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, 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.  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 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 their disease and justification of their ‘sins’.  This is how AA invented Addiction: the Cult of Powerlessness.  It’s a brilliant scheme.


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