Belief and the infallible big book

“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”

“Rigorous Honesty”

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””

Social Contract, Classical Liberalism, and the Ideology of Individualism in AA

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”

The Social Contract of Alcoholics Anonymous

There may be no purer example of a society formed by social contract than Alcoholics Anonymous. It will come as no news to secular AAers that this doesn’t necessarily mean that AA is a bastion for equal rights of all. We forget that the great theorists of social contract were dangerous radicals. They rejected theContinue reading “The Social Contract of Alcoholics Anonymous”

On the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in AA meetings

To many in traditional AA fellowships, it is perplexing when secular, agnostic, or atheist members object to reciting the Lord’s Prayer in meetings. The basis of my own objections are that reciting the Lord’s Prayer allies the fellowship with a particular denomination and religion, and that it excludes and therefore oppresses me as a member.Continue reading “On the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in AA meetings”

Traditional AA, Repression, Oppression, and Alienation

How’s that for a title? A discussion of a traditional AA fellowship’s repetition of God language turned up today on Facebook. The poster was upset by the repeated references, and not only references but worshipful statements about God, Jesus, etc. (not to be confused with the Wilco song “Jesus, Etc.”). Some of the comments struckContinue reading “Traditional AA, Repression, Oppression, and Alienation”

The Myth of Twelve Steps

There should be no space in the recovery community for authoritarianism and oppression. A hallmark of Alcoholics Anonymous is the list of twelve steps. It is so central to the ideology of AA that other recovery groups are referred to as “12 step” groups. Many newcomers are told that they can recover only if theyContinue reading “The Myth of Twelve Steps”

“Character defects”

In traditional AA meetings, I enjoy saying things contrary to the dominant ideology. I don’t look for fights, and I don’t say these things solely or even mainly to stir controversy. Often enough, they pass uncommented on. Whenever the Sixth Step topic of “character defects” comes up, I say “I don’t believe in character defects.Continue reading ““Character defects””