Vision For You,” usually followed by the Lord’s Prayer. It doesn’t take a lot of critical thinking to notice that the two statements that beginContinue reading “Belief and the infallible big book”
Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; theyContinue reading ““Rigorous Honesty””
Sorta part 2 I previously wrote that Alcoholics Anonymous can be understood on the model of classic liberal social contract theory, as a society composed by the free act of individual persons. An obvious problem with a social contract is that if it is a democratic society, the majority has a tendency to rule asContinue reading “Social Contract, Classical Liberalism, and the Ideology of Individualism in AA”
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