I'd aggree that any kind of automation is VERY difficult to turn off. Most of the cameras I use are totally manual. I set the exposure based on experience, and stuff almost always comes out fine.
When I use my Petri 35mm (very rarely) with a build in meter I find it almost impossible not to become totally dependant on the meter. I stop trusting my judegement, and start trusting the little needle in the viewfinder. The means I stop looking at the light, and thinking about the scene.
When I occasionally use a Canon EOS (not mine), I just put it on program and let it drive. If I try and control anything manually then it just compensates elsewhere automatically and I'm never sure what it's changed. The shots come out fine, but I want to get back to my nice manual cameras.
The idea that the Auto-SLR can operate in point and shoot, so the novice can get good pictures immediatly, then gradually turn off the automation step by step as they get more experienced is a nice one, but it takes a lot of courage.