Going to A.A. meetings and doing the Twelve Steps for a few years does not necessarily make people into wise and knowledgeable alcoholism recovery counselors, suitable to be sponsors and advise and supervise the newcomers.
Often, the program doesn't even accomplish Step Two for the old members, "restoring them to sanity."
And it doesn't guarantee that they won't relapse.
And it doesn't stop them from being sexual predators or neurotic control freaks, either.
It is a myth that A.A. sponsors are wise and knowledgeable and able to give sage advice. A.A. propaganda is always telling stories about sponsors who are able to perceptively psychoanalyze their sponsees and always come up with just the right answer to solve the sponsees' problem and guide him or her towards sobriety and spirituality. That is just so much wishful thinking, and it is just another part of the Big Lie — part of the story that A.A. is a great treatment program. They don't want to tell you that healthy, wealthy, and wise people simply do not join A.A. and become sponsors. They don't want to tell you that you are likely to get some neurotic power-tripping fool who has simply memorized several dozen slogans, and he will just spout one at you in every situation.
The truth is that A.A. is managed at the grass roots level by incompetents who literally do not know what they are doing. They have no training in treating alcoholism; they are just people who have been members of A.A. and "worked the program" for a few years, and still they presume to act as doctors, ministers, priests, and recovery counselors to the newcomers.
(Often, they use an illogical false equality here, and point to a room full of A.A. members and say, "Look at these people. We have thousands of years of experience in drinking in this room."
Yes, they have, together, accumulated many years of experience in drinking, but that is not the same thing as having thousands of years of experience in getting other people to sober up. By A.A.'s broken logic, the best counselors would be old alcoholics who are still drinking, because they have even more years of experience in drinking.)
A.A. sponsors often feel entitled to tell their sponsees not to see a doctor or get counseling or psychiatric treatment, and to just trust the 12-Step program to heal them. Even worse, many A.A. sponsors feel qualified to tell newcomers not to take their doctor-prescribed medications. That has caused immense harm and grief, and even psychotic breakdowns, hospitalizations, and deaths.
You can read about the A.A. "no medications" horror stories here:
The more incompetent someone is in a particular area, the less qualified that person is to assess anyone's skill in that space, including their own. When one fails to recognise that he or she has performed poorly, the individual is left assuming that they have performed well. As a result, the incompetent will tend to grossly overestimate their skills and abilities.
== "Unskilled and Unaware of It", by Alan Bellows, March 25, 2006
One of the most interesting pieces of new "recovery" research, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, no less, has shown that newcomers do not benefit from getting sponsors. In a recent controlled study, a group of new Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous members who got sponsors did no better than another group who didn't get sponsors. But strangely enough, the sponsors did better than other members who did not act as sponsors. It seems that getting their egos stroked by acting as puffed-up, all-wise, all-knowing sponsors, ordering the wimpy newcomers around, helped the sponsors to stay clean and sober, even if it didn't help the newcomers any.
The use of incompetent amateur counselors has led to much suffering and many deaths. They are not "the experts on addiction," like they claim, and the war stories of some old alcoholics are not more valuable than a college education and medical school:
"Here was a book that said I could do something that all these doctors and priests and ministers and psychiatrists that I'd been going to for years couldn't do!"
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 473.
"Here I am, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a Fellow of the International College of Surgeons, a diplomate of one of the great specialty boards in these United States, a member of the American Psychiatric Society, and I have to go to the butcher, the baker, and the carpenter to help make a man out of me!"
The Big Book, 3rd Edition, page 348.
A.A. members are not inherently qualified to work as recovery counselors, priests, ministers, doctors, psychologists, or psychiatrists. They are not inherently qualified to decide that newcomers should stop taking the medications that real doctors have given them, and just trust the Twelve Steps to heal them, but A.A. and N.A. are notorious for telling newcomers not to take their meds.
A friend who has been in and out of A.A. for 30 years described how he saw the true believers talk a mentally-ill man into quitting his medications, and then the poor guy committed suicide. After the funeral, my friend said to the A.A. sponsors:
"He was a mess, but before you got your hands on him, at least he could say his own name. When you were done with him, he couldn't even do that."
A flawed idea that AA is built upon: The idea that a deeply flawed person will cure another deeply flawed person.
A dynamic fraught with peril.