The Sad Story of Audrey Kishline

Let me say upfront that I know little about the moderation management program. I have read some of their literature, and I have read and seen some news stories about it. My opinions of it are based solely on my personal experience of trying to drink moderately, as well the countless number of alkies I have seen try and fail to revert back to “normal drinking”.

Personally, I think it is a bad idea for someone with a drinking problem to try moderation. I have tried it myself, and I found it to be a lot of work, no reward, and each time I eventually fell back into my routine of drinking myself silly. I personally see no point in having only one or two beers. If I’m going to drink, I want twelve or sixteen, but I prefer to have none. As for the program of Moderation Management, I do not have an opinion on its effectiveness. It may or may not work for some, but I would be hypocritical not to hold them to the same standards of proof that I do for AA, and I have  not seen a peer reviewed study showing its efficacy. In the world of science, the burden of proof is on the one making the claim, and until they show it is effective as a treatment program, I would err on the side of caution. My guess is it would not work for me. On the plus side, they don’t exhibit the same cult characteristics as AA, so if you want to waste your time on an ineffective treatment, it may as well be something that doesn’t shut down your thinking, or advocate you worship a Furby.

Audrey Kishline is the founder of Moderation Management, and she infamously killed two people in a driving accident a few years later. This was a tragic accident, and has been used as an example of the ineffectiveness of moderation as a treatment objective. One case means nothing in looking at the overall effectiveness of a treatment program, but it is tragically ironic that this happened, and it shows that moderation did not work for Audry Kishline.

Many AAs are quick to jump on the bandwagon, and use this tragedy as reason why AA’s method of complete abstinence is a better approach. Google the name, and you will find plenty of comments from AA forums and blogs stating why Audrey would have been better off stepping, and not moderating. One AA wrote:

How about Moderation Management? What about Audrey Kishline and the 38 year old Richard Davis and his 12 year-old daughter that she killed when, while following her own little anti-AA MM program that promotes “moderation”… to the tune of .26 bac…? How is that program less dangerous than A.A.? If you’re an alcoholic and you give a fuck about society, you would be going to a God damned A.A. meeting and drinking coffee instead of booze, you stupid fucktards! Fuck all you fucking fucks. Why don’t you just go for a swim… all of you.”

As serene and unresentful as this paragraph was, one can still detect a slight tinge of frustration here, and how passionate this AA is that someone like Audrey Kishline be in a program like AA, so maybe this tragedy would not happen.

The problem with what this AA is saying is, Audrey Kishline was actually in AA, not Moderation Management, at the time she killed those two people. She had actually left Moderation Management a few months earlier, and had begun attending Alcoholics Anonymous. She wrote this email upon her departure:

Hello Everyone, fellow MMers,

I have made the decision recently to change my recovery goal to one of abstinence, rather than moderation.

As you all know, Moderation Management is a program for beginning stage problem drinkers who want to cut back OR quit drinking.

MM provides moderate-drinking limits based on research, and a fellowship of members who work the program’s steps together. Some of our members have been able to stay within healthy limits, some have not. Those who acknowledge they cannot stay within moderate guidelines have always been encouraged to move on to an abstinence-based program.

I am now following a different path, and to strengthen my sobriety I am attending Alcoholics Anonymous, but will also attend Women for Sobriety and SMART Recovery. I am sure I can learn much from all of these fine programs.

Initial results from a National Institutes of Health funded study on MM out of Stanford University show that indeed members of MM are highly educated, have jobs, families, and most of their resources are in tact. It is also very unlikely that they would define themselves as “alcoholic” and in fact shun any program that would label them as such. But they are concerned about their drinking. They are attracted to MM because they know they will be allowed to take responsibility for making their own choice of recovery goals.

For many, including myself, MM is a gateway to abstinence. Seven years Ago I would not have accepted abstinence. Today, because of MM, I do. Whether abusive drinking is a disease or a learned behavior does not matter. If you drink too much and this is causing problems in your life, you need to do something about it. We’re intelligent people, but sometimes we need to quit debating in our heads, and look at what’s in our hearts.

If you, like myself, find eventually that you cannot stay within our guidelines there is no shame in admitting this. In fact it is a success.

A big success, because you have found through our program what you need to do to really live life to its fullest. As Dr. Ernest Kurtz, one of the foremost experts on AA who wrote the forward to our handbook, once predicted “MM will one day refer more people to AA than any other program.”

He may be right!

My heartfelt best wishes to each and every one of you as you discover Your own recovery goal.

This is when she started attending AA. Obviously, AA failed her, just as her very own program failed her. It is interesting that the same people who quickly jump on the bandwagon to point the finger at MM, and in advocacy of AA – and hold this tragedy up as an example as to why – are not so quick to point the same finger at themselves upon learning that it was, in fact, an AA who caused this accident. Instead there is silence, just as there is silence for the many other driving deaths caused each year by those who try AA and fail. The Audrey Kishline case is well known, but it is not unique. Press an AA about Audrey Kishline or any of these tragedies, and the person involved will quickly be dismissed as someone who did not work the program properly, and therefore did not get sober. It isn’t AA’s fault. It never is. They have no accountability, and no desire to refine or regulate their own ineffective program. I’m sure the family of those two people killed by Audrey Kishline wish they would.

Moderation Management

A Call for Unity

  • JJR

    I too am dubious of Moderation Management. Moderate drinkers don't need to plan their moderation, they just do it naturally. If you have to plan to moderate, you probably can't, or can do it just long enough to really screw yourself in a binge.
    I speak from personal experience there.

    Too bad Audrey did not avail herself of Rational Recovery (RR) or Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) or AVERT or other alternatives besides MM/AA.

    I thank Jack Trimpey and his Rational Recovery website which I viewed *before* I ever attended my first AA meeting. I did go on and attend AA for over a year to show my mom & dad I was *doing something*, but it was Jack & his website that really helped me sober up and stay sober.

  • joedrywall

    I believe Audrey Kishline is done serving her time; wonder if she has anything to say today?

    JJR I saw you youtube video (or at least I am guessing it was you) about attending AA, and how RR has helped you, very good.

  • Andie

    I have to say that in MY opinion, Audrey was the one responsible, not MM or AA. I myself am in recovery and I find that bashing another recovery program low in itself. If it helps people that's great! Live and Let Live!

    • Ben Franklin

      I find that bashing another recovery program like AA is not only my duty,but loads of fun.Hell if the the 12 step fuckers really lived by "live and let live" they would not have forced me into their illogical and religious meetings. My treatment center gladly took my money even though their religious treatment did not work. No refund there. Live and let live. Fuck that shit.

    • mikeblamedenial

      Are you the same Andie that we had the roundy-round with a few years ago on the old NA Yahoo site?

    • friendthegirl

      what if it hurts more people than it helps?

  • true believer

    Back in 1986 I went to a "recovery" program in LA. $10,000 later, all I had was a big book, 30 days of rest, and a belly. How is that "medical treatment". I decided to drink again and still have not died, gone to jail, or been institutionalized.

    I remember a counselor hitting on my wife as he counseled me on leaving her so I could stay sober. I also recall a group therapy session where it was revealed that I am easier to be around while intoxicated.

    I don't think this is bashing AA. I think it’s simply sharing my experience so that I can solidify my feelings and come to terms with reality.

    AA is a powerful and dangerous cult. Its members are experts in coercion, sophistry, debate, propaganda, and blackmail.

    The Harm Reduction program has been working for heroin addicts and alcoholics for decades; it is what saved me once the AA program stopped working.

    Finally, things are getting better.

  • OpenURis

    Reading these comments, it looks like people are very frustrated in finding a magic cure.  There is none.  AA works for some, other programs for others and there are the unfortunate people who benefit from nothing, like poor Audrey.   These are the people your local government banks on.  At $300 a pop, an ASAP class is filled with 40 or so people and you only get 5 classes.  That one group represents $12,000 for your local and state governments.  ASAP puhses abstinence on everyone even though it is shown only to work 40% of the time.  The police, the courts, (with fines) and the DMV budget for drunk driving related costs every year and then when you get to the class, have the audacity to let you know how much it costs society.  They don't take it one step further and tell you how much of this breakdown of costs goes into officer salaries, court salaries and the like.  The DOT mandates emmissions standards, if drunk driving was as important as they make it out to be to stop, they would mandate technology in every car that senses alcohol.  Saab & Volvo are already going to offer it as an option.   It only costs $1000.00  If they really cared about teenagers lives, they would make it mandatory instead of having all this MADD garbage around prom.  Teens don't have good judgement, they are inexperienced drivers, combine that with alcohol, and a lot don't get a second chance.  The reason personal responsibility doesn't work so well, is that the people who are preaching it aren't practicing it.  The government is too influenced by the liquor lobbies, just like the pharmaceutical lobbies.  I think that the Harm Control method is probably the best in that, if you face the fact that you have a drinking problem, you can much better deal with it than if you try to deny it or attempt to deal with the overwhelming feeling that a committment to lifelong abstinence creates.  Poor Audrey was in no shape after allowing herself to drink daily to attempt abstinence and expect to succeed.  I for one feel that $1000 is well below the worth of my families' life and my child's life.  When my child gets their license, there will be an alcohol sensor in my car.  The county is not budgeting for myself or anyone in my family to pay corrections officers or more money for the courts or DMV.

  • OpenURis

    For the above comment about recovery programs.  I find that rehab is worse than jail.  The medical and especially pharmaceutical industry have made substance abuse a real racket.  They have a drug for everything and they knowingly give these mind altering substances to addicts.   If they truly believe addiction is a disease state, then why is so much emphasis put on personal responsibility.  It's a disease state when they are making money off of your insurance company, but it's your failing to properly comply with the treatment program when you slip up, and they throw you under the bus.  This is very dishonest.  We have assistance for people with disabilities, like blind people, they can't drive, so they are given allotments for transportation.  Intelectually disabled people are not allowed to roam around getting into cars and driving and hurting themselves or others, they are given support staff to assist them in their daily lives.  Why, if addiction is believed to be a disease, is it treated like a crime when people are not taking your money?

  • poetwomyn

    I do not believe that MM could ever work for me because no "program" does.  JJR, I also got sober with Rational Recovery on their website!  It says to give the credit to yourself, not RR.  Try that on for "humility," AA.  There is a reason RR no longer advocates any meetings, and  at least part of it has something to do with the "no exit" stance that AA takes (which is part of what makes it a cult), and keeps the treatment industry going.


    Open URI's question, "Why, if addiction is believed to be a disease, is it treated like a crime when people are not taking your money?" is a provocative one.  I. too, would prefer jail to AA at this point.  I do not believe that alcoholism is a disease.  Not now, not ever.  That's not to say it isn't a huge personal, family, and societal problem.  I think the government needs to look at the bigger picture and STOP sentencing individuals to AA.  It doesn't even work for people who voluntarily go, so why should they expect it to work for "criminals?" I don't know the answers on how to solve the problem.  If I did, I'd say, Let's first of all blow this big-liar, money-grubbing, cult/ propaganda machine called AA of the face of the earth.

  • OpenURis

    Thank you poetwomyn for actually getting something out of my statement.  There is hope for logic in our society!!!  But I think that the answer lies in the proof that AA can keep people sober-but they must go for life in order for this to work.  There is no other program with documented proof.  And the most important reason, it is NO COST to the county and state governments.  AA meetings are free except for the couple of bucks you are supposed to put into the basket.  What I have experienced in AA is that the meetings and social contact, in other words, the ATTENTION to their plight or disease that people get replaces the drinking.  I had a sponsor in AA who hadn't had a drink or drug since 1982.  I find it hard to believe that without AA this person would be a hopeless addict.  (They were a very nice person, nothing against them.)  But I don't think they could understand the situations of people actively drinking and getting into trouble.   That's why they don't do further research and stick with AA.  Counseling is subsidized by ASAP and costs them money.  As I have said before, if they really wanted to save lives, they would require alcohol sensors in all cars, just like they have emissions standards, airbags, and seatbelt laws.

  • McGowdog

    Thanks for bumping this up.  And thanks for using my quote above.  You'll make me famous yet.

    My point being that the founder of MM would blow a 0.26 is just so ironic.  How many drinks does it take to get to 0.26?  I'll give you my opinion… that ain't very good moderation.  That's getting down to business.

    Now, to say that she was "in A.A." and blowing a .26 is even more laughable. 

    In my group, we practice A.A. and in our group, drinking is unaccepbable behavior.  If you drink in our group, we tell you to go finish the job off and to drink out there, not in our group.  Why?  Because it's bad for the group.  We don't hug you sober and say "Keep coming back!"  We sit you down, if you're lucky, and say "Tell us what you didn't do?"  Drinking is not a mystery.  If you're a real alky who knows what that is, decide into the group, do steps, you not only won't blow a .26, you won't even want to drink.

    To imply that forcing yourself sober in A.A. is just bound to cause a worse bender down the road is laughable.

    A.A. has its own moderation management test, you know?  And it's not the Marty Mann test.  It's "Step on over to the nearest barroom and try some controlled drinking.  Try and stop abruptly.  Try it more than once."  But there's also a safer test.  Try quitting drinking booze on your own for something like a year.  If you're real alcoholic, it's not easy to do.  "There is scant chance of success."  The book offers this as a test, perhaps safer than trying to drink.  But it's all a part of trying to determine whether you're alky or not.

    Now… she drank again.  But sadly, she also drove and killed a man and his 12 year old daughter.  That really sucks.  Who do we blame?  A.A.?  Moderation Management?  The booze?  Audrey Kishline?  Well, it's still a sad tragedy.  She didn't intend to kill those people.  She got drunk.  Her judgement got fucked up.  She drove.  She wrecked.

    And Stanton Peele slipped off of her bandwagon like an eel across a mossy bog.

    • MA


      The quote from you that I included in this post was when you assumed that Audrey was working MM, and you used this as an example of it not being effective. Then you learn that she was actually in AA, not MM, at the time of accident, but you won't give AA any credit for her failure. AAs never accept responsibility for the failure of the program, because in your eyes it cannot fail.

      I think moderation management is a joke, by the way. I'm sure as hell not defending it in this piece.

  • Ben Franklin

    Stanton Peele did not do anything that you imply.

  • McGowdog

    Yes he did.  He endorsed Audrey Kishline in the beginning, then he slipped away like slippery worm from the bum of a Hippo with a shit-fit.

    MA, good to chat with you again. 

    I don't know what "program" she was working besides Quarters, Beer Pong, Passout, the Bob Newhart Game, the "Watch Scarface Game', etc.  She got drunk!

    Can she blame A.A.?  Can I blame A.A. and charge them with my last D.U.I. and wrecked Nova at the age of 19?  Can I get two refunds on two detoxes and treatment centers that didn't keep me sober?

    That would be nice.  We're talking 10s of thousands of dollars now.

    Here's the truth; whatever you do, don't come up with a solution for alcoholism and put your name to it.  Because when you do, you become accountable for all of the failures of it and none of the successes from it.  If nothing else, that's the way our media works.

  • Ben Franklin

    Kishline is the one who dumped Peele.At her trial she had to blame MM. She had to distance herself from Peele to look like an angel. Peele did not distance himself from MM. FYI Kishline kept going to AA and kept drinking.

  • McGowdog

    FYI, Kishline was the fucking founder of Moderation Management! 

  • Ben Franklin

    I agree that she was the founder of MM. But you are wrong about Peele and have to go out of your way to slander him.

  • tintop

    We are fully aware of that, mcgowdog.  We are, also, fully aware that Kishline left MM and attended AA.

    You, sir, are fully aware thatbothe are true:  Kishline left MM; went to AA.  The, caused an accident that killed two people.  Kishline isa convicted felon and wholly responsible for her conduct.  Neither MM nor AA had anything to do with it.

     Your opinion of Peele belongs to you and no one else.

  • McGowdog

    No, it's just what I had read.  I don't know the man. 

    "Peele supported Moderation Management founder Audrey Kishline,"

    <a href="; rel="nofollow">Here, check it out for yourself  Just because I think the man is a slimey opportunistic scumbag doesn't mean y'all have to.

  • Ben Franklin

    Your statement is still just as wrong. Kishline abandoned Peele to look good for the  court. Peele did not abandon Kishline as you assert.

  • tintop

    Kishline is responsible; she is a convicted felon who went to prison for killing two people.  She had the responsibilty to quit drinking and failed.  This has nothing to do with MM, AA or Peele.   Everything to do with Kishline and her bad conduct.

  • McGowdog

    Back up here folks.  Let's look at the beginning when Kishline first got going on the MM project.  Peele endorsed it.  He thought it seemed like something that might help some.  It also being antiAA might have been of interest to him as well.

    This had to give Audrey some kind of confidence to proceed forth.  Heck, she might have celebrated the endorsement with a nice shot of Tequila for all we know.

    Are you saying that Peele was on her side when she fell from grace or that he endorsed her program fromt he get-go?

    "Neither MM nor AA had anything to do with it."  I believe that statement.  But it still doesn't look good for MM.  It's kind of like the Urban Legend that a sober member from A.A. was stopped at a street light, and on his very A.A. birthday, got killed by a driver in a Coors Truck.  Urban legend or truth?  IDK.

    What I was lead to believe was that Peele had once endorsed the MM program, then at some point, back away from that endorsement.

    So I call Peele's reputation into question… not unlike Bill Ws, and you get offended.  Wow!  And btw, now that it's bash Bill W. month, how about Dr Bob?  Had he lived another 20 years, would that have been good for AAs rep or bad?

  • tintop

    Kishline, and only Kishline, is responsible for the behavior of Kishline.  This has nothing to do with anything or anyone other than Kishline.

  • Ben Franklin

    Are you calling Peele's reputation in question because he provides evidence your beloved program is not what it's cracked up to be or are you calling Peele's reputation in question based on the fact that Kishline ditched Peele? As far as I know he still endorses both programs with certain people. I blame Kishline for her decision. The problem here is you won't "when we were wrong promptly admitted it".You were wrong to assert that Peele abandoned Kishline. But you can't admit defeat to a amoral atheist(another false assumption).


    ST Goon, who calibrates at 45

  • murray

    McGowdog is right, just because Peele is anti AA does not mean he is some selfless guiding light with all the answers.

    The real problem here is being able to identify what form of treatment is best suited to the individual. Which as we all know makes the whole treatment industry such a minefield.

    In an ideal world there would be a really good standardised assesement form which would then recommend one of 4 or 5 strong different treatment options based on the results.

    Obviously one of our main gripes here is that the bloated AA has wiggled its way into every nook and cranny.  Seriously undermining different forms of treatment which would be better suited to the majority. Sad

  • McGowdog

    So y'all are so quick to assess that Kishline is responsible for Kishline.  That's nice.  You don't think A.A. drove her to drink and manslaughter?

    Peele endorses MM and AA for certain people?  Well this is news to me.  Nobel Peace Prize for Stanton Peele!  I'm a fan.  Sign me up.  If I was wrong in my assertion that Peele abandoned Kishline, I'm wrong.  Sorry about that.  What can I do to set it right?  In the mean time, nice thoughts, long life, happiness, and good fortune to Peele, the souls and families of the victims, and Audrey Kishline herself.  But my blog still has s resentment against her, so the photo stays.

    I'm off to a 2nd interview!  I found my transcripts!  Yaa!  Wish me luck.

    PS: Ben, whether you're atheist or not, I'm wrong, you're right.  My definition of "moral" may fit yours, regardless of your stance on life… "If it works, it is moral."

  • tintop

    There is no reason to 'blame' AA for the bad conduct of Kishline.

     good luck with the inteview mcgow dog   – 'knock 'em dead'!

    AA is good for some people; MM is good for some people.  Life is that way.

  • Primrose

    Ftg, it does hurt more people than it helps; how can we compute this?

    I haven't read the whole thread; excuse that.  I know of two definite people who died either rather than give up totally or join a cult.  I think people are scared of giving up totally.

    I find it difficult that people are told to come off meds and you had a great thread on this that I can't find now.

  • poetwomyn

    Truly, Primrose, I attempted suicide rather than face the prospect of going back to AA.  I was told not to take my meds, etc., and totally hid the fact that I was on Xanax, as I would have been attacked on all fronts for that.  I was afraid to go back to the cult when I faced the fact that I had to get sober.  It is possible to get sober without the cult, and now I am proud to say I am living proof.  People are scared of giving up totally.  FTG, please post something on the suicides and AA.  The message needs to be spread, so to speak, that AA is harmful to one's mental health.

  • humanspirit

    Gosh poetwomyn, I am absolutely appalled, but not surprised, by the fact that you attempted suicide rather than go back to AA. Presumably someone (AA?) had told you that you were in an either/or situation – i.e., you would never ever be able to overcome your addiction problems without subjecting yourself to AA indoctrination and misanthropy (not to mention misogyny). It is absolutely unforgivable that vulnerable people are presented with AA as any kind of solution, let alone being led to believe that there is no alternative. And telling people to come off properly prescribed meds, or making them feel guilty about taking them, is just criminal.


    As you've proved, people have a better chance of getting sober and staying sober once they get AA, with its deeply defeatist message, out of their lives. Each of us is much more powerful than AA would have us believe. Why they want to convince people that they are powerless is a complete mystery.


    It would be great to be able to expose the number of suicides that AA leads people to, but I guess it would be very difficult too. AA just blames suicides on 'the disease' and would never consider that their repressive program had anything to with it. This message has to be broadcast even if there are no scientific figures. Evidence that AA has 'helped' people stay sober is purely anecdotal, so surely anecdotal evidence that it drives people back to drinking or to suicide should be just as persuasive.


    All best wishes to you, poetwomyn, and thanks for your courage in telling it like it is.

  • wikerus

    humanspirit wrote:

    Why they want to convince people that they are powerless is a complete mystery.

    It is a corruption of Luther's account of how sinners get saved. (The founder of the so-called Oxford Group cult was a Lutheran pastor.) According to Luther, because human beings are so predisposed to sin, there is nothing they can do to save themselves from eternal damnation. The only thing that can save them is God's grace. So sinners get saved through God's gift alone, with the sinner's themselves playing no role in this process. (On the other hand, when it came to worldly concerns, such as drinking too much for example, Luther thought that people can and should look after themselves.)




    alcoholic = sinner

    drinking = sin

    jail, institution, or death = hell

    sobriety = being saved from eternal damnation

    a higher power of your own choosing = God

    going to AA meetings for the rest of your life = accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior

  • humanspirit

    wikerus – Thank you for the interesting theological info. Does this involve the idea of predestination and God's 'elect'? (The bit about sinners not being able to save themselves even through good works, etc.?). In which case I guess you can live as dissolute or as saintly a life as you want, as it makes no difference. Or is it about original sin? Which apparently you can save yourself from by getting baptized, taking the sacraments, ritual confession, etc.?


    Whatever it is, it's complete bollocks. Though it's interesting that even Luther saw things like excessive drinking as down to the individual. I think St Paul tells people they should 'neither take wine nor strong drink as [their] stimulant', but the Bible doesn't go into it too much, and one of Jesus's cooler miracles was changing the water into wine. Weren't some of the tribes of Israel begotten by Lot's daughters getting him drunk and 'lying with him as a husband' as well? (Lot had a pretty hard time, really,what with all the nefarious activities of his daughters and his wife getting turned into a pillar of salt besides. Guess he never had much of a normal family life.)


    But actually, I'd have no problem with AA at all if they were upfront about what their religious agenda actually is. If they said openly that alcoholics will get a fundamentalist Lutheran-based cure for stopping drinking, that would be absolutely fine. Most people would avoid it like the plague, which could only be a good thing.


    Changing the subject, I was astonished at another commentator here saying that there were TV commercials for AA in the US. Doesn't this go against everything AA believes in, even on its own terms? TV commercials cost tens of thousands. Where do they get the money from, and why is is worth them paying all this?


  • wikerus

    humanspirit – Predestination and God's elect are Calvinism, not Lutheranism. Technically, according to Lutheranism, the saved are predestined, since God is omniscient. However, unlike the case under Calvinism, there is no predestination for those who are not worthy of being saved, since God has not revealed to us in the Gospel what he intends to do with them. Also, Luther held that if you are confident that you have faith in Christ, then you can rest assured that you are saved, whereas Calvin held that you can never know if you are saved. According to Luther, Jesus' sacrifice leads to forgiveness not just for original sin, but also for all the sins we commit in our own lives (provided you accept Jesus).


    It's very hard for Christians to condemn alcohol, given how ubiquitous wine is in the Old Testament (the trick Lot's daughters play on him being just one of countless examples), and that in the Eucharist, one drinks wine turned into Jesus' blood!


    I disagree that AA would be fine if it were upfront about its religious agenda. Luther's idea that we are powerless to redeem ourselves from our sins makes a great deal of sense, if you accept the whole idea of sin. The idea that we are powerless to control our own drinking in contrast makes no sense, and is contradicted by what science and medicine tell us about addiction.

  • McGowdog

    " Doesn’t this go against everything AA believes in, even on its own terms?"

    No.  It's called a Public Service Announcement.  It's good PI/CPC work.  "Carrying the message to the alcoholic who is still suffering."

    On these commercials, you won't see faces and you won't hear names.  All within the uninoninanonymity code.   The commercials couldn't cost that much.  It's not like having Jimmy Johnson selling boner pills, Jamie Lee Curtis selling Depends and Yogurt, Charlie Sheen advertising for Trojan Condoms,  or Kristy Allie advertising for Dunkin' Donuts. 

    It's a freaking cheaply done public service announcement.  Look how big A.A. is.  1.2 Million members can afford a late night spot.

    Or would you rather watch informercials for Girls Gone Wild and the Magic Touch?

  • humanspirit

    wikerus Thanks for the corrections on my very wobbly grasp of theology. Yes, I vaguely remember the Calvinist/Lutheran distinction from my history classes some years ago!


    What I meant by AA being fine if they were upfront about their agenda is that they are so dishonest about the fact that is is religious at all. (I actually don't think AA is 'fine' in any way.) If they were more honest about what they really preach – the powerlessness, the need to pray to God, etc. – at least people could make informed choices about it before they get there. As you say, it offers no kind of advice about how to tackle addiction and it does not intend to – I think AA should be honest about this in the first instance. If they were publicly upfront about it, they would not get so many people approaching it hoping for some kind of help with stopping drinking. It is a very cruel and self-serving trick to play on anyone.

  • humanspirit

    <cite></cite> McGowDog I am amazed and appalled that commercials for AA should be seen as doing a 'public service' to anyone.  Why is this and how can it be justified? I thought, anyway, that AA was supposed to be about 'attraction not promotion'. (In the company I work for at least, advertising is very definitely seen as promotion.)


    Do you tell your 1.2 members (glad to see it's gone down by 800,000 recently btw) that the money they think they are giving for coffee and cookies is actually being spent on TV advertising?


    As for the rest of your post, I really don't have the faintest idea who or what you're talking about. I don't have a television where I'm living right now, and have never seen any of the ads that you mention.



  • humanspirit

    Sorry, that obviously should have read 1.2 million members. Freudian slip and wishful thinking.

  • wikerus

    humanspirit – You seem very well informed about theology. I don't recall being taught about the Lutheran/Protestant distinction in high school: maybe that's because my Western Civilization teacher was a Catholic! (The students thought it was funny how he called the Reformation "the Protestant Revolt".)


    Here is what I think the fraudulence of AA comes down to. As I said in my first post on this thread, AA is basically the adoption to the problem of "alcoholism" of Luther's take on how Christianity deals with sin and salvation. Now, here's where the difficulty is with this taking over and modifying these Christian ideas: souls, sin, hell, and salvation are religious concepts: those things do not belong to this world. The AA analogs — drinkers, drinking, the fate of "alcoholics" who do not embrace AA, successfully abstaining from drinking — are empirical concepts: they do pertain to this world.


    Thus AA takes a conceptual system intended to deal with the world beyond our physical reality and transposes it to deal with our everyday, physical reality. Such a move is completely illegitimate. Religion appropriately deals with matters beyond this world, and science and applied sciences like medicine appropriately deal with natural phenomena, such as addiction.


    What AA is is a religion claiming to have a right to deal with matters of this world, and that is an abomination. If I recall correctly, friendthegirl has compared AA to creationism, and quite rightly so: creationism does exactly the same thing.

  • poetwomyn


    Few people mention the obvious misogyny in AA.  If there were a WFS meeting near me, I'd go, but as it is, I am in seminary in the sticks, and I enjoyed yours and wikerus' back-and-forth about Lutheranism and Calvinism.

    I so appreciate your response to my post.  YES, I was told by an AA that it was an either/or situation about getting sober.  I was put through the wringer in treatment after my attempt–which did nothing but reinforce my determination to leave AA as soon as possible.  I was so stressed out by the time I got out of treatment and the signing up for aftercare, etc., that, quite honestly, I took a drink after the interviews.  Strange how that works.


    My best to you, too.

  • FTG, please post something on the suicides and AA.  The message needs to be spread, so to speak, that AA is harmful to one’s mental health.

    Poet, I would really like to do a post on the subject of suicide in AA, but I have been dragging my heels about it. Honestly, I just don't feel confident about my ability to tackle this topic. It's a really important post, though, and so perhaps what I should do is just open a thread on the front page subject and let's all hash out the subject together.

    Any thoughts?

  • Primrose

    Human spirit, have the numbers gone down by .8 million?  How do you know?  By the way, I unintentionally got someone to leave last Wednesday.

  • poetwomyn


    That sounds good.  This subject needs to be brought up as I have been seeing people citing isolated cases of it.




  • McGowdog

    Humanspirit says; Do you tell your 1.2 members (glad to see it’s gone down by 800,000 recently btw)

    As for the rest of your post, I really don’t have the faintest idea who or what you’re talking about. I don’t have a television where I’m living right now, and have never seen any of the ads that you mention.

    It's 1.2 million in the US and 2 million plus world-wide.  With all that 13th steppin' it's gotta be growin!  Yeah!  Git R Done!  There's a whole buttload of A.A. members in my town and it only seems to be growing.  Business is booming.  It usually drops off in the summer too.  Only to pick back up in the Fall.  But people are so without hope these days and maybe turning to booze a bit more. 

    So you don't have a T.V.?  Well you are aware that there is an invention called Television?  And on this television, they show shows?  They also have these things called commercials.  They really suck.  But then late at night… all the good shows fade off and if you're like asleep on the couch and wake up after 2:00 am, then this Girls Gone Wild commerical comes on and you sit there and wonder, "Wow, all those potatoes and no meat."  Then some sham wow guy comes on.  Then once in a great will, you see an A.A. commercial.  I think they aire about once every 15 years or something.  I haven't seen one in a long time.

    Carrying the message to alcoholics who still suffer is the spirit of all service work.  Getting a family member to put a Big Book on an end table near the practicing alcoholic; what do you think of that technique?  It's in Chapter 7. 

    This "attraction not promotion" is a very specific suggestion when referring to "personalities" vs. "principles", so… you gotta know the traditions before you try to bash A.A. type folk over the head with them.  Besides that, each group desides how their group will run and what their Conscience will be… with the guidance of God of course.

  • OpenURis

    Reviewing the above posts, it seems like emotions and frustrations have overcome objective reason.  I have a completely different experience with AA, although they can be overbearing.  They don't profess to be a cure for alcoholism, just to support suffering people who want to manage alcoholism and damage control any more harm to the person's life.  I don't particularly agree with AA, specifically the first and foremost thing, is that you say "Hi my name's *****and I'm an alcoholic."  I don't think that type of self-brainwashing is good, to keep telling people you're an alcoholic.   That just made me want to drink more!  But Audrey went to a detox for 5 days.  I would hold them much more responsbile than AA becuase AA does not profess to be psychologists or doctors, rehab's DO.  Common sense would tell us that a person who has daily for 3-5 years has 5-8 drinks and then goes to detox for 5 days is not in any condition to abstain on their own with only the help of AA.  Her judgment would have been so impaired drunk or sober at the time, and it's obvious by her actions, she was making desparate attempts to rid her life of alcohol.  These doctors that work in these rehab's operate like people who have had substantial and numerous head injuries.  There is just nothing going on in there but something like a game of connect the dots, connecting up patients with some type of drug that suits them.  From my experience, I was not permitted to stop taking Lexapro and was given other drugs to combat the side effects of Lexapro.  There was a woman in rehab with me that was so drugged she was having hallucinations, seeing trolls and animals in her room.  Again, though I see that we hold people personally responsible, ultimately when they screw up (especially bad) but when they succeed, we give credit to them, AND the other participants in their treatment and support.  It's a two way street dudes.  We have to start thinking like that.  No person operates in a void.  I know, I've succeded thus far, not because of my medical treatment, but in spite of it.  When it comes to addiction treatment, you are pretty much on your own for logical solutions, because these people give drugs to addicts that they KNOW interact in highly dangerous ways with alcohol, knowing that these people are going to mix them, and then simply say, "Don't drink anymore."  I'd be very curious to know what, if any, Audrey was given a prescripton for when she left detox and if she was on it when the accident happened.   That's like the first thing a rehab does, give you an antideppresant.  These should NEVER be given to alcoholics. It's way too dangerous.

  • Rick045

    OpenURis wrote,  "These doctors that work in these rehab’s operate like people who have had substantial and numerous head injuries.  There is just nothing going on in there but something like a game of connect the dots, connecting up patients with some type of drug that suits them."


    Many, if not most of these doctors that work for, or in conjunction with rehabs are certified by ASAM, one of the first step-based treatment industry lobby groups, whose ostensible purpose was to establish addiction medicine as a separate and legitimate specialty. Their certification standards are laughably lame, and this organization is not currently recognized by the American Society Of Medical Specialties, but they are fighting hard for that recognition and will probably get it. Follow the money…


  • OpenURis


    I see all your posts throwing Audrey under the bus and ablsolving any other entity on the planet of any accountablility.  Then you are certainly man/woman enough to choke this down.  I personally saved my own self.  I realized that the prescribed drug Lexapro was causing a horrible alcoholic reaction. I was getting DUI's and DIP's and involuntary commits.  I went to rehab, AA, everywhere.  They just gave me more drugs.  The only thing that saved my a** was my own savy in knowing that something was severely wrong. So I am not giving one infentismally small speck of accountablity for my success to AA, therapy, my husband or rehab.  It's all my own accomplishment, 100%.  Now how asinine does that sound?

  • Rick045

    Just to correct a mistake in my previous post. I wrote that ASAM is not currently recognized by the American Society of Medical Specialties. I meant the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).

  • OpenURis


    That's particularly terrifying in that if the health insurance companies and the pharma companies are pro-health care reform legislation, that can only mean one thing, it will be bad for humans!   This is super scary, one counselor with years and years of experience who teaches outpatient classes at a very well-known detox said " Every recovering addict should be on anti-depressants."  Why? Because anti-depressants make you really happy so you don't care who you kill or how many times you get arrested?  My experience with Lexapro is that you can drink twice as much without passing out, have complete blackouts since you are drinking past the level of where you normally would have thankfully been  unconscious (we're talking over 12 airplane bottles for a woman, how is that possible?)  And then get up the next day at 6:00 a.m., go to work and do it all over again most of the week.  And be completely obsessed with drinking.  Wow, that'll be great. The full on slaughter that would result from formulating special psych drugs for addicts to mix with illegal drugs and alcohol will make Audrey look like Mother Theresa.   It's 1984 30 years too late.

  • Ben Franklin


    I don't know if medicine was to blame for your DUIs and DIPs. Did you drink on top of using your prescribed drugs? They should have warned you not to and possibly did.

  • OpenURis

    Ben Franklin,

    Yes I did and yes they did.  I am unfamiliar with the sobriety progam that involves "instructing people who are drinking alcoholically to stop" and giving them psych meds, and that's the extent of your treatment.  Please tell me more, I'm all ears.  Actually, I specifically told the doctor I was stressed and anxious and turning into an alcoholic and drinking all the time.  Those were my exact words. "I'm turning into an alcoholic."   He then gave me Lexapro and some sleeping pill I had to stop taking b/c I counldn't stand up in the morning. (without drinking the night before)   The initial idiot who told me to go to my doctor and REQUEST drugs for my anxiety and OCD symptoms was a marriage counselor, totally overstepping his professional boundaries.  Then, at a rehab, I told the psychiatrist, "I need to stop taking Lexapro, I am getting more and more shaky and nervous (delusional too but I had enough sense to not tell him that, lest I would be medicated further.)  He gave me another drug, BusBar, to counteract the Lexapro.  Interestingly enough, I am 43 years old (been drinking for almost 20 years, never getting in trouble) During the time I was on Lexapro (and sometimes Campral) I got 2 DUI's, 4 DIP's and was involuntaryily committed to a psych ward once.  That all ocurred between Jan. 2008 and Sept. of 2008.  In Sept. of 2008 I quit taking Lexapro and never took it again.  The withdrawl was pretty brutal but I was too terrified of what would happen if I did.   Since then, (almost 2 years) I have never been in trouble again or missed a day of work.  But I can type the proof until my fingers fall off and you will still blame me.  If I know one thing in my blogging with people about these drugs, it's this:  Conversations go on and on and on.   At some point, the people sticking up for these drugs that only provide side effects relinquish the fact that they or someone close to them is taking them. (That's fine if you don't have alcoholic tendencies, most of the time)  That happens 100% of the time.  So you are taking an antidepressant.  Instead of putting me down so you can justify something about yourself, you could at least be honest about why you're doing it.

  • OpenURis


    Here's a good site, it's called "Patientsville"  It records reported side effects of drugs.   One of Lexapro's top 30 side effects seems to be a "gun shot wound"  Hmmm, the etiology of that?  You're just walkin' down the street and you think, wow, this med has no side effects, no dry mouth, no dizzines, no headache, Oh but what's this?  A gun shot wound?  How did I get that?   Unfortunately, most of these reports are third person as the patient doesn't usually survive to make the report.

  • OpenURis

    Ben Franklin,

    I would love to know your opinion on this.  After reading that, can you say with any honesty that these violations are 100% my fault?  Especially knowing how much the drug companies lie abou these drugs?  How many times they've been fined by the government?  Especially since all the doctors and pharma companies know they are not ever going to be held accountable.   If you read the story of Rebecca Riley who was diagnosed with bi-polar at the age of 2 and given antidepressants, ADHD medication, and an antiphsychotic.  Then, when she died, the Psychiatrist who prescribed the med. was granted immunity to testify against the parents, who have been convicted of murder.  The psychiatrist belongs behind bars jsut the same.

  • tintop

    Openuri, you did save yourself.  It is a bad idea to use those meds with alcohol.  I do know that much about them.  I have not taken any of them; so, I have not had any side effects.

  • k


    My doctor doesn't proclaim to be be able to stop me drinking, neither does my alcohol worker and group therapy.

    AA most certainly does, its most official document the bible mark 2, the big book which is read out at all the meetings I go to.

    rarely have we seen, rarely have we seen, rarely have we seen….a person fail

    Also you are displaying what typically happens to AA members. helped by big book and AA philosophy and their own experience with pres. drugs they start playing doctor telling people to stop taking drugs.

    I take an SSRI which has been a life saver, as far as I am aware they don't interact with alcohol apart from making you drowsey and in my case that has been shown to be true. They are non addictive. Sleeping pills on the otherhand, which my doctor will not prescribe me, and alcohol can be deadly.

    All drugs whether for mind or body have side effects, interactions and rare more serious problems. The bottmline is with most decent doctors in the UK these risks are weighed against the postives, things are monitored etc.

  • k

    SSRI is an antidepressant for anyone who didn't know

  • Ben Franklin


    I am not trying to put you down. I don't know the whole facts of your case. Drug companies and doctors sometimes lie. But think about it. Do you think they lie all the time? They would be sued out of existence. People blame medicine and Big Pharma all the time and they don't realize that for the most part they do a substantial amount of good. Does a doctor ask you to do a 4th step? Do you have to "work" an aspirin to make it work. Perhaps your doctor poorly monitored your medication. i don't know all the facts. I am not on any medication. Never have been.

  • OpenURis

    Agreed that medicine is mostly good but I only have a problem with all these psych drugs being handed out like pez.  They really do alter people's minds, not always in a good way.    The worst problem is the FDA's situation where they have let out so many bad drugs recently.  They cannot sustain their function at this time and need to be replaced.   


    I didn't say they were bad for everyone.  I just said in my situation they caused tremendous harm, just like I can eat peanuts all day, but some people will die from just one.  Everyone is different.  But a drug can't do anything by itself.  It's the pathetic state of healthcare (I am in the US) here.   These people don't have clue #1 and don't care, they don't have to.

  • McGowdog

    OpenURi says, "Common sense would tell us that a person who has daily for 3-5 years has 5-8 drinks and then goes to detox for 5 days is not in any condition to abstain on their own with only the help of AA."

    I don't think 5-8 drinks daily is alcoholic drinking.  That's controlled drinking.  It may be hard drinking, but shows me nothing about lack of physical control nor lack of mental contorl.

    I think her problem was that she set out to drink 5-8 and that stopped working.  She drank more, much more. 

    You have to be a continuous hard drinker and on top of that, hammer them down pretty good to blow a 0.26.

    I had been drinking all day and into the night while at a gambling casino and thought that at the end of the night, I was pretty sober.  I blew a 0.19.  Didn't think I was that drunk.  Had many shots of tequila throughout the day and many bourbon and cokes, but was not done drinking for the evening.  I was abruptly separated from booze at that point against my will and realized what the "physical craving" was.  At 0.26, you have to be noticebly drunk… at least to yourself.  Some freaks may have tolerance to where they can go into the high 2s or 3s (0.3 bac), but that's way unusual.  Most people are comatose into their 3s.  At 0.375, my heart was beating so slow that my feet and hands were blue… so they told me.  I was about 15 when that happened.  My brother thought I was dead.  Woke up with the typical hangover… kind of numb and still drunk.

  • k


    Hope you are well and sorry to hear about your bad experience with doctors. My comment was made because you said that antidepressants should never be given to alcoholics which i don't think is neccessarily true. I do undertsand that caution shoud  betaken in prescribing any drug to an alcoholic.

    I am also aware tha particularily in the US although i imagine th Uk is heading a similar there is criticism from some over drugs in general being overprescribed.

    All the best, Kurt

  • OpenURis

    We can look all over the place for someone/something to blame but I really don’t think Audrey was in any state of mind to make any decisions about her problem. Her brain had been doused too hard and too long to be anywhere near functioning normally.   5-8 drinks daily for 3-5 years is more than the most hardened self-proclaimed alky could keep up with.  I wouldn’t last a week with her.  Someone at the detox should have picked up on this if she were being anywhere near honest with them, which she probably was, b/c she left MM to come clean about how much she was drinking.

  • Tom

    AA won't work by just "attending", it's like trying to do the homework without ever opening the text book. AA isn't and shouldn't be meetings, it's working the steps. Those who fail often treat meetings like it is psycho-therapy, and that's dangerous. Those who fail usually take the course of least resistance (the easier, softer way) and blame AA when they return to old behaviors. Work the steps, read the big book and share the sucess at the meetings. MM is BS.

  • searching

    I love the AA’s but the meetings feel like a cult.

  • Steve

    “Obviously, AA failed her, just as her very own program failed her.”

    Since one of the goals of MM is to get people who *can’t* moderate to recognize this fact, I can’t really see how MM “failed” her. And when she chose abstinence, did Women for Sobriety and SMART recovery “fail” her just as AA did? After all, she attended them as well.

  • Sandy B.

    The fact is regardless of which program, by trying many and not wholeheartedly adhering to at least one, Ms. Kishline could not stay sober. It’s just hard to reach a goal when the target or the way to achieve it is not clear. You just can’t overthink this problem. The solution has to be very, very direct. Unfortunately, two peple died.
    It doesn’t matter what program you use to get clean and sober … just pick one that works for you and DO IT.

  • MG

    Kishline failed herself. The blame resides with her. An AA or MM program should not be held accountable…they cannot be responsible for an addict who may or may not be following the programs they themselves volunteered for, let alone an anonymous volunteer. Alcohol impairs judgement while you are under its influence, long term use/abuse erodes the brain and therein lies the problem.

  • proudmememberofAA

    If you were in AA you would know that AA teaches you to be responsible for yourself and just because you pick the one comment from someone in AA that has obvious anger issues does not mean all members are the same way or have the same mentality. AA doesn’t fail people. It’s not a test. Some people just dont get it. The obession of trying to drink normal like others kills hundreds of people annually. Some people get it the first time and never have to go out and try more controlled drinking . Unless you are an alcoholic and/or are a member of AA you will never understand.

  • proudmememberofAA

    An BTW your scholarly facts are so inept and far from reality….

  • Abbeyrd1011

    AA has a lot of people in it that are in NO position to give anyone advice. They are not professionals. And, there is a lot of very poor behavior – which I found a total turn-off. I go once in a while – and always CRINGE when someone goes on and on about how if it wasn’t for AA they would be dead, in jail, etc., etc. I HATE those shares. I am going to Smart Recovery now – find it has more intelligent people who actually don’t blindly believe, but actually try to grow.

  • Abbeyrd1011

    ALso – the flirting and escapism from family life – is pathetic. AA does not teach how to be a better family member – EXCEPT to escape and go to AA meetings. I bet it breaks up a lot of families – is my guess. And, I’ve read it has a very high death rate — I think it is the guilt it lays on you if you don’t go to a meeting OR if you go out. If you do go out – and come back – people are not so nice to you. It sucks really.

  • Hentz

    Alcoholism, (not to be confused with any other classification of alcoholic beverage or drug consumption) and all the tragedy and incredible harm that it causes is not the fault of AA. Tools and direction for a life of sobriety with reasonable happiness lie passively at the feet of the person afflicted that has burned all bridges and completely run out of excuses for their problem. AA is not a “good idea” or a method of “self improvement”… it is a last stop solution offered by Alcoholics to other Alcoholics plain and simple. Life goes on with up’s and downs and we as humans will continue to make mistakes concerning all areas of our lives right up to (and perhaps further) our journey to the other side. we will never escape life’s trials and tribulations but we can learn over time how to accept life on life’s terms and accept our place without blaming external forces or influence when we’re put to the challenge (once again.. and again.. etc) to face our situations with availability and accountability. Because growth cannot happen without some pain, blame and avoidance (notorious traits among Alky’s) sometimes prevent access to a full happy life. AA doesn’t break up families… Alcoholism does.