Today I was turned away from 2 meetings. The first one was an open meeting at the gay center in Hollywood. The leader said I could not attend because I did not have a desire to stop drinking. Of course, this is not a requirement to attend an open meeting. But since they rented out the rooms from the center, they can reject anyone for any reason. But the real reason is that two weeks ago I stood outside the room and handed out my flyers (under the “Activism” tab) as the people left.
So, I handed out my flyers to the latecomers and left.
Then I went to a closed Hollywood meeting. There were about 30 assorted middle age tough guys, along with a few 20-something girls who lead the meeting and give out free smiles and hugs to everyone. (There is also a small contingent of kinda sexy younger tatted guys.) A desire to stop drinking is a requirement of this meeting. So we went around the room and I introduced myself with “I am not an alcoholic.” There was a bit of a kerfuffle, so after everyone introduced themselves they said it was up to a vote (group conscience) whether I could stay. The vote went my way (about 2/3), but then the old guy said that it has to be unanimous. They offered me another chance to say at least that I had a desire to stop drinking, but alas I did not (although I don’t have a desire to drink either). So they decided that I must leave. I left my flyers on the back table (which were promptly discarded), and told everyone to visit me at AddictionMyth.com.
“What? Addiction MYTH?” Yup. AddictionMyth.com. Check it out!
One of the hallmarks of a cult is intolerance to antithetical views. Of course, all organizations have this right, but AA prides itself on its openness. And then it rejects me. If it would just admit it’s a cult then I wouldn’t care.
Other hallmarks of a cult (borrowed from atheistsgroup on Craigslist, thanks!):
(1) secretive about what they believe and do, AA isn’t secretive
(2) a group that requires strict adherence to a specific set of rules or beliefs
(3) a leader who has at the center of his system something that leads to his personal gain of money, power, or prestige
I think AA fits all 3 criteria: it is secretive (bans people who report on what it does), requires strict adherence (bans people with opposing views), and while it has no charismatic leaders, the multi-billion dollar rehab industry relies on it to propagate the Addiction Myth and attract new recruits. Not to mention, the Drug War is predicated on the Addiction Myth — multi-billion dollar source for arms and the prison-industrial complex.
Certainly at this point I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind. Most of these people are beyond hope. But I hope at least that the newcomers will think twice about what they are getting into.