Gabrielle Glaser is on a one-woman mission to debunk Alcoholics Anonymous. She’s three very important things: Published, angry and ignorant as hell. Sadly, she may even have a growing audience, though that says more about the audience than it does what (or whom) she’s attacking. At the heart of her disdain for all that is AA is the absurd notion that she should be able to drink with control rather than abstain. Now, I think the notion that any alcoholic could somehow successfully consume alcohol in moderation is bat-shit crazy, but hey, do what you want! It’s a free world, right? Well, not really but you get what I mean. The point is, I’ve tried all of that “moderation” crap and it doesn’t work for me. Jesus man, if there was a way I could successfully drink moderately, believe me, I’d have found it. Once the receptors in my brain pick up that first drop, I’m off to the races and you won’t be able to stop me with anything less than a Howitzer. Well, maybe something considerably smaller, but I digress.
In any event, she contacted AA for a comment on her last attempted expose and their response was “AA has no opinions on outside issues”, and hers is definitely an “outside issue” – but this lackadaisical attitude of AA often drives many members up a wall. We want verbal or written retaliation, retribution, for AA to defend a way of life that has saved more wretches than the song brought tear to eye.
An example of one such attack would be Gaby’s assertion that AA’s success rate is between 5 and 8 percent. I have, myself, fallen for this slight of hand… When put in the proper context, it’s not, of course – only a dipshit freshman in statistics would make the mistake of looking at AA so obtusely – or someone who intended to deceive those who read their work. It’s closer to 100 percent than it is ten. In twenty-two years, I have never seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed the path. I’ve seen plenty who have half-assed it fall flat on their face but that’s a whole different can of worms. Now, of those who are sentenced to AA, only a small handful manage to get or stay sober for any length of time but only that handful who make it have any desire to be there and do what it takes to finally be free of the bondage of alcoholism. You can lead a horse to water but if that horse happens to be a drunk, he’ll pass that water up for a beer any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Choosing a life of sobriety is not easy. It requires a level of honesty that many people find uncomfortable. It requires a devotion to humility, service and respecting others (even those ignorant dopes who tread on us to sell a book). It requires that we alcoholics give up the escape – and it requires that we make a decision to do so of our own free will. Of those who walk through the door with their court paper in hand, how many end up with the willingness to make it? One in ten, if you’re lucky. The rest of them are marking time until they’re out of trouble and can drink again. You can’t possibly put that failure on AA, unless you’re that freshman or looking to deceive people.
Then there’s God. It helps if we embrace God, or a Higher Power, however it isn’t a necessity. Those who choose to attack AA, whether ignorantly or deceptively, mischaracterize the program as requiring a belief in God while an entire chapter of the instruction portion of the book (just 164 pages) is devoted to atheists and how AA can work for them, if they so choose. We have room for any drunk who is tired of being sick and tired. That’s just how we roll.
So, why the ignorant and deceptive attacks? The answer is quite simple: Alcoholics Anonymous is free. Free of charge, free of regulation, free of governance. There are no leaders in AA, only trusted servants – and those servants have no authority over any individual or group. Alcoholics Anonymous requires no paid professionals (though they sure do help in treatment, most can get along just fine without them). Finally Alcoholics Anonymous is, and forever shall remain, anonymous. In short, Alcoholics Anonymous can’t be sold or controlled. Most “progressive” weak-kneed liberals fear what they cannot sell or control, and therein lies the rub.
Now, here’s why AA does not and never should respond to such attacks: You can’t fix or debate stupid anymore than you can stop AA. You’d be better served outlawing churches, coffee makers, resentments and friendship. Short of that, Alcoholics Anonymous will move on, it will survive such attacks, ignorant or deceptive. In other, simpler words: You can’t put that genie back in the lamp. We, as a whole, are above retaliation because retaliation will not serve the betterment of those who seek refuge, who seek a better life, who seek to finally be free at last, of alcohol. If we try to debate stupid, or worse; bitter and stupid, eventually we will be dragged down to that level.
Better to let the whirling dervishes whirl.
Of course, as you can see, I don’t mind taking a poke at dopes for sport. Ah well, we never claim perfection. I do not represent AA in any way, shape or form. My opinions, as expressed here in this post, are my own and are not sanctioned in any way, shape or form by Alcoholics Anonymous. AA’s response to Gaby Glaser’s article was “AA does not have any opinion on outside issues”. AA may not, but I don’t mind throwing in to set the record straight once in a while.
The question may be asked, and fairly answered: Am I a bike snob?
I do love my bikes. My race bike is coolest in my stable (rivaled only by my wife’s race bike), my mountain bike matches my race bike and my rain bike will be painted this summer to match as well (though I’m going way cooler than just simple black and red). My helmet matches, most of my clothing matches, my wheels match, even my pedals match on the race bike. My socks are the proper length (though I do go with 3″ above the ankle, not the 5″ because I think the long socks look goofy – sorry), my sunglass arms always go over my helmet straps, my tire stamps match up with my valves… Heck, even my computer matches my bike. When it comes to my stuff, I am meticulous about looking good and making certain I ride competently.
When it comes to my bikes, I’m also very particular about what I ride on the road – carbon fiber all the way. Even my nasty weather bike has a composite frame. The mountain bike is aluminum, sure, but I only ride that a few times a year – I don’t have a need (or desire) for a $3,000 mountain bike. Does the choice to ride a carbon fiber frame make one a snob though?
Alas, to an extent, I could be seen as such. As far as I’m concerned about what I ride, I am very particular and because of that fact, the leap for the poorly informed could be that I am a snob… Let’s look at the definition of snob so we can all get an idea of where I’m coming from on this little slight of word – this trick in upending the English language:
- a person who believes that their tastes in a particular area are superior to those of other people.
So, am I, well… That? Not even close, though I do have a particular disdain for those who ride a Time Trial bike in a group setting. I won’t go anywhere near them until (and unless) they prove themselves competent on such a bike within the group. That’s not snobby though, that’s self-preservation! How about what other people ride? This being an honest program, I can say with utter certainty that I could not possibly care less about what somebody else chooses to ride. I don’t look down my nose at anyone, not even the “I lost my license because I got a drunk driving ticket” cyclist. Hell, anyone who’s read more than three posts on this blog knows I can relate to that guy… If you missed it, the name of my blog is Fit Recovery – that “recovery” part isn’t a river in Egypt.
If that wasn’t enough, then we have to look at the idea that I would have to believe that my tastes are superior to others… That excludes me, incontrovertibly. While I may not understand one’s choice, that’s a far cry from believing my choice or “tastes” are superior.
Being a snob boils down to one simple thing: How one treats others. Just because one chooses to ride nice bikes and wear matching apparel, a snob, this does not one make.
I believe, rather than worrying about who is or is not a “snob”, it is far more important that I do my part to make the sport I love, attractive. Being a dick about how people choose to participate would probably counter that most excellent ideal.