Archive for February 19th, 2011

Mantra Evolution

Before founding Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill W went to Switzerland to see one of the world’s top psychiatrists about his alcoholism. He was told that alcoholism was something that psychiatry could not handle.

Now psychiatrists and talk therapists make their livings in alcohol and drug recovery. But their pricey talk sessions are accompanied by regular daily AA meetings. Even these talk therapists never claim that they deal with alcoholism. They say their sessions are a supplement, a search for OTHER problems alcoholics might have.

I had all too much time to think about why a bunch of amateur drunks built an organization which seems to be able to deal with alcoholism itself better than any professionals could ever claim to.

Once I began sponsoring people I came to the conclusion that the big difference between talk therapy and AA is that AA has EVOLVED in the real world.

If you are a sponsor and what you are doing doesn’t WORK, you will be in the emergency room or at the funeral to see the results.

The key here is that AA is based on evolution, not on theory. For most of a century members of AA have had to face every day the immediate results of what they are doing.

There have been millions of live subjects for this evolution.

There is no AA theory. A sponsor is on his own. The only score is on your conscience. Each alcoholic selects his own sponsor and I have turned down far more than I dared take on. I will never know whether my failures might have survived if they had had another sponsor.

But that, I have concluded, is exactly the point. You can never tell yourself, as a therapist can, that you did your best. A therapist simply makes sure he has done all his theory requires.

You attend the funeral and nobody can assure you did the best you could.

Evolution is the science of screwing up. It put hooves on early carnivores and they died out. Evolution still pins tails on human babies, and will continue to do so, but the ones with visible tails die out, so nature tries it again.

The Mantra evolved. I keep trying to explain to people that it developed from thousands of head-to-head encounters, rather than from a theory of what a good argument might be.

This is a hell of a lot harder than theorizing about killer arguments. That is the developing difference between BUGS and Stormfront. In actual conflict, be it changing minds or the result of failing to do what is called for, you cannot do what you planned on beforehand.

That is why General Comments 6 is becoming the heart of BUGS. Our field of action changes almost daily as desbots block the Mantra and new pro-whites find out what the real, daily limits on our action are. We evolve daily.

The one thing neither psychiatrists trying to deal with alcoholism nor Stormfront ever had was field reports.

And all the drilling on earth cannot prepare one for actual combat.


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