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Is Alcoholics Anonymous a secret society?

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Cug

posted on May, 27 2005 @ 06:16 PM
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In an effort to get away from the secret society forum here becoming a Freemason only forum lets look a little deeper into AA.

As the members of this group (society) are secret (anonymous) I think it fits with the definition of a secret society. As a secret society I think it meets the same qualifications that Scientology meets for being called a Secret Society.

Some interesting info from the google cache of this website AA as a Cult


www.orange-papers.org/orange-cult_a1.html

  1. The Guru is always right.

    The Guru, his organization, and his teachings are all considered above criticism and beyond reproach.
    A.A. scores a 10 on this one.

    One just does not criticize the Founders, Bill Wilson and Doctor Bob, or their wonderful program. Bill Wilson's "Big Book" -- really titled "Alcoholics Anonymous" -- is cited as the ultimate answer for everything, a new Bible for contemporary alcoholics. If Bill said something, then it is automatically true. In the eyes of the A.A. faithful, Bill Wilson never made a mistake after he started A.A., and never gave bad advice to any A.A. member. Bill Wilson was a paragon of sanity, clarity, wisdom, and honesty.

  2. You are always wrong.
    The individual members of the cult are told that they are inherently small, weak, stupid, ignorant, and sinful, and are in no way qualified to judge the Guru or his church.
    A.A. scores a 10 on this one too.

    You are just a brain-damaged alcoholic, "powerless over alcohol", your thinking is "alcoholic", and you aren't qualified to judge A.A. or the teachings of Bill Wilson. If you disagree with any of the insanity of A.A., it just proves that you are diseased and in denial. Sober former drinkers who criticize A.A. are dismissed as "dry drunks."

  3. No Exit.
    A.A. scores a 10 again.

    They say, "You can't leave, because if you do, you will relapse and die drunk." Then they recite a list of friends who didn't do the Twelve Steps, and who went out and died. A.A. also tells people that they will turn into bitterly unhappy "dry drunks" if they leave and manage to stay abstinent.

  4. No Graduates.
    A.A. scores another 10.

    True believers love to brag about this -- it's even made into a bunch of standard slogans:
    Nobody ever graduates.
    There are no graduates.
    Nobody ever graduates from this program.
    You are in it for life.
    You will never finish your recovery.
    You will never stop going to meetings.
    You will never stop doing the Twelve Steps.

  5. Cult-speak.
    A.A. gets a 10 here.

    A.A. has plenty of cultish terminology, lots of loaded language and bombastically redefined words, and a whole bunch of mind-bending slogans and thought-stopping clichés.

  6. Group-think.
    A.A. gets a 10.

    It practices group-think to the max, has standard answers for everything, and discourages independent thought. "If you try to do things your own way, you will make a mistake and relapse, and probably die drunk. Just do things the tried and true way. Avoid independent thinking; just stop thinking for yourself," they say, "because 'Your best thinking got you here.' Your thinking is alcoholic. Your brain is too messed up from alcohol for you to be able to think for yourself."

  7. Irrationality.
    A.A. gets a 10 on this one (and deserves about a hundred),

    for everything from expecting God to micro-manage their lives, and solve all of their problems, to their claims that God delivers miracles on demand, to Bill Wilson's demands that we all give up "Reason" and human intelligence, and just "have faith."

  8. Suspension of disbelief.
    A.A. scores a 10.

    They tell you to "Keep An Open Mind", which really means, "Be gullible, and accept whatever ridiculous things we tell you."

    The Big Book specifically says:
    I was beginning to see that I would require implicit faith, like a small child, if I was going to get anywhere. The Big Book, 3rd Edition, Page 259.

    And while you are as gullible as an innocent child, they will tell you to 'just believe' all kinds of screwy things, like that the Twelve Steps actually work. We are never told quite how they work; they are just supposed to work because Bill Wilson says so.



Why does this disturb me? Well besides the nullification of ones Will. It is also bordering on a state supported religious cult. How many time have you read in a newspaper about a judge "sentencing a drunk driver to attend AA meetings? Something they cant quit on pain of a living hell on earth?




posted on May, 27 2005 @ 07:20 PM
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AA is a cultish organization, but it's not secret. Anyone can lookup and go to meetings held practically every night in a large city.


Cug

posted on May, 27 2005 @ 07:46 PM
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Originally posted by djohnsto77
AA is a cultish organization, but it's not secret. Anyone can lookup and go to meetings held practically every night in a large city.


Can you go to AA HQ and sit in on a biz meeting? Is closed meetings the only sign of a secret society? In that case there are a ton of social clubs (The kind that hold member dances your ticket is a one day membership) that are secret societies. I was in a car club once.. you had to be a member to come to those meetings too.

The O.T.O. is called a secret society, yet you're free to attend 90% of the functions of most lodges. so it's only 10% secret huh?



posted on May, 27 2005 @ 08:23 PM
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Notice how nobody else responds.... because this is stupid. This is a bunch of crazy conspiracy nuts tryong to make something out of nothing. No, Im sorry, not a bunch, just one lunatic. Seriously, alcoholics anonymous? come on whats next, the mickey mouse club? Get realistic



posted on May, 27 2005 @ 08:34 PM
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Originally posted by BlissfullIgnorance
Notice how nobody else responds.... because this is stupid. This is a bunch of crazy conspiracy nuts tryong to make something out of nothing. No, Im sorry, not a bunch, just one lunatic. Seriously, alcoholics anonymous? come on whats next, the mickey mouse club? Get realistic


This attitude and attack is rude and intolerable here, not to mention infuriating.

I'd like to respond myself to the poster's excellent point here...


Originally posted by Cug
Why does this disturb me? Well besides the nullification of ones Will. It is also bordering on a state supported religious cult. How many time have you read in a newspaper about a judge "sentencing a drunk driver to attend AA meetings? Something they cant quit on pain of a living hell on earth?


But now I have to play mod.

No More Ridiculing Others in Threads



posted on May, 27 2005 @ 09:00 PM
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Its more of a cult than a society.

Like was noted, you are not free to join, or even leave in some cases.

My biggest problem with AA has always been that you can never drink alcohol responsibly. Ever. You damn drunk!

No wine, no pudding with alcohol, not one of those little candies, its all a slippery slope to drinking yourself into oblivion I tell you!

I think AA probably forces people back to drinking in some cases, just because of how messed up their time there will have been (their time 'rejecting their Self', basically). But hey, I am not saying there aren't people who need help, just that we could consider some more ways to help them, than just this whacked out group-pressure method!


Cug

posted on May, 27 2005 @ 09:05 PM
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Originally posted by BlissfullIgnorance
Notice how nobody else responds.... because this is stupid. This is a bunch of crazy conspiracy nuts trying to make something out of nothing. No, I'm sorry, not a bunch, just one lunatic. Seriously, alcoholics anonymous? come on whats next, the mickey mouse club? Get realistic


That's kinda funny... I'm FAR from a conspiracy nut but anyway, the reasons for this post are 3 things.

1. I believe AA does more harm than good. (far more harm that say the Masons, Scientology, Opus dei, O.T.O., Golden Dawn and on and on..)
2. The anti-Freemason posts are getting boring

3. I'm trying to find out what people here think a secret society is.

From the sounds of posts here about various groups the only thing that is secret they share in common are membership lists. And the AA fullfills that requirement.

RANT, OK take off your mod hat now and respond.


[[ EDIT ]]

Aww hell, akilles almost agrees with me, I'M DOOMED


Well what's a society then?
from dictionary.com
An organization or association of persons engaged in a common profession, activity, or interest

Sounds like AA is a society to me.

[edit on 5/27/2005 by Cug]



posted on May, 27 2005 @ 09:18 PM
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Wow, that's a curious way of looking at it. Now that you've pointed it out, or rather the article did, it does seem kind of cultish in that context. Except, instead of drinking the Kool-Aid, they're told not to.


AA has definately helped people and will continue to do so in the future. While the 12 steps aren't perfect, they can be helpful for folks. As to people who are alcoholics never being able to drink again, even the slightest sip of anything with alcohol in it, I've known both types. I know someone who was a really, really bad alcoholic, lost his job, family, home, etc. He got off the bottle through AA and went about 5 years, got a nice job, a new family, and a new home. Then he figured things were ok, and he could occasionally go out for a beer with his lawyer buddies after work. Today, he wife and children are living in a hotel, he hasn't gone to work in the past 5 days because he's been taking amphedimines to stay awake and drink more, and he's going about 24/7 now. He is a one sip leads to chaos example.

On the other hand, I also know someone who was a bad alcoholic, abusive, angry, and almost always drunk by about 2 PM. It didn't effect his job, but it was a horrible strain on his family. That was about 13 years ago. Today, without AA, he's a very moderate drinker. There are times when he'll get plowed, but he doesn't become abusive anymore and it is only once in a great while that that happens. Otherwise, he may have a glass of wine or a couple of beers at night, and that's it.

So I suppose my only problem with AA would be that it tries to force people into a specific mold, rather than adopting the mold to the individual. However, alcohol absloutly ruins lives, and if AA works for you, do it. If not, find another way, but don't let alcohol control your life.



posted on May, 27 2005 @ 09:23 PM
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Originally posted by akilles
My biggest problem with AA has always been that you can never drink alcohol responsibly. Ever. You damn drunk!

That would be the problem of the indivicual, not AA.

If you are an alcoholic, by definition, you are powerless over drink. It is impossible for a true alcoholic to drink responsibly...ain't gonna happen.

AA is cultish, IMHO big-time, but not a secret society. There is no formal membership. AA doesn't know where you live or what you do, heck they don't even know your last name.

AA is not for everyone. Each alcoholic must do whatever it takes to get sober. For some it is AA, others formal religion or spirituality. Or whatever it takes. (Many, many alcoholics never quit. Some go insane. Some die from alcocol related illnesses.)


Cug

posted on May, 27 2005 @ 09:48 PM
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Originally posted by junglejake
AA has definately helped people and will continue to do so in the future.


That's just it.. they don't do a good job of it. you posted 2 examples, and both are drinking now and one can be called an alcoholic. AA has published stats that state only 5% of members stay with it for longer than a year.


DontTreadOnMe
If you are an alcoholic, by definition, you are powerless over drink. It is impossible for a true alcoholic to drink responsibly...ain't gonna happen.


I'll use myself for an example. When I was in the Army I worked 24 hours on, 24 hours off, 24 hours stand-by (in case someone was sick etc.. but I never was called in) 24 hours off, 24 hours on duty, and so on. so one day on three days off. and on my days off for 2 1/2 years I was drunk off my butt, I was busted down in rank twice, and then given a general discharge. I even remember a time where a bottle of jack was spilled and I was sucking it out of the carpet. ICK!

I don't think anyone could say I didn't have a drinking problem then.

After I got out I said to myself I'd better cut that crap out, and I did. Frankly the last time I was drunk was years ago, now if I do have something to drink it's one or two and that's it, and that's only every what 6-8 months? I'd guess that's under average for a 37 year old male.

The definition of an alcoholic was frankly created by the AA to serve their own purposes. (to sell books? bolster their membership?)



posted on May, 27 2005 @ 10:05 PM
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Well, one of the two examples didn't go into AA. The moderate today.

I was actually addressing the issue of not being able to touch the bottle again in those two examples, though. I know several other people who did do AA and haven't touched a drop of the bottle in years. I know some who have relapsed. AA does do a good job for some, but others don't meld with it. I can tell you right now, if I weren't allowed to question anything about it, that'd probably make me want to drink more! I can bet most people here at ATS would be the same way, we don't just accept things as stated. Hence being members of a conspiracy site


There are people, though, who thrive in that kind of environment. They could very well, and many have, make it.

The 5% stat you quoted, was that people who stay with AA or stay off the bottle?

One thing I have found quitting various addiction I'd done a good job of developing in high school (and before) is that there can be no condemnation for slipping. Quitting smoking is easy, I've done it hundreds of times. The time when it stuck (until my sister's wedding...siiiigh) for a long while I did slip while quitting. Unlike the other times, I didn't just give up and set another date to try again, but rather moved on. Continuted to continue. It sounds like AA is pretty heavy handed when it comes to relapses, although I could be wrong. I've never been in a meeting, and have never really probed friends for the details. If there is condemnation rather than accountability and forgiveness, that would make it very difficult for many people, and many probably wouldn't say a thing if they start hitting the bottle again.

Although, as I was typing that, a scene from the Simpsons, of all programs, came to mind. Lionel Hutz was in court, then took a moment to call his accountability partner from AA, David Crosby to let him know he's tempted. If this is encouraged in AA, it is an extremely powerful tool, as I've found out myself.


Cug

posted on May, 28 2005 @ 01:08 AM
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The 5% were people who stay with AA. And according to their "dogma" that means they are back on the bottle.

I went to one meeting with someone who was a member. and it well.. it gave me the creeps. Have you ever went to Religious services of another faith when your a kid? (something I enjoy doing now) Well the AA meeting gave me the same strange out of place feeling that did.

[[edit]]

Back on topic now any more yes/no answers whether or not AA is a secret society? and why don't some of the reasons not apply to the more "well known" secret societies?

[edit on 5/28/2005 by Cug]



posted on May, 28 2005 @ 03:23 AM
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Originally posted by Cug

Why does this disturb me? Well besides the nullification of ones Will. It is also bordering on a state supported religious cult. How many time have you read in a newspaper about a judge "sentencing a drunk driver to attend AA meetings? Something they cant quit on pain of a living hell on earth?


Cug, I think that you have made an excellent post here. It is a new concept, compared to what we are used to - not that there is anything wrong with the other topics and threads at all, I don't mean that. And when I say a "new concept", rather I mean new as far as being an ATS thread. However, I found the article you posted, and the article it referred to as being very true, and when you think about it, pretty funny but also sad that so many people have really fallen for it hook, line & sinker. Now, I don't doubt that AA has indeed helped some people for real. This reply is not meant to mock those who have been truly helped by the group.

And, I have to say that it is in no way, "secret". However, I do believe that it could well be the most socially accepted method of brainwashing in the U.S. And the same goes for all of it's copy-cat groups, ie: Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Gambling Anonymous, etc... I wonder if there will be an ATS Anonymous?(LOL!) I sure hope not, because the whole idea of ATS is to think for yourself, to question, etc... I suppose that if/when brainwashing becomes a big part of new government, the "Anonymous" group's members will be the first to fall for it.

I guess that the reason I find this post so interesting, is because it holds a lot of truth that is rarely spoken about aloud. As a matter of fact, AA seems to be almost revered by the court system, many employers, and others. But why? Have they ever thought about it?

A few years back, I personally had an unfortunate little run-in with law enforcement. I wasn't drinking, I harmed or threatened no one, but I still ended up having to get myself an attorney. Well, this attorney recommended that I go to AA meetings before my court date, in order to try to get the charges dropped, even though the incident had absolutely nothing to do with drinking. So, never having been in that type of a situation, I was scared, and so I did whatever my lawyer said. I ended up attending proably about 15 meetings in all (BTW, it did get the charges dropped, if they wouldn't have been anyway), and I was dumbstruck at the way at each meeting, different people would be selected to read the exact same pieces of paper, about the Twelve Steps, Traditions, How it Works, etc....I forget them all, but I think there were about 7 or 8 of them. Identical each meeting. But what really amazed me was that apparently for people who were really into it and had been going regularly, there were little "comments" or "slogans" maybe that were regularly chorused by the entire group at the end of certain sentances. They said them mindlessly, as though they had been so deeply ingrained into their minds, that they just heard the "cue" I guess one would say, word and automatically said the corresponding slogan. I didn't think that many of them even thought about what they were saying, or why.

I don't know. I found the whole thing to be rather bizarre. But, hopefully since this is ATS, and not AA no one will take offense at my personal opinion of my exerience with the group. Hey, each to their own.




P.S. We don't really have a thread specifically for "Cults and Cult Practices", do we? Being that they are different from Secret Societies and Religion in General, it might be an interesting topic for some. After all, there are quite a few different cults. I'm going into any specifics, out of respect for the possible beliefs of others.


[edit on 5/28/2005 by CyberKat]



posted on May, 28 2005 @ 10:39 AM
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I happen to work in the field of addictions as a therapist.

WHether someone believes in AA's principles does not make them secret. The research shows that people who participate in AA have a lower recedivism rate than non-AA members.

That being said I do not think that AA is for everyone. One of the biggest reasons for someone to join is to develop a sober community. Accountability and guidance is also extremely important.

Within the 12 Steps one is prompted to come to an awarness of thier problem, do a self analysis of themselves and work on problem behaviors that they may encounter and then to make ammends to the people that they have harmed. Not a bad way to live.

What we are talking about here are alcoholics not problem drinkers. I do believe that some people may be able to eventual return to moderate use but most of the people that come to treatment have come with a realization that they have ruined their lives with their chemical use and the last thing that they are thinking is "someday I can drink again."

Take it easy



posted on May, 28 2005 @ 03:02 PM
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Originally posted by Egg Mundane
What we are talking about here are alcoholics not problem drinkers. I do believe that some people may be able to eventual return to moderate use but most of the people that come to treatment have come with a realization that they have ruined their lives with their chemical use and the last thing that they are thinking is "someday I can drink again."


I dont believe this is not accurate. With the number of judges ordering DUI convictions to attend AA meetings (funny how there's laws barring gov't organizations from forcing citizens to attend religious meetings), a large number of attendees are there simply because they have to. A large percentage of these people are college students who simply did something stupid, hardly people who feel their lives has become unmanageable due to alcohol.



posted on May, 28 2005 @ 05:28 PM
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My names Allan and I'm an alcoholic.
Iv'e been a proud member of AA for over 20yrs.
Some may think AA is cult like in that it appeals to a very limited number of people. Most people don't stay with AA and go back to drinkin and useing.
AA dosen't have a very good track record. You are not forced in any way to accept the 12 steps. They are only Suggested as a program of recovery
Your free will is not compramized in any way. This dosen't sound very cult like to me. If you have questions; call or come by. Peace my Brothers!!



posted on May, 28 2005 @ 05:36 PM
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It is a very good thing for some types of people..

I've been to a few meetings because of a court requirement, yknow drinking and driving...and I have friends that are still in those sort of programs.

It is rather cultish, in that the people in the program tend to hang out with eachother outside of the meeings, they have AA get togethers etc...

But I don't see why we are even mentioning it on this forum, I don't see any way that this could be a malicious society. Although I did notice that once people become regular members, nine times out of ten they end up trying to shove their ideologies down your throat, so it definitely does scare me a bit, but not anything I'd lose sleep over.


Cug

posted on May, 28 2005 @ 06:15 PM
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First of I'd like to thank the mods for not moving this to BTS, I have been thinking about this topic for awhile but hesitated posting it because it could of been moved before I got to the good stuff that is without a question secret society related..

Before I elaborate on this thread, I'd still like to get some more posts on why people think that AA is not a secret society.

So far we have

I'm a wackjob for even thinking about it

Not a Secret Society because the (Non Biz) meetings are open.
It's not a society
It's not a secret

I'll leave this post with two thoughts

Their membership is secret by being anonymous.
"My names _____ and I'm an alcoholic." can be considered an initiation ceremony, a short one, but it's a very powerful/moving one.

Both are pretty common in secret societies.



posted on May, 28 2005 @ 06:23 PM
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Originally posted by Cug
Not a Secret Society because the (Non Biz) meetings are open.
It's not a society
It's not a secret

I'll leave this post with two thoughts

Their membership is secret by being anonymous.
"My names _____ and I'm an alcoholic." can be considered an initiation ceremony, a short one, but it's a very powerful/moving one.


But nothing about AA, except the membership, is secret. Their meeting are open to ALL people, their aims are clear and their meeting places/ times are posted for all to see and attend.

While it does, for some, become a kind of cult-like society, it is not like this for all people. Additionally, AA is not composed of a membership, but rather visitors to the meetings.



posted on May, 29 2005 @ 11:10 AM
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You are right - but this is a problem with the criminal justice system not with AA itself. AA members do not like the "court referred" clients coming in. They welcome them but there are closed meetings where AA members will not sign documentation for the court. The idea is to have only people who really feel that they are alcoholics can attend.

I think that is important for AA members to hang out together outside the meetings. Many times with an addict, their entire lifestyle has been surrounded around the drug.

If my entire peer group is still using then it will be next to impossible for me to stay clean. AA may be the only place that I can build sober relationships.



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