I am an active member of AA and have been sober for eight and a half years. Most people would read this and have a general sense, that AA works and it does, but what I left out was I came into AA at 28 years old and for 16 years or so, continued to live an impoverished existence; spiritually, emotionally and financially. Most would also agree or have a general sense, AA did not work for me during that time period.
Now statistically speaking, only a very low percentage of people come to AA and stop drinking, some come and go for years, decades even, before they stop drinking for good, but for most it does not work at all and people suffer and then die. There are no clear cut statistics on AA’s success rate, but it is common knowledge of those who go, that the overall success rate, if you include all that are lost is below ten percent. So AA does not work ninety or so percent of the time.
AA is not all inclusive and does not grab a hold of everyone. AA does not work for everyone. It is just a system in place, which is broadly regarded, as the best we have to offer.
There are many people in AA I respect, appreciate and honor. They are friends and have helped me find my way. I do not want to do anything which may reduce their spiritual, emotional and financial well being, but we have to talk about AA.
The ones which have been successful, either from the first time they walked in or through an extreme amount of hard work, pain and struggle, have the perception; “AA works just fine”, regardless of the statistics. The claim is simple; AA worked for me, so it can work for anyone, even though we know this is not truly accurate and can actually be proven to the contrary. It is a stance!
The stance is held in an extremely defensive position. There are many physical, emotional and mental dynamics at work in this defensive stance:
The first driving force is fear. Please do not touch AA, because it works for me. I am very comfortable and do not want to do anything, which might disrupt my comfort. It is actually an extremely terrifying notion to those that have worked really hard and had any long term success in AA. It is even more terrifying to those who did not have to work hard to stay sober, because as far as they are concerned, the system if wonderful!
The second driving force is separation, which is the driving force of our society. If I work harder than someone else and put more time in than someone else, than I should be better of than someone else. It is the mind set; I should be able to see someone beneath me. It is not a spoken word. It is hidden in our psyche and is one of the underlying forces which keeps the current AA system in place. It is the perception; if everyone is sober, then my sobriety is not as valuable.
Either of these forces, by themselves could keep any system in place, but put them together and they are like a pyramid and will last for thousands of years and this is only two driving forces, there are hundreds of underlying causes to our aversion to change, but the old adage; “don’t fix it if it is not broken” is not applicable in this day and age; you cannot hang your hat on this adage, because the system is broken and cannot be denied. It does not work for the masses.
My perception is, you either have to get rid of the masses or fix the system. Why would you want to see someone suffer? We put animals down which suffer, don’t we? I know it is inherent in our makeup to hold ourselves above the animals, but if this perception is true, does it not bolster the notion of putting down someone who is suffering?
If all the people who suffer are removed and the sober ones are the only ones left, how will you feel about your sobriety?
If all the people who suffer were allowed to stay and they were all simply given sobriety, how will you feel about sobriety?
What if I told you, sobriety was not in shortage and the perception of somehow being a finite item, was prompted and promoted by the ones who were given sobriety from the first time they came in?
What if I told you there was more sobriety hidden, than is shown. What if I told you there is enough sobriety for every last person on this planet?
Would you want everyone to be sober?
The ones which need to be put down are not the ones who suffer; the masses, but are the ones which hide the sobriety. There is a price to be paid, for those who deny sobriety, so they may have it all, along with the added misperception of superiority.
The ones who worked so very hard to obtain sobriety are the ones who will guide and nurse the past sufferers into a sober existence? They have shown themselves capable of rising above systems which others could not rise above.
They have shown themselves worthy to lead. They are to be the rulers over the newly sober.
The alternative to this, is for the ones who suffer to be removed. The ones who hide the sobriety to be left exactly as they are right now and the ones who worked so very hard to get sober are left with no one beneath them.
Me, I do not care if everyone is sober. I do not care if sobriety is given to all which suffer. It does not devalue my sobriety, it raises my value in God’s “I”.
I am just a simple sober drunk, trying to get the other sober people to take care of the ones which AA cannot reach. I am tired of all the suffering and know in my heart it is not God’s way.
How do you feel about what I have just expressed to you?
Are we so fearful and comfortable looking down, we cannot tolerate an all inclusive system.
How will you all feel if the sufferers have to be put down?
I have a feeling, you will not feel so good about your sobriety.
I apologize upfront to those who are doing well in AA and understand your angst, BUT we have to talk about the system!
Is this truly the best we have to offer?
James Scott Velozo