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.