Alastair Crowley chafed at the long and oppressive list of ‘Thou shalt nots’ in the bible, as well as the hypocrisy he saw in the church in which he followed his father who was a traveling preacher. So he dreamed up a new religion whose only law was “Do what thou wilt.” He named it Thelema and spent the rest of his life trying to justify it through a grand unified theory of science, magic, occult and drug use. He founded two churches in which to practice this religion: OTO (Order of Oriental Templars) and A∴A∴ (Argentium Astrum – Silver Star).
The primary purpose of the religion was of course to convince women to sleep with him or engage in various depraved activities and to not complain about it afterwards. Unfortunately he never achieved much success and died poor and alone, and highly reviled.
Bill Wilson also dabbled in the occult (and séances and LSD), and although he didn’t know Crowley personally, he was familiar with his work, primarily through their mutual friend Aldous Huxley. Wilson’s friend Dr Bob, co-founder of AA, was a member of a new charismatic organization called the Oxford Group, in which people found God and spiritual fulfillment by sharing their sins publicly and then making restitution and then recruiting new members. The group was founded by Frank Buchman, who later became infamous as a Nazi sympathizer: “I thank heaven for a man like Adolf Hitler, who built a front line of defense against the anti-Christ of Communism.” Buchman was also believed to have sexually exploited the young men in his groups. Whether the Oxford Group can be described as “Christian” is open to debate, although AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) members insist it is, and therefore that AA is based on Christianity even if most Christian-specific language was later stripped out, and even if Buchman himself was not a respectable individual if not a total hypocrite. After all, no one is perfect.
Wilson realized that Crowley’s dream of repealing the laws of sin was probably futile, despite (or because of) his own experience with the occult. In a flash of genius, Bill W envisioned another option: sin could be committed freely and then paid for later by uniting excessive drinking with the Oxford Group ‘programme’. In a frenzy of inspiration, he created the 12 Steps and the organization that practiced it: Alcoholics Anonymous. He gave Thelema to the drinker of alcohol:
- Thelema: Do what thou wilt is the whole of law
- AA: The alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot (Big Book p. 62)
The alcoholic commits sins freely while under the influence of an irresistible craving for alcohol, and then makes amends for them by late-middle age. The process of achieving ‘sobriety’ takes many years and is fraught with a cycle of bingeing and abstinence known as ‘relapsing’ during most of one’s adulthood. The group held immediate appeal for many people for many reasons. It was an acceptable form of occultism and satanism with an veneer of legitimacy, and its meetings were even welcome in Church basements. The group quickly infiltrated the alcohol industry, medicine, and government to transform a pagan religion into a new disease which they called ‘alcoholism’.
Wilson spent the last 30 years of his life “13th Stepping” the newcomers, and though his behavior at meetings had to be monitored due to complaints, he certainly came closer than Crowley to fulfilling the dream.
Satan Gets Mainstreamed
Of course, most AA members deny that AA is satanic (although some do not). Certainly, it is pagan in its requirement that the new member choose a Higher Power that can be anything, such as a coffee pot, or the group itself, as compared to the First Commandment: Thou shalt have no other gods before me. The job of the HP is to remove the character defects like greed, jealousy and pride that create the resentments that power the cravings that lead to the drinking that ends in sin (or attempt thereof). Some claim that AA is “spiritual not religious” because you can choose your own HP. But that just makes it pagan. One must believe in their chosen HP: “Faith has to work twenty-four hours a day in and through us or we perish.” (Big Book p. 16) Some members claim that AA is Christian due to the recital of the “Lord’s Prayer” at the end of each meeting. However, I have been to hundreds of meetings and never once heard a Christian prayer. Of course, one can choose Jesus Christ as their Higher Power. But that is extremely rare, even if most member say, “I’m not Christian but most members in my group are.” The claim of Christianity is typically used by younger members as an avoidance strategy: “I wanted to stop drinking, but AA felt too Christian and moralistic. It triggered the same feelings that drove me to drink in the first place!” And then they’ll go out for a few drinks.
Most members willing to name the god of their understanding choose various Eastern religions and philosophies that purport to eliminate earthly cravings. Buddhism and Taoism are popular, along with various deities of Greek and Nordic mythology. Of all the research on alcoholism, none indicates what percent of members have chosen Satan himself as their HP, although many members are quick to assert that such a choice is perfectly fine as long as it helps you stop drinking. However, the claim that AA is evil because it’s satanic is met with a furious spewage of insults and abuse characterized by atrocious spelling and grammar as demonstrated in the comments below.
Of course, our country is founded on Freedom of Religion, and people are free to believe whatever they want. Thank God! The purpose of this article is not to claim that one religion is superior to another, even if many of the comments here blame Christianity for various atrocities and genocide, not to mention drinking itself. The purpose here is simply to show that alcoholism is a religion with Satanic roots, and its church is AA.
In this way, AA transformed the religion of ‘drink, sin, amend’ into a disease called ‘alcoholism’. Of course, compulsive and excessive drinking and drug use existed before AA, and the cause of this behavior was often mysterious to the casual observer, especially since the drinker would not openly admit the real reason, even if they didn’t claim not to have one. AA gave credence to the Craving Lie:
I wanted to stop drinking but couldn’t no matter how hard I tried.
This is the cult’s central teaching. They claim their substance abuse was a battle against their own willpower, neglecting to mention the mischief while drunk (often with the claim of ‘blackout’). The same lie is used by drug addicts to justify an endless parade of reprehensible behavior under cover of a ‘disease’. In reality, the drug use is only to provide cover for the sin and mischief, and the user can stop any time (withdrawal from all substances, under medical supervision, is universally reported as ‘comfortable’). They drink because they want to, even though they claim otherwise. When a AA member says they ‘get it’, this means not that they have been cured of alcoholism (they are likely to relapse many times), but that they learned how to explain away their sins by calling it a ‘disease’. Often this is followed by the claim: “AA worked for me and it’s the only thing that ever worked. I was going to die before I discovered AA.” Anyone who says this simple but powerful lie likely has a few sponsees who they’ve inducted into the religion, and more than a few stories of sponsee abuse and exploitation, like their hero Bill Wilson. And we are relieved that at least there is a treatment for such unfortunates, having fallen for the Craving Lie ourselves: Why does it matter if AA is religious, as long as it helps them stop drinking?
Step One: “We admitted we were powerless to alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.” Alcohol is simply a god/demon idolized by the alcoholic during their drinking career. The 12 Step program essentially is a process of exorcism: replacing one god/demon for another less destructive. Despite the craving lie, most alcoholics claim they didn’t realize how destructive their drinking was, or that their lives had gotten ‘out of control’. Thus it was not so much a matter of willpower as of realization and honesty, as most members are quick to admit. Cravings are rarely mentioned at AA meetings. Go to your local meeting and see for yourself!
Each AA member has his own pet theory of the neurological basis of addiction, generally positing a rube-goldberg contraption consisting of: dopamine, seratonin, mesolimbic neocortex, amygdala, and ‘hypocampus’. They claim that drug use ‘rewires neural pathways’ to mess up the ‘reward center’ in the brain, which they back up with various Wikipedia articles whose footnotes reference each other, and anyone who challenges this ‘proven scientific fact’ is displaying ‘ignorance’. Government researchers produce completely bogus fiction about addiction which they pass off as ‘science'; the rehab industry promotes sham ‘evidence based’ treatments; and public policy experts repeat the same old canards about ‘the unimaginable suffering of the addict and their loved ones’ while complaining that the lack of good science about addiction justifies maintenance of the status quo: addiction is a disease not a crime although we should continue to punish people for drug use and refer people who got in trouble while drinking/drugging to AA because it’s free and the only treatment available in most places anyway. And they refuse even to consider the possibility that treatment actually creates addicts.
AA propaganda is continually imposed on us from Hollywood as well. For example, in a recent episode of the sci-fi series Extant, grandfather Quinn ‘relapses’ with a shot of whiskey and then immediately makes a double-or-nothing bet on the bar game skills of his robot grandson. Of course, the wager didn’t turn out well. If he had taken a moment to ask his HP to remove his ‘greed’, he might have been able to resist the unbearable craving to drink, and walked out while he was ahead. Portrayals like this inextricably connect drinking with sin, while deferring the penalty.
But the simple and obvious truth is that we are sinners who enjoy sinning, and the religion of alcoholism can provide a convenient cover for those so inclined. As long as you are willing to tell the Craving Lie and make amends at some future date (typically 40’s / 50’s).
Unfortunately the same principles are used as brainwashing techniques against vulnerable newcomers, often sent by the courts or in search of companionship, who must first confess powerlessness to alcohol (i.e. admit they have a deadly disease) and then to cure it, must confess their sins and insecurities with “rigorous honesty”. The newcomer is instructed not to date in the first year and is subjected to sexual and financial exploitation. The lucky ones will eventually escape the group with unexplained bitterness and paranoia. The less fortunate will be among the thousands each year who succumb to their learned powerlessness in a time of crisis, and thereby contribute to the statistic that testifies to the deadly power of the satanic religion that is considered by most to be a medical disease despite its striking resemblance to old-fashioned demon possession.
Darren Aronofsky: Satan’s Propagandist
As a child, Darren Aronofsky was deeply troubled by the story of Noah, in which God destroyed the wicked in a great flood. What if God considered him to be among the wicked? Would he be destroyed too? He addresses his lifelong despair in his movie Noah (2014), a parody of the bible story. In Aronofsky’s version, God destroys the world as punishment for man destroying the world. Noah, who is described as ‘righteous’ in the bible, is represented as angry and capricious in the movie: he chastises his son for plucking a flower then kills a man for killing an animal for meat and calls it ‘justice’. In the bible story he is instructed directly by God to build an ark. In the movie, he has vague dreams and frightening visions and questions God’s purpose for him, visiting his grandfather Methusaleh played by Anthony Hopkins who suggests that he should surmise God’s will ‘as best you can understand it’. He later threatens to kill his grandchildren because he incorrectly infers that God’s will for him is to ensure the extinction of mankind after the flood. The message of the movie is that it’s not safe to trust your will to God. (Even though the Christian God expects you to use your own willpower — only in AA must you entrust it to a higher power. But if you find yourself at AA, evidently God is not a safe bet – perhaps that was Grampa Quinn’s mistake.)
It never occurred to the young Darren that he simply didn’t have to be wicked. Though it didn’t help that he was no doubt troubled by Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden for the innocent sin of eating the forbidden fruit. After all, God created them with strong desire. What right had he to punish them for experiencing it, especially as it was manipulated by Satan, another of God’s creations? He should have created a will that could overcome temptation. But as a result of this ‘design flaw’, man was punished: expelled from paradise and condemned to a lifetime of work and suffering. Aronofsky explores the injustice of this ‘mistake’ in his movie Requiem for a Dream (2000), which contains the iconic scene in which a drug addict tearfully unplugs the TV while his mother is watching it, for the purpose of selling it for drugs, apologizing for his behavior and his unbearable cravings but unable to resist. His will is useless against his desires, just like with Adam and Eve. This scene, which was completely absurd before it was created, and never actually happened ever in the history of drug abuse, is now acted out on a daily basis by drug users around the world, to the astonishment of their parents who insist that if it’s not real addiction then their child deserves an Oscar for their performance. (Of course, every parent thinks their child is very talented, especially if they have no TV with which to view the competition.)
Aronofsky seems to follow a Gnostic philosophy, in which God is actually an evil demiurge (aka “The Creator”) who created the material world, which is evil and painful and full of temptations and restrictions and rules and punishments. And then there is a higher god of the universe, whose only law is “Do what thou wilt,” sometimes represented by Satan for that reason. Perhaps his movies are an offering to that higher god, in the hopes of being rescued from his brutal subsistence of dating models and toiling on movie sets in exotic locales.
Indulging in sin consciously or otherwise is one thing. But convincing others to indulge in it too? Or to teach sin isn’t sin? That’s just evil. Though I try not to worry too much about man’s wickedness, even if I haven’t seen any rainbows lately. Unless you count the movie’s circular rainbows. But for some reason they provide little consolation.
Nevertheless I enjoyed the movie.
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- A Conversation with Dr. Drew Pinsky – 13% and proud
- School for Scoundrels – What you actually learn in the rooms
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