AA is a Cult, part 18

Step 6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. 

One common feature of cult members is learned helplessness, kind of passive patience that is the opposite of being self reliant. Once when I was six or seven and running late for school my mom asked in exasperation why I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet. “I’m waiting for [my big brother] to get it for me.” As a child cultist it didn’t occur to me to pour my own bowl of cereal, or even to ask for help. I just waited for it to materialize. 

Being “entirely ready” for the possibly fictitious creator of the universe to remove your defects doesn’t obligate him to do so. There is no guarantee in this, nor any backup plan. In Alcoholics Anonymous, if God doesn’t decide to remove your defects and restore you to sanity, you stay defective and insane. Because it is an exclusionary religion, “salvation” can come through no other means. 

It doesn’t matter if you reach years or decades of sobriety. If you got there without the steps, AA says you’re still spiritually sick. They call such sober people “dry drunks” even as their own members have relapse after binge after relapse. If AA’s primary purpose was helping alcoholics to gain control over drinking problems, it would celebrate all sobriety and try to learn from more successful programs.  With a 5% success rate, AA fails 95% of the alcoholics who turn to them for help. 

Bill W. also concocted the term “dry binge” to blame his violent rages and abuse of his wife on alcohol even when he was sober. What a convenient spiritual disease! Even after his “spiritual awakening” and the scant months and years of punctuated sobriety, all of his flaws could be blamed on alcohol! He didn’t need to become a better person through hard work; he only needed to believe and be ready for God to do the heavy lifting. 

He switched up his definition of alcoholism often enough to keep members off balance. His shortcomings and sins were the result of a disease he was powerless over. Everyone else had defects of character and needed to get right with God. His alcoholism was a disease, their alcoholism was sin. This kind of hypocrisy is standard among cult leaders who believe they are special and exceptional, in between bouts of severe self-loathing. This heady mixture comes through in this step which combines infantile helplessness with a demand for miracles from God. 


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