An Excellent article and first hand account about how AA Hurts.
When AA Hurts
A woman suffered abuse at home, from a rapist, and in AA — all were related
(This is a guest column from Juliet Abram)
This is my personal story of being abused, first by my mother, then by a rapist-“boyfriend,” and then by AA. Each form of abuse predisposed me to be a victim of the other, and I had to escape all of them. NA Daytona meetings in Port Orange, Holly Hill and Ormond Beach.
I learned in therapy that my low-self esteem and vulnerability left me open to being hurt. I got these feelings at home, from my mother. Then other abusers found me. Abusers like easy targets, such as people who are starved for love or attention or who fear being abandoned. I also used alcohol to tamp down my feelings of shame and disgust from being emotionally, physically, and sexually abused. AA Daytona Beach Meetings.
Then, I went to Alcoholics Anonymous, where I really suffered abuse. I was sentenced to AA after escaping a guy who raped me, refused to let me go free, and made me steal for him. I either went to AA, or I’d be thrown in jail. But AA only made me remember his death threats and heightened my helplessness and despair. One woman explained to me that you had to expect to be raped when you’re drunk. I needed to accept my “part in it.” If I ever criticized AA, I was being an “AA Basher.”
In therapy, I was preoccupied with my issues with AA. I drank rather than fighting my battles in AA. After my third DUI, my AA boyfriend kicked me out and kept our four-year-old daughter, leaving me to move back to my parents’ house with my ten-year-old son from a previous relationship. Then the court ordered me into residential treatment the winter of 2011-2012. On visitation days, my mom would give elaborate speeches to the group about being a heartbroken mother. Her theatrics resulted in other parents applauding her. The family counselor noticed my reactions: Gripping the seat of my chair, hugging my stomach, and keeping my head down. The counselor made me aware for the first time that my mother had a personality disorder.
My mother carried the delusional view that she was a very good person and everyone was out to destroy her. My mom arrived at rehab with photographs of my bedroom full of unpacked boxes (she wouldn’t allow me to unpack), which she said proved that I hated her. She demanded to know why I suddenly began hating her at age fifteen. At that age I asked her for help because I was cutting myself. The next year she accused me of being on drugs and staged an intervention. “Julie needed tough love,” she said, “She’s like this because of what my brother did to me.” My feelings were ignored because my mom had to make it about her.
And so, the AA accusation that alcoholics are people unable to recognize their wrongdoings and character defects sounded familiar to me. The “fellowship” had the same symptoms as a narcissist! And, once again, I was defenseless. A narcissist is never wrong, just as if you relapse in AA it is your fault, never AA’s fault. Narcissists see everyone as their mirror, and if you agree with them all is well. If you disagree, you are an enemy. The AA members I met became instantly defensive whenever I criticized AA. They were like my mother!
Whenever I tried to clear up my confusion or argued at AA, I was assailed with accusations that “you’re headed for a relapse.” (I drank a few times during the four-month period following rehab, but never to the point of getting into trouble.) If I asked questions, I was told “You think you know it all, but your own best thinking got you here.” Hearing that I was powerless and that without AA I would die sounded very familiar to me. AA rules by the same fear and confusion abusers like my mother and my rapist use to keep their victims under control.