Changing Alcoholics
Anonymous To Suit
Atheists' Needs?
Mark Simmons

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From: "Positive Atheism" <>
To: "Mark Simmons"
Subject: Re: PA-via_Positive_Atheism_Index
Date: Tuesday, June 13, 2000 12:07 PM

Doing this would reduce the "Big Book" to a mere pamphlet -- if that.

I don't have any followers. People are generally smart enough to figure things out on their own. If not, I have nothing to say to those people.

Then keep it up. You're invited to tip a Guinness with me on any given Thursday night.

Sure you could -- because you did! When drinking became too costly for you (in personal terms), you made a decision to stop drinking and you pulled it off. And I'll bet it wasn't that hard.

You did it, but you refuse to give yourself credit for it. That's the sad part. I shudder to think that so many people lack the dignity to take credit for their own accomplishments.

Looks like you didn't really need to quit drinking, but that you just needed some religion to rubber-stamp your lack of dignity and self-confidence.

It bothered the hell out of me for two reasons: (1) I was court-ordered into the Twelve Step program, refused on religious grounds to go, and was jailed as a result -- all without the "benefit" of any drug- or alcohol-related charges or convictions. (2) I admit that no such thing as a "God" exists, so that if I were to try to invoke a god for help, I'd be in a world of trouble -- and would be a hypocrite, to boot. I saw that I was on my own, and simply refused to lie about this fact. As an atheist, I hold a high regard for truth, and since I see no gods, it would be a lie for me to go along with the "God" part. Meanwhile, you try working Step Six without a supernatural deity! It doesn't work that way. I'm sorry, I cannot "carry this message" because I think "this message" is essentially flawed -- not only the "God" part but also the disease and powerlessness parts as well.

Maybe I'm "in denial"!

(Heh, heh, heh! Typical anti-intellectual stance -- very common in fundamentalistic religious cults such as the Twelve Step movement: "Nobody's too stupid to work the Steps, but some people are too smart to work the Steps.")

Tell me, what is alcoholism? Tell me the symptoms that are universal to alcoholism, those signs that everyone who is an "alcoholic" will have, and that nobody who is not an "alcoholic" will not have. If you are going to diagnose me with this disease (especially in a public forum, such as Positive Atheism Magazine), you must answer this question. I also want to know your medical credentials. If you cannot do both of these things, please retract this statement and apologize.

I don't care what you think or feel.

Besides, why would I want to develop another program, when I have discovered that most people who overcome an addiction do so on their own without any help? Why would I make another program when I have discovered that showing people that they don't need any program is the best I could possibly offer to them?

Besides, AAA is an automobile association.

And besides that, there are groups in most towns called "We Agnostics." It's really much more of the same bait-and-switch, but more vicious because they pretend that it's possible to work the steps without a rescuing deity. You can't. These groups aren't very popular, because most atheists and agnostics don't get far enough to find these groups (as if finding them would do much good). They either become intimidated and feign religion (or actually convert) or they leave.

You are crude!

Since I cannot answer your trick question -- since your False Dichotomy places me in the either-or situation of your own choosing -- then I am evil, I am not "truly trying to help fellow sufferers with the same misgivings of AA."

Hey! Wake up! AA doesn't work! Only five percent of those who join AA will still be there a year from now! (These are AA's own figures from their Triennial Surveys.) After five years, less than two percent are still there!

This is much worse than chance! AA actually impairs many people's prospect for quitting an addiction. Even the fundamentalist Christian program called "Teen Challenge" has better numbers than AA. And the figure for those who naturally outgrow their problems is much higher than either.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine

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