ISF Logo   IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Religion and Philosophy
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Reply
Old 22nd June 2019, 09:58 PM   #121
Minoosh
Philosopher
 
Minoosh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 9,400
Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
"Yes" he said. "WTF is that about?" sez I. And he then proceeded to tell me about how one could never leave the cult.
And you believed him?
Minoosh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2019, 02:40 AM   #122
Minoosh
Philosopher
 
Minoosh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 9,400
Originally Posted by whoanellie View Post
I found them very easily at the link you provided.
Most people I've known in AA have in some way interpreted the program in their own personal ways. For me "powerlessness" meant discovering that using does not relieve a craving but makes it much, much worse.

I also didn't really consider myself an alcoholic. My strong preference was for opioids. I mentally substituted "addict" for "alcoholic" which became gradually more acceptable in some groups. I thought I was safe from alcohol ... it made me violently ill. But then I drank my way into full-blown alcoholism - I "needed" a legal escape. Now I can't remember the last time I drank alcohol out of a glass. The bottle works fine.

The saving grace is I'm not a daily user so probably am not in danger of a life-threatening withdrawal syndrome.

Everyone I know has made some personal accommodations in their interpretation of the steps and general program patter. I don't have a strong belief in a personal God, but I have no problem with praying. It seems to open up some channel in me that gets me out of self-defeating thought patterns. I definitely don't understand God so "God of our understanding" doesn't mean much to me. But something about asking seems to help me see solutions that elude my conscious mind.

I'll be 60 in two months and I pray for the imagination to see it as a vibrant, joyful decade ahead rather that the steady decline I can expect if I carry on with current behavior. I very much need a commitment to abstinence and the support of fellow travelers whose phone numbers I will actually use.

To people put off by the "creepiness" of AA: Yes, there are a fair number of loose cannons on deck and it's good to remember that. If you're looking for crazy, you'll find it. But you will also find many relatively sane, happy, practical people who are are devoted to your success. That's a pretty big upside.
[/drunkalogue]
Minoosh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2019, 04:30 AM   #123
whoanellie
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 444
Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
It absolutely does. I have in mind a chap who is a member for some 30 odd years. When he goes on holidays he makes sure that he finds and attends whatever local AA meeting he can dredge up.
Good for him. Has your chap been sober for 30 years? If he has, I'd say its working for him.
Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
"Yes" he said. "WTF is that about?" sez I. And he then proceeded to tell me about how one could never leave the cult. Once one bought into it one simply could not leave and so forth. AA is frankly bizarre, and anyone who believes it cures anything is deluded.
What do you think would happen if one tried to leave? I know lots of people who have left AA.

Here's links to deluded people:
https://www.scientificamerican.com/a...rk/?redirect=1
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2746426/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effect...lics_Anonymous
https://www.thefix.com/content/the-r...tics-of-aa7301
whoanellie is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2019, 05:14 AM   #124
Darat
Lackey
Administrator
 
Darat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: South East, UK
Posts: 86,316
Been reading on the AA UK website and I'm struggling to find how the courses are audited and how the fellowship gets those leading courses and so on. Does anyone have links to those areas, AA ones?
__________________
I wish I knew how to quit you
Darat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2019, 06:34 AM   #125
whoanellie
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 444
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Been reading on the AA UK website and I'm struggling to find how the courses are audited and how the fellowship gets those leading courses and so on. Does anyone have links to those areas, AA ones?
I don't know what you are asking for. audited? courses? leading?
whoanellie is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2019, 06:42 AM   #126
Darat
Lackey
Administrator
 
Darat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: South East, UK
Posts: 86,316
Originally Posted by whoanellie View Post
I don't know what you are asking for. audited? courses? leading?
Well I can see there is a structure to the.. er.. process, so I'm assuming those leading meetings will have been trained on those steps and how to help facilitate the progress of people attending? And my further assumption would be that those leaders are regularly assessed in regards to how they facilitate the process for members, how meetings are conducted, that proper records are kept (I know not of the people directly, I get what the second A is for ) and so on. But can't find any of those details on the UK website.
__________________
I wish I knew how to quit you
Darat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2019, 07:51 AM   #127
isissxn
Rough Around the Edges
 
isissxn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Deep Storage
Posts: 5,923
Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
Do you think AA misrepresents itself in that regard?
I don't think AA as a body represents itself in any particular way, actually. My understanding is that it has no overarching structure or anything. Different groups do things differently. I'm sure some are very religious while others barely mention those elements at all. I think it would be possible for someone court ordered to AA meetings to "shop around" a little until they find one that best suits their spiritual needs (or lack thereof).

I still, as a stickler about separation of church and state, think that courts should probably avoid even the possibility of muddling the two by only ordering people to programs that use zero religious language, period. However, it's not a crusade I'd embark on.

I think these problems are much more serious in inpatient settings. Meetings feel different. But if someone called the leader of the meeting up beforehand and said, "Do I have to do or say anything religious in order to get you to sign my slip that participated?" and the leader said no, but then the person actually did have to say prayers and stuff, I would have the same issue I have with rehab centers who do those things. I just can't see it happening the same way in a meeting setting. The pressures are different. The hierarchy is different.

I still don't like things about the 12-steps, but that is my personal opinion based on what appeals to ME. If it works for people, they should do it.

Last edited by isissxn; 23rd June 2019 at 07:58 AM.
isissxn is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2019, 11:40 AM   #128
carlitos
"más divertido"
 
carlitos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 20,293
Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
The person in charge of the probationer, or the person in charge of AA? Nobody's in charge of AA - and it shows
I thought my post was pretty clear on this. The person who is in charge of the probationer, the poor guy who is trying to get sober to satisfy a court or job requirement. They are at the mercy of a system that requires them to go to AA. They did not choose to go to these meetings or pick and choose a more evidence-based program.

That’s what this thread is about – the courts sending someone to AA, a process that is often validated by them completing the steps and participating in overtly religious meetings. Lords prayer and all in most of them.

Again, if the low level employee who runs a sober house or rehab facility feels that the addict is not doing the steps or committed or doesn’t have a sponsor or hasn’t fixed their “character defects,” then they are out on the street or out of a job or back in jail. This is the reality.

Just to be crystal clear: this thread is about people being sent to AA, not about people choosing a given meeting and shopping around to find one that aligns with their values.
carlitos is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2019, 11:59 AM   #129
Minoosh
Philosopher
 
Minoosh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 9,400
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Well I can see there is a structure to the.. er.. process, so I'm assuming those leading meetings will have been trained on those steps and how to help facilitate the progress of people attending? And my further assumption would be that those leaders are regularly assessed in regards to how they facilitate the process for members, how meetings are conducted, that proper records are kept (I know not of the people directly, I get what the second A is for ) and so on. But can't find any of those details on the UK website.
What sorts of records are you talking about? At the group level there is probably a secretary or treasurer to make sure the rent is paid and to buy supplies as needed. At business meetings a core group of members will discuss overall format and the level of participation, if any, in the larger governance structure. Otherwise people come, find out what was worked for other members and if they find a group they like or identify with they might stick around, get to know people and let other people get to know them. You learn how to run meetings by watching others do it, then doing it yourself if you're willing.

Otherwise it's just peer-to-peer support, no formal training or evaluations.
Minoosh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2019, 12:31 PM   #130
Minoosh
Philosopher
 
Minoosh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 9,400
Originally Posted by carlitos View Post
I thought my post was pretty clear on this. The person who is in charge of the probationer, the poor guy who is trying to get sober to satisfy a court or job requirement.
I was court-ordered into AA, though I would have gone anyway. Once I caught surveillance checking to see if I actually went to the meeting. (I was on a modified version of house arrest). I don't think it's done much anymore but it's been a few years since I've been convicted of a crime.

Originally Posted by carlitos View Post
Again, if the low level employee who runs a sober house or rehab facility feels that the addict is not doing the steps or committed or doesn’t have a sponsor or hasn’t fixed their “character defects,” then they are out on the street or out of a job or back in jail. This is the reality.

Just to be crystal clear: this thread is about people being sent to AA, not about people choosing a given meeting and shopping around to find one that aligns with their values.
For better or worse, probation exists to, uh, encourage behavior modification. I think the whole point of mandatory AA was to provide/impose a structure that might help keep people out of bars. It was about what you do with your body. What you do with your soul is, as you say, no business of the government's.

Personally, I benefited from that structure. SMART Recovery would have been OK too, but I don't think it would have been possible to find meetings at all times of day, 7 days a week, all over town. I'm not in a hurry to get another probation officer but you are correct that probation limits personal liberty. That's kind of the point.
Minoosh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2019, 01:10 PM   #131
Darat
Lackey
Administrator
 
Darat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: South East, UK
Posts: 86,316
Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
What sorts of records are you talking about? At the group level there is probably a secretary or treasurer to make sure the rent is paid and to buy supplies as needed. At business meetings a core group of members will discuss overall format and the level of participation, if any, in the larger governance structure. Otherwise people come, find out what was worked for other members and if they find a group they like or identify with they might stick around, get to know people and let other people get to know them. You learn how to run meetings by watching others do it, then doing it yourself if you're willing.

Otherwise it's just peer-to-peer support, no formal training or evaluations.
Does that mean the answer to "what is an AA course?" Simply "anything someone wants to slap 'AA'" onto?

Set aside the court ordering for a moment, what if someone is seeking to sign up and join the AA, how would they know if particular meeting followed the process, that it was of sufficient quality and so on?
__________________
I wish I knew how to quit you
Darat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2019, 01:37 PM   #132
Minoosh
Philosopher
 
Minoosh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 9,400
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Does that mean the answer to "what is an AA course?" Simply "anything someone wants to slap 'AA'" onto?
There is no such thing as an "AA course."

Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Set aside the court ordering for a moment, what if someone is seeking to sign up and join the AA, how would they know if particular meeting followed the process, that it was of sufficient quality and so on?
You don't sign up, you just attend, or not. Meetings follow a format adopted and adapted by individual groups.

I say it's a support group, but it's also an oral tradition, which fosters a certain continuity. There's no guarantee anyone is doing it right. I've never heard of AA suing anyone to keep the term "AA" out of the wrong hands.
Minoosh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2019, 01:58 PM   #133
Thor 2
Philosopher
 
Thor 2's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Brisbane, Aust.
Posts: 5,190
Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
Try restarting your browser.

Again with the cop out.

You made the comment that there were agnostic type 12 step programs. I find it hard to imagine given the heavy religious theme of the original, with 6 of the steps actually referring to God. What do these agnostic steps look like?
__________________
Thinking is a faith hazard.
Thor 2 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2019, 02:28 PM   #134
carlitos
"más divertido"
 
carlitos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 20,293
Atheist nurse's fight against mandatory AA will go before B.C. Human Rights Tribunal

Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
I was court-ordered into AA, though I would have gone anyway. Once I caught surveillance checking to see if I actually went to the meeting. (I was on a modified version of house arrest). I don't think it's done much anymore but it's been a few years since I've been convicted of a crime.



For better or worse, probation exists to, uh, encourage behavior modification. I think the whole point of mandatory AA was to provide/impose a structure that might help keep people out of bars. It was about what you do with your body. What you do with your soul is, as you say, no business of the government's.



Personally, I benefited from that structure. SMART Recovery would have been OK too, but I don't think it would have been possible to find meetings at all times of day, 7 days a week, all over town. I'm not in a hurry to get another probation officer but you are correct that probation limits personal liberty. That's kind of the point.


This is so disingenuous. I am out of here.

Seriously, I’m so glad that you are well now but you don’t seem to be objective about this.

Last edited by carlitos; 23rd June 2019 at 02:31 PM. Reason: Rephrase
carlitos is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2019, 02:30 PM   #135
Minoosh
Philosopher
 
Minoosh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 9,400
Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Again with the cop out.

You made the comment that there were agnostic type 12 step programs. I find it hard to imagine given the heavy religious theme of the original, with 6 of the steps actually referring to God. What do these agnostic steps look like?
Thor, I literally linked to a site that contains a secular version of the 12 steps. Sometimes not all of a website's content will fit on one computer screen and you have to click on what's known as a "link." You don't have to "imagine" anything; you just have to click.
Minoosh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2019, 02:33 PM   #136
Minoosh
Philosopher
 
Minoosh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 9,400
Originally Posted by carlitos View Post
This is so disingenuous and I am out of here. I’m so glad that you are well now.
I seriously don't know what you think is dishonest about any of that. Not a clue. If you want to tell me, I'll listen.

Last edited by Minoosh; 23rd June 2019 at 02:36 PM. Reason: Used the word "literally" in 2 posts in a row.
Minoosh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2019, 04:27 PM   #137
Thor 2
Philosopher
 
Thor 2's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Brisbane, Aust.
Posts: 5,190
I did some research and found an agnostic AA group that gave their own version of 12 Steps:

Agnostic AA 12 Steps – Religious AA 12 steps
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe and to accept that we needed strengths beyond our awareness and resources to restore us to sanity.
Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to entrust our will and our lives to the care of the collective wisdom and resources of those who have searched before us.
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to ourselves without reservation, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were ready to accept help in letting go of all our defects of character.
Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. With humility and openness sought to eliminate our shortcomings.
Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through meditation to improve our spiritual awareness and our understanding of the AA way of life and to discover the power to carry out that way of life.
Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Seems to me that when the ones referring to God are adjusted to be "agnostic" they get a bit wishy washy.
__________________
Thinking is a faith hazard.
Thor 2 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2019, 07:11 PM   #138
whoanellie
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 444
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Well I can see there is a structure to the.. er.. process, so I'm assuming those leading meetings will have been trained on those steps and how to help facilitate the progress of people attending? And my further assumption would be that those leaders are regularly assessed in regards to how they facilitate the process for members, how meetings are conducted, that proper records are kept (I know not of the people directly, I get what the second A is for ) and so on. But can't find any of those details on the UK website.
I think many outsiders would be surprised - shocked even - at how disorganized /unstructured AA is. There are no AA courses. There is no formal training training. No assessment, no records kept. That's why those details are not available.
Typically each time a group meets there will be a chairperson for that meeting. Sometimes groups will have a sign up sheet for people to volunteer in advance to chair the meeting. Often the chairperson is just someone who is willing to do it just before the meeting starts. The chairperson has minimal responsibilities and authority over the meeting.
If you want to start an AA meeting all you need to do is contact the local office and tell them you are starting a meeting and ask them to add it to their publicly available schedule. I know of no instance in which a local or national office has interfered in what goes on a particular meeting.
here are a couple of AA's 12 traditions:

Four – Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups, or A.A. as a whole.


Seven – Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.

Nine – A.A., as such, ought never be organized, but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

AA meetings will seek donations from those in attendance. In the US people typically give $1 for each meeting. The money covers the minimal cost of the meeting - coffee, rent of the meeting room if there is any, etc. AA sells books for minimal costs. There are two main texts in AA the "big book" and "the 12&12". Each are < $10 in the US.

The closest thing in AA to what you are asking about is a "sponsor". Every person new to AA is encouraged to get a sponsor. A sponsor is someone with some sobriety/experience who can answer a newcomer's questions, introduce them to AA, and guide them through working the steps. Newcomers should pick their own sponsor - but are not forced to have one. Each sponsor leads a newcomer through the steps differently depending on how they were led through the steps. There is no one right way to do it.
whoanellie is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2019, 07:14 PM   #139
whoanellie
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 444
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Does that mean the answer to "what is an AA course?" Simply "anything someone wants to slap 'AA'" onto?

Set aside the court ordering for a moment, what if someone is seeking to sign up and join the AA, how would they know if particular meeting followed the process, that it was of sufficient quality and so on?
People are free to go to as many different meetings as they can and decide on their own what is right for them. There are bad AA meetings and if a newcomer wanders in to one it can be a turn off. On the other hand, what is a bad meeting to one person may be just what another person needs.
whoanellie is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2019, 08:03 PM   #140
8enotto
Muse
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Mexico
Posts: 801
My late uncle was in AA first by court order and then he chose to stay on as staff helping others. He was natural for that as he had bounced through several religions and had been quite successful in Amway for a few years.

Not saying or implying anything bad, he just had a mind that really worked in that area. He could be that person that convinced others it was real and made it work.


Earlier in life he made toys for the USN to blow stuff up with and wasn't short on smarts. He just had that type of personality.

He told me it's as effective as the person wants it to be. So he was outto make people want to be cured.
8enotto is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2019, 09:38 PM   #141
Minoosh
Philosopher
 
Minoosh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 9,400
Originally Posted by whoanellie View Post
People are free to go to as many different meetings as they can and decide on their own what is right for them. There are bad AA meetings and if a newcomer wanders in to one it can be a turn off. On the other hand, what is a bad meeting to one person may be just what another person needs.
I feel like AA takes the hit for all the frustrations and disappointments people might have with the treatment industry, the legal system, organized religion and the stubborn nature of addiction itself. It's like a Rorschach test - people read into it many things.

I have trouble connecting the images of an 800-pound-gorilla that holds the treatment industry in a stranglehold with the generally pretty low-key people I've known in AA.

People ask, but why does God have to be involved? And the answer is, that's just the way it happened; that's just what a handful of guys in the 1930s came up with. It resonated with enough people to create a chain reaction that continued over the next few generations.
Minoosh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2019, 11:27 PM   #142
Darat
Lackey
Administrator
 
Darat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: South East, UK
Posts: 86,316
Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
There is no such thing as an "AA course."



You don't sign up, you just attend, or not. Meetings follow a format adopted and adapted by individual groups.



I say it's a support group, but it's also an oral tradition, which fosters a certain continuity. There's no guarantee anyone is doing it right. I've never heard of AA suing anyone to keep the term "AA" out of the wrong hands.
I'm really trying to get my head around this, it seems that there really isn't anything you could call "AA"?
__________________
I wish I knew how to quit you
Darat is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th June 2019, 12:05 AM   #143
Minoosh
Philosopher
 
Minoosh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 9,400
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
I'm really trying to get my head around this, it seems that there really isn't anything you could call "AA"?
Darat, this has been asked and answered several times. I'm not sure what else can be said to help you get your head around it. If you want to conclude that AA doesn't exist I won't argue the point.
Minoosh is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th June 2019, 04:25 AM   #144
whoanellie
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 444
nt
whoanellie is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th June 2019, 04:26 AM   #145
whoanellie
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 444
Originally Posted by 8enotto View Post
My late uncle was in AA first by court order and then he chose to stay on as staff helping others. He was natural for that as he had bounced through several religions and had been quite successful in Amway for a few years.

Not saying or implying anything bad, he just had a mind that really worked in that area. He could be that person that convinced others it was real and made it work.


Earlier in life he made toys for the USN to blow stuff up with and wasn't short on smarts. He just had that type of personality.

He told me it's as effective as the person wants it to be. So he was outto make people want to be cured.
AA has no "staff".
whoanellie is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th June 2019, 04:29 AM   #146
whoanellie
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 444
Thumbs up

Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
I feel like AA takes the hit for all the frustrations and disappointments people might have with the treatment industry, the legal system, organized religion and the stubborn nature of addiction itself. It's like a Rorschach test - people read into it many things.

I have trouble connecting the images of an 800-pound-gorilla that holds the treatment industry in a stranglehold with the generally pretty low-key people I've known in AA.

People ask, but why does God have to be involved? And the answer is, that's just the way it happened; that's just what a handful of guys in the 1930s came up with. It resonated with enough people to create a chain reaction that continued over the next few generations.
On this thread alone we have everything from AA is a creepy religious cult to AA is a big nothing.

Last edited by whoanellie; 24th June 2019 at 04:32 AM.
whoanellie is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th June 2019, 04:37 AM   #147
Pixel42
Schrödinger's cat
 
Pixel42's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Malmesbury, UK
Posts: 10,979
As far as I can make out AA consists of a couple of books that recovering addicts can use as a guide to help each other stay off whatever they're addicted to, and a list of places where such people meet.
__________________
"If you trust in yourself ... and believe in your dreams ... and follow your star ... you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things" - Terry Pratchett
Pixel42 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th June 2019, 07:12 AM   #148
theprestige
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 35,859
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
I'm really trying to get my head around this, it seems that there really isn't anything you could call "AA"?
It's a human social club, not a system of formal logic.
theprestige is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th June 2019, 07:16 AM   #149
TragicMonkey
Poisoned Waffles
 
TragicMonkey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Monkey
Posts: 49,614
Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
It's a human social club, not a system of formal logic.
AA = ~AA
__________________
You added nothing to that conversation, Barbara.
TragicMonkey is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th June 2019, 07:20 AM   #150
theprestige
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 35,859
Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
As far as I can make out AA consists of a couple of books that recovering addicts can use as a guide to help each other stay off whatever they're addicted to, and a list of places where such people meet.
And the people themselves. The people themselves are a big part of it.

It often seems to me like skepticism causes a blind spot around what people are and how people actually function.
theprestige is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th June 2019, 07:36 AM   #151
whoanellie
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 444
Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
It's a human social club, not a system of formal logic.
It's also not a loaf of bread.

"Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who
share their experience, strength and hope with each other that
they may solve their common problem and help others to recover
from alcoholism."
https://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/smf-92_en.pdf
whoanellie is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th June 2019, 07:52 AM   #152
Hellbound
Merchant of Doom
 
Hellbound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Not in Hell, but I can see it from here on a clear day...
Posts: 13,626
I think a lot of people are talking past each other, or focusing on side comments or irrelevancies. Let me see if I can perhaps clarify a couple things from the anti-AA crowd.

1. When someone says "AA does this" or "AA doesn't do that", it'a a meaningless statement. Because each group/meeting is essentially run by whoever set it up, with their own interpretation of how it should be run, there is no standard. Some meetings will be pushing religion. Some may not. Anyone on either side that says "AA does this" is committing a generalization fallacy.
2. Point 1 being said, the basis of it absolutely does include overtly religious overtones. Some of those have been toned down over time, but you're still more likely to find a lot more religion in AA simply due to the nature of it's history and origins. There are overtly religious meetings that try to coerce that behavior in others, and there are meetings that aren't.
3. None of that is an issue; the organization is free to structure itself however it likes.
4. From the organizational stand point, success rates are over-stated. Very little hard data is kept by AA as a whole, simply due to it's distributed and de-centralized nature. The only actual studies I'm aware of show a success rate no better than people simply trying to quit on their own, yet it's always talked up as being effective. That is a problem.
5. Keeping in mind points 2 and 4, this becomes problematic. Judges and employers get an inaccurate idea of the effectiveness, and try to force the program on everyone, with no concern for whether the employee can access a meeting that is compatible with their beliefs.
6. A better solution would be to mandate some treatment program, rather than specific program that, while there are exceptions, leans towards religious ideas and that has not been shown to be as effective as evidence-based programs.
__________________
Ideologies separate us. Dreams and anguish bring us together. - Eugene Ionesco
Hellbound is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th June 2019, 09:21 AM   #153
theprestige
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 35,859
I think AA makes more sense as a support group than a treatment program. If you're looking to get cured of alcoholism, AA won't be much help. If you're the kind of person who benefits from group activity around a shared goal or value, AA may be a huge benefit to you.

AA probably works best for people who are in a position to quit drinking, and who are able to do so with the support of a like-minded community. Some people aren't going to be able to quit, no matter how many meetings they go to. They'll need something else to treat their addiction. But even they can still benefit from going to AA meetings. Even if they never break their addiction, just having regular contact with other human beings who are in a similar situation, who accept you as you are, who don't judge, but just listen, can be a help.

So I wouldn't expect the success rate to be very high.

Conversely, I'd expect that programs with a high success rate tend to be much more exclusive in their admissions policies.

---

A friend of mine had bariatric weight loss surgery a few years ago. The surgery was very successful for my friend. A lot of the success can be attributed to the fact that the clinic they went to has a very high success rate.

But the clinic has a very high success rate because they demand concrete demonstrations of commitment to success, before they admit anyone for surgery. Aspiring patients must attend training courses. They must spend a year on a doctor-supervised diet and weight loss plan. Etc. You can't just come in and give surgery a try. So they're weeding out anyone who might screw up their success rate, right at the beginning. AA doesn't do that.

AA isn't a treatment. It's a support group. It's open to everyone, no questions asked. It works for some people, and it doesn't work for some people. If you're struggling with addiction and you think being in contact with other people going through the same struggles will help you, give it a try. Even if you don't think it'll help, you might want to give it a try anyway. Maybe going through the Twelve Steps, with support from others, is really just your first step towards getting treatment for your addiction.
theprestige is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th June 2019, 02:07 PM   #154
Thor 2
Philosopher
 
Thor 2's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Brisbane, Aust.
Posts: 5,190
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
I'm really trying to get my head around this, it seems that there really isn't anything you could call "AA"?

I agree that confusing it is. Confounding also, that a doctor can direct someone to attend meetings of a group, that is so ill defined. The doctor needs help I think, maybe has been hitting the bottle a bit too hard.
__________________
Thinking is a faith hazard.

Last edited by Thor 2; 24th June 2019 at 03:13 PM.
Thor 2 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th June 2019, 02:45 PM   #155
Myriad
Hyperthetical
 
Myriad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: A pocket paradise between the sewage treatment plant and the railroad
Posts: 15,039
Originally Posted by whoanellie View Post
If you want to start an AA meeting all you need to do is contact the local office and tell them you are starting a meeting and ask them to add it to their publicly available schedule. I know of no instance in which a local or national office has interfered in what goes on a particular meeting.

Given this, is there anything stopping someone who's been court ordered to attend AA meetings from starting their own "meeting" and then "attending" it? (Other people might show up because it goes on the publicly available schedule, so they'd have to really have a meeting and not just pretend to, but being the organizer of the meeting would seem to give them some power over e.g. whether or not the Lord's Prayer is recited.)
__________________
A zřmbie once bit my sister...
Myriad is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th June 2019, 03:02 PM   #156
abaddon
Penultimate Amazing
 
abaddon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 18,719
Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
The person in charge of the probationer, or the person in charge of AA? Nobody's in charge of AA - and it shows

ETA: And AA is full of folks who think other people are doing it wrong. That's why there's so many meetings.
Would that be like the catechumen in catholicism? Or the level 1 thetan in scientology? The philosopher in anglicanism? The acolyte in buddhism, the profit in evangelism?

How about the jihadist?

Should all of these have an equal seat at the religious table in your view? Where do you stand on zorostrians? Ba'hai?

All of these hate each other and think that the only seats at the table should be their own

And I have not yet started on the eastern traditions.

What do you think is the correct course of action given all these diverse deities?
__________________
Who is General Failure? And why is he reading my hard drive?


...love and buttercakes...
abaddon is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th June 2019, 04:12 PM   #157
whoanellie
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 444
nt

Last edited by whoanellie; 24th June 2019 at 04:15 PM.
whoanellie is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th June 2019, 04:18 PM   #158
whoanellie
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 444
Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I think AA makes more sense as a support group than a treatment program. If you're looking to get cured of alcoholism, AA won't be much help. If you're the kind of person who benefits from group activity around a shared goal or value, AA may be a huge benefit to you.

AA probably works best for people who are in a position to quit drinking, and who are able to do so with the support of a like-minded community. Some people aren't going to be able to quit, no matter how many meetings they go to. They'll need something else to treat their addiction. But even they can still benefit from going to AA meetings. Even if they never break their addiction, just having regular contact with other human beings who are in a similar situation, who accept you as you are, who don't judge, but just listen, can be a help.

So I wouldn't expect the success rate to be very high.

Conversely, I'd expect that programs with a high success rate tend to be much more exclusive in their admissions policies.

---

A friend of mine had bariatric weight loss surgery a few years ago. The surgery was very successful for my friend. A lot of the success can be attributed to the fact that the clinic they went to has a very high success rate.

But the clinic has a very high success rate because they demand concrete demonstrations of commitment to success, before they admit anyone for surgery. Aspiring patients must attend training courses. They must spend a year on a doctor-supervised diet and weight loss plan. Etc. You can't just come in and give surgery a try. So they're weeding out anyone who might screw up their success rate, right at the beginning. AA doesn't do that.

AA isn't a treatment. It's a support group. It's open to everyone, no questions asked. It works for some people, and it doesn't work for some people. If you're struggling with addiction and you think being in contact with other people going through the same struggles will help you, give it a try. Even if you don't think it'll help, you might want to give it a try anyway. Maybe going through the Twelve Steps, with support from others, is really just your first step towards getting treatment for your addiction.
The great thing about AA is that its by alcoholics for alcoholics. Its folks who have been there, done that.

Last edited by whoanellie; 24th June 2019 at 04:34 PM.
whoanellie is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th June 2019, 04:33 PM   #159
whoanellie
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 444
Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
I agree that confusing it is. Confounding also, that a doctor can direct someone to attend meetings of a group, that is so ill defined. The doctor needs help I think, maybe has been hitting the bottle a bit too hard.
A doctor might suggest a patient go to AA because there is evidence that it can be helpful.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/a...rk/?redirect=1
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2746426/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effect...lics_Anonymous
https://www.thefix.com/content/the-r...tics-of-aa7301
As far as I know there isn't anything that has been proven to be more effective.
whoanellie is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th June 2019, 05:01 PM   #160
Senex
Philosopher
 
Senex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: School for Rumpology, CT
Posts: 5,795
Originally Posted by whoanellie View Post
As far as I know there isn't anything that has been proven to be more effective.
This might provide some balance to the discussion.
Senex is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Religion and Philosophy

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:22 AM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.