That's It!
Our Very Last Rude Letter
From A Twelve Stepper
[unsigned]

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Cliff's response:

We have been forced to become very selective about what material we will accept defending the Twelve Step Program. This decision came a few days ago following the exchange with David Ward, although it had been a long time coming.

Your letter does not start out any better, calling my writings "meanderings" and indulging in various other forms of name-calling and personal degradation, and misrepresenting both my relationship with AA and my position regarding that organization.

No constructive dialogue has ever resulted from conversations which start this way, so I am not going to take any more of my time dealing with your letter except to construct the form letter that we will probably send to Steppers who, in the future, start out behave like you did here.

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We would be happy to receive any mail from Steppers which even starts out on an honest note, but the Steppers are not sending us any such mail (as an examination of the letters in or Forum with either "Alcoholics Anonymous" or "Twelve Step" in the title will show). There is a great imbalance here; not even Fundamentalist Christians who write to us (as a group) display the degree and consistency of degradation that the Steppers who write to us have (as a group) shown.

This imbalance makes it appear as if all Twelve Steppers behave the way you and the others have. I do not want it to appear as if we're deliberately trying to make Steppers look bad; however, we have yet to get what I would call a decent communication going with somebody who wrote to defend the Program against what little criticism we do have of it.

So I have put a lid on the topic of the Twelve Step program until such point as it appears that we've started to get letters from Steppers who are willing to at least discuss the issues we do bring up. This would particularly include

  • admitting facts, such as the fact that AA admits, in its internal memo on the Triennial Survey, that only five percent of those who join AA (which alleges itself to be a life-long program) will still be in AA one year after joining.
     
  • admitting that (1) in the chapter called "We Agnostics," the AA "Big Book" teaches that if you don't believe in "God" (also known as "Him"), your prospects for remaining sober are slim to none; (2) the "We Agnostics" chapter repeatedly degrades atheists and agnostics, strongly suggesting in several places that atheists are being dishonest when they tell others that they don't believe there are any such things as gods; (3) the groups and treatment centers almost universally both recommend and sell the AA "Big Book" to newcomers; (4) the groups and treatment centers almost universally recommend the chapter "We Agnostics" to a newcomer who objects to the "God" problem.
     
  • admitting that in many AA communities, to openly acknowledge one's atheism effectively destroys one's prospects for having much of a "support group," that many of those atheists who do remain in AA quickly learn to keep their mouths shut about their religious views because of AA's emphasis on the "Stick with the winners" mentality which encourages people to avoid "losers" (such as athists).
     
  • admitting that without a "support group," an atheist is better off avoiding Alcoholics Anonymous, since so many of AA's core values are designed to encourage faith in and submission to a rescuing deity.
     
  • addressing -- not dodging -- our observation that all but a handful of AA groups still sign meeting attendance verification slips.
     
  • admitting the fact that by signing meeting attendance verification slips, the groups (representing AA as a whole) endorse the illegal practice of court-mandated meeting attendance.

If we do get any letters from Steppers who start out cordially and who continue by sticking to the facts, we will gladly consider posting them in our Forum.

Meanwhile, you are encouraged to send your comments to some other group who still deals with this topic, such as SMART, RR, Stanton Peele, AA Deprogramming, or the like. Perhaps Audrey Kishline has moderated her stance somewhat since the last time we heard from her. However, I no longer work in the "recovery" field; thus, we will not spend any more of our time fielding rude letters from Twelve Steppers.

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

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By the way, the statistics are there because so many readers have asked for a copy of them. When I don't have them readily available (such as when I place them on a separate page), I get lots of letters. That's all. I'm sure those who contribute money toward helping keep this whole thing up and running and those who link to this web site like to see how well we've been doing. Without the financial generosity, I flat-out couldn't do this because I live on a meager disability pension.

Besides, is there something wrong with a non-Catholic being proud of his accomplishment, the fruit of his own hands? Explain that one to me, and I'll consider your complaint.

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

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Material by Cliff Walker (including unsigned editorial commentary) is copyright ©1995-2006 by Cliff Walker. Each submission is copyrighted by its writer, who retains control of the work except that by submitting it to Positive Atheism, permission has been granted to use the material or an edited version: (1) on the Positive Atheism web site; (2) in Positive Atheism Magazine; (3) in subsequent works controlled by Cliff Walker or Positive Atheism Magazine (including published or posted compilations). Excerpts not exceeding 500 words are allowed provided the proper copyright notice is affixed. Other use requires permission; Positive Atheism will work to protect the rights of all who submit their writings to us.