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Tags alcoholics anonymous , alcoholism , treatment programs

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Old 1st November 2011, 11:05 PM   #5761
The Norseman
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
Oops, in a rather cryptic reply to The Norseman I made a mistake. "Correlation" did not come as early in the sentence as I had remembered. In context what I meant was, in my experience success was correlated with AA, which is enough for me even if "causation" isn't proven. Apologies to Norseman.
Heh. Thank you, it does now make more sense!
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Old 1st November 2011, 11:05 PM   #5762
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My apologies to you. I admit that I was hoping to avert some of the more predictable responses from the hate group set.
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Old 1st November 2011, 11:08 PM   #5763
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Originally Posted by plouton View Post
I have not been to this website in a few years, never mind perusing the forum. It is truly extraordinary that so many "open minded" people are discussing something of which they have no experience or knowledge. I haven't had time to go through all 145 pages, but the ones I have seen primarily display a great deal of ignorance with regard to Alcoholics Anonymous.
Just to be clear, the people that post here are a subset of the people that view here. At this moment there have been 5761 posts, but 132,952 views in this thread (I have a screen shot). It would be a mistake to think that those members that do post are representative of those that follow the thread.

With that in mind, I'd advise those that do post here try to be more objective. I like the sciency stuff. The personal attacks make me want to attack personally. Other than that, good job, everyone.
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Old 1st November 2011, 11:15 PM   #5764
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Originally Posted by plouton View Post
...Often times, when people refer to their higher power, they add "whom I choose to call God(or Jesus Christ)". I will often reference my higher power adding "whom I choose to call SpongeBob" in order to express my displeasure towards religious references ....
Thanks for your post. I too have often seen people disagreeing in meetings and offering corrective comments to counter excessive piety. Some people don't believe that; they think that all AA members are "indoctrinated" to follow the party line. Where I live that would be something like herding cats.
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Old 1st November 2011, 11:40 PM   #5765
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Welcome back, plouton!

Originally Posted by plouton View Post
I have not been to this website in a few years, never mind perusing the forum. It is truly extraordinary that so many "open minded" people are discussing something of which they have no experience or knowledge. I haven't had time to go through all 145 pages, but the ones I have seen primarily display a great deal of ignorance with regard to Alcoholics Anonymous.
Just so we're clear, I started reading the thread fairly early on and have been following it ever since; I've even gone back and read the thread in its entirety, so that's twice I've read every post. I did this to refresh my memory when it was on thread hiatus, then bumped again a few months back.




Quote:
I am not a religious person, yet I have been involved with the program for six years and am truly grateful for the help I receive on a daily basis. There are two major issues not present with most of the people expressing opinions about the program. First and foremost, they are not alcoholics. To understand what it is like to be alcoholic can only come through experience. For an alcoholic to try and explain the condition to a normal person is akin to a woman trying to help him man understand the nature of childbirth. Maybe there are some very enlightened men who truly understand what it is like to give birth, but I doubt there are very many. The second major issue is that, I believe, very few people involved in this thread have any real experience with the Alcoholics Anonymous program(about 18 months). Without this experience, I suspect very few people are capable of engaging in a conversation that has any informative value.
Here I disagree strongly. It is irrelevant what a person's background is as long as their arguments are sound. The question I would hope one would ask himself when reading this thread is, "are what my opponents saying accurate or not? If not, how come? If so, then maybe there is something more for me to look at."

Second, what happens if your opponents (in this case, those who are critical of AA) have many more years' sobriety and many more years' of AA attendance than you yet still have the same critiques? Somehow, I doubt very much you will take their critiques more seriously, so therefore I'm going to conclude that you are using flimsy reasons to dismiss that which is found to be uncomfortable. Perhaps some of the critiques of AA are incorrect or inflammatory; I have brought up many myself which I do my best to vet and explore to make sure that what the studies show is accurate and that, more importantly, I am presenting them as accurately as I can. To my knowledge, I have never said inflammatory things about AA. I like to keep things factual because I believe that the few that read this thread can be in a better position to make informed decisions about a topic that would have, in all likelihood, caused tremendous heartache and damage in their lives.


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It took me a couple of years he began understanding the true nature of the program.
It took me about a year.


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Many people have commented on the religion versus spirituality issue. The truth is that the line between spirituality and religion is often a very wide and gray one among members of the Alcoholics Anonymous fellowship. The "god of your understanding" and "higher power" part was the result of an atheist who was successful in the first days of AA. Any meeting that I attend in which a conversation begins to become religious, I am quick to point that out and explain that we are indeed crossing the line. I have never been very comfortable with the God issue and I'm not bashful about expressing that. Often times, when people refer to their higher power, they add "whom I choose to call God(or Jesus Christ)". I will often reference my higher power adding "whom I choose to call SpongeBob" in order to express my displeasure towards religious references. There is no place in the Alcoholics Anonymous book that suggests identifying who you are speaking of when mentioning your "higher power". A big part of my personal "higher power" is the entire group attending the meetings I go to regularly. I count on them for help and did not wish to disappoint so many good people. I am not even sure if it is a necessity for me to attend Alcoholics Anonymous because I spent a year staying sober, with little difficulty, on my own. I go so that I have a safety net if the fear of death becomes insufficient some day and helping to maintain my sobriety. The issue for me is that, after many years of drinking, there is a very small percentage (I believe it is in single digits) of my liver functioning and any type of binge will likely result in the shutdown of my liver followed by death. I was expected to die the last time I was in the hospital in 2006 due to liver failure, but for some reason I pulled through and was immediately placed on the liver transplant list. I'm happy to say that I no longer need to be on that list today.
I had almost died (the docs told my family I wouldn't last a week longer) due to liver failure also. It was not related to alcohol use; it may have been partially due to the massive amounts of narcotics I was prescribed due to severe nerve damage I was (at the time) suffering from. I was so weak at the time that they didn't even bother to place me on a transplant list because I wouldn't have survived the operation.

Still, I can say I'm very glad you survived!


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Regarding the success of AA, it is true that most people are unsuccessful their first time and many never find sobriety.
Is it?


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I do not have any data to back up the following statement (AA does not keep statistics), but I believe this program is the most successful for the treatment of alcoholism and addiction.
Thankfully other studies have been done about successful treatment of alcoholism and addiction and so far, AA doesn't look very good.


Quote:
Anyone who labels AA as a cult has no direct experience with the program or carries some sort of resentment regarding a program, not to mention that it would be a pretty lame cult allowing so many people to escape its evil clutches.
AA World Intergroup, Inc. spans the globe and boasts of over two million active members and pays their execs six-figure salaries. That's by no means a lame cult! Besides, I don't think I would label AA a cult anyway, but there ya go.


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I work with beginners quite frequently and can honestly report that there is no brainwashing occurring.
Sure, with you. I'd be very wary of taking a single data point and applying to two million members.


Quote:
Many individuals who try to raise AA to cult status may be doing so because of the 12 steps that are recommended for recovery. You are probably aware that the 12 steps are meant to change a person and the way they live. The reason for this is that, without any changes, one will remain the same as they were upon entering a program. In other words, they will remain to be the person that desperately needed to drink despite not wanting to. Also, defeating alcoholism is not a case of mind over matter. One perfect example of this is a gentleman that I have attended several meetings with and feel honored to know. He was initially trained as an Army Ranger, but advanced to become an operator for the Delta Force. His alcoholism eventually ruined his career when he was given a choice to get treatment or leave the unit. In typical alcoholic thinking, he chose to leave. Here is a man who is trained to ignore pain, cold, heat, sickness, and any other types of things that a normal person would be quite distracted by. I doubt that anyone would suggest that the men of the United States special forces (Delta Force and DEVGRU especially) have any lack of self-discipline, yet he could not control his drinking. As I mentioned earlier, it is impossible for a non-alcoholic to understand the drive that makes us drink.
Alcoholism may not be a matter of willpower (then again it might) but that certainly does not mean that alcoholism is a spiritual disease either, which is what AA espouses.


Quote:
As this post, no doubt, will be crucified mostly by people never involved in AA or Al-Anon, I'm sure I will be given the opportunity to post further information of which I had not considered. Recovery in AA depends on the individual who chooses to join. It is a program that requires action upon the individual and others who assist him or her. I have never been subject to any coercion during my six years with a program. If you are a person with no experience who has problems with the program, there is one thing you should never forget. That is the amount of lives would have been saved over the years by Alcoholics Anonymous.
Again, whether or not a person has personally been involved in AA is irrelevant as long as their arguments are sound.
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Old 1st November 2011, 11:48 PM   #5766
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Originally Posted by A.A. Alfie View Post
My apologies to you. I admit that I was hoping to avert some of the more predictable responses from the hate group set.
Thank you. I do actually understand the desire. I hope you and especially Danny do not take what I say to be singling you out for special negative attention; I'm actually doing this because I know you both can state what you need to state in a mature, thoughtful manner and I'd rather continue a dialog than see more infractions or get the thread shut down.

I can also see that I come across as being arrogant sometimes. It's not arrogance; it's just what I do to get into the frame of mind to be precise, considerate, and logical.

I never thought I'd say this, but just doing the research into addiction is kind of fun.
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Old 2nd November 2011, 12:01 AM   #5767
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
Norseman, all I'm really trying to discover is how I can live comfortably without mood-altering substances. This isn't an academic pursuit for me. It's knowing what worked in my own life and what didn't. Also I'm leery of anyone saying what "AA claims" since some people firmly believe that AA claims to be a cure-all. Quotes from official literature are properly called "AA claims," anything else are claims made by individuals.

Here's something about studies: They don't work by self-assignment. Ideally AA does. Letting people choose what course of action to take would probably invalidate a lot of studies, yet that's how AA was set up to function. In a behavioral malady choices matter and are intimately entwined with outcomes.
I hear what you're saying; it's getting late for me to respond as I would like to, so for now, I'll leave it at that.



Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
Norseman, abstinence is just abstinence; it's not gender-specific. It's true AA is not really concerned with why someone is alcoholic; only that they self-identify as such and seek AA's help. You see it as laziness, indifference or "woo" while I see it as focusing on the matter at hand: supporting abstinence for those who want it.
In essence, I agree; my point is that it seems that there are, in fact, gender differences. Other treatment modalities either address this or make allowances in their programs to address this disparity. AA doesn't. AA doesn't have to and that's fine as far as it goes.

This is primarily for the lurkers. They should be aware of the (in my opinion) significant areas that AA does not cover nor is willing to officially address. One is certainly not hearing it from AAs themselves. To be fair, people like Alfie say that AA is not for everyone -- which is rather vague -- but I think it'd be even more helpful to say why it isn't.


Quote:
And if a 10-year-old has the gene, well, you hope he never picks up a drink. Maybe someday there will be gene therapy, or a vaccination, but right now the information is of limited usefulness because chances are he cannot be sheltered forever from ethanol use. Certainly his abstinence is not enforceable by AA.
Thank you for your response to my question.

In my view, it isn't enough to simply hope he never picks up a drink. I would like to see more efforts in early detection and prevention; things that other programs are willing and able to address.

At any rate, I'm using this as another bit of evidence which I believe is indicative of addiction not being a spiritual disease as AA promotes.


Quote:
I don't think all alcoholics are of this type, but I've come to associate a certain kind of story with the hardwired (genetic) alcoholic. Generally speaking for those folks something "clicked," and they thought not "this is an interesting buzz" but this is what has been missing from my life.

I also associate it with an early phenomenon of tolerance, being able to "drink someone under the table" etc.

From what I've seen it's quite pernicious in that the tolerance to the psychic effects may make it "manageable" even while physical toxicity is taking a toll, so that alcoholic collapse/organ failure can occur quite early in a person's drinking life.
I'm still not certain there is a difference between physiological and psychological addiction, but I appreciate your thoughts.


Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
Thanks, I either never knew about that or had forgotten about it.

Messianic fervor on the part of Bill W., that rings true. But my takeaway is that cooler minds countered his more grandiose visions. My armchair diagnosis is that Bill was bipolar, which probably was not lost on his comrades. Instead of the millions sought from Rockefeller they got $5,000 seed money - to be paid in $30 weekly installments.

But, thanks, I knew he was ambitious, but didn't know the scale.
Ah yes. He didn't get the millions then from Rockefeller, but AA took off and became international in his lifetime certainly.
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Old 2nd November 2011, 12:28 AM   #5768
Hallo Alfie
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Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
To be fair, people like Alfie say that AA is not for everyone -- which is rather vague -- but I think it'd be even more helpful to say why it isn't.
Great question, one I will think on a bit further. Off the cuff:

- The AA line, an inability to be honest.
- Not ready
- A psychological line - the damage is already too great (eg. some sexual abuse victims are too far gone).
- A medical one, brain damage so severe all personal insight has been lost.

Some of these are on the extreme side I admit. I will think further.


Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
I'm still not certain there is a difference between physiological and psychological addiction, but I appreciate your thoughts.
Really?!
How do we explain addiction to people? addiction to non addictive drugs? gambling etc? These are not chemicals and not physiological surely? Some are ritualistic, some not. Some are OCD related (which I reckon is part of the alcoholic mix), some not.

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Old 2nd November 2011, 12:49 AM   #5769
Joey McGee
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Originally Posted by plouton View Post
Anyone who labels AA as a cult has no direct experience with the program
There are many people who spent 10, 25, 35 years in AA who will happily explain to you why they see AA as a cult, I've quoted several throughout the thread. Actually most of the people in the anti-AA movement have spent a lot of years in it. Would you not agree that Midtown was a cult? Is what Clancy runs a cult? I've been the first to admit that some groups don't really seem harmful or like what we would normally call a cult, maybe a benign cult, but this is a huge organization with a long history and a lot of variance so that doesn't change the central theme
Quote:
or carries some sort of resentment regarding a program
Oh yes, they are ALL just disgruntled members or people who "haven't done their research" how many organizations like Scientology use this line straight out of the gate, really? Too many.
Quote:
not to mention that it would be a pretty lame cult allowing so many people to escape its evil clutches.
Jails, Institutions and death are psychological threats that people believe. Being "allowed to leave" is a lot different from convincing people if they leave they will suffer or die. I just quoted someone who is still haunted by these fears implanted by AA.
Quote:
Many individuals who try to raise AA to cult status may be doing so because of the 12 steps that are recommended for recovery.
You strike me as someone who hasn't spent very much time looking at the other side's arguments.
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Also, defeating alcoholism is not a case of mind over matter.
Addiction is a choice and there is no evidence to the contrary. I enjoy science, don't you?

http://www.latimes.com/features/heal...0,474959.story

Quote:
As this post, no doubt, will be crucified mostly by people never involved in AA or Al-Anon
If it makes you feel better I have years of experience with both of those programs.
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Old 2nd November 2011, 05:51 AM   #5770
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Mod WarningWell, because there are a few who cannot post by the rules, after just 13 days off Moderated status, this thread is being put back on.

For those in the cheap seats:
  1. Stay on topic
  2. Do not post about the other posters
  3. Do not think that because your feelings were hurt that gives you license to break the Membership Agreement - it doesn't.
  4. Play nice with your fellow posters
Posted By:kmortis
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Old 2nd November 2011, 09:08 AM   #5771
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
Norseman, all I'm really trying to discover is how I can live comfortably without mood-altering substances. This isn't an academic pursuit for me. It's knowing what worked in my own life and what didn't. Also I'm leery of anyone saying what "AA claims" since some people firmly believe that AA claims to be a cure-all. Quotes from official literature are properly called "AA claims," anything else are claims made by individuals.

Here's something about studies: They don't work by self-assignment. Ideally AA does. Letting people choose what course of action to take would probably invalidate a lot of studies, yet that's how AA was set up to function. In a behavioral malady choices matter and are intimately entwined with outcomes.



AA can work on a lot of different levels. Some people never work the steps and stay sober. I did kind of a scatter-shot job - AA served mostly as behavioral, cognitive and social therapy - but due to harrowing life circumstances I also made a number of "amends" outside of the usual step sequence. I got so much relief that even though I didn't do a textbook 9th step I developed a lot respect for the process.

Some people stay sober on a first step abbreviated DFD.



It's not particularly "special"; many people just find it useful.

The "program" is the steps which I think of as a sort of moral algebra for unmuddling your innards. You perform a series of inverse operations to arrive at a solution. Secrets, shame and inappropriate boundaries are a problem for many addict/alcoholics. Why the spiritual exercise codified in the steps should work to relieve compulsive behavior is a mystery and maybe in fact it doesn't work, but quite a few sober alcoholics would disagree.

And yet - the "program" is the people. In this matter the sheer accessibility of AA makes it difficult to compare with other support groups.

I get that you want to isolate the variable, and that is a valid intellectual goal. But synergy is also real. If treatment for a virus is "rest and fluids," the patient will probably do better with both supportive therapies instead of one or the other. You can break this down to what fluid works better, Gatorade or chicken soup, and may ultimately find it's a matter of taste.
This ^^
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Old 2nd November 2011, 09:09 AM   #5772
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Originally Posted by plouton View Post
First and foremost, they are not alcoholics.

Thatís an incorrect assumption. I was severely dependent. I am now totally abstinent without AA.


Quote:
The second major issue is that, I believe, very few people involved in this thread have any real experience with the Alcoholics Anonymous program.

I used to be a member of AA. If I werenít, I wouldnít be bothered with the subject.


Quote:
It took me a couple of years he began understanding the true nature of the program.

Then how on Spongepbobís green Earth does it keep anybody sober until then?


[quote] Anyone who labels AA as a cult has no direct experience with the program or carries some sort of resentment regarding a program,


I label it as a cult only because I have direct experience with the program.


Quote:
I work with beginners quite frequently and can honestly report that there is no brainwashing occurring.

Most people have no idea what brainwashing really is. I know I didnít, so I was unaware it was happening to me. Thankfully, Iíve been able to deprogram.


At any rate, welcome to the thread. Iím glad you survived your liver problem and didnít need a transplant. Itís horrible to be on that waiting list.
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Old 2nd November 2011, 09:48 AM   #5773
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Originally Posted by A.A. Alfie View Post
A physical allergy (the brain processing differently - say the disease concept)
This is another myth devised by AA. Alcohol dependence is not a physical allergy. There is such a thing as an "allergy" to alcohol but its symptoms are completely different. Many members sincerely believe and repeat this information, proving that AA members are given misinformation all the time. scientific or medical information will rarely be found there.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/alc...erance/DS01172

While the term "allergy" is incorrect, the symptoms of such a condition are:

Nasal congestion
Warm, red, itchy skin
Worsening of pre-existing asthma
Runny or stuffy nose
Headache
Rapid heartbeat
Nausea
Vomiting
Heartburn
Abdominal pain

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/alc...CTION=symptoms
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Old 2nd November 2011, 10:56 AM   #5774
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Originally Posted by A.A. Alfie View Post
Great question, one I will think on a bit further. Off the cuff:

- The AA line, an inability to be honest.
- Not ready
- A psychological line - the damage is already too great (eg. some sexual abuse victims are too far gone).
- A medical one, brain damage so severe all personal insight has been lost.

Some of these are on the extreme side I admit. I will think further.
To be honest, it was a rhetorical question, but even then, you seem to be completely missing the point. I have been supplying answers as to why AA isn't a good option for many people:
  • AA's model of a spiritual disease is simply incorrect in describing the complex neurochemical, behavioral, and possibly genetic issues at play
  • Research even by pro-AAs seem to show that attending nearly any group-like activity with a focus on developing interpersonal relationships is useful, thereby showing that the 12 steps/12 traditions are superfluous
  • Nowhere in AA's official literature is there any mention of a possible pharmaceutical aid in combating things like cravings and withdrawals
  • Nowhere does AA address possible gender discrepancies in alcoholism*
  • AA only kicks in as the 'last house on the block' -- waiting until you are desperate for anything that you'll look past the obvious religious foundations of AA, which as Bill W. rightly knew and feared, would prevent people from joining AA -- rather than presenting new ways to reach more people and even trying to deal with the problem of alcoholism with early detection and prevention
Let me hasten to add that I agree about your points; they are some valid reasons why a person would be reluctant to start AA. The point that you seem to be missing is that no AAer so far (in my experience) has done any research into the topic and understood the issues I've outlined above enough to tell newcomers about them, and the AA World Intergroup, Inc. has seen fit to not include any tiny whisper of these alternates for people to see how they stack up against the AA program. One can easily see this dynamic occurring in this thread. Not once has it been a pro-AAer who suggested specific alternatives to AA; it has only been the people critical of AA. All I've seen is, essentially, "AA has worked for me, AA has worked for my sister/friend/spouse/neighbor but it's not for everyone."

"Gee, really? So it might work for me too? How does it work?"

"Just fine, thanks!"



This is presuming that a person is honestly trying to help the alcoholic/potential alcoholic decide what might be a best-fit for them, of course.



Quote:
Really?!
How do we explain addiction to people? addiction to non addictive drugs? gambling etc? These are not chemicals and not physiological surely?
If drugs are non-addicting then it wouldn't be called an addiction. It's an impulse control disorder, a subcategory of obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, it seems to be still contentious about what categories fit under what description. Thank you for bringing it to my attention, however, I have a new direction to take a little more personal research.






* Mental Health Problems and Alcohol Abuse: Co-Occurrence and Gender Differences. By: O'Hare, Thomas, Health & Social Work, 03607283, Aug95, Vol. 20, Issue 3
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Old 2nd November 2011, 11:26 AM   #5775
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Originally Posted by ProBonoShill View Post
I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you missed this the first time it was posted:
Do you have a link to the actual study? An internet search turns up nothing but this article which has several very obvious problems. For one, the article makes claims about AA's efficacy which the study as described is not able to ascertain and which go against other published claims.

Second, the article does not say whether the study is peer reviewed or what journal it was published in.

Clearing these issues up would go a long way to making your case.
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Old 2nd November 2011, 02:13 PM   #5776
DannyB II
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Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
A few questions for the pro-AAers, if you please.

1. How does Alcoholics Anonymous integrate studies done with the genetic factors that have recently come to light regarding alcohol dependence?

2. How does Alcoholics Anonymous deal with the difficulties of adolescent drinking and abuse and what programs does it suggest for early detection and prevention in children and adolescents? As a follow-up, do pro-AAers believe that a ten year old (for example) has a spiritual problem with alcohol use?

3. When lab rats become addicted to alcohol, are they in need of following spiritual principles in helping them become sober?

4. How does Alcoholics Anonymous deal with the extremely high number of dually-diagnosed (or more specifically co-occurring) people who seek help?

5. Does Alcoholics Anonymous make distinctions between men and women in relation to the severity and type of life problems that may or may not affect one gender more than another?
Is there this unknown reason why you are asking scientific questions concerning AA. Like AA really needs to answer these questions or defend it's existence.
Norseman, AA is not going to turn into what you want it to be. It doesn't have to, people who are benefiting are not complaining.
What point are you trying to make???
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Old 2nd November 2011, 04:07 PM   #5777
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Originally Posted by DannyB II View Post
Is there this unknown reason why you are asking scientific questions concerning AA. Like AA really needs to answer these questions or defend it's existence.
Norseman, AA is not going to turn into what you want it to be. It doesn't have to, people who are benefiting are not complaining.
What point are you trying to make???
Norseman: more importantly, do you recommend an alternative treatment modality that answers those questions to your satisfaction, and has good stats demonstrating significant recovery rates?

I agree with DannyB; the answers are irrelevant vis-a-vis AA.
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Old 2nd November 2011, 04:12 PM   #5778
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The primary factors that indicate the religiosity of AA, and the 12 step movement in general, are:

1. The abundant references to a monotheistic being called God in program literature.
2. The use of the Christian Lord's prayer or Serenity prayer to open or close meetings.
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Old 2nd November 2011, 04:39 PM   #5779
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Originally Posted by causeandeffect View Post
Thatís an incorrect assumption. I was severely dependent. I am now totally abstinent without AA.
Congratulations - thus proving that AA is not necessary (nor works) for everyone.

Dependency and addiction can be different things when we look at the psychological aspect as I have explained elsewhere.

I am interested to know; how long did you attend AA, did you do the steps and what else did you try that worked for you?

Originally Posted by causeandeffect View Post
Then how on Spongepbobís green Earth does it keep anybody sober until then?
Getting the program (so to speak) and staying sober are different things. That said, you are right it can be really tough early on. That is where the medical industry can help (detox, cravings etc), counselling can help (in or out of AA), and positive encouragement from people who have already done it a day at a time.

Quote:
Anyone who labels AA as a cult has no direct experience with the program or carries some sort of resentment regarding a program,

I label it as a cult only because I have direct experience with the program.
There was another alternative given that you are silent on.

Originally Posted by causeandeffect View Post
This is another myth devised by AA. Alcohol dependence is not a physical allergy.
You take me a bit too literally here, but I think you know it. The disease concept outlines the the genetics involved that means that alcoholics process the chemistry in the brain differently to the larger population.

Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
Let me hasten to add that I agree about your points; they are some valid reasons why a person would be reluctant to start AA.
No probs.

Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
The point that you seem to be missing is that no AAer so far (in my experience) has done any research into the topic and understood the issues I've outlined above enough to tell newcomers about them, and the AA World Intergroup, Inc. has seen fit to not include any tiny whisper of these alternates for people to see how they stack up against the AA program.
But why would they? AA has a model they like already.
Surely what you are advocating should be up the the medical and counselling fraternities etc to have this information available to offer a full range to their client/patient. We can hardly blame AA for something for which they are not responsible. AA is a self help group, not a research institute.

Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
One can easily see this dynamic occurring in this thread. Not once has it been a pro-AAer who suggested specific alternatives to AA; it has only been the people critical of AA.
Untrue, I have already pointed out that I recommend CBT for some, general counselling for others, Grief and loss for the next and so on. It depends on how they present.
Some simply need assistance with psychaitric issues and once addressed have fantastic outcomes too.

This aside, why would pro AAers need to come up with alternatives; it seems to me that is the job of the detractors.

And of the other methods that have been presented, the data that comes up is no better nor worse than AAs (if even available).

Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
If drugs are non-addicting then it wouldn't be called an addiction. It's an impulse control disorder, a subcategory of obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, it seems to be still contentious about what categories fit under what description. Thank you for bringing it to my attention, however, I have a new direction to take a little more personal research.
Some drugs are not physiologically addictive as I understand it - speed for one. There seems to be a psychological addiction in place. Herion addicts too speak to me regularly about missing the ritual, not the drug. Is this physiological or chemical? For me it is obviously the former.

I understand and appreciate you acknowleding my point. The way I see it is that it (true addiction) goes far deeper than just chemical dependence and the OCD element fits pretty closely to it imo. i.e. not everyone who is dependent has the OCD element, nor have they gone to depths of the spiritual bankruptcy (to borrow another AA phrase) which for me goes to things like; depressive tendencies, elevated levels of guilt and remorse, an inability to relinquish control of everything, low self-esteem etc.

Hence my threefold consideration of true addiction that goes beyond chemical dependency alone.

I hope that makes sense and you further see where I am coming from.

Cheers.
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Old 2nd November 2011, 05:24 PM   #5780
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This is mostly addressing the post by Plouton (assuming he/she stays long enough to respond, and isn't a drive-by poster). First, I am both a dedicated anti-AAer, as well as a long term member (more than 20 years) who , for nearly all of that time, has been attempting to change AA from within.

I strongly suggest you go back through to the beginning of this thread, as there are many posts from both myself, as well as others with extensive AA experience - I myself have been involved at nearly the highest levels (just below Trustee, at GSO in NY) - I've seen with my own eyes many of the still-secret archives (my permission to access those having long been removed).

While reading from the beginning, let me suggest you keep these things in mind:

1. We are talking about the AA program itself as described in the big book & the 12x12 - we are not talking about how particular meetings or groups may interpet that program. For instance, the phrase (even the thought) 'take what you want and leave the rest' is not encouraged anywhere within the actual program. That phrase become common in the early 80's (when I first attended meetings) as it was imported from the treatment centers. Even today, it's used to refer to what you hear from individual members, not applicable to the program itself.

2. I - as well as hundreds of other non-theists in AA - have been working from within for decades to have the chapter 'we agnostics' removed from the big book - at every General Service Conference we bring it up, only to have it shot down by the majority. At these times I frequently hear statements such as 'The book is the revealed word of God, we cannot alter it" & "The program works so well that we cannot change any bit of the first 164 pages". That chapter is one of the most bills most obnoxious.

3. I personally continue to attend AA (1 or 2 meetings per week, maximum) for 1 purpose, and 1 only - and that is to demonstrate by my actions and words that no higher power is necessary to get or stay sober. I have personally made this statement in front of 1000's of AA members (I leave it to your imagination what reactions I get) - the statement is this: "No higher power - of any kind - nor any sort of fantastical or religious belief or action, is required to get and maintain sobriety, nor is any of it required to live a happy, joyous, and productive life".

I've posted many times in this thread - go back and actually read what I and others with AA experience have written.
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Old 2nd November 2011, 05:37 PM   #5781
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Originally Posted by DannyB II View Post
Norseman, AA is not going to turn into what you want it to be. It doesn't have to ...
This kind of strikes me too, what do the anti-AA posters want to see happen? By what mechanism should AA override its membership in order to become more acceptable to nonmembers?

If any social activity will do then people are free to form other groups that do other things, pertaining to alcohol, or not, and using some version of the steps, or not. Bill W.'s scheme caught on, maybe someone else's will be next.

BTW Norseman & whoever: You probably know this already but liver toxicity also might have something do to with acetaminophen. Many (US) CIII narcotic formulations contain enough of it to be poisonous even with the standard "take 1 or 2 tablets every 4-6 hours" directions. People with liver issues would be better off getting pure narcotics but they are more tightly regulated.
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Old 2nd November 2011, 05:56 PM   #5782
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Originally Posted by A.A. Alfie View Post
This aside, why would pro AAers need to come up with alternatives; it seems to me that is the job of the detractors.
No it's not.

Originally Posted by A.A. Alfie View Post
And of the other methods that have been presented, the data that comes up is no better nor worse than AAs (if even available).
Until AA conducts comprehensive studies, the null hypothesis stands. So I am correct in advising people to stick their finger in their ear and sing ting-a-ling-a-loo in order to stop drinking until proven otherwise.
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Old 2nd November 2011, 06:08 PM   #5783
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Originally Posted by DannyB II View Post
Is there this unknown reason why you are asking scientific questions concerning AA. Like AA really needs to answer these questions or defend it's existence.
Nobody else seems to be asking the hard questions for which AA has no answer; scientists and researchers, meanwhile, are busily answering these questions and more in an attempt to improve the lives of millions of people across the world. AA is content to wallow in archaic and discredited notions of what alcoholism is and how to treat it and I think people have a right to know this and the reasons why so they can make the best informed choices for themselves in dealing with their addictions.


Quote:
Norseman, AA is not going to turn into what you want it to be. It doesn't have to, people who are benefiting are not complaining.
What point are you trying to make???
I'm wanting the most number of people get the best affordable help that's available.

Surprising though it may be to you Danny, other people might just be interested in learning about this stuff when it's so common in the US to claim that AA is the only thing out there and available. It's long past time to begin challenging the myths that AA propagates.

Seriously, Danny, I hold absolutely no ill-will against you or anyone else at JREF. I don't concern myself with the entrenched AAers though. I'm wanting the lurkers and fence-sitters to see that there are truly other choices available instead of just a hand-wavy, dismissive "AA doesn't work for everyone."
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Old 2nd November 2011, 06:08 PM   #5784
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[quote]
Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
To be honest, it was a rhetorical question, but even then, you seem to be completely missing the point. I have been supplying answers as to why AA isn't a good option for many people:

OK


Quote:
  • AA's model of a spiritual disease is simply incorrect in describing the complex neurochemical, behavioral, and possibly genetic issues at play

  • and this would be your study or opinion. AA people like to call it a spiritual disease. It makes sense to us.

  • Research even by pro-AAs seem to show that attending nearly any group-like activity with a focus on developing interpersonal relationships is useful, thereby showing that the 12 steps/12 traditions are superfluous

    No pro-AA'ers were not saying this at all. It seems you like to manipulate what people are saying, I see. This is totally your opinion since you have never done a study yourself.
    Not one AA person has said,
    " that attending nearly any group-like activity with a focus on developing interpersonal relationships is useful, thereby showing that the 12 steps/12 traditions are superfluous."

    Quote:
  • Nowhere in AA's official literature is there any mention of a possible pharmaceutical aid in combating things like cravings and withdrawals
Why should there be. AA is not a medical clinic or Treatment Center. AA is a philosophical design for living. I would suggest you stop confusing Treatment Centers that use a crude version of their idea of AA and the actual AA/GSO version. This could be your confusion.
Quote:
  • Nowhere does AA address possible gender discrepancies in alcoholism*
  • OK. Once again not AA's problem.
    Quote:
  • AA only kicks in as the 'last house on the block' -- waiting until you are desperate for anything that you'll look past the obvious religious foundations of AA, which as Bill W. rightly knew and feared, would prevent people from joining AA -- rather than presenting new ways to reach more people and even trying to deal with the problem of alcoholism with early detection and prevention
  • This is definitely your opinion and it is only possibly 30% right. Many members come to AA way before this point for their reasons. Don't feel they were mislead, tricked or manipulated and have a wonderful experience.
    Quote:
    Let me hasten to add that I agree about your points; they are some valid reasons why a person would be reluctant to start AA. The point that you seem to be missing is that no AAer so far (in my experience) has done any research into the topic and understood the issues I've outlined above enough to tell newcomers about them, and the AA World Intergroup, Inc. has seen fit to not include any tiny whisper of these alternates for people to see how they stack up against the AA program.

    Now in all sincerity you can't be serious here. Just because you think these are issues it then leads to AA/GSO having to do something about it. Even though it has nothing to do with the function of AA.
    Sorry, let me hasten to add you are not being realistic at all.


    One can easily see this dynamic occurring in this thread. Not once has it been a pro-AAer who suggested specific alternatives to AA; it has only been the people critical of AA. All I've seen is, essentially, "AA has worked for me, AA has worked for my sister/friend/spouse/neighbor but it's not for everyone."
    Quote:
    "Gee, really? So it might work for me too? How does it work?"

    "Just fine, thanks!"


    Ya know Norseman just because this doesn't work in your world doesn't mean it doesn't work in other worlds.
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    Old 2nd November 2011, 06:36 PM   #5785
    Hallo Alfie
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    Originally Posted by Bamberger View Post
    The primary factors that indicate the religiosity of AA, and the 12 step movement in general, are:

    1. The abundant references to a monotheistic being called God in program literature.
    A God of your understanding does not mean a Christian God.
    Page 77 of the big book

    "When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God. This applies too, to other spiritual expressions you find in his book."

    and

    "In our personal stories you will find a wide variation in the way each teller approaches and conceives of the Power which is greater than himself. Whether we agree with a particular approach or conception seems to make little difference. Experience has taught us that these are matters about which, for our purpose, we need not be worried. They are questions for each individual to settle for himself. "

    Originally Posted by Bamberger View Post
    2. The use of the Christian Lord's prayer or Serenity prayer to open or close meetings.
    I have never ever been in a meeting that open or closes with the Lord's prayer. That said; it would is used only under agreement by the group conscience - democratic process - to reflect the feelings of the group. I can well imagine an AA group in Israel closing with another prayer, a Hindu group in India with another and so on. Big deal.

    The serenity prayer is virtually always used - is it Christian? Who cares, it is also an affirmation one can say to themselves. Replace the word God with the idea of a higher power and one will have no problems.
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    Old 2nd November 2011, 07:14 PM   #5786
    Gunthar2000
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    I'm not a doctor, and I'm not going to pretend I know anything about any specific studies regarding the efficacy of AA. I'm sure that, if I were so inclined, I could dig around the web and find a whole bunch of people who agree that AA works, and a whole bunch of people who think AA is a useless religious cult... All that I can give you is my personal experience.

    I was what is commonly referred to as a "low bottom drunk."

    Now, I'm sure that some of the folks commenting here will dismiss the claim that I was a low bottom drunk, because, according to their stringent beliefs, a low bottom drunk cannot get sober without AA. I assure you that this is not true at all. I fit the criteria. I don't consider myself an alcoholic though... I'd rather say that I was once an alcoholic, and through a power that I found within myself, I have overcome this affliction.

    Through all of 18 years in and out of AA, my experience was that AA offered no reliable, or even sincere, method to help me to recover from addiction.

    I spent years begging the god of my understanding to relieve me of a desire to drink so powerful that it was destroying my life. Through all of that time, Sky Daddy never showed up... not once.

    There was a great deal of confusion in working AA's 12 step program. Nowhere in the twelve steps does it even suggest that I should stop drinking. The entire program revolves around one's willingness to turn self-will over to an invisible being, and that being is supposedly anything you want it to be.

    Does this mean that there are thousands of Gods waiting in line... committed to AA's 12 step program... just waiting for the chance to help the next newcomer who comes along?

    How do you prove such a thing as gods are willing to intervene? Why, or course you can't... so what AA members do is deny that a god is even required. They speak out of both sides of their mouths. The only people who deny that AA is a religious program are died in the wool AA true believers.

    And so they lead us into these circular arguments... Do you have to believe in God? Of course not! Then the third step specifically asks us to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God... but it's not a religious god... It's a spiritual god... in fact it's not a god at all if you don't want it to be.

    And of course AA members believe that AA is the only true way for alcoholics to remain sober. Anyone who is able to get sober after leaving AA has actually benefited in some way from AA, or was never an alcoholic to begin with.

    And around and around we go with these circular arguments.

    Why do AA members deny that AA is a religious organization? Because they need to soften the blow and feed their religion to newcomers in spoonfulls rather than buckets.
    The fact is that, in this day and age, organized religion is a big turn off for most people, so AA simply denies that AA is religious and the problem is supposedly resolved.

    As to AA's efficacy... It didn't work for me. In fact, the guilt and remorse I felt as a result of working AA's 12 step program nearly drove me to suicide.
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    Old 2nd November 2011, 07:35 PM   #5787
    Minoosh
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    Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
    ... AA's model of a spiritual disease is simply incorrect in describing the complex neurochemical, behavioral, and possibly genetic issues at play ...
    Complex, neurochemical, behavioral and genetic?

    Holy polysyllabic pyrotechnics, Batman! Who knew?

    Quote:
    Research even by pro-AAs seem to show that attending nearly any group-like activity
    Group-like activity?

    Quote:
    ... with a focus on developing interpersonal relationships
    "Making friends"?

    Quote:
    AA World Intergroup, Inc.
    What is this?

    Quote:
    This is presuming that a person is honestly trying to help the alcoholic/potential alcoholic decide what might be a best-fit for them, of course.
    Oh, of course.

    I don't so much try, honestly or otherwise, to determine the "best fit" for someone else. They're free to do as they will and I'm free to call an ambulance.

    If you don't understand why AA is not out scouting for potential alcoholics, you understand nothing about AA.

    Quote:
    I have been supplying answers as to why AA isn't a good option for many people
    And we thank you.
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    Old 2nd November 2011, 08:42 PM   #5788
    ProBonoShill
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    Originally Posted by A.A. Alfie View Post
    A God of your understanding does not mean a Christian God.
    Page 77 of the big book

    "When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God. This applies too, to other spiritual expressions you find in his book."

    and

    "In our personal stories you will find a wide variation in the way each teller approaches and conceives of the Power which is greater than himself. Whether we agree with a particular approach or conception seems to make little difference. Experience has taught us that these are matters about which, for our purpose, we need not be worried. They are questions for each individual to settle for himself. "



    I have never ever been in a meeting that open or closes with the Lord's prayer. That said; it would is used only under agreement by the group conscience - democratic process - to reflect the feelings of the group. I can well imagine an AA group in Israel closing with another prayer, a Hindu group in India with another and so on. Big deal.
    The serenity prayer is virtually always used - is it Christian? Who cares, it is also an affirmation one can say to themselves. Replace the word God with the idea of a higher power and one will have no problems.
    Yes we have a Hindu AA group here in Brampton, they do not say any prayers.

    http://www.aatoronto.org/webapp/app/...tings/view/510
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    Old 2nd November 2011, 09:14 PM   #5789
    DannyB II
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gunthar2000 View Post
    I'm not a doctor, and I'm not going to pretend I know anything about any specific studies regarding the efficacy of AA. I'm sure that, if I were so inclined, I could dig around the web and find a whole bunch of people who agree that AA works, and a whole bunch of people who think AA is a useless religious cult... All that I can give you is my personal experience.
    This is a accurate assessment.
    Quote:
    I was what is commonly referred to as a "low bottom drunk."

    I was too, plus a drug addict.


    Quote:
    Now, I'm sure that some of the folks commenting here will dismiss the claim that I was a low bottom drunk, because, according to their stringent beliefs, a low bottom drunk cannot get sober without AA. I assure you that this is not true at all. I fit the criteria. I don't consider myself an alcoholic though... I'd rather say that I was once an alcoholic, and through a power that I found within myself, I have overcome this affliction.

    I don't believe you will find anybody here that will argue with you. Everything you wrote above there I can believe without much effort. Believe it or not you are not that much out of thinking with most of us here.


    Quote:
    Through all of 18 years in and out of AA, my experience was that AA offered no reliable, or even sincere, method to help me to recover from addiction.
    I have witnessed others who felt the same way. They finally were able to latch onto another way to help themselves.

    Quote:
    I spent years begging the god of my understanding to relieve me of a desire to drink so powerful that it was destroying my life. Through all of that time, Sky Daddy never showed up... not once.
    Never showed up for me either. I am so grateful for the agnostics and atheist that came before me in AA.

    Quote:
    There was a great deal of confusion in working AA's 12 step program. Nowhere in the twelve steps does it even suggest that I should stop drinking. The entire program revolves around one's willingness to turn self-will over to an invisible being, and that being is supposedly anything you want it to be.

    I didn't have that confusion but I did watch others have it. I decided early on to find the strength in my homegroup (the people) I found a older gent and asked him to guide me (my sponsor) I had a family I could lean on. These things became my power and my source of energy.


    Quote:
    Does this mean that there are thousands of Gods waiting in line... committed to AA's 12 step program... just waiting for the chance to help the next newcomer who comes along?

    IDK???


    Quote:
    How do you prove such a thing as gods are willing to intervene? Why, or course you can't... so what AA members do is deny that a god is even required. They speak out of both sides of their mouths. The only people who deny that AA is a religious program are died in the wool AA true believers.

    That is not true and it marginalizes many of our experiences. I have never spoke out of both sides of my mouth on this issue. I evolved as I grew up emotionally and mentally. I became more embolden to be who I am.
    It is not just AA that indoctrinates us into religion it is this country also. So I had to shed all of these conditional ideas I had and finally get to the true essence of me. What your seeing Gunthar are people who never really thought about these things trying to work them out. Many are in different stages I would think so you would here different things. Hence talking out of both sides of there mouths.


    Quote:
    And so they lead us into these circular arguments... Do you have to believe in God? Of course not! Then the third step specifically asks us to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God... but it's not a religious god... It's a spiritual god... in fact it's not a god at all if you don't want it to be.

    Exactly!!!
    Why is it so hard for some of you to believe this. Is it you just don't want to or is it that you had never really believed this could actually be done.
    IDK!!
    Gunthar but just because you never tried it or you just never believed it could be this way doesn't mean AA people are not practicing these steps without believing in religion/spirituality ect....


    Quote:
    And of course AA members believe that AA is the only true way for alcoholics to remain sober. Anyone who is able to get sober after leaving AA has actually benefited in some way from AA, or was never an alcoholic to begin with.

    That is absolutely not true assessment of how alcoholics believe at all. I think you will find most AA members here to be of a rational mind. We know that people are getting sober else where and we are genuinely happy for them.
    Now am I blind to the ignorance of some AA'ers who believe what you said above, no I am not. But I would not say most AA folks think like this.

    Quote:
    And around and around we go with these circular arguments.
    It doesn't have to be a argument. We could combine are thoughts and maybe help even more folks.
    Quote:
    Why do AA members deny that AA is a religious organization? Because they need to soften the blow and feed their religion to newcomers in spoonfulls rather than buckets.
    The fact is that, in this day and age, organized religion is a big turn off for most people, so AA simply denies that AA is religious and the problem is supposedly resolved.

    Gunthar, we don't have to tell anybody AA is not religious today. Because they will know it very soon after joining. I wouldn't doubt that at least 85% of AA'ers don't go to organized church and practice whatever they are looking for in their own privacy. We all know AA is not a religious organization.
    It can be if you want it to be but most are far past the time of pushing religion. As you said above, "religion is a turn off".

    Quote:
    As to AA's efficacy... It didn't work for me. In fact, the guilt and remorse I felt as a result of working AA's 12 step program nearly drove me to suicide.
    I am very sorry to hear this, truthfully.
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    Old 2nd November 2011, 09:49 PM   #5790
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tinyal View Post
    This is mostly addressing the post by Plouton (assuming he/she stays long enough to respond, and isn't a drive-by poster). First, I am both a dedicated anti-AAer, as well as a long term member (more than 20 years) who , for nearly all of that time, has been attempting to change AA from within.

    Well good luck because if you don't believe in AA then I am sure your efforts will go by the wayside.

    Quote:
    I strongly suggest you go back through to the beginning of this thread, as there are many posts from both myself, as well as others with extensive AA experience - I myself have been involved at nearly the highest levels (just below Trustee, at GSO in NY) - I've seen with my own eyes many of the still-secret archives (my permission to access those having long been removed).
    I have never been sure what it is this is supposed to mean. You say it often.
    Quote:
    While reading from the beginning, let me suggest you keep these things in mind:

    1. We are talking about the AA program itself as described in the big book & the 12x12 - we are not talking about how particular meetings or groups may interpet that program. For instance, the phrase (even the thought) 'take what you want and leave the rest' is not encouraged anywhere within the actual program. That phrase become common in the early 80's (when I first attended meetings) as it was imported from the treatment centers. Even today, it's used to refer to what you hear from individual members, not applicable to the program itself.
    This is not actually true at all. This is your interpretation. My father was saying this in the late 40's all the way up to the 90's when for health reasons he stopped going. "It means to most of us" AA is suggestive. There is no authority but a loving god.

    Quote:
    2. I - as well as hundreds of other non-theists in AA - have been working from within for decades to have the chapter 'we agnostics' removed from the big book - at every General Service Conference we bring it up, only to have it shot down by the majority. At these times I frequently hear statements such as 'The book is the revealed word of God, we cannot alter it" & "The program works so well that we cannot change any bit of the first 164 pages". That chapter is one of the most bills most obnoxious.

    Tinyal as I have said before I have sat at these conferences in NYC and I have never heard anyone ever refer to god concerning the Chapters or the Big Book as you described. I have been coming around since the 80's myself.
    Yes they are not going to alter the Big Book so AA can become convoluted with scientific and theocratic nonsense in my opinion. The Big Book is basically a philosophy from several people "a design for living". No one thought or based the book on total absolutes. Even though Bill W. tried to think he could. Bill had no credentials (other then being a alcoholic) to back up his opinions. Why folks have to take what he is saying so literal is beyond me.
    Tinyal instead of trying to change AA, why don't you spend all this energy on creating your own AA utopia, seriously.


    Quote:
    3. I personally continue to attend AA (1 or 2 meetings per week, maximum) for 1 purpose, and 1 only - and that is to demonstrate by my actions and words that no higher power is necessary to get or stay sober. I have personally made this statement in front of 1000's of AA members (I leave it to your imagination what reactions I get) - the statement is this: "No higher power - of any kind - nor any sort of fantastical or religious belief or action, is required to get and maintain sobriety, nor is any of it required to live a happy, joyous, and productive life".
    I don't want to go around meetings antagonizing folks but I have virtually been saying the same thing. I know many others have also. I don't do this to change the world I talk about these things because it is my story.

    Quote:
    I've posted many times in this thread - go back and actually read what I and others with AA experience have written.
    I have enjoyed much of what you have shared, thanks.
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    Old 2nd November 2011, 09:53 PM   #5791
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    Originally Posted by Gunthar2000 View Post
    Now, I'm sure that some of the folks commenting here will dismiss the claim that I was a low bottom drunk, because, according to their stringent beliefs, a low bottom drunk cannot get sober without AA.
    I don't know that anybody here has said that, or that those beliefs are universally stringent.

    Originally Posted by Gunthar2000 View Post
    I'd rather say that I was once an alcoholic, and through a power that I found within myself, I have overcome this affliction.
    How did you find that power within yourself - can you articulate it - because you sound like you have something to offer others. Not that you are obliged to, just wondering.

    Originally Posted by Gunthar2000 View Post
    I spent years begging the god of my understanding to relieve me of a desire to drink so powerful that it was destroying my life. Through all of that time, Sky Daddy never showed up... not once.
    Many will be able to relate. This question may not have much to do with anything, but I'm curious if "the god of your understanding" was "Sky Daddy." The tone of these two terms seems so mixed.


    Originally Posted by Gunthar2000 View Post
    There was a great deal of confusion in working AA's 12 step program. Nowhere in the twelve steps does it even suggest that I should stop drinking.
    When you say "there was a great deal of confusion," do you mean you were confused? I always assumed it was clear that working the steps while actively drinking would be problematic. Did you try to work them while drinking? I believe I made a start while in withdrawal by acknowledging that using again would put me back into active craving (I don't crave in withdrawal, for some reason).

    Yes it's a conundrum - you can't stop, yet you must to gain some clarity in order to proceed. Was there anyone you trusted that you could ask?

    Quote:
    Does this mean that there are thousands of Gods waiting in line... committed to AA's 12 step program... just waiting for the chance to help the next newcomer who comes along?
    Not in my view. Maybe you'll think I'm a hypocrite but for me the act of praying provided relief at a key time even when I had no faith anyone was listening. God never struck a drink from my hand, although I did ask. It was subtler than that but I did find some relief going through the motions.

    Quote:
    Do you have to believe in God? Of course not! Then the third step specifically asks us to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God... but it's not a religious god... It's a spiritual god... in fact it's not a god at all if you don't want it to be.
    Again did you find anything resembling a god of your understanding ... because you said you asked but did not get help from Sky Daddy ... so I'm not sure you ever found anything you could sincerely pray to. I was lucky, I didn't mind using plain old God, although I doubted God intervened on Earth. Still it was an entity I could talk to in good faith and that helped me at times. I suspected I was merely talking to myself, but I could pray without feeling like a hypocrite.


    Quote:
    And of course AA members believe that AA is the only true way for alcoholics to remain sober.
    A lot of people AA supporters on this thread do not believe that.

    Quote:
    Why do AA members deny that AA is a religious organization?
    Me personally because I do not consider myself religious yet I still felt comfortable.

    Quote:
    The fact is that, in this day and age, organized religion is a big turn off for most people
    Including many in AA, though that may seem like nonsense to you.

    Quote:
    As to AA's efficacy... It didn't work for me. In fact, the guilt and remorse I felt as a result of working AA's 12 step program nearly drove me to suicide.
    Is it possible that some of the guilt and remorse was due to things you'd done while drinking, or was it all a result of the steps?

    I'm not trying to second-guess you and I don't believe all people go back out because they "weren't doing it right." It's just hard for me to get a clear picture, if there was pre-existing guilt and remorse, and if you had any guidance, or sought appropriate outside help (or inside).

    Anyway, whatever did work for you, I'm happy for you.
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    Old 2nd November 2011, 10:24 PM   #5792
    Hallo Alfie
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    Originally Posted by Tinyal View Post
    I strongly suggest you go back through to the beginning of this thread, as there are many posts from both myself, as well as others with extensive AA experience - I myself have been involved at nearly the highest levels (just below Trustee, at GSO in NY) - I've seen with my own eyes many of the still-secret archives (my permission to access those having long been removed).
    Evidence.
    I thought you agreed some time ago that this claim was moot.

    Originally Posted by Tinyal View Post
    1. We are talking about the AA program itself as described in the big book & the 12x12 - we are not talking about how particular meetings or groups may interpet that program. For instance, the phrase (even the thought) 'take what you want and leave the rest' is not encouraged anywhere within the actual program.

    3. I personally continue to attend AA (1 or 2 meetings per week, maximum) for 1 purpose, and 1 only - and that is to demonstrate by my actions and words that no higher power is necessary to get or stay sober.
    Thanks again Tinyal for once again proving that AA works without religion. Also that one can readily take what they want and leave the rest.

    Highlights are mine.
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    Old 3rd November 2011, 12:27 AM   #5793
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    Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
    This kind of strikes me too, what do the anti-AA posters want to see happen? By what mechanism should AA override its membership in order to become more acceptable to nonmembers?
    By virtue of there being an actual controlling structure at the top.


    Quote:
    If any social activity will do then people are free to form other groups that do other things, pertaining to alcohol, or not, and using some version of the steps, or not. Bill W.'s scheme caught on, maybe someone else's will be next.
    I'm here to help push that along.


    Quote:
    BTW Norseman & whoever: You probably know this already but liver toxicity also might have something do to with acetaminophen. Many (US) CIII narcotic formulations contain enough of it to be poisonous even with the standard "take 1 or 2 tablets every 4-6 hours" directions. People with liver issues would be better off getting pure narcotics but they are more tightly regulated.
    Yes, I was aware of acetaminophen being toxic to the liver in large doses. The drug I was on was oxycodone -- ~250 miligrams per day for close to four years and all legally prescribed. (oxycodone plus acetaminophen is Percocet which I didn't know until your post prompted me to look it up -- thanks! )

    Anyway, I was a medical nightmare which I've essentially completely recovered from. The withdrawals from all that oxy were the worst experience I've ever had in my life, though. Even more than a year of thrice-weekly physical therapy appointments I had to go through to be able to walk again were a cakewalk comparatively speaking.
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    Old 3rd November 2011, 12:54 AM   #5794
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    Unfortunately, it didn't have a great deal of time to respond to all of the criticisms of my opinions regarding the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. By no means do I suggest that it is a perfect program, however I suppose what confuses me most is all of the opposition to the program presented by many people. If you don't think AA is a good program for you, a loved one, or a friend, then take whatever action is necessary to prevent them from getting involved. I can only speak to my experience was alcoholism and the program. I know, from my own experience, that if I take a drink I lose the choice as to whether or not I will have another. I'm certain that many will suggest that I am simply an individual who lacks self-control of non-alcoholics or I'm just plain weak willed. That is fine because one thing I have learned through the program, that I believe to be valuable, is that it is none of my business what others think of me. As I'm sure this thread will continue, I certainly will try to respond to all of the criticisms directed at my opinion. But let's be clear, the post I placed on this forum was an opinion, nothing else. With the short time I have left this evening there are a couple of statements to which I would like to respond.

    Quote:
    Second, what happens if your opponents (in this case, those who are critical of AA) have many more years' sobriety and many more years' of AA attendance than you yet still have the same critiques? Somehow, I doubt very much you will take their critiques more seriously, so therefore I'm going to conclude that you are using flimsy reasons to dismiss that which is found to be uncomfortable.
    I believe that any opinion expressed here has value, even though I may disagree. There is nothing I have read that affects my comfort level in either a negative or positive manner, therefore I need no reasons to dismiss the criticism of others much less flimsy ones.


    Quote:
    How does Alcoholics Anonymous deal with the difficulties of adolescent drinking and abuse and what programs does it suggest for early detection and prevention in children and adolescents? As a follow-up, do pro-AAers believe that a ten year old (for example) has a spiritual problem with alcohol use.
    I may be mistaken, but I believe that AA refers to alcoholism as a disease of the mind, body, and spirit. I cannot recall any literature suggesting that alcoholism is solely the result of his spiritual problems.

    There is another statement I found to be somewhat curious and would like to ask a couple of questions regarding it.

    Quote:
    I personally continue to attend AA (1 or 2 meetings per week, maximum) for 1 purpose, and 1 only - and that is to demonstrate by my actions and words that no higher power is necessary to get or stay sober. I have personally made this statement in front of 1000's of AA members (I leave it to your imagination what reactions I get) - the statement is this: "No higher power - of any kind - nor any sort of fantastical or religious belief or action, is required to get and maintain sobriety, nor is any of it required to live a happy, joyous, and productive life".
    I am curious to know what sort of gratification is obtained by this action. I can think of no reason to enter any forum espousing information that will certainly provoke strong negative reactions. If AA is unnecessary for the maintenance of your sobriety, why bother going to any meetings at all. I think it is fantastic that you have found your own way to stay sober, but many people rely on the program for assistance especially in early sobriety. Your actions may be harmful to the newcomer who is relying there he strongly on the fellowship, but may not be aware that. Would it not be better to let others find their own way as you have?

    All I really know is that the program is of great value to me. Do I need it to remain sober? Probably not, since I was comfortably sober over a year before returning to the halls of AA. The fear of an early death is a powerful motivator in my life. However, I want to have that support available if the day ever comes that my mind begins to convince me that it is safe to have a few drinks. I can't if my life is to continue. I have also met some extremely good people in addition to picking up a few habits that have definitely made me a more thoughtful and caring person.

    Until next time, everyone have a great time!
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    Old 3rd November 2011, 01:08 AM   #5795
    The Norseman
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    Originally Posted by DannyB II View Post
    and this would be your study or opinion. AA people like to call it a spiritual disease. It makes sense to us.
    No, it's not really my opinion. It's medical fact. I will get the citations for these papers, but for now you'll have to settle for titles: Neurobiology of Chemical Dependence by Gilpin and Koob (2008); Acetaldehyde mediates alcohol activation of the mesolimbic dopamine system by Mel, Enrico, Peana, and Diana (European Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 26, pp. 2824Ė2833, 2007); Positron Emission Tomography As A Tool For Studying Alcohol Abuse by Thanos, Wang, and Volkow (2008); Substance Abuse
    Is a Disease of the Human Brain: Focus on Alcohol
    by Raymond Anton (2010); The Potential of Neuroscience to Inform Treatment by George Koob (2010).


    Quote:
    [Norseman said]Research even by pro-AAs seem to show that attending nearly any group-like activity with a focus on developing interpersonal relationships is useful, thereby showing that the 12 steps/12 traditions are superfluous
    No pro-AA'ers were not saying this at all. It seems you like to manipulate what people are saying, I see. This is totally your opinion since you have never done a study yourself. Not one AA person has said, "that attending nearly any group-like activity with a focus on developing interpersonal relationships is useful, thereby showing that the 12 steps/12 traditions are superfluous."
    Please read my post number 5651 wherein I address the two articles that Minoosh linked to, my direct quotes from those articles, my link responding to it and my conclusions.


    Quote:
    Why should there be. AA is not a medical clinic or Treatment Center. AA is a philosophical design for living. I would suggest you stop confusing Treatment Centers that use a crude version of their idea of AA and the actual AA/GSO version. This could be your confusion.
    AA makes claims to help the suffering alcoholic. I see no problem in critiquing what AA claims and how that compares to reality. And I'd like to see what evidence you base your comment on that treatment centers use a "crude version of their idea of AA" because I don't believe there is any difference between what a treatment agency uses and what AA groups use -- the big book is on every coffee table and in every hand after all.


    Quote:
    OK. Once again not AA's problem.
    Yes, it's the suffering alcoholic's problem that AA sadly doesn't care enough to address. One size fits all, it's not for everyone, move along it's jails, institutions or death for you.


    Quote:
    This is definitely your opinion and it is only possibly 30% right. Many members come to AA way before this point for their reasons. Don't feel they were mislead, tricked or manipulated and have a wonderful experience.
    Ever hear of Sequential Request Compliance Tactics? Also individually known as the low-ball, the bait-and-switch, and the foot-in-the-door techniques? Read up on them, they're quite interesting especially when viewed in the light of AA's recruiting tactics.

    Anyway, how did you come up with the number of 30%? That I'm only 30% right?


    Quote:
    Now in all sincerity you can't be serious here. Just because you think these are issues it then leads to AA/GSO having to do something about it. Even though it has nothing to do with the function of AA.
    Sorry, let me hasten to add you are not being realistic at all.

    Ya know Norseman just because this doesn't work in your world doesn't mean it doesn't work in other worlds.
    Okay, Danny, I appreciate your input and thank you for being civil.
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    Old 3rd November 2011, 08:11 AM   #5796
    Bamberger
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    Originally Posted by A.A. Alfie View Post

    I have never ever been in a meeting that open or closes with the Lord's prayer. That said; it would is used only under agreement by the group conscience - democratic process - to reflect the feelings of the group. I can well imagine an AA group in Israel closing with another prayer, a Hindu group in India with another and so on. Big deal.
    I agree, it is a big deal.

    Originally Posted by A.A. Alfie View Post
    The serenity prayer is virtually always used - is it Christian? Who cares, it is also an affirmation one can say to themselves. Replace the word God with the idea of a higher power and one will have no problems.
    Yes, it is a christian prayer.
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    Old 3rd November 2011, 01:32 PM   #5797
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    Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
    By virtue of there being an actual controlling structure at the top.
    In other words, you're saying yes, AA should override AA's membership, stage a coup and declare itself to be at the top rather than the bottom of the service structure.


    Originally Posted by The Norseman View Post
    The withdrawals from all that oxy were the worst experience I've ever had in my life, though.
    Congratulations, kicking narcotics is no fun and alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening, please don't swear off abrubtly. It's faster than opiate detox but far more potentially life-threatening.
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    Old 3rd November 2011, 03:49 PM   #5798
    Hallo Alfie
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    Originally Posted by Bamberger View Post
    I agree, it is a big deal.
    You object to the democratic process where the grpoup determines what they do in their meeting>

    Originally Posted by Bamberger View Post
    Yes, it is a christian prayer.
    No. It's the serenity prayer.
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    Old 3rd November 2011, 04:02 PM   #5799
    Hallo Alfie
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    Originally Posted by Bamberger View Post
    I agree, it is a big deal.
    You object to the democratic process where the grpoup determines what they do in their meeting>

    Originally Posted by Bamberger View Post
    Yes, it is a christian prayer.
    No. It's the serenity prayer.

    A request for serenity that is used as an affirmation by some, a prayer by others to Judeo-Christian God, and a prayer by others to their own higher power or God/s.

    You seem to be making a case that it is exclusively Christian - perhaps because of its origins? Untrue. It was written by a man for a purpose and has morphed into a useful tool that transcends the boundaries you would like to impose.
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    Old 3rd November 2011, 04:28 PM   #5800
    Hallo Alfie
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    Originally Posted by causeandeffect
    I asked Alfie:

    According to the DSM-IV-TR
    This is relevant for 2 reasons:

    1. It disallows you and the other AA apologists to claim any research to be invalid because it doesn’t use the word “alcoholic”,


    Firstly where have I ever claimed research invalid?
    Second, if they are using the terms alcohol dependence, do they mean that or syndrome? Who's definitions are they using? Give me an example where I dismissed any study based solely on the non use of the word alcoholic?


    Originally Posted by causeandeffect
    claiming there is a difference between alcohol dependency and “real” alcoholism, as you have done on when you were posting on ST.


    Show me?
    And even if I did, I think the rat example above goes at least part way to explaining the difference as I see it.


    Originally Posted by causeandeffect
    2. It proves you to be a liar.


    Not even close.

    Originally Posted by causeandeffect
    It also seriously calls into question your claims of being a “forensic counsellor in AOD” (from page 1 of this thread) as anyone with this type of credentials would not only know this, but would be familiar with the coding from the DSM-IV-TR, which was published in 2000.


    DSM IV relates to mental health disorders correct? Is not alcoholism a medical condition also? The psychiatrists name it one way, other medico's another. What has the world Health Organisation to say on the matter? A very very quick search shows:

    "The term "alcoholism" is commonly used, but poorly defined. The WHO calls alcoholism "a term of long-standing use and variable meaning", and use of the term was disfavored by a 1979 WHO Expert Committee."

    and

    "In professional and research contexts, the term "alcoholism" sometimes encompasses both alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence.[25] and sometimes is considered equivalent to alcohol dependence."

    You seem to think DSM IV the only valid source of information and definition on this matter. In professional circles common usage varies greatly.


    Originally Posted by causeandeffect
    If I were you, I’d slink off in shame, but I know you won’t.


    What for? Because I rightly dismissed your attempt at a gotcha with flippancy?

    From wiki:

    "In psychology and psychiatry, the DSM is the most common global standard, while in medicine, the standard is ICD. The terms they recommend are similar but not identical"


    DSM History:

    "The term "alcoholism" was split into "alcohol abuse" and "alcohol dependence" in 1980's DSM-III, and in 1987's DSM-III-R behavioral symptoms were moved from "abuse" to "dependence".[1] It has been suggested that DSM-V merge alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence into a single new entry,[31] named "alcohol-use disorder"

    ICD History

    "The World Health Organisation uses the term "alcohol dependence syndrome" rather than alcoholism.[2] The concept of "harmful use" (as opposed to "abuse") was introduced in 1992's ICD-10 to minimize underreporting of damage in the absence of dependence.[1] The term "alcoholism" was removed from ICD between ICD-8/ICDA-8 and ICD-9"

    And yet the term alcoholism and alcohol dependency have different flavours and understandings for different people. The word is still in common use and interpretations vary from country to country, service to service. My examples above are not invalidated by the definitions provided.

    There is huge imprecision in definitions and they are constantly changing. The Norseman's comments around the genetics involved will (I predict) change the definitions again. Time will tell.
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