The phrase “beating a dead horse” came to mind the other day while reading the review of a particular book that is overtly antagonistic toward Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). The saying has been around for ages and basically means continuing upon the same course of action or reasoning even after the issue has become moot or resolved. When used in relation to those that seemingly have a grudge against AA, the phrase works on two levels.
The first is the original reason it popped into mind; when beating a dead horse, you are obviously going to get no response or feedback. The same goes for attacking an organization that is based on anonymity, because obviously a spirited reply or retort will not be forthcoming.
The second reason is redundancy. Knock, knock, knock…hello? They are already reading your book doofus, so stop kicking this animal and let’s get to talking about recovery already! The reason these guys continue to harp on the “failures” of AA is because it garners a lot of attention (abusing a dead horse definitely attracts attention!). AA has over 100,000 groups and millions of members, so that makes any news about AA coverage worthy.
Want some free press on your new recovery book or method? Call a press conference and call AA a cult, expound about how miserable their success rate is, or better yet talk about how one of the founders admired Hitler!
I’ll follow up on this tomorrow as I reveal my reading list of recovery books written by authors with views on AA that range from clinically indifferent to borderline hatred. But they all have one thing in common, unlike AA, they are out to make money and they have found that beating up on AA is a good for business!