I’m in a little distracted lately, so I’m sorry for the lack of updates around here. I Will Do Better.

Here’s a link, sent by Ebeneezer Scrooge, which should be of interest:

The Navy has signed a five-year contract with Hazelden to provide online recovery support services for sailors, the Associated Press reported Oct. 3.

The new, $3.25 million program was developed in partnership with Hazelden for the 10,000 patients in the Navy’s Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation Services program.

Also, Stanton Peele has a new post up on Psychology Today, which will give you some ammunition for the good fight: “What percentages of people in recovery are treated or untreated?

In contrast, here’s a quack in the Desert Sun, trying to stay relevant:

Recovery is the sum of qualities such as honesty, dependability, integrity, loyalty, the desire to help others and a love for fellow man. Recovery is abstinence from alcohol and a sense of serenity. These things will not come with any pill (dry-yes; recovery-no).

  • SoberPJ

    "qualities such as honesty, dependability, integrity, loyalty, the desire to help others and a love for fellow man". Except for the fellow part of "fellow man", that pretty much describes a Golden Retriever.

  • SoberPJ

    ahhhhhhhhhh !!! view the tour.. what a flippin joke!! My tax money helped pay for this crap…

    "Spiritual insights and inspiration through an online Serenity tool "

    Hey, I could be an online serenity tool …

  • Z

    On the question of serenity, it was when I started in with the 12 step crowd that turmoil came into my life. It was because I was supposed to abandon my will and allow myself to be cast about to the winds, to see who I might be with no intellect, no coping skills, no defenses, but with an ersatz religion and whole lot of inner critics trying to force a mysterious "truth" out of me … and so on. Rejecting the right to trust your perceptions, and the right to control your life and to make your own decisions, are patently bad ideas but it is what the 12 step people insisted upon and I DID ask, balk, say that sounded destructive, ask whether I might have misunderstood, and so on. So, as far as I am concerned, 12 stepping leads to serenity ONLY for those who want to use it as an excuse for poor behavior that they call "relapsing" or something like that.

  • Z

    Hey, wait! That Navy thing is unconstitutional! It says you need a Higher Power to Recover! Sue them and I do mean it!

  • howlermonkey


    Re: Serenity. I "shared" a few months ago about the serenity prayer and said that I wanted to think about "changing the things I could" in my life to put myself in a positive direction. Boy did that get some people mad.

    You're absolutely right that 12 Steppers are obsessed with their helplessness. They can't even use the better parts of their own slogans!

    And, yeah, the Navy thing is completely unconstitutional. ACLU should get on this case, and I have no doubt that it will.

  • speedy0314


    don’t be so hard on yourself, woman!

    that “Jehovah’s Witnesses” closing salvo to ‘Pretzl’ [below] is sheer comedy gold.

    let’s do lunch,

    executive producer with a disease that tells him he is not an executive producer

  • AllyB

    "If a pill were to provide only abstinence, recovery would have lost its profitability."

    I fixed your article Mr retired medical director for the Betty Ford Center.

  • Ez

    Want to see how your tax dollars are being spent, here is the video that explains the MORE program. Keep you ears peeled for '12 step' , 'god box'-no not HP box, god with the capital G, but MORE also talks 'higher power' and making amends, etc oh and don't forget 'the serenity tool'.

    It's all as expected with hazel dime backing it. 3.5 Million for a program that doesn't work.

  • Rick045

    It looks like Hazelden has their eyes on bigger things too.

    "The program is free to its users and the Navy has signed a five-year contract. Motu said Hazelden is in discussions with other branches of the military to develop similar programs."

    I wonder how much cult-cronyism is involved behind the scenes in lobbying for these contracts? It's a scary thought that Hazelden might end up with responsibility for "treatment" of the entire military. We've already seen examples of what can happen when returning vets suffering from serious disorders get treated with steppism. (like this latest murderer).

  • Rick045

    "Recovery is the sum of qualities such as honesty, dependability, integrity, loyalty, the desire to help others and a love for fellow man."

    Good description of the acting skills required to "fit in" in AA, whether someone actually has any of those qualities is another matter entirely. That love for their fellow man is generally contingent on a person's loyalty to the organization, and the only way to earn merit badges for "helping others" is by recruiting and indoctrinating others into AA.

  • joedrywall

    It is worth noting that much of Stanton Peele's research is actually funded by the alcohol industry.

  • Rick045

    "It is worth noting that much of Stanton Peele’s research is actually funded by the alcohol industry."

    This particular article isn't his research, it refers to a NIAAA study. Do you know what aspects of his research that claim applies to, and could you provide a source?

  • Ez

    and your point is?

    The research cited in the link above is not Peeles, did you read the link?

  • Ez

    my above comment was directed to joey, but Rick, it looks like we shared a common thought.

  • Rick045

    There is nothing unusual about researchers receiving funding from a variety of sources. Even if Joe's claim is accurate in Peele's case, I'm not sure of the relevance. As far as I know, he's never overseen any large scale studies, or had any real involvement in setting government policy. He's certainly done nothing that would come close to the relentless efforts AAers pursued for years in building the treatment industry, influencing government policy, and enmeshing their organization in the court system, often while hiding behind the cloak of anonymity.

  • AnnaZed

    I see that charge lobbed at Peel over and over again all over the net, but as yet have never seen a link or any credible evidence that there is any truth to it.

    • MA

      That's a nice pickle-on-a-fork avatar you've got there, Anna.

  • kathryn

    Call me paranoid, or extremely distrustful of the government, but what's to stop the Navy from monitoring the private thoughts and feelings that they're encouraging soldiers to enter on the journal portion of this site? And what about the little quizzes–it might be useful to know how honest or willing to accept a higher power your subordinates are. Food for thought.

    Also, the god box was especially creepy.

  • joedrywall

    Here is a source I don't know how accurate this person is, but she does seem to quoting Orange a lot.

    I did look at the link that was given from this site. The point is that Peele's opinions are probably slanted towards harm reduction. I did notice in another article a while back that ST put up, (sorry I can't remember the article) where a particular author slams Kenneth Blum and his disease theory(Blum has nothing to do with AA) and mentions Peele as some sort of authority.

  • Ez

    Crimminy joe…Peele is quoteing an actual study, done by others. Their words.

    How is that 'slanting' anything?

    Get your eyes and your mind open and if you read the link, re-read it.

  • SoberPJ

    @kathryn.. it is more than reasonable to assume the online lunatic bin will be closely monitored. Anyone using it is a guinea pig. While in the service, you have no rights. You don't even have the right to your own life, so your behavior around substance abuse is totally fair game. I wouldn't doubt that automated progress reports will be sent to Commanding Officers on a regular basis. It is something they need to know and in the military you are not anonymous from the chain of command – lives are really at stake, so there is a high price to pay for a screwup. The question becomes, "in this online environment, EXACTLY who is making the determination on how well a person is complying with the program?" Is it civilian12 Step graduate evaluators in Minnesota or someone, somewhere else? The future of a situationally depressed kid on a supply ship in the middle of the Persian Gulf could be completely reliant on some angry stepper with mental problems in the online control room. If someone makes an " AA is a stupid religion", or similar comments in a chat room,or forum, they will probably be quickly labeled as non-compliant and angry or in denial. This shit is so potentially dangerous it makes my head spin.

  • tintop

    Funded by the alcohol industry does not make the research false. The research stands on its' own. Interested parties of all sorts are known to fund research. Does anyone expect uninterested/apathetic parties to fund research? The quality and integrity of the research stands or falls on its' own.

  • DeConstructor

    It is also worth noting that much the heavy taxes that are exclusively paid by the liquor industry are shuffled by government agencies into programs that are completely controlled, and completely loaded with the promotion, marketing, and prosylization of the AA faith.

    DUI and drug diversion courts, social services etc. exclusively promote 12 step methodogy due to the fact it is cheaper than other forms of "treatment" for this alleged "disease"

    Add to this the fact that some professional steptard "counselors" bear such ecclisial witness and testimoney to the truthfulness of the AA faith, and quite often do it with no regard to medical ethics and HIPAA rules, and the substance abuse licensing(if there even is a license) boards also are quite biased towards the willingness to force and coerce particpation and conversion to the AA faith.

    I have read the accusations that Peeles research is funded by the liquor insdustry, but I have never been able to find any type of evidence (as if it really matters) to support the accusations.

    Steptards would never provide any actual evidence, because of the can of worms it would open regarding well run studies such as the Brandsma study, the Ditman study, the Valliant study, and The National Longitudinal Alcoholism Epidemiological Survey.

    The Peele thing is another faith promoting rumor like the overused "Victoria" story.

  • Dr. Peele responds (Oh do not think that everyone who is anyone is not reading this blog!):

    He says that he'd be more frightened disclosing to the Stinkin' Thinkin' crowd that he makes the overwhelming majority of his living through residential treatment of alcholics-addicts, but even that latest post I linked to on PT runs contrary to his best interest in that regard.

    However, he makes a full disclosure on his website, which you can see here:

    Alcohol As Evil – Temperance and Policy


    I have received funding from alcohol producers, most notably to organize the conference, Alcohol and Pleasure, under the auspices of ICAP in 1998. I am funded primarily by my Life Process Program for addiction treatment at St. Gregory Retreat Center, and secondarily by forensic work – most often for clients fighting professional licensure actions or mandated treatment.

  • tintop

    I am shocked that Peele is treating drunks/druggies! Shocked , I tell you!

  • Z

    Well this is where I disagree with the point someone made somewhere, that 12 step was just a fringe group. It *should* be but is hardly.

    Back up to that anger issue. Not being allowed to express anger was one of the many irritating aspects of growing up in an alcoholic home. I hardly think continuing with that is worthwhile.

    Once I moved out of the house I learned how to express and deal with anger and irritation. It wasn’t easy since I had not been raised with the idea that I had the right to disagree with anything or to perceive any problems without attributing them to my own deficiencies (except problems like, math problems at school, car problems, etc.).

    Then in 12 stepping I was told, again, that all problems were perceptual problems of mine, and that all discontent, disagreement or anger was prohibited.

    This leads me to think it is actually the 12 step program which is not “sober.”

    Anyway, I am still working on it. It has just taken me over 48 hours to process a piece of anger, express it and lay down the law on a particular issue. It amazes me to find that now that this is done and done in a rational tone, my muscle and headache have disappeared totally and I am using all of my lungs to breathe.

    Yeah, expressing anger is healthy.

  • Z

    P.S. Sorry — my last comment was meant for another thread, oh well. 😉

  • @Z AA isn’t a fringe group at all, you’re right. But you know what drives me wild is that AA criticism is seen as fringe.

  • AndyM


    I don't think your observation is paranoid at all. I'd fully expect sites like this to be "monitored" too. There are big vested interests in keeping people in line and steppism is part of a bigger agenda. From the other side of the pond it looks pretty scary that the 12 step ideology has infiltrated key areas of the US establishment so much. I'd hate to see the same happen over here.

  • SoberPJ

    Sorry, long post…

    @ Andy… It's a sad state of affairs. There is no stopping the religious wing nuts here in the US. They are well funded and scream the loudest and are the most belligerent. Not sure how it is all going to play out, but it will obviously get worse moving forward. When reason doesn't work, what is left? The earth is not 6,000 years old, and a portion of the US still wants creationism in public textbooks. If something that blatantly wrong is argued over, then the subtle and complex social issues have little chance of ever being resolved and that saddens me.

    Switching back to the Sun article. That is a quote from Dr James West at Betty Ford Center.

    Meet Dr West – and listen to some of his stepper answers to key questions –

    OK, so I do some marketing and if you are going to do public facing videos from your website, you do the best and most credible job possible! Does that mean Dr West is the best they can do? Now, THAT’s scary !

    I can hear it now” how dare you criticize a wonderful old man that has helped so many people!” Right, so is he also responsible for his patients’ re-arrests and suicides that are the direct result of the crazy making from pushing the lies of the 12 Steps? Maybe the people that produced the videos are closet SMART recovery people and wanted to show the world exactly how out of step BFC is with the rest of the treatment industry. If that was their intent, it worked for me.

    There is something wrong with the whole “Recovery is the sum of qualities such as honesty, dependability, integrity, loyalty, the desire to help others and a love for fellow man. Recovery is abstinence from alcohol and a sense of serenity. These things will not come with any pill (dry-yes; recovery-no).” thing. What is he really saying here? Not drinking is not enough for the good doctor? Or, is he a puritanical personal improvement coach too?

    Let’s see… not drinking is binary, meaning yes or no. Pretty easy to observe and measure. Being able to observe and measure things is kind of at the base of science, and by extension, medicine. However, things like honesty, dependability, integrity, loyalty, desire, and love are hard to observe and measure directly AND have very culturally dependent definitions.

    So, does Dr. West have his staff try to measure intangible and shifting personal qualities in order to release a patient? How does that work, EXACTLY? Staffer; “on a scale of 1 to 10, how honest are you now that your treatment is ending and getting out of here is dependent on your answer? “ Guess the answer. Try the same thing with loyalty or love. Don’t get me wrong, they are admirable qualities, but WTF? A medical doctor at a famous treatment facility trying to bad mouth a truly medical solution because of some personal, puritanical view on what nebulous positive qualities a sober person should possess, is a little strange. Religious faith healers are like that though.

    So, if I went to BFC dying of cancer, would Dr West tell me not to take chemo pills because “Recovery is the sum of qualities such as honesty, dependability, integrity, loyalty, the desire to help others and a love for fellow man. Recovery is abstinence from alcohol and a sense of serenity. These things will not come with any pill.” I mean, cancer and alcoholism are both diseases, right? Comparing apples and oranges, I know. The approaches to arresting diseases vary, but why is the cure for drinking too much alcohol inclusive of Christian puritanical personal qualities?

    Further, think about it. If the AA way actually instills the personal qualities of “honesty, dependability, integrity, loyalty, the desire to help others and a love for fellow man “, then it is the panacea for humanity !!!! It isn’t just a quit drinking program, it will save the world from itself. Hello Franklin Nathaniel Daniel Buchman, please meet Dr. James West an unknowing protégé of your fanatical Christian revolution.

    BFC FAKE News Flash – “Dr James West has announced his retirement, effective immediately, to spend more time with his family. We want to thank him for his many years of honesty, dependability, integrity, loyalty, the desire to help others and love for fellow man. We would also like to announce the immediate availability of the Sinclair Method as a medically proven approach to control the consumption of alcohol and our new Secular Recovery facility.”

    • MA

      Holy shit, PJ – that's amazing! I couldn't stomach every answer, but I chuckled at his answer to the question as to whether a person has to attend AA for the rest of their lives. Yes but "the frequency of meetings may taper off to one or two a week." What a nutjob.

  • tintop

    Serenity eh? The real world ain't serene. lol

    West, basically, has people by the short hairs. people who come are in trouble; afflicted with substance abuse; seriously dysregulating. What do people like West do? They take the easy way out. Easy for them. No thought, no research; no clinical evidence need be studied or applied.

    the clients: "For what we are about to receive Oh Lord, let us be truly thankful."

  • Z

    PJ, AndyM, ftg, yes, sad state of affairs, and it is why all this false logic *has* to be exposed.

  • joedrywall

    Thanks for finding the disclosure FTG. No this is not Peele's study, and he is quoting from another source. I guess when the original link was put up here it would lead one to believe because "Peele" is quoting it, gives it more validity.

    Jack Trimpey refers to him as the 'beast at large"-Trimpey is hardly a "steptard"

    Anyway Happy Thanksgiving for those of you who live in Canada

  • Hi joe, Just to be clear, I didn't find that disclosure. That was Stanton Peele's response to your comment.

    I wonder what "beast at large" means. Is that an endorsement or a criticism?

  • joedrywall

    Thanks for the clarification FTG, and thanks to Stanton Peele also.

    Beast at large would be a criticism I believe.

    “It’s like any religion,” says Dr. Stanton Peele, a New York psychologist and undoubtedly AA‘s most vociferous medical critic. “If it works for you, then fine. Plenty of people go to church on Sundays, they’ve been doing it for years and I don’t have a problem with that. But in America, AA is institutionalised. We have a 12 step Government whose courts are sending people to AA as a form of policy. It’s medically wrong and ethically reprehensible and completely against our constitution. And I have a big problem with that.”

    Jack Trimpey, the 60-year-old Californian founder of anti-12-step therapy group Rational Recovery, is even less diplomatic.

    “It’s a dangerous…religious…cult,” he says, dumping the words like burdensome sacks he’s been carrying around for years, “and one that has become a potent political force because of its uncanny ability to present a pious exterior. The truth is, these people are hucksters with carney mentalities, and what they’re selling you is absolution from moral responsibility, which in turn absolves them of theirs.”

    While Peele and Trimpey form the vanguard in the American rebellion against AA, they are by no means drinking buddies. They openly dislike each other (Trimpey regularly refers to Peele as “Dr Beast at Large”, Peele to “Jack’s inability to play with others”), and their respective agendas are so different as to be hostile.

    For Peele, author of several scientifically applauded books on addiction, AA is flawed therapy whose hymnal supplication to the “disease” and “denial” concepts and ironclad edict of abstinence spell disaster not just for those who seek help, but those who seek to provide it. The solutions to addiction are mercurial as addiction itself, and Peele sees AA’s refusal to acknowledge this as tantamount to malpractice.

    “If you go to a hospital and you say you’re sick,” he says, “they’ll give you penicillin or something. If it doesn’t work for you and you don’t get better, they won’t keep plying you with penicillin – they’ll try something else, then something else again until you’re well. In AA, if you say the treatment isn’t working for you they tell you that you’re the problem, not the treatment, and that your ‘denial’ of the treatment is a symptom of the ‘disease’ and you therefore need AA even more. It’s this crazy kind of all-or-nothing attitude with 12-step therapy that is actually setting us all back.”

    Trimpey, something of a moral crusader by contrast, cares little for the adventures of medical science, which knows “exactly zero about addiction”. He cares even less for those who hand over responsibility for their addiction to AA and thus “deserve all the mistreatment and misguidance they will get”. For Trimpey, himself a former addict, it’s a simple matter of “taking control of one’s hands and feet” and not doing that which is “plainly stupid"

  • howlermonkey

    Frankly, I don't see much difference between Peele's and Trimpey's philosophies. Both are skeptical about what science has had to say about addiction so far – the best science is very inconclusive, after all. And both see AA as irrelevant to addiction proper. But for my money, Peele comes across as more rational, more humane, more searching and less doctrinaire than Trimpey.

    Peele is also willing to look at the extent that negative images of substances in a culture contribute to the phenomenon of addiction. "Temperance cultures" like Northern Europe and the US have much higher binge and addiction rates than cultures which do not demonize substances so much. Thus, addiction is not just a personal experience, but a cultural one. Knowing this can change one's strategy for recovery, and I believe it has helped with mine.

    As far as I can see, Trimpey rants while Peele talks. But I'm certainly open to hearing other opinions on these guys.

  • tintop

    howlermonkey, I agree with all that you wrote.

    FYI, I used rational recovery; I did not know that I did use RR. I discovered that I did after I read about RR.

  • Reading comprehension issue: is Peele on this blog? Which then leads me to wonder… Is Ken Ragge?


    I am confust once again. I think harm reduction actually seems brilliant. However, I never realized that–am I reading correctly?–that harm reduction has/had roots in the alcohol industry? IS this true? If so, can we say that harm reduction is mostly bad? Can someone help me out? I just need a sentence or so with a little explanation. I thought the harm reduction school of thought was created b/c there is the obvious idea/reality that people are, w/o equivocation going to drink and do drugs no matter what… So, the harm reduction thinking starts where people truly are, not whereon emay have this fantasy of them being. I hope I am making sense. If any1 has a good link for the history of harm reduction and/or how Peele is linked to the alcohol industry, please let me know.

  • Hi violet, Stanton Peele is a Stinkin’ Thinkin’ fan, but he’s not on the blog. I directed him to the comments here, seeking some clarification about the funding question, and he provided some — which I just pasted here.

    re Harm Reduction: I just don’t understand how anyone can object. I don’t know in what way the alcohol industry invests in harm reduction — but I can see how they would support it, and I don’t think its support of HR should have any bearing on anyone’s opinion of it. I also know that Big Liquor lobbies alongside outfits like Hazelden and Betty Ford, in the interest of keeping alcoholism classified as a disease, too. They have their reasons, but they seem irrelevant.

    But harm reduction also encompases such things as needle exchange programs and free condoms. It helps to keep drunk drivers off the road, curb the spread HIV or Hepatitis, and lower the rate of teen pregnancies. I can see how harm reduction can make a person feel conflicted, because, of course, we don’t want people shooting heroin at all, and we don’t want 14 year old girls even taking the chance that they might end up pregnant.

    Arguments against harm reduction are infuriatingly moralistic, and have everything to do with controlling people’s perception rather than protecting anyone. And there’s also a sadistic element to these criticisms. Think of the scolds who object to the HPV vaccine, who find that cervical cancer is an apt punishment for having sex.


  • tintop

    harm reduction is what real people actually do in real life.

  • For some reason, somebody else’s comment made me thing b/c you were for harm reduction, well then, you were for alcohol companies… duh. reading too fast, and working on a dull rocks and minerals unit. and i also think i might need glasses… i am not sure if it is ftg or peele who talks about the moral aspect of the argument against, and i like this. i like that this argument is about shaping one’s perception, not there to help anyone. this all helps refine my disgust at the 12 step industry… And really one’s perceptions have nothing to do with it. Merci for the clarification.

  • so, peele and the alcohol industry agree with harm reduction–but they’re not hanging out. 🙂

  • SoberPJ

    In thinking about this, if there was a diagram of a spectrum with harm on one end and no-harm on the other, abstinence would be near the end with no harm – in the context of not drinking. So, technically, AA could be considered a harm reduction strategy too. Anything that pulls a person away from being harmful to self and others is accomplishing harm reduction. I guess that only shows that the taxonomy around substance abuse is still not well defined. Abstinence means no alcohol, sober means not being inebriated ( but not necessarliy abstinent), and harm reduction means what? Moderate drinking without causing harm? It is interesting that man has had a couple thousand years to categorize the issues of excessive drinking and the best some can do is call it a spiritual malady…or an allergy. And, that only a higher power can keep a person from drinking? That’s medically shameful.

  • Jonny Quest

    friendthegirl says: I wonder what “beast at large” means. Is that an endorsement or a criticism?

    Definitely a criticism.

    From Jack Trimpey’s article “Stanton Peele: Dr. Beast at Large” (The Journal of Rational Recovery, July – August, 1997):

    Bear in mind that RR calls defines “The Beast” as

    1. The desire to get high, to drink or use drugs.
    2. Addictive desire. Often used synonymously with “Addictive Voice,” but more accurately, the appetite or desire for substance-induced pleasure.

    Addicted people are mystified at their own behavior, and horrified at the prospect of remaining vulnerable to a condition which threatens all that is good in life. But they are even more horrified by the idea of permanent abstinence, and have a profound inner resistance to saying they will never drink/use again. While AA panders to the Beast with its never-say-never, one-day-at-a-time approach, Peele panders to the Beast by virtually serving up drinks with the bartender’s say when….

    Dr. Peele’s work… is selectively read by people in the grip of pleasure. Some of Peele’s readers call in and come to groups or RR Centers. They recall only the material on moderation, often citing from memory the page numbers of exciting passages on moderation. Remember, they have read the moderation material, are still having problems, and are still fixated upon statistics compiled by Stanton Peele, Ph.D., seeming to prove that abstinence disposes one toward more serious problems later, and proving that the large majority of problem drinkers do better by continuing to drink, but by exercising good judgment while approaching the threshold of deeeeeep pleasure. Professionals who pander to the biological drives for pleasure, promising sensory gratifications in the context of professional guidance, commit an ethical violation in the same way as do sexual surrogate therapists. Counseling aimed at moderate drinking is “symptom squeezing,” which is a dark compromise in the therapeutic relationship, or in the public relations of any clinician… American society needs strong social sanctions against the use of alcohol by people who have demonstrated incompetence in the proper use of alcohol. Instead, Dr. Peele broadcasts a very stupid that if you are just careful, as if getting drunk were accidental, it is fine to pursue the joy of drinking and live out the perverse idealism of liquor advertisers who promise better living through chemistry.

  • Jonny Quest

    friendthegirl says: I wonder what “beast at large” means. Is that an endorsement or a criticism?

    I finally found an archived online copy of Jack Trimpey’s article “Stanton Peele: Dr. Beast at Large” from The Journal of Rational Recovery, July – August, 1997:

    Bear in mind that RR calls defines “The Beast” as

    1. The desire to get high, to drink or use drugs.
    2. Addictive desire. Often used synonymously with “Addictive Voice,” but more accurately, the appetite or desire for substance-induced pleasure.

    Stanton Peele posted a response to an earlier criticism here:

  • SocraticGadfly

    Of course, by no means all abstinence support groups or individuals are “steptards.” Unfortunately, too many people here still think that way.