AA Meetings Make Me Wanna Kill Myself
For the record, I am not suicidal. I am neither a threat to myself nor a threat to others. I’ve been in the nuthouse a couple of times, so I know to be careful about making a reference to suicide like that. But goddammit, if you sing the praises of any 12-step program in my presence, I will rip you a new asshole.
Glad we got that out of the way. I feel better now.
Why Do You Hate The Program So Much?
It’s not that I hate the program. It’s that I find it mostly useless and far too religious and cult-like. Sure, there are plenty of people who join 12-step programs and a tiny minority of them stay sober — and those meetings might help them with that — but to act like AA (or NA) is the end-all, be-all of recovery is just small-minded. It’s like telling someone that in order to be moral, they have to attend church services.
I call bullshit.
What’s The Harm In Giving It a Try? What Are You Afraid Of?
There’s no fear. It’s my experience. More than 6 years of it. Different meetings in different towns and different states too.
And it’s not an issue of “you get out of it what you put into it.” None of that “Just World” tomfoolery for me, thank you very much. I gave it my best. I kept an open mind, and I was sorely disappointed.
So What’s So Bad About Sitting Through A Meeting?
Each meeting begins with the same steps — I call them commandments because they sure sound like them — and traditions being read, plus a meditation. If you’re lucky, the leader of the meeting will get someone who is at least half-literate to read the traditions so you’re not sitting there listening to some half-wit trying to pronounce “autonomous.”
For someone like me who is an atheist, all of the “god” stuff is really annoying. And boy is there a lot of it. I get that I’m in the minority as far as the god thing, but any mention of any alternative 12-steps is met with hostility. I swear I’ve even heard cat-like hissing at the mention of steps without some kind of “god” or “higher power.”
What? You Think You Know Everything Then?
Yeah, nice try. I’m not taking that bait. I know I don’t know everything. That’s why I sought out support when I wanted to get sober and to stay sober. The trouble is that questioning the steps or the god stuff is treated as sacrilege. Would you believe that there are complete strangers who will actually come out and ask you what your higher power is?
When I say I don’t believe in that, they tell me that I must have one, and that it can be “the group” or “a doorknob” or something equally stupid.
So let me get this straight:
People in these meetings talk about their “higher power” keeping them sober and having plans for their lives, but I’m supposed to think a doorknob will do that for me while I wait for some magic to happen, and I suddenly start believing in their supernatural, superintendent god? A doorknob is what’s going to keep me out of the liquor store?
Yeah, it’s that stupid.
It’s even worse if you question the “Big Book.” That is the AA “Bible” and is worshipped as such. Oh, there’s a chapter in there that is supposedly written to the “agnostic,” but not only did the authors get agnosticism wrong, they were as sanctimonious about the godless as they were about people who don’t follow their steps.
It’s all fire and brimstone. If you don’t do this, if you don’t do that, you’ll relapse…
Blah, blah, blah.
Well What’s The Point Of The Program In The First Place Then?
To be a member of AA only requires that you have the desire to stop drinking. Being able to sit in a room filled with people who know what it’s like to wake up covered in their own piss and vomit can be very helpful when you are trying to figure out how to live a sober life. There is a tremendous amount of non-judgment and acceptance from people, but only if you are talking about your drinking and the harm you’ve caused.
Your lack of a god or a higher power? It’s torches and pitchforks time, my friend.
If only the other members followed their one and only true rule and left people the hell alone about the supernatural and let attendees “take what they want and leave the rest” like it’s written in their materials, then I wouldn’t be writing this.