Are Anti-AA Blogs Hateful or Helpful?

Are Anti-AA Blogs Hateful or Helpful?

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antiaablogsWhether you like it or not, there are scores of blogs and websites, some more over-the-top than others, aimed at discouraging people from attending AA. Some seem bent on radicalizing former members into anti-AA activists or haters, while others seem cool just promoting awareness that AA isn’t the only game in town and that you can stay sober outside the rooms just fine.

Many anti-AA folks are genuinely concerned about how AA has harmed and can continue to harm people, be it through sexual harassment or sponsors telling people to get off meds, instilling guilt or making otherwise materialists believe in—and pray to—a God to solve their problems. They argue that AA makes many alcoholics worse, and that the program blames members when they relapse, which can lead to further relapse and sometimes suicide.

(It’s important to say here that many active members of AA, a number of whom write for this site, believe AA saved their lives and can therefore save millions of other people; they are often less vitriolic in their stance than the anti-AA crusaders and therefore tend not to create sites that attack the opposite belief.)

Mr. Orange: A Hard-Lined Hater

One of the most longstanding anti-AA sites is The Orange Papers, where A. Orange has written dozens of posts that comprise a sort of manifesto—and online book—on the dangers of Alcoholics Anonymous. Since much of what s/he says is substantiated by research, perusing the Orange Papers might lead even the most devoted AA member to wonder if they’ve unwittingly drunk some noxious Kool-Aid.

At least, this was my first reaction when I stumbled onto the Orange Papers six years ago, in part because the studies that speak to AA’s effectiveness are not mentioned.

Here’s a brief excerpt from the entry 12 Biggest Secrets of AA:

The A.A. dropout rate is terrible. Most people who come to A.A. looking for help in quitting drinking are appalled by the narrow-minded atmosphere of fundamentalist religion and faith-healing. The A.A. meeting room has a revolving door. The therapists, judges, and parole officers (many of whom are themselves hidden members of A.A. or N.A.) continually send new people to A.A., but those newcomers vote with their feet once they see what A.A. really is.

Trying to Change People’s Thinking

Next up is Stinkin’ Thinkin’, which has the subheading of “Muckracking the 12-step Industry.”

On the current homepage of the site, the owner addresses specifically the problem of sexual predation in the rooms, which was recently put on blast in the 2015 documentary The 13th Step by Monica Richardson.

Many AA’s, including myself back in the day, defended the program with the argument that AA is no more dangerous than any other place in the world—sure a newcomer might be lured into a sexual-assault situation, but couldn’t that happen at work, at a movie theatre, at McDonald’s or on the subway?

This theory is countered on Stinkin’ Thinkin’:

The argument that anyone who enters AA is just as vulnerable as they would be in any other public venue is profoundly inaccurate, for several reasons:

  • It has been drummed into our cultural consciousness by trusted sources—from Ann Landers, Dr. Drew, and reality TV to family doctors and therapists—that AA is the only true solution to a debilitating addiction and that the only other options are “jails, institutions, or death.”
  • When one enters a public sphere, one is *not* told *not* to trust his or her own instincts as they are in AA meetings (their “alcoholic brain” —i.e.—“Your best thinking got you here.”).
  • Nor is one told to trust the people one meets on the bus or the mall; while in AA, newcomers who have a hard time turning their will over to God are told to start by turning it over to G.O.D (Group Of Drunks).
  • Nor is one instructed to trust the guidance of a sponsor—an Anonymous stranger with no formal training.

These are solid enough points.

Exposition Is the Name of This Game

ExposeAA is another hard-lined anti-AA site. One of the first phrases that pops out at you when you visit the site is “You’ve Been Lied To.” Above this sentence is a link reading “Is AA a Cult?”

After clicking the link, you’ll read the following:

Even if you are an average adult, you will begin to hear you can no longer make the decisions for your own life. If you are involved with 12-step programs, and look at this statement very clearly, you will see you are not making your decisions, ‘the God of your understanding’ isn’t—instead, others in “the Program” are attempting to do it for you.

Now, how can something like this happen in, or to, the lives of adults? Surely there are individuals who, for whatever their reasons, actually prefer a way of life that consists of ‘others’ telling them what to do, and/or ‘holding their hands’ every step of the way. Perhaps such people are very ill, very immature, or some other factor.

However—most adults are not in this category; most adults, with or without addictions or other life problems, not only want to make the decisions for their own lives, and are perfectly capable of doing so, but have the legal and moral right to do so.

Again, it’s a fair enough argument, though many AA’s will argue that they do not experience someone “telling them what to do.” Still, any of them will agree that “giving direction” is a huge part of the program. The force with which one is pressured to follow said direction can vary hugely depending on who’s dishing out the advice. Many AA’s just give out suggestions or advice, others spew out do-or-drink orders.

(When I was a sponsor, I kept prefacing my advice with these long-winded caveats. “Now, I’m not a professional, and I don’t know everything, and you may not feel comfortable with this, and I don’t want you to be uncomfortable, and I may be totally off the mark, so tell me if I am, but I think maybe if you tried x, y, or z, it might help you. What do you think about that?”)

Finding Some Middle Ground

Though Expose AA, StinkinThinkin and The Orange Papers are all trying to propagate the message that AA not only sucks but is hugely dangerous, a few other anti-AA sites aren’t quite so antagonizing.

One of them called Leaving AA is spearheaded by 13th Step filmmaker Monica Richardson. Though her site is certainly anti-AA, it’s more of a blogroll that keeps up-to-date posts on less-than-supportive news about AA, like lawsuits against AA members for sexual assault or murder, news on shady aspects of the rehab industry, and advocating for freedom with DUI sentencing.

The Empathetic Approach

Another site, and one that’s very dear to me, called Recovering From Recovery, is dedicated to helping people who want to leave AA leave without fear, but the site noticeably lacks antagonism or AA-bashing.

On this site, the user known as ILoveLife writes intelligent and empathetic posts about how to disengage from AA when you are an active member. It’s extremely helpful for anyone too afraid to take this plunge because they hear that if they leave, they will drink again.

(No, not all members think this, but it’s a premise in the Big Book and Twelve and Twelve, and I found in my eight years in the program that roughly 80% of step-working sober members did believe pulling out was a major danger. Also true is that there are enough step-working AA members who have encouraged me to just follow my own path without telling me I’m doomed to an alcoholic death.)

Here’s an excerpt from perhaps one of the most important posts on the RecoveringFromRecovery site called “Leaving AA and Staying Sober”:

I would say you have to be pretty stable to walk away from your support group in recovery. I am not trying to paint a picture, where all you have to do is leave AA to have a great sober life. That is the impression some try to give on forums such as the anti AA Orange Papers forum, and I think this could lead to disaster for some, who need people around them. You have to be honest to yourself about how things are going and why. Some people need more support than others. Some may feel AA is like a cult and should do something about that, while others will just find it irrelevant and boring.

The Sleeper Hit

In a similar vein to Recovering From Recovery is Jon Sleeper’s blog, which also addresses leaving AA and staying sober in a detailed “How To” type post on the home page. Here’s an excerpt:

If you’re someone who’s been in AA a short while and are not yet confident in sobriety, peer support such as that found in meetings can be a crucial factor in early and ongoing recovery. In the absence of any alternative, please think twice and use the fellowship to put some serious distance between you and your last drink before considering any dramatic changes.

AA members with longer periods of abstinence should be mindful that our fellowship’s disease model of alcoholism and its associated dogma of powerlessness can become a catastrophic self-fulfilling prophecy. Quitting AA is not a decision to be taken lightly.

Don’t leave before deprogramming. Have alternative support networks in place. Stay actively “in recovery”. How you do that is up to you.

I left abruptly but most folks seem to find a “one foot in and one foot out” strategy more appropriate so, on reflection, that’s probably the recommended course of action.

By nature this is always a personal journey. It’s not easy and takes a fair amount of work. Practice due diligence, arm yourself with the facts, and find the real truth about your condition.

Tread carefully and remember that AA’s a pretty friendly place, so you can always go back if you don’t feel good about life outside the fellowship. No-one will mind. The door, as they say, swings both ways.

These posts on Recovering From Recovery and by Jon Sleeper fueled my own courage to bow out of the program, and I can’t thank them enough. There are many people who leave who don’t relapse, but since they’re not in meetings sharing about it, we rarely hear from them. I assume many AA’s are well-meaning when they warn of deadly relapse—they just aren’t aware of the success stories.

It’s important to hear them.

Thank God for Free Speech

Sure it’s easy to get pissed off at all the anti-AA stuff if you’re a die-hard AA member. But hey, all these bloggers have the first amendment on their side. In addition to creating tons of backlash, these sites can also help people like me sort out whether they want to stay in AA in the first place, and give them the courage to leave.

I guess that’s my constitutional right.

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35 Comments

  1. Her description is tame compared to what happened to me! I was subjected to extreme judgmentalism, criticism, denial of my right to have an individual selfhood, brainwashing and indoctrination of hateful beliefs and forced to be more sick than I had ever been before I walked in the door or the rooms. I was so fragile when I got there that they were able to brainwash me and trap me into staying for 27 years! It is unconscionable what they did to me and they all should be locked up for the rest of their lives and the key thrown away!

  2. If it doesn’t work for you that is fine, try something else. AA doesn’t have all the answers. What worked for some may not work for others. Don’t know what the percentage is of people who maintain long term sobriety and clean time but I know that for me it has been 100%. Lots of friends who stopped going to AA after 5, 10, 20, 30 and more years and that is cool. AA is not perfect but for the last 39+ years I have not been in jail, pointed a gun at anyone, been able to get an education, become a professional. raise a family, travel and continue to be an active contributing member of my community. Big difference from the uneducated, unemployable, hopeless individual who walked through the door. So if you think there is a better way I encourage you to go for it, everyone deserves to be happy and if you find your own way, good on ya! Nobody is going to chain you to a chair. Have a great day. Peace.

    • Tks, Rawley for your reasoned response to some of the negative comments. You are so right! If it doesn’t work for you, then leave. If you’re sent there by the court, with your white piece of paper, then obey and remain for your ‘sentence’. You have a free will! Exercise your free will and live as you choose. I too left AA, for over 20 years and remained sober. I returned, when I realized, as a person living alone, I needed the ‘people’ factor in my life; sober ppl! Sobriety is so much more than “not taking the first drink”, which is essential, of course. AA/Big Book/Bill W. sobriety is: new life lived daily in relative peace in my heart and soul, with reasonable sanity in God’s grace. In Dec., with God’s grace and AA, I’ll celebrate 50 years of continuous sobriety. I’m really old now! 🙂

  3. Thank you for referring to jonsleeper / jon stewart. He is in my opinion the most intelligent and balanced commentator on the subject of AA versus other courses. I myself do attend AA and do services for the fellowship. The extremism that one sees on both sides of the debate can be depressing.

  4. Hi everyone, I’m going to be starting a phone meeting for people who need some extra support in transitioning out of AA. (Or who aren’t sure they need to transition at all). After 28 years of sobriety in AA, I’m feeling like I need something different, but haven’t been able to find it yet in any of the alternatives.

    The first half of the group will be for talking about whatever issues are coming up for you around leaving AA. Whether it be anger, bewilderment, self-doubt, etc. And in the second half, we’ll talk about how we stay sober today. The group is for both the believer and the non-believer. Please email me for details: [email protected].

    If you’re feeling alone in this journey, give this group a try!

    Meredith

  5. AA is a Ki (or Chi) Ponzi scheme. Bill Wilson’s (stock broker) contemporaries have tis taken this to a new extreme.

    Once they get under your skin with mantras, or thought prayers (which do have an effect on members and the society as a whole; we are all a bit psychic), then they start to work on you in other ways. Consciousness segmentation, behavioralism and reinforcement, and psycho-sexual torture are common.

    As they steal the information that makes a person who s/he is, it exposes not only the person, but their family and friends – it leaves them open to attack. WE know something about you and your friends and your family… the equivalent of Gestapo tactics. It is the same as group think, or spiritual fascism, that seeks to annihilate individuality and replace it with the group in the name of something unfathomable and never-ending (in terms of thinking and conversation) , God, a thing so steeped in our culture. Talk about a way to literally screw an already confused mind.

    As the group gains in knowledge (a form of power) and if you attempt to leave – they destroy your anonymity and spread your name and information amongst they preform themselves – then they “boilplate” from near or far – brains are hardwired to answer questions – and everyone is psychic. All someone has to do is question the defector’s brain from as many people that can be mustered until they are shut-down. The 800-pound gorrilla approach to rope-a-dope. Once that person is worn-out, they come around seeking to draw you back in (Stockholm Syndrome) or your personal assassination. “your gotta be sick and tired” – Well I’m not from Akron, Ohio (tire capital and home of Bill W) nor am I the person that raises their hand states their name and declares they are sick – not a way to wellness.

  6. Long Dong Silver on

    I hate AA because it actively has attacked every attempt I have made at sobriety.

    AA’s biggest crime is that there are wonder drugs that cure alcoholism and they do NOT WANT YOU TO TOUCH THEM. Naltrexone alone kept me sober for 3 years, long after I was off it. I relapsed after a number of horrible events happened in a very short period, eventually I realized I was self-destructing. My insurance at that time actually covered Vivitrol. One shot and no matter what, I would be sober for a month. I went to THREE separate doctors and they all demanded I go to AA for 3 months first, none had even heard of SMART or CBT.

    They really hate SMART and CBT(Therapy) because most alcoholics have experienced trauma at some point in their lives and this is the rational way to deal with the underlying issue.

    AA meetings are not like the group therapy sessions Hollywood portrays, it is really cult like. At best two people get to talk, most involve group reading from “The Book of Bob” like it is bible study. There are ALWAYS 1-5 judgemental extremists who will attack you for minor things after admitting to felonies that would require protective custody. Not to mention the sexual predators who are only there to feed off vulnerable people. They are a seriously creepy bunch.

    Nothing pissed my AA group off more than when I mentioned going into a local bar to watch a non-local Hockey game and didn’t try to order a drink. To me, that is showing willpower, they wanted to stone me to death for it.

    • Long Dong Silver – I’m pleased to say that your depiction is unrecognizable compared to anything I have experienced in ‘the rooms’.

  7. Wow, nice look at the anti-AA blogs!

    I’ve been in spots like that before, when a subject is needed and nothing will come to mind. Winding up doing an essay on people who build birdhouses, or on organizations against the infield fly rule.

    Anyway, enjoyed your style.

  8. Yah, Expose AA got a nod. I am the current owner of Expose AA, an Anti-AA site that I inherited from the original creators. I took over the site as owner because the original owner had lost interest in the site and couldn’t afford the fees associated with keeping the site up.

    I keep the site up for a number of reasons. One, for people leaving AA or questioning the program, I think it is necessary in order to validate their thoughts and feelings towards AA. Second, it needs to be pointed out that, despite what the Fellowship says and what AA members will tell you, the AA 12 Step program is without a doubt religious in nature and the program in one of religious activities; in fact there are some 20 U.S. court cases (both federal and state courts) that have ruled that 12 Step programs are in fact religious activities. Third, there are a number of non-God alternatives to the AA approach and people should be educated about their choices. Fourth, it is my opinion that there is no disease of alcoholism (or addiction) and the contrasting views of such people as Stanton Peele, Marc Lewis and Lance Dodes should be presented and discussed widely. Fifth, and again contrary to what AA will tell you, there is an awful lot of coercion involved in sending people to 12 Step meetings. AA is not a program built on attraction but a program built on promotion. Last, I keep the Expose AA website up because AA & the 12 Steps don’t help a lot of people and does at times do more harm than good.

    There is a particularly disturbing video that presents the story of some parents that lost their young son to addiction due, in large part, to relying on treatment centers that are 12 Step based and staffed by untrained, uneducated and unethical people. These treatment centers in the US are owned, for the most part, by individuals that are in the industry to make money. What happened to these parent’s son should be alarming. The video is titled “Dying For Treatment” and was produced by VICE.

    I particularly like the page on the Expose AA website titled “AA and the US Constitution” which identifies the previously mentioned court cases that found AA and the 12 Steps to be religious activities (Spiritual, not Religious). I also like the “Follow the Money” page that shows Bill W. died a millionaire (Nobody ever made a dime on AA). I really like the “AA Wall of Shame” page. : )

    I myself would never recommend AA or a 12 Step program to any person with an addiction problem.

    Is AA a Cult? There is a article that was published back in 1984 in the periodical California Sociologist. This article is titled “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Unseen Cult”. The article, written by two California sociologists, concluded that AA is indeed a cult. This was in 1984. Google the question Is AA a Cult, do some research, and decide for yourself.

    If you believe that God can, and will, help you with addiction, then by all means check out an AA meeting.

    If you think science and evidence-based methods will work better then check out SMART Recovery, Jack Trimpy’s Rational Recovery, Stanton Peele’s The Life Process Program, SOS or others.

    Yep, I am decidedly Anti-AA. Are Anti-AA Blogs hateful or helpful? In my opinion, Anti-AA blogs are helpful. AA ain’t for everybody.

    Thanks for the article Tracy, and thanks for the follow on Twitter. Maybe your next article can be: Is AA more harmful than helpful?

  9. My foray into anti AA blogs came when I relocated away from a wonderful recovery area and had looked up alternatives to AA. That led to the Orange Papers Forum. It amazed me to see all of the criticisms about AA. What was even more amazing was how strongly these people felt against anyone that didn’t agree with them. This culminated in being stalked online, everything these people could find in cyberspace on me being reported back, Skype sessions being created to share information, attempts being made to contact my husband at work, and photos of his ex-wife being disseminated despite knowing of her fragile emotional health. This type of thing kept the founders of Stinkin’ Thinkin’ from reopening their forum.

    There seems to be a level of hate on those blogs that doesn’t stop with the realization that the people they communicate with online aren’t the same people they met in the rooms. It has been a pretty interesting ride.

  10. AA is Malpractice. AA as written is Psychological abuse, There are no two ways or a moderate way about it.

    Below are two of AA’s [false] claims, [falsely] said to be from God.

    1 whenever you are disturbed you are invariably at fault.
    2. there is no such thing as justifiable anger.

    AA literature denies victims rights to speech and their legal rights.

    AA Inc. is liable for authorizing the use of AA’s damaging property.

  11. @Tracy: Thank you for mentioning my post “Is A.A. a Cult?”
    Just to let you know, though, I contributed that particular post to EXPAA a few years ago, but I don’t actually own or manage EXPAA. I’m only a member who occasionally posts there.

  12. Brian M. in KC on

    It saddens me that so many people have had a bad experience in AA, or any 12-step program for that matter. Unfortunately there are a lot of bad groups out there, which is why I always tell newcomers don’t just go to 1 or 2 groups, you may have to try 5 or more before you find a good one. There are fantastic groups out there! These are the groups that talk in the solution and not in the problem. These are the groups that don’t have grumpy angry dry drunks who aren’t working the program but who think they are. These are the groups who share experience strength and hope and don’t give advice. These are the groups who make it very clear that AA is NOT a religious program, a spiritually program yes, but spirituality and religion are completely different. In my opinion, the Lord’s prayer has no place in a 12-step meeting, but many groups close the meeting with it. In fact, the first time I tried a 12-step program there was talk of Jesus, God, and they closed with the Lord’s prayer. As an atheist, I immediately concluded that I am not going to this place if this is what it’s all about. It wasn’t until years later when I was ready to try again and this time was armed with the advice to look for the similarities not the differences, that I hung around long enough to eventually find a group that actually works the program as it was intended. I absolutely love my group and everyone in it, it truly is an amazing experience every time i attend. I encourage anyone not to immediately give up on 12-step or write it off as I first did, but to keep searching and looking for the right group for you.

    • Michelle Gaines on

      No, Brian, No! To be an atheist in AA is impossible. It produces cognitive dissonance, Having to constantly rewrite every word in that God-filled, evangelical Christian text every time it is read to open a meeting. The disparities melted my brain. Not one prayer I ever prayed was ever answered. The evidence was irrefutable–I didn’t drink because I didn’t drink. Nothing supernatural involved at all. And the harm that toxic program caused is still taking years to undo. My husband killed himself at the altar of Bill Wilson. I chose to live, but will live forever HATE that cult, and how it destroyed us. An atheist in AA!!! That’s a complete mind-fuck!

      • “An atheist in AA!!! That’s a complete mind-fuck!”

        Well said Michelle. Yep, if you are an atheist that insists AA helps you, then you are not a real atheist. lol

  13. I’ve consciously chosen to place myself as one of the more extreme of the Antis. I feel even an obligation in this, an obligation that the author, Tracy Chabala, indicates is probably well-founded. The Anti-AA position gives more freedom to those that want to take a more “moderate” approach. I think it would even be fair to say that without those willing to risk censure for taking the stance of Anti-AA the moderates wouldn’t exist because they would be too afraid to risk going against the dogma of AA that says leaving AA means “jails, institutions, or death.” Chabala comes close to saying this herself.

    However, I think the goals of the Antis are furthered by “moderates.” At the most basic level any true Anti has the most basic goal of AA decreasing in numbers. “Moderates” further the dissemination of the idea that AA is neither the best nor the only way to stay sober, which then clearly leads to the decline in AA membership.

    When I become annoyed with “moderates” is when they denigrate the Anti-AA stance and pretend that being “moderate” is the best way to approach the issue of AA dominating the popular imagination as the best and only cure for “addiction.” I don’t think that Chabala does this but rather makes tentative steps for showing how necessary the Anti-AA stance is for even the “moderates.” Antis are then to a certain extent the martyrs that give “moderates” the courage to stand up to AA.

    May this momentum grow as AA membership continues to decline–AA has had more or less flat-lined membership since 1995 but interestingly has not posted its membership stats for this year and considering the strong Anti-AA and also Pro Alternative/”moderate” attention that AA has received this year in the media it seems likely that AA has started to fall–which I think is wonderful because I’m Anti-AA

  14. Hi Tracy.

    Thanks for the kind words about my blog: jonsleeper.wordpress.com

    RecoveringFromRecovery.com influenced me a lot, not least because it showed me that you could keep a balanced approach, and we’ve done lots of podcasts together this year.

    People need to know the options available, particularly those of us who are atheist and live in the material rather than the “spiritual” world, but bashing someone else’s recovery is not going to help.

    Recovery is precious. Tread carefully, find people you can trust, be true to yourself, and good luck.

    Jon S

    • Knuck, Are you aware that you are referring “those with ire to AA and BB thumpers” to a paper written by 12-Steppers as a “good read”? That strikes me as someone telling those who were upset about Catholic priests molesting children and church authority protecting the priests to go read what church authorities have to say about it ((back when they were denying it).

      Anonymity is a useful thing, I suppose, when one wants to deceive.

  15. Pingback: Recovering-from-Recovery Tracy Chabala piece mentions www.recoveringfromrecovery.com - Recovering-from-Recovery

  16. Hi Tracy,
    thanks for mentioning my site http://www.recoveringfromrecovery.com/leave-aa/ in your post. I am not anti AA as I can see that being in AA does help many people in a positive way and that it is the biggest support network our there. I certainly made use of the large number of meetings in my early days for the fellowship, but was not a fan of the religious side or the steps.
    I did decide that it was not for me long term and so I decided to move on and I did have issues with some of the more extreme members. I felt it was important to attempt to give a bit of a voice to those who had moved on from AA and done it successfully, especially those who had a big problem with alcohol. I wanted to highlight the alternatives to AA and also talk about some of the great books that are out there. I learnt a lot from reading and I think it is important to keep an open mind in recovery about the best way to recover.
    There is no one way that will suit everyone, although many in AA will claim that the steps will help all, even when they see people fall by the wayside. This leads to many in AA having a closed mind to alternative solutions and this can lead to poor advice being given to newcomers, who could benefit from exploring a variety of solutions.
    I suppose I am more pro choice than anti AA, in fact I find many of the people who post anti AA comments ridiculous. I certainly get a lot of criticism from the small number of people who follow the Orange Papers forum and who tend to try and fill up any comment board that will give them access with a load of anti AA posts that are generally ignored by most readers. They tend to be as narrow minded as the hard core Big Book thumpers that they want to argue with. They are always ready to tell others in recovery what they should think and are intolerant of anyone who is not shouting out AA is a cult. I think that they often weaken the arguments against AA and their support of other methods is also not always a good thing as they often appear to be crazy!
    I think the book “The Sober Truth” by Lance Dodes is a more accurate picture of AA and how it has developed, rather than many of the Anti sites. I certainly think that more people could be helped by more modern solutions and hope that they become more widely available, but I would certainly not want to see AA destroyed as it has a part to play and over a million people who are regularly involved in it find it helpful.
    I do podcasts now on http://www.alcoholism-recovery-radio.com and on the main site so if you fancy doing one with me, I would really appreciate it.

  17. There was this guy letting his dog shit on my front yard. I didn’t mean to profile him but his Levi’s were pressed. He looked like a LLBean mannequin.. Not really sure why that matters, I like most LLBean stuff. Anyway, Technically it was on the street side of the fence so it was town property yes, I get it but I mow the grass there, string Christmas lights there, I step in shit there, it smells like shit there. There’s a dying dog piss bush there. So I said HEY! don’t let the dog shit on my front lawn! Go shit on your own lawn! Obviously threatening and far too harsh. Very deep male. Very very male.. I should have said excuse me sir, is that your animal circling my bush prairie doggin? while you avoid eve contact with me? I’m ready to do the whack-a-mole with my boot. (ooops) Excuse me Mr. could you and your dog keep moving please because I’m all Spiritual and working my program praying for love and tolerance of others. Honesty truth, to be brave clean and reverent is our code..God on board…Honk if you love Jesus..I break for yard sales, nevermind………………….

    He yells back : you don’t own 10 feet from the edge something something… it’s a free country mumble mumble jibberish, ( this of course sounds to me like I’m ugly and my mother dresses funny) , so I’m ready to launch out on a course of vigorous action. He says he’s within his Constitutional rights as an American citizen to let his dog shit there as long as he abides by the law and bags it. (which he did do) I watched him do the two finger squeeze, into the clear sandwich baggie.. At first I was taken back a bit by the legal defense. I have an alarm that goes off when anybody gets all techno legal that says avoid lawyers! (don’t go in there!) but replied anyway cuz I was now ready for a fight. I surmised we were the same size therefore I would knock his head off, pull his spine from his neck hole and skewer the dog with it then sticking it in the ground to mark his grave (oops)……………………………………………………….

    So I responded with: That may be true on paper but being responsible for those rights is where you selfishly fail there, my unworthy opponent. The dog shits there and you pick it up. The next dog comes along and smells where the last dog shit even though the shit has been picked up. The dog shits there, the owner picks up the shit and the next dog comes along and shits there, the master picks it up. The next dog comes along and smells the common shit spot but already dumped earlier so just a piss on the bush to leave a scent. The next dog on his daily walk waits until my yard to shit where he always shits now kicking and digging the “was grass/ now dirt” with his back paws in delight..Happy Dog! and on and on.

    I’ve been online as Stepsherpa for many years. I have thousands of posts. At one point maybe 5 years ago, to google me would show pages of material. I have seen those get away with shitting on threads and then the next H8TR comes by and the next. It’s easy to understand by the threads they respond to. Mostly silly repetition, meaningless filler. Just like the dog sniffs out their security so does the AA H8TR. There is no accountability. I needed to understand that the people I deal with on the internet “RECOVERY” are generally not at all as they appear in their natural habitat as they pitter patter on the keyboard or android in an effort to be heard, to be validated by each other. In Big Book this is referred to as people worshiping………………………………………………………………

    Oh. the latest harm reduction group survey has voted 97% all business to 2% with the giggles with 1% taking the ballet home for review, Joe!……………………….. The term “Bill did LSD” has become the most widely used justification for meaningless H8TR posts. “They” are now apparently embarrassed to admit that Bill did LSD (((but))) it was legal and administered by a Doctor in a clinical medical setting…It was a hopeful cure for alcoholism by the Medical Fraternity at the time. So quick gear change..Harm reduction groups are now directed to use “Bill cheated on Louis” as any and all valid responses to a positive AA format.. Or in a quick drive by recovery debate on the likes of say Craigslist or the Fix where the boss is coming or the library is closing, mom is home from work, must get back to class, then? in a pinch, a simple “Bill Sucks” is acceptable………………………………………Then there’s Intherooms where the administration focuses on the the game or weather, pictures and comment of how funny fat people look on bicycles was particularly shocking for the over eater crowd. There’s also the play by play blogger who has made the jump from slip on loafers to shoelaces and the stress involved everyone can identify with……………………………………………….

    We who travel this dubious path see the writing on the web wall. The purpose now, the next level for these sites is to make the transition to mainstream media. The lovers and H8TRS of AA and or recovery as we see it today are slowly being erased from the public eye. No money in it. People follow the Friar Tuck of so cal who advocates AA 12 Steps yet has no prior experience? I honestly have no idea why. Credentials up the pulpit. Subtly pushing Catholicism, cashing in on the addiction wave. Send money, by the Book..The TV show where writers seek to balance dramatic 12 Step living. Really? Really?? Dr. Oz, Phil, Moe, Curley, Larry on prime time bringing addiction to your living room. And you sit back and wait to yell WHEEL- OF- FORTUNE!!! at 5:00.

    It must be true I saw it on Yahoo news.

    The best one is Big Book 12 Steps in 4 hours. Talk about a great marketing ploy. Big Book Sponsorship. See That really amazes me because when I came around Big Book 12 Steps some 33 years ago a simple question like without looking, what color was the shirt I was wearing? would need to be multiple choice and even then iffy.

    It all comes down to this. People are searching for an intellectual cure for their Spiritual malady. They deny the Spirit of things. I don’t. But who am I to deny someone the instant gratification of worshiping people. No Spirit of the universe? Fine, I’m not you. How you feel does not define me or my beliefs. It’s all I did years ago, rely on my arrangements of people, it works..People offer instant emotional security especially when it’s two against one, real or imagined. You like me, I like me, they’re screwed up and we’re ok. How do you like me so far. You like me agree with me, great. Now I feel good about myself. Just don’t leave because then you take me with you leaving me empty and betrayed. I’ll be quick to seek out my emotional security from someone else. Someone somewhere to take my pain away..

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About Author

Tracy Chabala is a freelance writer for many publications including the LA Times, LA Weekly, Smashd, VICE and Salon. She writes mostly about food, technology and culture, in addition to addiction and mental health. She holds a Master's in Professional Writing from USC and is finishing up her novel.