Sunday, December 13, 2009

Things that BUG me about AA and Al-Anon

My husband has been working the steps. I notice when he works the steps, he is a much nicer person. (Maybe I should work the steps, LOL, I stopped on Step 4!)

In any case, we have been getting along very well for the most part.

However, yesterday I spent several hours on our finances and was in a pissy mood and snapped. He tried to say something to make me feel better and I told him not to give me any of that "AA crap."

I should say that I probably don't have the highest opinion of AA because of my father-in-law being involved with it for over 20 years. For someone who is such an ass, I just don't see how that program really transformed him.

He is sober, but he's still an ass. From what I've heard, he has always been an ass and has never really changed. I do know that many people in the program respect him and say that he has helped them, but I can not see where he has taken that to the outside world. In my opinion, he still treats most people, including his family, like shit.

The problem I have with AA and Al-Anon is that they seem to work great while you are working on them. But the minute you step away, you are back to being the same person. I don't see that they are transformative in a lasting way. It seems like something where you are constantly having to attend meetings to reinforce behavior. And honestly, the slogans bug me.

The slogans in and of themselves are great. There are a lot of truths to what is said. But my issue is that people seem to use these as band aids when someone has a problem, instead of saying something more heartfelt and fitting to the occasion. It reminds me of Christians I know that become so indoctrinated that they never actually speak their own words anymore - they simply spat Bible verses at you for whatever your particular problem might be at the moment.

So while this may be an improvement for some people, I am just not fond of robots. I like people who are free thinkers. Perhaps that is just to ingrained in my personality - I take a little of this, and a little of that and mix it all together and use what works. (Which I suppose you can also use an Al-Anon slogan for that - "Take what works, leave the rest.")

I worry that although my husband and I get along well while he is working his program (and he is in all regards now: sponsor, meetings and steps). But, what will happen when this stops or the intensity dies down? Because inevitably, it will. I have been around the ups and downs of drunkenness, sobriety, relapse and redemption all too many times over the last 8 years.

I suppose my issue with AA and Al-Anon is that I think there should be more. Nothing has changed in 50 years, and we know a lot more about addiction and co-dependency now than we did at the start of these programs. I also think that people in AA start to think that their behavior is normal, and it's not to most people.

I remember the Fourth Wife telling me that she thinks all families are dysfunctional. She said something to the effect that some people try to pretend like theirs aren't but they all are.

I couldn't disagree more. No family is perfect, that's for sure. But to say all families are dysfunctional seems like a complete stretch - and a fabrication to make herself feel better.

I think there should be more integration between AA and Al-Anon - and I think we should be more integrated within society as a whole. There is still this secrecy around addiction that keeps it more dysfunctional.


  1. I think that there is a slogan that fits here (sorry): It works if you work it. I don't think that I'll "graduate" from Al-Anon. Recovery is a life long journey for me. I know that I would slip back to my old ways that have been ingrained in my head since I was a child. Working the steps has been something that has made such a difference. Steps 4-10 are the action steps--that's where I had to get honest about myself, my part in this life. If I had stopped at Step Four, I would have missed 3/4 of the program.

  2. Yes, you are right Syd. I should go back and finish the steps. They seemed like things that I already was raised to do, so it seemed repetitive to me. But I have always intended to finish them anyway. :)