Tucson AA Censors My Letter

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Bruce Deile

Tucson, AZ

#1 Apr 8, 2013
Tucson AA Central Office decided not to publish my letter 'Dysfunction Junction, How's That Function?'(below) in its newsletter. Spoke with them today, was told they thought I should rewrite it in 1st person. I replied How It Works is not in first person, and that a copy posted to central office bulletin board was removed. They mocked me, asking if I had a sponsor I could talk to about it (implying their not publishing it is due to my not "working the program"). Blameshifting. A longer submission of mine was published in their newsletter in 1992, but evidently this one is unacceptable.
Bruce Deile

Tucson, AZ

#2 Apr 8, 2013
'Dysfunction Junction, How's That Function'

AA's How It Works absolutism:..."With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold onto our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely. Remember that we deal with alcohol -- cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power--that One is God. May you find Him now! Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon. Here are the steps we took..." (see also 'AA Comes of Age, pages 304-309: "...under these conditions, the patient turns to religion with an entire willingness and readily accepts, without reservation, a simple religious proposal.")

Caveats rescinding the above absolutism do not appear until after the 12 steps, meaning the 3rd step is to be taken under pressure of absolutist perfectionism. P. 85 of AA's Big Book states: "We are not cured of alcoholism. What we have is a daily reprieve contingent upon the maintenance of our spiritual condition." Yet what is to be maintained when one has (purportedly) let go absolutely?

The first caveat following the 12 steps:
"....No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection." At this point perfectionism (absolutism) is referred to as impossible. But it had already been emphatically insisted upon preceding the 12 steps. Regarding the next caveat--many of us were relieved to find a sudden religious experience (like Bill W.'s) was unnecessary to successfully work the steps (it can be a gradual process of the educational variety--William James''Varieties of Religious Experience' is cited): Is the alcoholic relieved, or confused? The letting go absolutely had already been established; now AA grants working the steps a lifelong process and not an event. Except that's not what it says: "Here are the steps we *took*", not "Here are the steps we are taking over the span of a lifetime." Moreover, "If you want what we *have* and are willing to go to any length to get it", not "If you want what we are gradually getting over a lifetime of working the steps." Finally, "Having *had* a spiritual awakening as a *result* of these steps", not otherwise, we thence commenced to require newcomers to get on their knees and turn their lives and wills over to God as we understood Him. That's what Dr. Bob did, with AA following his example as mutuality was lost. Ebby T. hadn't required Bill W. to get on his knees; Bill W. hadn't required Dr. Bob to get on his knees; it had only involved one alcoholic sharing with another on a mutual basis.

Bruce Deile

Tucson, AZ

#3 Apr 8, 2013
Speaking of the aforementioned three and How it Works "we beg of you" (to be absolutist); none had let go absolutely: Ebby T. drank again. Bill W. had a sudden religious experience removing his desire to drink, followed by his working the steps, yet shared of suffering waves of self-pity and resentment during his first two years of sobriety. Bill W.'s "dry drunk" periods later led to his (and wife Lois, Father Dowling, and other AA's) experimenting with LSD in sobriety, believing it to improve the alcoholics relationship with God by removing self--ego--and making room for God (see AA's 'Pass it On'). Dr. Bob fought cravings for alcohol his first year and a half of sobriety, cravings which had continued *after* he had worked the steps (they were 6 steps back then). So the co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous had not, and could not, let go absolutely being mortal men (see "Forgetting Reinhold Niebuhr"; New York Times; 9/18/2005; Reinhold Niebuhr was a Protestant theologian and author of 'The Serenity Prayer' recited aloud at the start of AA meetings).

For AA to continue insisting upon the impossible, cavetas notwithstanding, is manipulative and dishonest. False guilt is induced which can lead the alcoholic back to drinking to assauge their troubled conscience. By the way... "Happy, Joyous and Free" gained at the expense of others is counterfeit.

Bruce Deile

Tucson, AZ

#4 Apr 8, 2013
From "Forgetting Reinhold Niebuhr" (New York Times; 9/18/2005):

...."Original sin, by tainting all human perceptions, is the enemy of absolutes. Mortal man's apprehension of truth is fitful, shadowy and imperfect; he sees through the glass darkly. Against absolutism Niebuhr insisted on the "relativity of all human perspectives," as well as on the sinfulness of those who claimed divine sanction for their opinions. He declared himself "in broad agreement with the relativist position in the matter of freedom, as upon every other social and political right or principle." In pointing to the dangers of what Justice Robert H. Jackson called "compulsory godliness," Niebuhr argued that "religion is so frequently a source of confusion in political life, and so frequently dangerous to democracy, precisely because it introduces absolutes into the realm of relative values." Religion, he warned, could be a source of error as well as wisdom and light. Its role should be to inculcate, not a sense of infallibility, but a sense of humility. Indeed, "the worst corruption is a corrupt religion."

One imagines a meeting between two men - say, for example, the president of the United States and the last pope - who have private lines to the Almighty but discover fundamental disagreements over the message each receives. Thus Bush is the fervent champion of the war against Iraq; John Paul II stoutly opposed the war. Bush is the fervent champion of capital punishment; John Paul II stoutly opposed capital punishment. How do these two absolutists reconcile contradictory and incompatible communications from the Almighty?"
Bruce Deile

Tucson, AZ

#5 Apr 8, 2013
And AA Central Office saying 'Dysfunction Junction...' should be in 1st person would open it to ad hominem blameshifting. It's directly about AA, and as I explained to them, it is done as constructive criticism and not as controversy.
Bruce Deile

Tucson, AZ

#6 Apr 8, 2013
Btw, post 4 above--a snippet from the New York Times article about Niebuhr--that was not included in 'Dysfunction Junction'--only the reference to it was included near the end.
Bruce Deile

Tucson, AZ

#7 Apr 8, 2013
The censorship suppresses "minority opinion". their patronizing me, asking if I had a sponsor I could talk to, is their latest tactic in treating someone who criticizes AA as a newcomer. The man did so in the one meeting after I spoke (and shared I had over 26 years of sobriety), cross talking me when saying "keep coming back!" (like they do to newcomers).
Bruce Deile

Tucson, AZ

#8 Apr 8, 2013
One other thought....spoke to a man (who has a little over 25 years of sobriety) about 'Dysfunction Junction...' and he was quite reasonable about it. We both agreed the absolutism probably came from the Oxford Groups. But he didn't find it necessary to belittle me, or patronize me as though I were a newcomer for criticizing AA. That behaviour (of insulting me through cross talk on the group level, etc.), is organized harrassment coming from those controlling AA.
Bruce Deile

Tucson, AZ

#9 Apr 8, 2013

Just found another excellent Wes Montgomery video on YouTube:

Wes Montgomery Trio Days of Wine and Roses

video by 60otaku4

(Days of Wine and Roses is a must see film about alcoholicism--very well done--it happens, coincidentally, to give a positive impression of the helpfulness of AA; apparently they show it in treatment centers, though they didn't in the one I was in [1985]--it was until a year or so ago happened upon it and really enjoyed it).
Bruce Deile

Tucson, AZ

#10 Apr 8, 2013
Ooops...alcoholism (not "alcoholicism"). Funny. Maybe that should become new vernacular.
Bruce Deile

Tucson, AZ

#11 Apr 8, 2013
Interesting Wiki page for days of Wine and Roses; here's a snippet:

..."Days of Wine and Roses (1962) is a film directed by Blake Edwards with a screenplay by JP Miller adapted from his own 1958 Playhouse 90 teleplay of the same name.

The movie was produced by Martin Manulis, with music by Henry Mancini, and features Jack Lemmon, Lee Remick, Charles Bickford and Jack Klugman.[2] The film depicts the downward spiral of two average Americans who succumb to alcoholism and attempt to deal with their problem.

An Academy Award went to the film's theme music, composed by Mancini with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. The film received four other Oscar nominations, including ones for Best Actor and Best Actress."...
Bruce Deile

Tucson, AZ

#12 Apr 8, 2013
That Wes Montgomery Days of Wine and Roses cover is really quite good--just listened again. Mentioned on other thread his videos--part one and two--"Boss Guitar, The Art of Wes Montgomery" are excellent as well. They include intro. by Ronnie Scott.
Bruce DEile

Tucson, AZ

#13 Apr 9, 2013
The video(s) 'Boss Guitar The Art of Wes Montgomery' includes a different drummer than the one on the CD I have of Wes Montgomery live at Ronnie Scott's in London. Unsure, but thinking the CD has a drummer by the name of Ronnie Stephenson. Just viewed these videos again and they're quite enjoyable. What a great thing YouTube is to allow access to such great music performances.
Bruce Deile

Tucson, AZ

#14 Apr 10, 2013
Rosemary Clooney has an excellent cover as well:

Rosemary Clooney 'Days of Wine and Roses'

video by wildcat139


...and yes, and that was Ronnie Stephenson on drums on the Wes Montgomery CD "Live at Ronnie Scott's"; purchased it at Neptunes's--a basement music store in the university district in Seattle. Brought to mind the few fond memories I had of living in Seattle in the late 80's/early 90's and Jazz Alley. The only place I seemed to fit in.
Bruce Deile

Tucson, AZ

#15 Apr 10, 2013
lol! This is awesome:

Roemary Clooney

Mambo Italiano

video by FOTOKINO

(looks like there are numerous video versions of her singing this song--love this particular one on first find)
Bruce Deile

Tucson, AZ

#16 Apr 10, 2013
Wow. Just found another fabulous video:

Miranda Martino "Portami Tante Rose"

video by maggio1972
Bruce Deile

Tucson, AZ

#17 Apr 10, 2013
lol! This one is really funny:

Miranda Martino.Dollar Twist.mpg

video by Lea Daudt
Bruce Deile

Tucson, AZ

#18 Apr 10, 2013
Love this one too:

Miranda Martino "O paese d'o sole"

video by texvinrot
Bruce Deile

Tucson, AZ

#19 Apr 10, 2013
"Heavens to megatroy!" (lol; my brother used to use that phrase from a cartoon character in the 60's--forget which one)...but that Miranda Martino video "O paese d'o sole" is out of this world. Interesting juxtapostion--Miranda Martino with the woman that has the large sunglasses--both are so beautiful, but Miranda Martino seems to be in another stratosphere her star quality is so outstanding. This video is definitely an all-time fave.
Bruce Deile

Tucson, AZ

#20 Apr 10, 2013
Miarnda Martino has a website link found on Google search, able to read it translated (though not perfectly). Coincidentally, includes her book "Men and Drugs" and a page showing it to have interesting insight on alcohol and drug addiction.

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