Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Alcoholics Anonymous

Last night I was watching a re-run of Penn&Teller (great show). They were going on about Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). I really liked the spin they put on the 12 steps. Couple of things stood out for me.

  • AA claimed that Alcoholism was a disease - Alcoholism has never fit the criteria of a disease (not the current definition and neither any past definitions)
  • 12 steps advocates - NOT taking responsibility for your actions. Real shame isn't it?
  • AA has never adjusted, evaluated or re-evaluated their steps or service in the past however many years it has been
  • AA itself has never done any research or has statistics to provide their success rates
  • ONE research done in 1983 showed that people who go through AA - sucess rate 5%, people who don't go through it 5% - AA makes no difference!

Penn& Teller - They did have a point.

Here are the 12 steps and some commentary by a fellow blogger

#1) We admitted we were powerless over alcohol -- that our lives had become unmanageable.
We admitted that we had no self-control. We drank because we wanted to drink, and we wanted to drink more than we wanted to do anything else. Maybe diving into a bottle was better than actually dealing with stuff. Who cares? It was funner.
#2) Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Gave up our own will, in order to rely on an abstract. We looked to the heavens and decided that they were better than our own minds, because we were always juiced up, and our minds were a little imbalanced.
#3) Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Completely threw our hands in the air, and stated that we are incapable of taking care of ourselves, so we should just let someone else take care of it. I don't trust anybody actually around me to help, so I believe that I'll let "God" do all the work. Let's all head over to the nearest church basement and let "God's chosen representative (tm)" tell us how to live our lives. "Just think of the stories we can get these people to tell, that is if they can remember any of them."
#4) Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Whose "morals"? Ours or someone elses?
#5) Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
I fucked up, and I told somebody else about it. They didn't beat me or call me bad names, so I guess it was a good thing. Who cares if it was a bus driver and a voice in my head that I told it to?
#6) Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
I am not perfect and that is unnacceptible! I must be perfect in the eyes of someone! Wait, I'll make someone up who thinks I'm okay!
#7) Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Oh crap! Now I actually have to ask the person I just made up to do, what I made him up for. What kind of crap is this?
#8) Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
First I'd like to recognize Mom. She went through labor to bring me into this world, so I am willing to watch Fahrenheit 9/11, 911 times to atone for the grievous pain I caused her.
#9) Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Obviously the F 9/11 thing won't work, as watching that "film" 911 times will only encourage him to make more. I could never do that to society.
#10) Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
"Socks, check. Shirt, Check. Clean underwear, Weeeeeeelllllllll...I'm wrong for not having clean underwear!" Someone hug me.
#11) Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
"Hey there dude. I know I just created you out of thin air 'n stuff, but can you tell me what you want me to do? Oh yeah, and make me do it too?"
#12) Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
"So stranger. I notice that you are imbibing a substance that I no longer partake of. Let me introduce you to the fellow that I "just made up". He's really groovy, and will fix all your problems. All you gotta do is ask him."

I say "Do it your Damn-Self". If you can't find any "real people" out there to help you out and give you the support that you need, you need to find some new friends and/or family.
If you don't want to quit, then you won't. If you do (no I mean really do) want to give it up, you will. It's just that simple. Make up your mind and do what you want to do.

One step. Much simpler.