It is great to see the 12 step muck-racking and recovery blog Stinkin-Thinkin is back up. I was just looking at some old posts about leaving AA and the pseudo religious 12 step dogma world and could see why the site grew to have a fairly good following in a short space of time. It was well written, contained a lot of humour, raised important points which conflicted with mainstream ideas and produced some interesting debate by intelligent people. It also had confrontation made the threads move fast, although this did mean it took up a lot of the site owner’s time. Many people who took part in the discussions, went on to start successful blogs themselves, such as LeavingAA and NA daytona.
It contained good posts about the ineffective 12 step world, and it was where I first heard about solutions such as the Sinclair method and even Smart recovery. I had already left AA by the time I found it, but it was good to share experiences with others who had rejected it as well. It had a good “why I left AA section” and my personal favourite, the “keep coming back” section. This started as a section on those, who were arrested for drink driving on the way to or from an AA meeting, but grew to contain many stories about AA members who were criminals. There were certainly some lunatics in many of the meetings I attended, but I was surprised to read about the female AA cannibal http://stinkin-thinkin.com/2011/10/13/cannibal/ or the AA sponsor who decided that he would protect his murderous sponsee, due to the anonymity tradition of AA http://stinkin-thinkin.com/2011/07/15/aa-sponsor-protects-sponsee-who-confessed-to-murder/
They also talked about the cult aspects of AA and had a great section called essential reading. I don’t go as far as many, in calling AA an outright cult, as I went to some meetings where the big book thumpers were outnumbered by more normal rational types, who were more interested in helping others than getting hung up on dogma. However, I also went to some really damaging meetings, that were heavily influenced by sociopathic types, at the start of my recovery and I feel it is important to highlight these type of meetings and the damage they cause. Stinkin-Thinkin did this. They talked about the ridiculous contradictions in the big book and of things such as double binds http://stinkin-thinkin.com/2010/02/05/the-double-bind-damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-dont/ which is the type of double speak used by cults or indeed hypnotists, to implant ideas. You can find plenty of that in AA.
Some people criticised the site, for knocking AA, which they feel has helped so many, but I found it really useful to read these pieces and make up my own mind. It did attract a few idiots, but they were moved on after a while, and some of the disagreements were quite humorous. It was not nasty like the orange papers forum, where many threads are overrun by idiots who have no respect for the site owner or other members and who have lowered the credibility of the entire site as well as the whole non AA recovery argument, with their childish arguments and trolling of other sites.
I do hope some of the people who used to post in the early days of the Stinkin-Thinkin site, return to it and join up again. Some of them have probably moved on, as many do leave blogging after they have written the things they wish to say and it becomes repetitive, but others might enjoy having another go. I have stopped blogging myself a couple of times but find it useful at the moment and so will continue for a while. I think making the effort to write ideas down and read them back, is quite helpful for getting thoughts in perspective. I think people who have wasted a great deal of their lives caught up in addiction, followed by a period in a dysfunctional recovery group often feel the need to help others although some just want to lash out at AA. Getting the word out about recovery problems, which some groups would rather ignore and talking about methods that work are so important. I knew very little about AA or the 12 step world before I joined and would not have wasted my time, if I had found out about more sensible alternatives beforehand. I think one of the best ways to approach this fairly dry subject is by using humour, and Stinkin-Thinkin certainly did that.
When devout 12 step members did come on the site, they generally looked stupid. They could rarely provide a good argument and normally resorted to slogan spouting, which often the reaction of a 12 step world member who have been discouraged from attempting rational thought. For me this was really important, as you could see how emotionally stunted many of these 12 step members are, compared to many who have walked away from the lunacy of the rooms. I really do feel that AA does suit people, who are not that intelligent and this would certainly be reflected by some of the comments on the threads. It showed how self-righteous many are in the recovery world and how they feel entitled to attack and belittle those who do not conform to the 12 step world, although you could say that about some of the “antis” on the OP forum as well! There is little serenity for those that choose to attack something that has become a religion and the focus of their life, rather than a simple recovery support group for so many.
I think Stinkin-Thinkin did a good job of stirring things up and provoking others to get out there and tell others about more rational and successful methods of recovery. I doubt that massive would be making her film or have started her radio show, if she had not come across the site after wanting to highlight predatory behaviour, while she was still in AA. I was encouraged to learn how to use “WordPress”, which is the platform this site is built on, as a result of looking the blog, as were several others. Some of the original contributors still write some good comments on sites such as “the fix” or on the comments sections of other online articles. One of the site owners has also written a book with Stanton Peele which talks about practical solutions for recovery, including using mindfulness. I think a great many people benefited from the site, and have gone on to help other people as they have a much stronger recovery, than they would have done if they had wasted more time praying to a doorknob or a lightbulb, after taking the advice of a slogan spouter in a church basement. I was really pleased to read a twitter tweet from the site that it was back up on Sunday morning. I doubt that it will be as fast-moving as before, as I have been told that the site will be focussed on recovery rather than the muckraking side, but I’m sure it will have some good pieces and will be worth reading.Google+