“Bob K. on AA’s Past, Present and Future”

I was sent this link by Jon https://jonsleeper.wordpress.com who has done many podcasts with me over the past year or so. He listened to this podcast at AABeyondbelief.com which he recommended to me. I found it very interesting and will read the book that Bob K wrote “Key Players in AA History”. It is great to listen to a podcast about the origins of AA that is not full of conspiracy theories and other craziness. I hoping that Jon will do a podcast with Bob K for me, as he is much more qualified to talk about AA history than I am, having spent more time in the AA programme.

AABeyondbelief.com has some great podcasts and other information, and I wish I had been in AA with these people rather than some of the more cult like members that I spent time with, which eventually caused me to leave the fellowship. He talks about some similar types in the podcast!

AA meeting

Bob K wrote “Key Players in AA History”. https://www.amazon.com/Key-Players-AA-History-bob/dp/099171749X  He is now researching a book on historical alternatives to AA which explodes the myth that nothing really helped alcoholics prior to AA. Turns out there were lots of groups and books — some of which worked very well.
He’s an atheist in AA and really knows his stuff. This podcast discusses the recent controversy at Toronto Intergroup, which decided to delist three atheist AA meetings and is now being sued on the grounds relating to issues of human rights discrimination.
Bob has a great understanding of this, knows many of the individuals involved, and speaks very well on it.  He also has a brilliant explanation of the real reasons behind Bill Wilson’s spiritual experience and what that really entailed.
I will be reading the book and will write about it for the books section.




Commenting area

  1. this is a great link. thanks for sharing it. i’m glad you liked it. atheist aa has a lot to offer people. the idea of non-prayer meetings is very appealing. i think many of the founders would agree too. i’m hoping to have our own “recoveringfromrecovery / alcoholismrecoveryradio” chat with bob k up here soon. we’ll have lots to discuss. i’m interested in his opinion of the sinclair method as a route to sobriety that might help people turned off by the religiosity in aa meetings. there’s no reason why the god squad should hijack aa any longer, and why future generations of people using tsm to cut down on their drinking with a goal to possibly stopping (around 25% of tsm users attain abstinence) shouldn’t attend aa and meet other caring and open minded people like bob k . thanks for the opportunity to share this. i think we have a lot of common ground with the moderate aa atheists currently making waves in north america.

  2. Convincing people that they are lifelong “addicts” without free will is the best way to prevent their recovery.
    An important study led by University of New Mexico psychologist William Miller found that two critical factors
    predicted relapse for those treated for alcohol problems: “lack of coping skills and belief in the disease model of alcoholism.”

    By accepting the notion that people who have drinking or drug problems suffer from a disease that forever negates their personal judgment, 12 step programs [AA] have undermined the right of people to change their behavior on their own, to reject labels they find inaccurate and demeaning, and to choose a form of treatment they can be comfortable with and believe will work for them. The result of prolonged exposure to AA and/or other 12 step programs is not an empowered, self-controlled individual (which would be explicitly against AA’s philosophy). The result is an individual preoccupied in a confused way with his/her depressed emotions and addicted actions, seeking vainly for explanations in the wrong places (God and DNA-genes) for a destructive way of living that diminishes the chance for a happy healthy life.The AA (12 step) Disease Model Doesn’t Work— It Even Does More Harm than Good. It sets people up for failure. It makes matters worse than they are. It stigmatizes people for life, and worst of all, it brutalizes and brainwashes the young.

    • Hi Papamick, I have a section on here about why I left AA. I certainly did not find it a complete solution, although I acknowledge that being part of a sober group with others who were trying to beat the drink was a powerful motivation for me. There are certainly some cult like groups (I attended some) but these guys in the podcast have a much more sensible agenda and I imagine they would really help others.

      I certainly don’t like the disease theory, and although the idea of being powerless was helpful for me in the first few months, I feel that it is not a great label longterm.

      There are people in AA who want to control others and who are dangerous but most people are ok. I would certainly have to say going to any AA meeting was safer than some of the pubs I got drunk in around South London. Certainly not everyone does well in AA, and the literature is out of date and religious, but some people get a lot from it. I am uneasy when people claim they are brainwashed in AA as I consider extreme violence to be a component of brainwashing. I can see people from a religious background get sucked into having some pretty crazy values and it does become a religion for them. That is in many cases a result of the way they have been brought up. A few are badly affected but most members just drift away over time and get on with their life.

      My main objection is the poor quality treatment centers that make money out of the steps and offer them as bogus treatment, when other approaches would help more.

    • I’m a fan of William L. White, author of ‘SLAYING THE DRAGON – The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America.’ Of the disease concept of alcoholism, White says the ‘truth {of it} may in the end be more metaphorical than scientific. Science is unlikely to destroy the popularity of the disease concept, but a better metaphor could.’

      The disease concept wasn’t invented by AA. In fact, Bill Wilson judiciously avoided describing alcoholism as a disease in AA’s ‘big book.’ One of the first American medical men to float the disease notion was Dr. Benjamin Rush, around the time of the Revolutionary War.

      I’m recently in receipt of a new Oxford Press offering on the subject – “Addiction and Choice,” by Nick Heather and Gabriel Segal. Sadly, I’ve barely cracked it, so I have nothing to report.

      • Thanks for your coment BOB K. I am half way through “Key Players in AA History” and am very impressed. I am also a fan of William L White and admire his attempts to unify everyone in the recovery world. There is too much “my method is nbetter than yours” out there, especially online.
        The disease theory has so many interpretations, but I like the idea that it is a loose metaphor. I prefer to call alcoholism an illness, which is more acceptable in the UK.
        I look forward to hearing more from you…

        • Thanks. I think my book is both interesting, and well-researched. That William L. White and the late Ernest Kurtz wrote the foreword brought tears to my eyes, but sadly, did not drive sales into an upward spiral.

          The disease vs. not a disease argument is quite technical and potentially distracting from the more important need to work out a plan of recovery. I’m pleased that the options are broadening.

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