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If you know anyone who's ever been in AA or similarly modelled drug treatment programs, what I am about to say will not surprise you... it sure as hell didn't surprise me.

In my area, they recently aired a commercial on Overeaters Anonymous (oa.org). So, you know, I decided to see just how AA-inspired they were. I found this on their Twelve Traditions page (these are items #2 and #3). Note the highlighted #2.

2.For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority — a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
3.The only requirement for OA membership is a desire to stop eating compulsively.

These two statements are, of course, completely contradictory. If a belief in god is required, then wanting to stop eating compulsively really isn't their only requirement for membership. And putting up with that obsequiously bit about them "only being trusted servants" might really be too much to tolerate for someone who otherwise really needs their help.

This theme of course is repeated elsewhere on their site. I'm sure they help a lot of people, but they certainly aren't as open to everyone as they claim, and they should stop pretending they are.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 3rd, 2010 03:22 am (UTC)
no shit...
the references to any god in a system like this are both an excuse for weakness, as well as removal of any sense of personal responsibility from the issue.

it's part of the preydation that goes on with organizations like this. hit them when they're weak. it's as much about indoctrination as it is helping people.
Oct. 3rd, 2010 03:27 pm (UTC)
Re: no shit...
I know. Funerals, drug addiction, prison, hospital chaplains... they are all designed to take advantage of the weak, and it's these things that make me the most angry. Believers don't get it because they find it comforting and can't see what's happening as they are being victimized.
Dec. 6th, 2010 04:37 pm (UTC)
It is unfortunate (or fortunate depending upon perspective) that so many healing models use religion. One of the most unfortunate aspects is that there are many different spiritual beliefs (including not believing in God)that have no say because Christianity rules. It has been shown (yes, through scientific studies) that a belief in God or prayer can speed healing and lead to a better prognosis with different types of disorders both physical and mental (including addiction). HOWEVER, we don't know why. We are finding (actually we've known for a great long time) that belief influences our potential to heal, to learn, to change. Belief is the 'founding father' of our state of being. Maybe we are God? LOL... I didn't say that. Really, I do believe in God... just not as the Christians do. I'm not just 'saying stuff'. I do know how to evaluate a scientific study and any real research that I do includes researching peer reviewed journal articles in scientific publications. Being a 'philosophy guy'; I'm wondering how aware you are of quantum physics and what your opinions are in regard to the 'problems' faced in that field at this time. Just because a formula works doesn't always mean we know why it works. :D In fact, it's a little freaky... the study of atoms is a little strange! Paranormal mumbo jumbo? Nah, just a study of nature... that we don't quite understand at this time. In my groups that I teach for mental health I teach that responsibility=power. People can interpret this on many different levels. Certainly no whining about being a 'victim of circumstance' when we understand this theoretical framework for existing in this reality. :) It's like doubt has a whole life force of its own, really. Not doubt in God (necessarily) but doubt in anything. If there is no device to measure (observe), is there anything to observe? This is where physics and philosophy meet.

Anyway, I just happened upon your journal while attempting to research legitimate objections to Bruce Lipton's theories but was unable to find anything legitimate (if you have anything, please share). So, I'm glad I came upon it. It is thought provoking (even if I disagree) and I have managed to do quite a bit of procrastinating. Have to get a paper done. You would love it, it is on somatic representations of trauma and how to heal them. :D (would maybe bridge into holistic medicine due to the nature of treating both the emotional and physical aspects of PTSD and other trauma spectrum disorders)
Dec. 6th, 2010 11:09 pm (UTC)
Actually, I went back to school for a degree in physics. I know a fair sight more quantum mechanics than most people, certainly most medical doctors or philosophy people, even if I wouldn't call myself an official expert in quantum mechanics.
Dec. 6th, 2010 11:12 pm (UTC)
Your definition of legitimate is somewhat questionable, btw. "We don't know" is a long way from the mind = soul = placebo is real. Lipton equivocates often on what "real" means.
Dec. 10th, 2010 12:27 am (UTC)
Oh, that's cool. Do you hold a degree in physics? I was curious when I saw that you said something about 'metaphysics' class. I've never seen any class like that offered at a university. I would probably enjoy it :) . There are 2 sides of the brain that we theorize (in an educated sort of way :) ) are responsible for 2 different ways of thinking. It's a lot like having 2 brains, actually. One side is responsible for analytical thought, linear, logical thought. The other is responsible for creativity, visual imagery, music, and has also been tied to 'spiritual' type of thought. I guess that a scientist would strive to have a good balance. I know I tend to lean more to the artsy and imaginative which is why learning to evaluate a study was amongst the more important things that I have taken from school. Without it, I would admittedly love to believe a lot of things are 'legitimate' when we actually do not know. However, I'm pretty grateful for the right side too. Mind=soul=placebo? :) I wonder if there is ever a time when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Like looking at a sunset. Pixels is all it is... little pixels. Yet, the experience of beauty is greater than the sum of its parts. Well, food for thought anyway.
Dec. 11th, 2010 03:31 am (UTC)
Metaphysics would be in the philosophy department. The brain is a weird thing, but how well the two halves communicate depends on the corpus callosum, the connecting nerves between the two. Some people's are well-integrated. The interesting cases are when they have to divide the two halves in surgery to control intractable seizures. Fascinating cases.
Ron Mollins
Apr. 24th, 2012 12:07 pm (UTC)
You misunderstand the statement regarding god. It is not a requirement to believe in god. It is a rejection of any individual's authority to make group decisions. The operative words are "group conscience." It is commonly accepted in AA that no religious belief is required - only that we admit that we are powerless over our alcoholism without help from others, which may or may not include a divinity. I see no pretense or contradiction here, and I have been both an agnostic and an AA member for over 20 years.
Apr. 24th, 2012 12:40 pm (UTC)
Re: aa
I don't misunderstand it. As an agnostic, you don't know what atheists experience when they are forced to subscribe to a belief that they truly disbelieve in. Being on the fence about it isn't the same thing. Further, in my experience talking with people who've run into the problem, it doesn't get explained as you did in every group. It depends on who is running the group, and they tend to impose their own personal views on everyone, unless they are extremely open-minded. You get a group leader with a religious axe to grind, and they are going to claim your professions of vague higher-poweriness just aren't good enough.

I'm glad the group has helped you, but the model does not help everyone, and even vague references to a "higher power" mislead both group leaders and members into thinking they can only kick the habit with the help of the divine. Your personal experience simply doesn't trump numerous stories from atheists that this is the case.
Ron Mollins
Apr. 24th, 2012 06:32 pm (UTC)
You really have been given false information about AA. First, I do not believe that anyone in AA was ever "forced to subscribe to a belief that they truly disbelieve in." (Can you "disbelieve" in something? Isn't that the same as religionists refusing to believe that no other faith can be valid?) There are no "group leaders." No one is "running the group." There are close-minded members of AA as with any other group, including atheists. And noone in AA uses the term "kick the habit." We are only in recovery a day at a time.
As for being "on the fence," I find most atheists' insistence that theirs is the only valid viewpoint little better than a religionist's certainty that theirs is the only way to "salvation." This is why I calll myself an agnostic, not because I cannot make up my mind.
Nov. 5th, 2012 12:39 am (UTC)
You act like all AA groups are run identically everywhere. That's just not so. People have personal experiences that don't jive with your benign claims. Furthermore, the fact that you are an agnostic means that you probably just aren't bothered by some of the things that bother atheists. Just as Christians are frequently unaware of things that might bother Jews or Muslims. Your personal experience is not the arbiter of the validity of the experiences of others.

And your crack about "disbelief"... seriously. Don't give me this semantic mumbo jumbo. Disbelief is not a belief.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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