A journey to embrace, explore, and honor the Freedom and Power inherent in active recovery.

No more shame...

No more shackles....

No more secrets.

The path--and the Power--are within. Be Free.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Con of the Art (Pt. 2)

Being unaware of one's immersion in a scheme
does not reduce one's culpability.

Being ignorant to implications does not erase complicity.

Lack of awareness is not an excuse. Being in denial
or disliking a truth doesn't make it go away.

You can be part of a problem while having the best
of intentions. Government ineffectiveness, banking
schemes, pyramid schemes, police corruption,
falsehoods about addiction, and cults all share some
things in common; they are dependent on many who
are not actively aware for the devilishness of the
scam to be perpetrated. It's the nature of the beast.

If, with education and insight, people still choose
to remain involved with such schemes, then that
is a problem.

People start out wanting to feel better, wanting
to belong and be a part of something, wanting
a way to fill the nights, etc.

But when intimidation and indoctrination and
terrorism and psychological warfare come into the mix,
intentions fly out of the room.

If embracing someone is dependent on how
they live and whether they accept what you're selling,
then your 'love' isn't inclusive and accepting.

Giving lip service to something while doing the
opposite (and pretending otherwise) is not a new

Nobody wants to imagine themselves gullible or
foolish, so even when awareness descends, people
can have difficulty breaking free of the grip of a cult.
They know what happens to those who turn against
the group--or even simply stop attending. They become
ignored and treated persona non grata...a fate worse
than death if you have become dependent on the
illusion of being treated well and being cared about.

For those who are hurting, even the illusion of love
is better than nothing. The hucksters depend on it.


The Con of the Art (pt. 1)

12 Step groups are a con job, pure and simple.

Calling it something else and using the good intentions
of some to promote it doesn't change that.

It's a human pyramid scheme; a religious 'only
three more to reach my goal' shell game. Smiles
and careful phrasing don't distract from that.

People come on strong initially, overwhelming
newcomers so as to facilitate a false sense of
belonging; giving cheery and delusional testimonials,
making unrealistic promises, only focusing on upbeat
and Polly-annaish (unrealistic) ideals....
manipulate their emotions, build up
the sense that they are genuinely loved and accepted
and appreciated, and then....

The Whammy!

Make them realize that the continuation of all
these ebullient iterations is contingent upon their
willingness to adopt the mindset of the group.

If you don't get the prescription filled, you can't
have what you've been shown a picture of.
You can't just pull your weight and socialize,
and you can't politely overlook those steps...
you have to commit to the belief system or that
lovey-dovey smiles-a-popping support system
will dry up and blow away.

Of course, it isn't articulated quite so directly,
but the night-and-day switcheroo or emotions
that takes place...the looks of disappointment
and the freeze-outs and the eye rolls and the
condemning glances and the unreturned phone
calls all speak volumes.

Lovingness belongs to those who participate...fully.
If your are unwilling or unresponsive, you don't
get to play with the popular kids. (Who are all
generally actually the un-popular kids, now being
given their first taste of power...did you imagine
it would go well?!?)

Most don't like having it broken down like that, but
there it is.


Cruel Mirages

Worse than ignoring a thirsty man is pretending to give him water.

Pretending to possess a connection to a deity doesn't create one.
It does, however, give the pretender a sense of authority
over others. It gives them a false sense of importance.
It gives them the pretense of humility while in fact feeling
smugly superior to their 'unsaved' and 'disconnected'
fellow man. It gives a false sense of one's life and actions
being ordained and blessed by a higher power.

Religion, and its supposedly less-insular brother,
'spirituality', are nothing if not divisive.

Such pretense is only fueled by one's own imagination
and their word. The power of the mind is robust indeed,
and the need to stave off the darkness (and shame, and guilt,
and fear, and emptiness) can create many convincing illusions
within us.

How interesting that, despite lip service to being
servile and humbled, those who fancy themselves followers
of an imagined deity gain a 'connection' to an
all-powerful, all-knowing energy that speaks exclusively to them....

they gain self-importance by virtue of said connection....

they serve as self-appointed leader and spokesperson
for this fictional deity (while somehow always managing to
act in their own best interests!).....

they take a position of authority by virtue of 'teaching'
and editing and controlling others who haven't been
'fortunate enough' to be connected to this power source....

they promote self as a representative of this all-powerful
one, and want to be rewarded and acknowledged
for the good done, but distance themselves from
'mistakes' and 'slips.' Somehow the good is meant
to be recorded in permanent marker, the bad in
invisible ink......

When people suggest that they maintain a connection to
an entity that created life and watches over some--
while neglecting others-- it is the height of selfish

To imagine that man has the capability
of presuming the mind and heart of a
imagine that some are more important than others....
to believe and act as though there is a special
connection that some are wise or 'good' enough or
insightful enough to establish, while others
are just operating on bad luck...well, it's
preposterous and delusional.

It's fantasy and fairy tale and wishful thinking
gone awry.

It's the kind of illusion that's cruel and petty.
And since we live in a world where the religious
are supposed to have free reign and be revered,
no questioning is permitted. No proof required.
No standards applied.

I say thee 'Nay.'


"Me Love You Long Time"

(But alas, not alcohol!)

In response to my taking issue with AA's harmful
nature and destructiveness, one of its apologists
reprimanded me smugly by stating that "AA has
been around for 75 years and it's going to stay
strong and continue long after I'm gone."

The upshot being that nothing I said or did would
have any impact. Also, the implication being that,
by sheer virtue of longevity, AA was inherently
a 'good thing.'

Well, to clarify; lots of stuff lasts...has staying power.

People still ardently follow the Nazi philosophy.
Cockroaches will likely outlive everything.
Spam lasts forever in those damned cans.
Murder has been around since the dawn of mankind,
and I doubt it will fall out of favor soon.
Rape, incest, treason, robbery, deceit,
infidelity, and so much more of our planet's
offerings have a long history.

Being around a long time is not indication
as to some thing's altruism or worthiness.

But if you don't have much of an argument,
I can understand stretching for it.

Reason has never been popular with
superstitious, illogical man.
The sick and the scared in particular will
grasp at straws and embrace any port in a storm.

And we do like our continuity; so even when
something proves itself old and withered and
worn out past its usefulness, man is unlikely
to admit fault and move on.

In all likelihood, he will grasp even an illusion
more tightly, in despair and disdain,
in denial and disgust.

Yes, bad ideas do persevere.
And as always, the popularity of a notion
should not be construed as support of its validity.


Concentrated Wheel-Spinning

The 12 Step Solution:

Petty fanatics, cloaked in their feigned
and hysterical 'god'-consciousness
and 'god'-connectedness, coming
together to boast their worthiness
amidst their own, while delineating
the unworthiness of the unaffiliated....
reinforcing their foolishness with
posturing, preening, pretensions.

What's not to love?


Appearances Aren't Everything

"Pay attention to how good we're being...while you're
here in front of us, at least!"

It's still gossip, even if you pretend you don't spread it.

It's still lying, even if you keep covering it up with new lies..
and haven't been caught yet....
and have everybody convinced.

It's still coercion, even if you keep a smile on your face.

It's still judgement, even if you smirk it softly,
or couch it with "I'm just trying to help."

It's still a clique, even if you really believe  you're superior.

It's still delusion, even if you fancy yourself special and right.


News Flash!

It's not the 1950's anymore;
It's okay to pull your head out of your ass!

Break the chains and be Free.

Sobriety--like morality--is not
intrinsically linked
to religion or spirituality.

You really can be your own person....
despite how scary that is to others!


The Lies of A.A. & N.A.


1. If you don't work the program, you will
'go back out' or use/drink again.

2. You can't do it alone.

3. The people in 12 Step care about you.

4. You can depend on people in group.

5. The 12 Steps are not a cult or a religion.

6. Recovery and sobriety is dependent on a
spiritual transformation.

7. 12 Step is for everybody, no matter their beliefs!


Telling a lie often enough will not make it Truth.

Discover the Reality;
Stop the 12 Step Insanity.


Easier Said Than Done

Unfortunately, demanding authenticity
won't make it happen.

We seem to be living in a world
that is more and more duplicitous
and false as the days go by.

Dealing with entire groups of addicts
is a pretty sure way of coming into contact
with some of the most unscrupulous
and unsavory characters around.

The majority of people in 12 Steps may be dry,
but the rest of their routine is pure show.

Just because someone says they are
a good person, presents themselves as rehabilitated,
promotes themselves as compassionate,
has the pretense of selflessness, and
postures as a spiritual person, that
does not make it so.

When dealing with sociopaths, narcissists,
pathological liars, con men, and zealots,
that's especially true.

No matter how sincere they seem,
no matter how charming and convincing
they are, and no matter how hard they work it,
a lie is still a lie.

No matter how beautifully it's crafted.

Fakes get away with hurting folks
precisely because they are so good at
what they do.

But a flawed copy can never replace an original,
and a hustle can never stand in for the real thing.

Don't believe the hype;
of course a con man is going to tell you
he's honest and sincere.
I've never met one yet that announced they were
getting ready to fleece you.


Love as a Weapon: 12 Step Got Game

We all tend to have a fantasy
about wanting others to care for us.

It can make us vulnerable
to expressed interest and grand overtures.

But if we stop and consider;

What kind of person would
ingratiate themselves to a stranger?....
How could someone truly care so much
for someone they don't know?....
What sort of person wants to take on
the responsibility for leading another person?...

In a children's tale, the answer might be
'a good person.'

But in reality, the answer is 'a sick person
who wants to play God.'.....
'Someone who is attempting to avoid their own life
while playing fast and loose with yours.'....

What things appear to be, and what they truly are...
they have as little to do with one another
as they ever did.

Street smarts tell us that if a person is too eager,
overly solicitous, too interested, then something is
wrong; they're conning you. And you'd be right.

What kind of person takes advantage of someone
at their lowest point, in order to feel better
about themselves and to promote an agenda?'Not a very good one.'