Powerlessness as Religion

Addiction is neither a disease nor a moral failing.  It is a religion whose followers idolize drugs and alcohol in their youth, and then (typically in middle age when they’ve gotten too old for those games) decide to pursue the virtues of ‘peace and serenity’.  It is a spiritual journey akin to the Buddhist practice of identifying ‘cravings’ and then renouncing or denying them through a process of enlightenment.  Thus AA maintains a kinship with Eastern philosophies and practices, such as Buddhism and yoga.

Of course, this country was founded on Freedom of Religion.  Everyone is free to believe whatever they want (thank God!).  Furthermore, no religion has a perfect track record.  The followers of all religions commit abuses and atrocities, and any religious ideology can be used as a tool for evil (some more than others, perhaps).

BUT there is a problem with the 12 Steps in the First Step: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.”  This Step is the basis of the requirement that each member admit to a desire to stop drinking, and to introduce himself or herself as being powerless to alcohol: “Hi I’m ___ and I’m an alcoholic.”

This is a very convenient belief for the mischief-maker who might otherwise feel guilty or ashamed of his behavior.  As an idolater of alcohol, he believes that an evil spirit possesses his body and soul: the ensuing mischief and/or crime is not really his fault.  For him, the Church of AA is simply a drinking club that he visits periodically to reaffirm his powerlessness and make clear he is not yet ready, and instructs him to go out and keep drinking/drugging until he is.

However, this is a very dangerous belief for the depressive.  The newcomer at AA is often required to demonstrate their powerlessness to alcohol and drugs, and this practice can be deadly.  Many thousands of people kill themselves every year due to the mistaken belief that they just couldn’t defend themselves from the awesome power of their own cravings.  Actors are good examples of this dynamic (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Cory Monteith, Heath Ledger), but the largest group of victims are the many women who die daily from a deadly cocktail of painkillers and alcohol.  Many of them were introduced to the principles of AA at an impressionable age through family, the court system, or school programs.  They were taught they were powerless, and that they have a ‘cunning and baffling disease’.  But they are not yet ready to accept a Higher Power into their lives, which would be their only hope of salvation.  They have become ticking time bombs.

The Craving Lie

The admission of powerlessness is central to AA, and members announce it proudly, often competing with each other to exaggerate it in their drunkalogs.  (Go to your local meeting and see for yourself.)  Of course, the mischief-makers are just lying, as they have done their whole life about anything and everything.  They were never at risk of anything more than a nasty hangover, despite their claim that “I was going to die from my drinking.  AA was the only thing that worked for me.”  The members of this group always seem to get saved from the brink, even if relapsing several times subsequently; eventually they assume the revered status of ‘Old-Timer’ in the church.

It is the depressives who often lose the struggle.  They are held up as the ultimate proof of their disease, even as the cult dismisses them as “constitutionally incapable of being honest.”

Other than the first step, the other steps in the program are not unreasonable (e.g. believe in a god of your choosing, identify character flaws, make amends for your sins, help others, etc), and most of us aspire to them naturally.  Many people can benefit from them, and for this reason some newcomers report AA as a positive growth experience.  The main problem is, they are now ticking time bombs: one day they forget to beseech their Higher Power for relief from the character defects that power the cravings (this is actual AA theology/psychology), and by nightfall they have succumbed to their ‘disease’.  Also, the newly powerless may fall victim to abuse and exploitation by the cult, whose members are just as dangerous sober as they were drunk.  There are many web sites dedicated to exposing this abuse (even as they assert the reality of their own addictions).

Addiction: The New Paganism

The requirement that each member choose a god of their understanding makes it quite literally a Pagan religion, even as the cult claims to be “spiritual not religious”.  Of course, any organization that requires its members believe in the supernatural (spiritual or otherwise) to cure a deadly disease and exercise principles to guide one’s everyday affairs to prevent relapse is a religion.  Again, whether it is inferior or superior to other traditions is up to you.  However, one still wonders why the mischief maker who has complained about or rejected the judgments and strictures of Christianity even needs a religion to justify his behavior, which was supposedly caused by a medical disease.  The simple (and ironic) fact is: they know their behavior is so unjustifiable under any morality that they had to create a new religion (or resurrect an old one) just to excuse it!

And then they use the same principles of the cult to brainwash vulnerable people into powerlessness, and then tout their self-destruction as proof of the disease that pardons their ‘sins’.  That’s how Addiction was invented by AA, the Brainwashing Cult of Powerlessness.  It’s a brilliant scheme.

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36 thoughts on “Powerlessness as Religion”

  1. Ten years ago I would have read your blog and been irate, just as it seems most of these replies are! I earnestly believed that I was powerless, that it had a disease, and that the “rooms” and the 12 steps saved my life.

    I am sad and deeply regretful today because I have finally realized that the 12 steps were in fact killing me. After five years of abstinence, I was more depressed than I had even been, quit my job, and had what could probably be classified as a nervous breakdown (did not go to a hospital, so I won’t say it was). I left program, but it took me another Eight years to deprogram from the DANGEROUS (I don’t think you’re being dramatic when you say AA is deadly, I believe that now) messages I internalized that. First and foremost, that I was powerless. I was young and scared when I came in. Ad I sure FELT powerless when I came in, but I wasn’t. Of course I wasn’t. It’s so crystal clear right now. I can’t believe I ever believed it. (Aside, I do blame TV for some of this. I watched a lot when I was younger and AA was always painted in a favorable light, that’s where you go when you want to change, get better, etc.) anyhow, I believed I was powerless.

    Then, I was told that if I wanted to continue to live sober, or more accurately – avoid dying from another drink, which would inevitably lead to a binge, which would probably lead to death (holy escalation!)- I would have to “work the program”, meaning the rest of the steps. You seem to consider these benign, but to a seeker, to a serious student, to a young woman with a serious “good girl” thing going on, they were anything but. I participated in AWOLs, step studies, and had the freaking big book and 12&12 memorized. Worse yet, I believed it. I trusted those old timers – they must be doing something right, they haven’t used in x years… They said the answers were in there. So I looked, and read, and studied, and internalized. I did their confession, I made amends, and analyzed each night where I had been dishonest, self-seeking, etc. constantly looking at my character defects was not healthy!! (I only see this now, by the way. Back then, I thought I was growing spiritually. Ha!) in actuality, I was stuck. After 13 years I Finally realized all of this! and now I can actually move on, really grow.

    There’s also all this sick subtle language there. You basically have to either act like you think you’re really an asshole or believe it. I think a lot of the peple who stay in AA for decades preserve their sanity because they are acting, because even though they spout all the dogma, on some level, they don’t really believe it. I really beleeived I was an asshole. I’d heard so many times how selfish and self-centered we addicts are. Now I know that bill Wilson was an asshole, but I am not.

    Oh, and then there’s the whole turning your life and your will over. I second guessed myself constantly. Is that my will or gods will? Am I really hearing that or is that my addict self? It was maddening, literally. As I told you earlier, I went mad. I can’t belive my husband stayed with me. It was the first five years of our marriage.

    I am finally free of that self-defeating, self-limiting, psyche-damaging dogma. I can’t believe I bought it, and even spouted it myself -for which I feel guilty right now- for so many years. And I was a smart person, high IQ and all, which by the way, is also “bad” in the rooms. (“Self knowledge availed us nothing.” “My best thinking got me here.” “I don question my sponsor, when my sponsor jumps I say how high”…) I guess by the time I walked into a meeting, I was in a lot of pain and desperate for an answer.

    It’s so creepy now, when I think about all of this. I thank you for your site here. I can see why others think you are angry, bitter, etc. I’m not sure if you were ever involved in it yourself or if you lost someone to this program, or neither, but either way, I think the bitterness is warranted. If the people who posted responses to you ever wake up, they will be pretty bitter too. I am. And you know what, that’s ok? I can be angry now. I don’t always have to turn it over and see my part in it. I can be angry. I can resent AA (it’s the number one offender, you know?) and NOT drink. It’s MY choice. I am NOT powerless. And the whole dry drunk thing, well…I’m way happier being angry and real than being a depressed, TERRIFIED drone.

    1. One last thing, I ran into someone who knew me from about 10 years ago recently. And told me I looked so different. So I’m thinking, yeah, I’ve got these fine lines and I’m ten pounds heavier after the kiddies. But i ask her, really, how? She tells me, you always looked so scared. I was. I walked around absolutely terrified for years. I was not living in program. I was physically sick and a mental and emotional mess.

      So glad I finally stopped coming back! It doesn’t work.

    2. Sounds like u may have relapsed. I hate u didnt get that step one says we WERE powerless over alcohol. My point is Im NOT powerless unless I pick the drink up. The desire has been taken away.Good luck and may God bless u. .

      Jeff H. Prattville Al.
      Date of sobriety Nov 5 1995. 🙂

  2. This guy is simply a troll and certainly has no idea about addiction. His “blog” is really so off base and ridiculous that it’s not even worth the time to explain to him the errors in his stupid, ignorant diatribe that’s simply meant to sucker us all in, Nice try, son. Go burn one for me, I live in sobriety and reality.

    1. Disagreeing with the opinion you hold is not the same thing as being a troll – even if you think your opinion is some sort of medical truth when all the medical and scientific evidence disproves what you want everyone to believe to be medical truth.

  3. Ahh I see that Addicktion myth has many blog subjects on AA and the like. I also see that when challenged with facts on ANY blog site he wrote, he NEVER replies. AA as a whole cannot convict this man? of slander and misleading information because we try to avoid public awareness via press, radio and film. I WAS REPLYING ANONYMOUSLY ON UR OTHER BLOG, “you are so brainwashed its funny” with FACTS. NEVER heard frm u. So I gave a name with the FACTS AND YET still no answer…Imagine that!!!
    FYI : powerlessness MEANS being Powerless aka without power/defenseless/lacking in strength, power or authority. (Taken from Webster’s dictionary) . In ur other blog I suggested reading the BB, I stated many FACTS to back me up and in this blog U see others armed with FACTS as well. I suggest you either do some real research and learn the TRUTH or just give up. You see ADDICKTION MYTH YOU ARE POWERLESS OVER THE FACTS OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS….AND YOU ARE ADDICTED TO TRYING TO PROVE US WRONG. LMAO

    1. Addiction: compulsive physiological ( of the physical body) and psychological need for a habit-forming substance/the condition of being habitually or compulsively occupied with or involved in something/a compulsion and need to continue to take a drug as a result of taking it inthe past. “Anything you can’t stop if you want or need to.” (Also see compulsion and compulsive)

    2. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_stimulation_reward
      Here are some more for you to ponder.
      The first couple descibe addiction mechanisms in the brain. The last is a non-addict blogger with some knowledge who has a couple neat metaphors for how addiction works. He shows some compassion, not disdain for addicts. Maybe that would be a more fruitful course for you to try here…just sayin’…
      There is an avalanche of data out there that addiction is real. Quantifiable evidence…you are peeing into the wind here…cheers!!

      1. Wow, you’re absolutely right. I feel like such a fool. I can’t believe I contradicted wikipedia, which is infallible much like the pope. I’ll never write another blog post again, I promise. Please don’t burn me at the stake and I’m sure I don’t taste very good anyway!

      2. Once again, you miss the point. Read the references at the end of the Wiki article. Unlike your blogosphere horseshit, there were actual scientific studies quoted.
        Another example of how you will not answer a reasonable argument.
        Like I said, it just makes you look crazy!!

      3. I agree. AA gave me power over my own self again. Saved my life and gave me a chance. It teaches you to change who you were and become a better person to live. If giving us something to believe in and hope in a future is wrong then so was Moses when he saved his people with the word of God. My story isnt much, but because of AA it wont ever be worse. if it’s a cult, I am a damn proud member.

    3. *High five* to you SobrnSexy, hopefully no one will believe this naive egotist that offers absolutely no facts to correlate any of his claims. His argument is analagous to a kid saying “the sky is red!!”, and then when the other kids point out why it is most obviously blue he remains quiet or deflects with another ridiculous claim. I imagine he is doing this simply because he is either lonely or insecure and all this attention must make him feel mighty important.

  4. Also if you are what we call a “normie” a person whom when they drink alcohol or use substances every facet of their life doesn’t turn to shit, A person for whom getting that next fix is not the priority of their lives, than please refrain from passing judgement on the topic of alcoholism and addiction for we are inherently different people from you, and we do not expect you to understand our point of view. Please simply sit back and realize that this program has saved tens of millions of lives all over the world and that its message is universal and goes beyond cultural/societal differences as our program is a means of another addict/alcoholic spreading his/her message to another addict/alcoholic for only we have experienced the sufferings that have caused us to seek out this help with the utmost willingness.

    1. Addiction is a religion whose bible is the Big Book: “The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed.” Keep reciting it and you’ll start to believe it.

      OK you are not like other people. The difference? Most people feel bad about their sins and desires as they get older, but they get over it. Alcoholics make other people die for them!

      AA has killed millions!!

      1. Once again, just because you have no experience with, or understanding of addiction, does not mean that it doesn’t exist. Just keep on babbling until we can get the guys with the butterfly nets to return you to your padded room.

      2. Yes like I said alcoholics are not like people who can control their drinking I don’t even understand what you are trying to say all your quote did is prove my point. If an alcoholic drinks he is unable to control his drinking so much so that even when he/she is faced with losing his/her family or even if a doctor tells them another drink will kill them they continue to anyway. (This is before ever seeking out AA) Whereas most people whom use alcohol when met with that choice can choose to stop by sheer human will. Therefore look they are inherently different just as a russian is different from an american and a christian from a muslim (Yes not all people are the exact same believe it or not) Your argument alludes to your belief that all people are the same now how fucking naive does that sound? Are you really so egotistical and naive that you believe the rest of humanity all share your opinion and beliefs “most people feel bad about their sins and desires as they get older, but then they get over it. ” Obviously this isn’t true as all these older people are seeking out AA cause they are all out of options, its not like AA forced them to come into their rooms and stay. If human nature were really that simplistic to just be able to simply get over sins (woosh magic wand wave) why do so many fucking people commit suicide/seek out therapy/ look to religion for answers cause they have none.) Nd wtf “alcoholics make other people die for them?? AA has killed millions??” Ummmm… where is the correlation exactly? How has AA killed exactly? Got any facts other than 12 year old statements without any credible evidence?

    2. Live and Let Live… With God’s Help… One Day at a Time over the passed 23 years 11 months I am able to Love Many, Trust a Few and Paddle my own canoe. Not bad for a skid row refugee of my type. Bill said, if A A ever falls apart it will come from the inside out, not from an external force. Pray for the unfortunate and obliviously misguided crap head. The vast majority of Earth People will never understand our beautiful way of living. Who needs God and a principled lifestyle? Thanks to God for the Old Timers that save a wretch like me.

  5. Wow, your interpretation of AA could not be any more off, to call it a lie when it has worked for millions of people whom couldn’t succeed through any other means. The way you rant and point fingers makes it obvious that you’ve never read the Alcoholics Anonymous book nor had a sponsor to take you through the steps which is why you scoff and pass judgement at it with your insane newcomer mind before even learning or experiencing the topic firsthand. (As we say in AA your finding reasons to convince yourself that you know best, and when the alcoholic knows best what do they end up doing? Drinking, using, dying.) Your whole argument was made completely uncredible by the time you stated it is an addiction of the” youth that when people reach their middle age they are tired of such games” Are you fucking kidding me? AA is pretty much comprised of 75% people middle aged or older whom are 100% convinced they will die if they are not doing this program. Please any newcomer who is thinking of joining AA please don’t listen to this unjustified nonsense, AA is not a religous program by any sense (Buddhism hahaha god you know nothing), it is simply a program that tries to solve alcoholism by offering you a means to grow spiritually, not neccesarrily to believe in a religous czar of the heavens by any means, but rather to something of your own understanding that you could consider greater than your own human will (I my self am not religous by any means and never considered it, and your greater power could even simply be the people in those AA rooms that are teaching you how to save your life), AA does not make you into a ticking time bomb by any means but has replaced my feelings of despair, loneliness, hopelessness, with a faith that everything will work out as it does time and time again ever since joining this program, and this feeling could not be anymore freeing. Everything in my life does not turn to utter shit anymore listening to my own crazy nonsense (that I was convinced was absolutely logical) just as this writer loves hearing himself speak (wonder if hes dead in an alley somewhere..). All listening to myself got me was to the next drink or pill. AA is for the people whom have tried all methods they know of, and those methods have failed them, it is a program of action not of knowledge, for if you do the actions of the steps and are accountable to your sponsor; “rarely does this program fail if followed with honesty, open mindedness, and willingness” <– straight from the book this idiot never read. Please newcomers don't find a reason to not seek this help out just as I had in the past, this program is completely doable and works for everyone of all backgrounds and up bringings, and if your not experiencing results its likely that your not doing the work (step work, accountability to sponsor, service to others if told), for it is in doing the work that results in your life can clearly be seen. If anyone would like to debate I'd be happy to. Have a great day everyone.

  6. You are an uniformed idiot that has no idea what you are talking about. AA has saved many lives. If people are not powerless, which would mean they possesed the power to stop, why do they drink to the point of death.? I award your dumb fuck blog zero points and may god have mercy on your soul..

    ps your stupid

    1. People don’t drink to the point of death. That’s called the Craving Lie. It’s pure AA Big Book propaganda. Next time you claim that you almost died from drinking, take note of the lump in your throat as you speak those words. What’s going on there? That’s your conscience, and it’s telling you that you are lying. Congrats, you’re becoming human!

      1. Drank and passed out, stopped breathing. Would have died if not given CPR. Ambulance to ER, 3 days in CCU.
        You are either dangerous misinformed or a delusional liar. Which doesn’t matter, you shouldn’t be spewing this noxious shit.

      2. Anyone who argues people do not die from alcohol toxicity, in simple terms, “drank themselves to death” is a fool.
        There, a little drunkalogue, happy, jackass?

      3. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_intoxication
        Here is some actual info for you, sociopathic chronic liar that you are. The first addresses acute alcohol intoxication and one common mechanism of death associated, respiratory depression as ETOH is a powerful CNS depressant.
        Second addresses blackout. Another of your misguided rants. Mechanism there centers around a rapid influx of ETOH which interferes with the brains’ ability to form/store memories.
        Some of these studies were performed with alcoholics, some with normies. Invalidates the childish argument I forsee on the horizon that all of these researchers were somehow in collusion with AA. There are so many references there that support things you have been denying. For you to continue in the face of so much evidence just makes you sound crazy.
        Why don’t you write about something you know about? Like how to escape from a locked mental ward, for instance!! Maybe you would find a following there that might find your insanity of some actual use…

      4. Obviously you possess the power to read minds and can tell that what our inner conscience is truly thinking. Why didn’t you say so? Ever hear of people with pancreatitis, asctherlosis both diseases caused by excessive drinking where tons of doctors warn patients that more drinking will surely kill them. Look at the statistics of people with these diseases whom died due to alcohol toxicity the statistics are astounding. Therefore obviously people drink themselves to death. *owned*

      5. Ha. People drink to the point of death ALL THE TIME. Please let us know where you do stand up.

    2. What happened to “This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? Save me from being angry… We avoid retaliation or argument. We wouldn’t treat sick people that way.” As people in recovery it is our responsibility to show others patience, love,and tolerance and not push our own beliefs on them. We know that alcoholism is a serious disease ( that’s science, bitch) but if other people want to ignore the facts that’s their business. All we can do is be there to support the people who need and want help. Let’s focus on the positive and forget about the negative. “If we were to live, we had to be free of anger.” Peace.

  7. I understand your opinions on this matter and you do it well.
    But just know that everyone interprets the teachings of AA.NA differently, and how you interpret it may be different to another’s interpretation.
    So lets say the programs are exposed and people stop going to them, what do you think people should do? honestly, I want to hear your solution .

      1. We see that aDickMyth cannot answer a simple, straight question.
        Instead he refers to one of his own blogs to reinforce his position.
        No, really…we get the idea that you agree with yourself, now can you show us anyone else or any real peer-reviewed scientific studies that do? Do you have enough evidence to support your position, or is it just your twisted opinions?
        Come on, everybody is waiting….

  8. Great site. You are correct. You could do a site called socialistmyth. It is the same bs as so called alcoholism. It is a similar premise but this time you have to steal money to solve societies’ ills. You start with stealing and round and round society goes chasing it’s tail trying to figure out who to steal from next to solve the current ill de jeure.

      1. Or maybe the blogger could detail his nighttime activities in a WeHo bus station: I gargle spooge for a nickel a mouthful dot com!!

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