Old Post about Anti AA sites
Back when I started this blog in 2013, I wrote a post about the Anti AA world https://www.recoveringfromrecovery.com/anti-aa-sites/ which generally gets about 20 views a day, despite being quite old. I suppose this is because it mentions the Orange Papers forum and site, which was often viewed by AA members, who wanted to laugh at the “Dry Drunks” who had left AA. I intended this post to make it clear I did not want the trolls that make up the membership of that thankfully defunct forum, posting their rubbish on this blog. In fact I had considered not bothering with comments at all here, especially as I rarely read comments on other people’s blogs. People behave with less inhibition online, and too many are prone to aggression, especially when they have become part of a small, extreme group that echo their views. This is sometimes called a social media echo chamber.
I can see why many people leave AA, I left myself after a year. I found the religious side conflicted with my own views and I was fed up with hearing from people going on about miracles and sharing the same old thing, every time I went to a meeting. Some people love that, but it is not for me, although being in a sober community certainly helped me in my first year. I felt some of the groups were cult like and that many members had a very narrow view of recovery.
Back then,there was not much online about leaving AA, but thanks to Amazon being in existence, I was able to buy some decent books on alternatives to AA, and some were really good. I had found a great therapist, who asked me to read Stanton Peele’s writing as I was not enjoying certain aspects of AA, and I then discussed his books with her. I found Stanton’s ideas really resonated with me and was able to do work on my self esteem and other issues in an effective manner, now that I had the tools to stay sober. I often wonder if I would have stayed sober if Stanton’s books had not been available to me, as I read them at a critical time, and they certainly helped. I was having issues with gossip in AA, and certainly had no faith in praying myself well.
There were nothing like the number of recovery blogs out there, or alternative to AA websites that interested me, and there were no suitable podcasts. Monica Richardson who made the film “The 13th step” about issues in AA made the first one that I listened to, but this came a while later. I was really doing recovery on my own for a while, until I came across the “Stinkin-Thinkin” blog by Friend the Girl and MA. Here is the original blog https://donewithaa.wordpress.com and here is the later blog archive http://stinkin-thinkin.com .This was the best online recovery community I have been part of. It was was very fast moving, and had good writers, who mixed humour with serious issues, and this meant it attracted some equally amusing contributors, many of whom have sadly left the online recovery scene, once it turned toxic.
At that time the Orange papers site was seen as extreme and thankfully did not have its repellant forum, which attracted “trolls” from both sides of the recovery world. Some people seem to believe everything that was written on this site. It is possible that they are the easily influenced types who took everything in AA literally. They would often form petty rivalries and would follow each-other to other forums such as the Fix, and the arguing would carry on there as well. This resulted with comments sections filled with hate, which reflected really badly on those who had moved on from AA. It was impossible to have any form of sensible debate without some idiot spewing their bile. This was the type of behaviour that had lead to the Stinkin Thinkin site being closed. They had assumed that the “Big Book thumpers” from AA would make themselves look stupid, which they did. What they did not anticipate, is that those on the Anti AA side, were even more crazy and there was no limit to their stupidity. It was due to the actions of the Anti AA side, that the best blog questioning the lack of effectiveness of the 12 step world, was shut down. The attempt of running an online community, for those who had left AA, was ruined by people, who would have been ignored, if they had built their own site. This is a real shame as I feel there is a need for this type of community online, but people will not take part if they are going to be attacked by fools, with a narrow point of view.
Here is a piece I wrote for Addiction.com https://www.addiction.com/expert-blogs/why-i-dont-go-to-aa/ which is hardly a pro AA piece, although it gives AA credit where credit is due. It is simply me sharing my experience of recovery, in the hope that somebody else in a similar position may read it, and look at some of the solutions that have helped me. The comments underneath are bizzare and generally show the Anti AA brigade up for being the bigots that they are. I am actually defended by those who still attend AA and others who have no history with the “Orange Papers brigade”. This is on a piece about leaving AA, so you can imagine how they react when somebody writes in favour of that fellowship.
Numbers in the Anti AA world
I actually don’t think there are that many people, involved in the Anti AA world. An indication is when they start a petition, which is rarely well supported. They do this often, but rarely reach more than a couple of hundred signatures. Even the crowd funding for Monica’s film, did not raise much from the Anti AA people. Indeed they hampered her efforts and even hacked her website, so they could distribute the film before it was released, which meant she was left out of pocket. Most people simply drift away from AA after a while if they are disillusioned, and wish those that remain well. We are lucky that there are books such as the excellent “The Sober Truth” by Lance Dodes, which illustrate problems in the AA and 12 step recovery world. to make his point, he does not have to rely on wild conspiracy theories, or trying to link the founder of AA to Hitler etc which are ofen found online. Of course, it is the outlandish ideas that the Anti AA people often point to, so they are disappointed in the lack of exaggeration. It does not appeal to their sense of drama.
Damage to other recovery groups by Anti AA Trolls.
Although I ignore the views of the trolls that based themselves on the Orange Papers Forum, I do worry about the damage they do to other groups that are trying to provide alternatives to AA. They often talk about the advantages of groups such as Smart, although very few of them actually attend its meetings or bother to qualify to setup new meetings. Instead their aggression probably puts reasonable people off trying these alternatives to AA. They are more interested in telling people what did not work for them, rather than rationally discussing the wide range of solutions out there. Would you want to sit next to one of these idiots in a recovery meeting, especially those who have no respect for other people’s privacy.
I have certainly been critical of AA on my own sites but have always given AA credit, where I feel it deserves it. I am certainly not a fan of those who sell the 12 steps in rehab as a form of treatment as I don’t see this as an effective solution. The steps certainly not a medical treatment. Although I no longer attend AA, I realise that many do find it helpful and would hate to deprive them of a free support group, that they find beneficial. I don’t really care about the DUI people that get sent there, who I view as irresponsible, although I don’t think sending them to AA does them or AA much good. They would probably benefit from another form of education and punishment.
Failure of the Anti AA movement.
As far as I know, the Anti AA people have not managed to close a single 12 step meeting or have any effect on the numbers attending. All they have achieved is to divide part of the online recovery community. They often attack eachother. Being Anti something, generally does not achieve much. Being pro another solution and seeking to build it and make it something worth belonging to and worth being part of is completely different!
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