Controversy Continues In Midtown AA S...

Controversy Continues In Midtown AA Scandal

There are 66 comments on the Washington Examiner story from May 17, 2007, titled Controversy Continues In Midtown AA Scandal. In it, Washington Examiner reports that:

“I was told where to have dinner, where to meet them for dinner, not to have dinner alone or with my husband at the time”

A police officer's wife has come forward saying she was encouraged to cheat on her husband while she was a member of the Washington-area Alcoholics Anonymous group Midtown. via Washington Examiner

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Washington Examiner.

Andy M

UK

#22 Aug 8, 2007
Isn't the whole point of the proverb about bad apples that "one bad apple spoils the barrel"? Anyway, it certainly looks like there are more than just a few bad apples in Washington and elsewhere in AA. I am very encouraged that the news media in the USA are at last looking into these matters seriously and I hope the same thing occurs here in the UK,where a scandal concerning sexual abuse within AA has already been covered some years ago by the Guardian newspaper. The usual evasive excuses and secrecy with which these sort of problems are responded to by AA simply won't do and cannot be allowed to go unchallenged. The abuses that go on within AA are of great public interest and are at last being subjected to the public scrutiny they have long merited.
Andy M

UK

#23 Aug 8, 2007
I'm very encouraged to see that the abuses which occur within AA are being exposed in the US media. I hope the UK media follow suit. The Guardian newspaper covered a story about sexual abuse within AA in the UK some years ago, but the story didn't get the prominence it should have had. I'd be interested to see an investigatory documentary by Panorama or Newsnight.
Andy M

UK

#24 Aug 8, 2007
Glad to see the US news media are covering the abuses that occur within AA. I hope the UK media follow suit.
Andy M

UK

#25 Aug 8, 2007
Sorry about all the repitition- I didn't think what I was writing was getting posted!
Anonymous

Midway City, CA

#26 Sep 20, 2007
So many people in the program have NO idea about this situation.
They do not know that so many victims have come forward. They don't know about the follow up stories in the Post and on the local DC news shows.
They do not know that AA GSO issued a press release a month before this story broke describing how it can help "the very young alcoholic."
They do not know that this "scandal" is now part of AA's entry in the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Every person I've chatted with has felt much differently after learning these FACTS. This is not my opinion or anyone else's. These are impartial facts which may be verified with a few minutes on the computer.
And after learning this information, the resounding opinion I've heard is that WITHOUT A DOUBT, AA as a whole has been harmed. And SOMETHING ought to be done.
Once presented with the facts, people will decide for themselves. The churches have. The rehabs and counselors have. And so shall the rest of the public and AA.
If, after, learning of these facts, the majority of folks decide that AA ought not react, then that's that.
But we can't yet claim that we're making informed decisions when most of us don't even have the information. Asking people to vote at a group conscience when they haven't been made aware of the issues, is not what our program is about.
And if Midtown wants to add to the information, I would HEARTILY welcome their input.
OPEN AND HONEST. That's what we ought to be working with here.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcoholics_Anony...
kismj

Windermere, FL

#27 Oct 9, 2007
I believe that egomaniacal individuals give sponsorship a bad reputation. The only literature that I abide by is the AA approved pamphlet on "What is sponsorship?"
Furthermore, I agree that sponsorship is not used in the first 164 pages of the Big Book because of what the above person wrote about the three pertinent ideas:
A. We were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.
B. That probably no human power could have relieved my alcoholism.
C. That God could and would if he were sought.
SO SEEK HIM!!!
Personally, I turned my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand God. If the 1st step applied to my sponsor, as well as me, then why would I turn my will over to the care of someone who could not manage their own life and let them try and manage mine?
MJ in St. Pete
Open and Honest

Midway City, CA

#28 Oct 13, 2007
After a few months in A.A. anyone who still needs a sponsor should seek outside help, a psychiatrist to figure out why they are sucking up to the promoted self proclaimed sponsorship system within the walls of A.A.
Newbie2AA

AOL

#29 Oct 22, 2007
I'm having second thoughts about AA, I've been reading all these post and checking out youtube. It's all negative feedbacks via internet.
jclarkb

Lexington, KY

#30 Oct 23, 2007
Newbie2AA,

Please attend some meetings (more than one meeting and please go to different groups) so you can decide for yourself what AA is and what AA isnt. As for the idiot in CA who keeps bashing sponsorship, let me guess you had a sponsor who told you the truth about yourself and it hurt your itty bitty feelings? Honestly Mr. CA, noone cares if you have a sponsor or not.
Dinobb3

Maspeth, NY

#31 Oct 29, 2007
The term sponsor is not mentioned in The Big Books 1st 190 pgs(164+ introductions)because the Book is designed to sponsor you.There were only 40 or so members when they initially got the idea to write the Book.
The stories of some of the 1st 100 members in the back of the Book use the term sponsorship -look at HE Sold Himself Short,The Vicious Cycle-then 1940 or so Marty Manns story Women Suffer too. Finally Bill W always credited Ebby T as being his sponsor. In those days sponsorship meant you were vouched into the outfit by someone else. The 1st and 2nd step were taken prior to admittance to the organization.The Back To Basics AA website gives good information about the beginners classes of the 1940s which may shed even more light on the subject. People are capable of doing horrible things with the most beautiful ideas.
"There is nothing good nor bad but thinking makes it so."- Shakespeare's Hamlet
Justine

United States

#32 Oct 29, 2007
Uhhh...you guys are starting to make AA sound like a religion. I never thought of it like that before. It's freaking me out a little, to be honest.
heartwoodcreatio ns

Pittsburgh, PA

#33 Oct 31, 2007
No matter what the circumstance or how many intrusions you plan to block in any program for good purposes - there will always be a Midtown to seap in and stain your good intention. Let it go and move on... George B - Last drink 7-27-86
Anonymous Female

Dearborn Heights, MI

#34 Nov 1, 2007
I am sure you are a man!!! as an attractive young woman who moved to the DC region 2 years ago - I stopped going to meetings approximately 6 months into my living here.
Every meeting I was bothered, harrased and stared out. I had mariage proposals fr5om men I ahd spent an hour with at a Diner with a group of other recovering addicts - as well as people dfinding 0ut where I lived and just coming by my house uninvited.
Prior to moving here I had 8.5 years clean and active in NA, in upstate NY. The absolute harrassment of the men - as well as the cliquishnes of the women - as well as the controlling aspect of the sponsor (DON't make one desicion without talking to me first) just soured me on 12-Steps meeting.
It is a cult. And a sick one in this region at least.
anonymous wrote:
I don't know why everyone wants to persecute this midtown group for something that either happened a long time ago or in seperate individual experiences. They should go after the people in specific and not the whole group. The majority of the midtown group should not have to suffer for individuals. A lot of people making comments "freaks of AA" or whatever has probnably never even sat in one of their meetings. I will call it like it is. Every dang group has it's bad apples does that means that the whole group is infected ...absolutely not. I know many people in that home group and sat in many of their meetings. The majority of alcoholics there are just happy to be sober and are grateful to have such a strong homegroup. I must admit that I am just frustrated with the attacks on the group as a whole.
Anonymous_so_cal

Huntington Beach, CA

#35 Nov 9, 2007
I have a sponsor who has helped me a lot. I have followed her suggestions, and have had a great experience with her until today.
After 8 months of sobriety, working my program, going faithfully to meetings 3-4 times a week, I have developed a friendship with a guy who has 20+ years of sobriety. We found we were attracted to each other, and after a time getting to know each other at meetings and phone conversations, he asked me out, to go to a meeting and coffee afterwards. We have been very clear about what our goals are, and would not decide to do this if we thought either one of us were endangering our hard fought values.
I called my sponsor today to tell her I was going to go out with him this weekend- to a meeting & coffee- no more, and she reacted as if I was a child. NO RELATIONSHIPS FIRST YEAR! She accused me of being "needy", and that he was to blame. She blew up at the thought that I dare do something she didn't approve of. She told me my sobriety was at risk, and I had to hear her endless tirade because I dare question her.
So, there it is. As long as I do everything she tells me to do I'm OK. The first time I deviated from her "rules" I am on her sh*t list. I am left wondering- what is it that happens so magically after a year? I know lots of fellow AA'ers that have a year and are still on step 3, still haven't developed a spiritual relationship with their HP, and still don't continue to move forward. I feel with my heart and think with my mind, and always check everything to make sure I am doing God's will for me. But the way my sponsor is reacting makes me wonder exactly why she feels the need to control every aspect of my life.
I have done a lot of praying and soul searching to make sure my thoughts are coming from the right place, and regardless of her "outrage" I still plan on going ahead with my plans.
Anybody else have this problem?
Natalie

United States

#36 Nov 11, 2007
If you don't like your sponsor, pick one that has what you want. They are not supposed to be a God on a pedestal, they are one alcoholic sharing their experience strength and hope with another, and the simple goal is to work through the steps. Sponsorship is service work, not a legal contract. You can leave your sponsor at any time. Take what you want and leave the rest.

I had a controlling sponsor when I first came into AA, there is a nutso group in Atlanta that most people avoid. My luck to end up there first. However, I heard the AA message, and I got a different and far better sponsor, stuck with the program, and work the steps with her help. I think sponsorship is critical, because you can't discuss a lot of details in general meetings. It allows someone to know more about your situation and offer solutions.

My sponsor offers suggestions, but it is always my decision to make. AA encourages personal accountability. At the end of the day, I am responsible.

I am sad that the sickos have harmed vulnerable people trying to get help in AA. That does not mean that sponsorship is bad. It means, don't get a sicko for a sponsor.
Natalie

United States

#37 Nov 11, 2007
Also, the woman who is upset about her sponsor's reaction to dating at 8 months needs to reconsider. Everyone is encouraged NOT TO DATE or make big decisions their first year sober. There are countless examples of people who do and destroy their sobriety.

"Romance and finance" problems seem to really jar alcoholics, and the first year is no time to throw the bear into the fight while you are already fighting a lion.

Also, women stick with women. Why? Because a man with "20+ years" of sobriety, real sobriety, would NEVER hit on a newcomer with only 8 months. That is called 13th stepping.

If your sponsor didn't call that b.s., she wouldn't be much of a sponsor. But it is your sobriety. Risk it if you choose.
Natalie

United States

#38 Nov 11, 2007
Anonymous_so_cal wrote:
I have a sponsor who has helped me a lot. I have followed her suggestions, and have had a great experience with her until today.
After 8 months of sobriety, working my program, going faithfully to meetings 3-4 times a week, I have developed a friendship with a guy who has 20+ years of sobriety. We found we were attracted to each other, and after a time getting to know each other at meetings and phone conversations, he asked me out, to go to a meeting and coffee afterwards. We have been very clear about what our goals are, and would not decide to do this if we thought either one of us were endangering our hard fought values.
I called my sponsor today to tell her I was going to go out with him this weekend- to a meeting & coffee- no more, and she reacted as if I was a child. NO RELATIONSHIPS FIRST YEAR! She accused me of being "needy", and that he was to blame. She blew up at the thought that I dare do something she didn't approve of. She told me my sobriety was at risk, and I had to hear her endless tirade because I dare question her.
So, there it is. As long as I do everything she tells me to do I'm OK. The first time I deviated from her "rules" I am on her sh*t list. I am left wondering- what is it that happens so magically after a year? I know lots of fellow AA'ers that have a year and are still on step 3, still haven't developed a spiritual relationship with their HP, and still don't continue to move forward. I feel with my heart and think with my mind, and always check everything to make sure I am doing God's will for me. But the way my sponsor is reacting makes me wonder exactly why she feels the need to control every aspect of my life.
I have done a lot of praying and soul searching to make sure my thoughts are coming from the right place, and regardless of her "outrage" I still plan on going ahead with my plans.
Anybody else have this problem?
This thread is about twisted sick people who abuse vulnerable new people in AA. The entire point is that you have to be careful b/c there are some very sick people in AA. That does not mean AA doesn't work, it means a vulnerable new woman should stay far away from some guy saying he has 20+ years sober but hits on a girl with only 8 months.
If the guy had any sobriety, he would respect your attempt at getting help, he would know how destructive relationships could be in the first year of recovery, and he would date someone with a similar amount of time as his. Why is this man preying on a new woman?

It sounds like your sponsor is the one concerned about your best interests. The guy sounds like he wants some action, even if it comprises your sobriety. A sponsor who acted as if it were ok would be the sponsor to drop. Your sponsor is telling you what you don't want to hear, even though it is the truth. That is a good sponsor.
mel v

Saint Petersburg, FL

#39 Nov 13, 2007
we deserve the same opportunity to recover from a hopeless state of mind and body one day at a time, just as the alcohols before and still to come desire. my sponsor, yes i have a sponsor, is old school aa. i want to learn as much as i can from her experience with the steps and traditions. please no watered down aa forme.the words that will hold this alcoholic must have depth and weight. where are the women members in midtown. men with men, women with woman. a sponsors job is not to live your life, but early on we are making tramendous changes in our whole approach and reaction to life. when you realize that you have received this gift of sobriety the natural course is to help the next drunk.
Brian

Middleton, MA

#40 Nov 20, 2007
Natalie in Atlanta, I think you are making way too many assumptions based off of one post. It would be better if you reached out in a more polite, discrete manner if you are truly concerned. And let's get more information about the situation before we start making judgements about people's sobriety.

While I agree that the "no major changes in your first year" is a good suggestion, it is still just a suggestion. I have seen people in AA who have gotten into a relationship in their first year and got drunk, I have also seen people in AA who got into a relationship in their first year, and are still sober years later. My advice to anonymous in So_Cal, is to talk about this new development in your life with other women, not just your sponsor. In particular, you could find a woman who did enter a relationship in their first year and ask what her experience was. I would caution that relationships can really screw with people's emotions and alcoholics have a tendency to let relationships interfere with their recoveryAfter that, it's a decision between yourself and God.

Since: Nov 07

Virginia

#41 Nov 28, 2007
After 2 and half years I left A.A. what I saw was just crazy drunks getting sicker, not better. I just don't see the future in spending my life in a cult that has some really twisted beliefs . I just quit feeling anything in the meetings, so I left.

Now in steps " RATIONAL RECOVERY " . This program is the bomb. I have a whole new lookout on my addictive voice, and am confident that I will NEVER drink again, And I am not going to change my mind.

DO YOURSELVES A FAVOR AND CHECK OUT RATIONAL RECOVERY THEY HAVE A WEBSITE. you can get started there, but ou will want to buy the book also.

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