A Call for Stinkin’ Thinkin’ Stories

njwriter is seeking stories from Stinkin’ Thinkin’ members, to be included in an upcoming book he is writing with Dr. Bankole Johnson. He posted this over on the community pages, and I’m re-posting his message here, so those of you who don’t have an account over there can respond here, if you’d like.

Hi Everyone,

I am in process of writing a book with Dr. Bankole Johnson called ”The Myth of Rehab, New Medicaitons that Conquer Alcoholism.” A part of the book will include de-bunking all of AA’s claims and the claims of other rehab centers, especially since most don’t consider science in their approaches.

Dr. Johnson is a professor at the University of Virginia and has been involved in researching medications for the National Institutes for Health and others since the 1980’s.

An opinion-editorial piece authored by Dr. Johnson, that ran in the Washington Post, was the subject of a thread on Stinkin’ Thinkin’ back in August, called ”Addicted to Rehab” at http://stinkin-thinkin.com/2010/08/07/addicted-to-rehab/. To read the full article on the Washington Post’s Web site, you may visit http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/06/AR2010080602660.html?sub=AR.

I am under a tight deadline to finish the book, as its already being listed for pre-sale on Barnes&Noble.com. So I’d like to hear from someone quickly. What I’d like to be able to incorporate is a short story (anything from a paragraph to a page) about someone who decided that one of their reasons for turning away from AA was because of the organization’s religious undertones.

If you have any such experiences, it would be great to hear from you. I would like to include a story in the book, but only with your permission. And I wouldn’t have to identify you by name in the book. It is up to you whether you’d want to post your whole comment in this forum or share it with me via e-mail. But I do need your permission or I can’t use the story in print.

Please click on my screen name to get in touch with me.

Thanks for your help.

  • howlermonkey

    I'm having trouble figuring out how to get in touch with Dr. Johnson directly. Any help?

    My story might fit, but I want to run it you by in a condensed version to make sure. It's not so much that there was a religious angle to AA that bothered me, it was the nature of the religion and god that were presented in AA and became clear to me over a few months.

    Briefly – I thought I had a higher power of sorts – some sort of divine being that cared for me and wanted me to be free from alcohol. So initially, AA seemed OK. I had the first three steps down when I walked in the door, or so I thought. Over time, it became clear to me that my own conception of a higher power was not in tune with AA. The more I got to understand what the Steps meant to people, the more I realized that my higher power wasn't interested in my powerlessness, my catalog of character defects or in my tracking down every single person I had ever wronged to apologize to them.

    And when I wondered what sort of deity would demand such a thing, I remembered the roots of AA. It all made sense. AA's god is none other than the American Protestant Christian god, the same one that Bill, Bob and all the others founders took as theirs. I grew up in a Protestant Christian church and I knew I had to stay away from that god and that religion at all costs. Even before I finally quit drinking I had been trying to undo the shame, guilt, fear and violence that this religion had helped burn into my psyche. So as soon as I was sure that I was right in my assessment, I left AA.

    If this is helpful, let me know and I can expand as needed. Thanks for your work.

  • njwriter

    I think there's a basis for something there. If you feel comfortable expanding on what you've posted via a private message, that would be great. I'm really very curious how people in AA reacted to you once you reached this conclusion, as well as some of the things they may have said. The best way to get in touch with me would be via the link to my user name on the original post in the community section at http://community.stinkin-thinkin.com/members/njwr… .

    And, by all means, if anyone else has a story they'd like to share in a similar vein, please let me know.


  • why is njwriter's real name being withheld? just curious.

  • true believer

    Does this mean that someone is trolling this site to collect anti AA information that they will use to promote their new drug?

    If this is the case, I hope they put at least a cool million in the hat.

    Do we have drugs, medication, and psychiatric help listed in the alternatives section?

  • true believer

    I mean…

    Addiction Recovery Resources section

  • Hi tb, njwriter isn't going to use any stories that he doesn't have the writer's permission to use. He approached me about getting permission from one poster, but I couldn't track her down. So, I suggested that he make a request on the blog, and perhaps some of our members would be interested in contributing.

    We don't have any medical approaches listed in the resources section, but that's just sheer laziness. We haven't updated it in a while (and everyone has been reminding me that it's full of broken links — sorry!). But I think I'm going to put up a link to TSM right now — since it's on my mind.

  • AllyB

    I'm curious about what type of medication is being written about in the book? My husband is having a lot of success with high-dose baclofen, he's only a few weeks in but the results have been astounding. I've also heard from a lot of people online who've had success with either baclofen or naltrexone via The Sinclair Method and a few people who've found topiramate helpful. Are the medications in the book like these or more along the lines of anti-depressants?

    Weirdly back when I was researching these drugs I found mention of baclofen on a "skeptic" blog. The writer was skeptical about it's efficacy, which is understandable from a skeptic, but he(?) continued on by writing that he failed to see why drug treatment was necessary when there is such a large and successful treatment industry currently in existence. I found it so weird that someone who's entire blog was supposed to be about critical thinking was so accepting of a "treatment" that is based on a spiritual programme.

  • njwriter

    Among the drugs to be discussed in the book are baclofen, vivitrol/naltrexone, topiramate, acamprosate and the possibility of future drugs that can be matched to people based on their genetic profile. My understanding is that these drugs differ from antidepressants in the way they engage brain circuits, any many people who take antidepressants can also take these medications. I'm not an expert on the way these drugs might interact with other medications, so there could be some limitations, but physicians should be able to give better advice.

    As for getting in touch with Dr. Johnson, I'm pretty sure he doesn't want me giving out his personal cell number or anything like that, and I do know he's a pretty busy guy traveling all over the world to attend conferences and lectures on this subject.

    A profile of Dr. Johnson is at the following address and it includes his contact info:

  • true believer

    Someone at this site turned me on to Harm Reduction, I wish it were in the Addiction Recovery Resources section.

  • I'll get it in there. Thanks, TB

  • Speedy0314


    eight weeks of naltrexone did infinitely more for me than 6 years of the eh-of-eh.

    you don't have to "work it"; it works fine all on its own.


  • nomorerehab

    You should probably correct the spelling of Dr. Johnson's first name.

  • Oh sheez. Done. Thanks nomorerehab. I copied nj's spelling, thinking I had been spelling it wrong the whole time.

  • nomorerehab

    Hmm, I'd like to contribute, but I detested AA from the start, so I can't say the religious aspect was the deciding factor.

    However, I did read about various legal cases in which AA was found to be a religious organization, and that was helpful.

  • AllyB

    My husband's experience was similar. He knew AA was religious (we're atheists) but figured it was worth a shot because they have so many meeting he could work it around his schedule. He hoped he could just find some people who he could talk to about how he was feeling and get some peer support. So he went along planning to do that whole "take what you need and leave the rest" thing.

    He coped pretty well with ignoring the religious side of it, it was the hypocrisy that got to him. He was initially advised to "fake it til you make it" then a few weeks later some guy took him out for coffee to call him on how he was only going through the motions. He ended up falling apart nearly completely in a very short time.

    The time he was in AA was just about the worst time for both of us. His drinking was never more out of control, he was nasty and (I'm sorry if you are reading this sweetie :D) so far up his own arse with self-righteous, cultspeak that I mostly wanted to punch him in the face. Hard. Especially when he told me that his AA buds told him I really needed to be in al-anon for it to work between us. He also had this bloody awful counsellor who was all about "the fellowship" and told him he should get down on his knees every morning in supplication to his disease. WE PAID THIS MAN MONEY!!!!!!

    Thankfully he was just faking it and never got to making it but the AA set him back a lot. It just has such a hopeless message. Then amazingly I came across an article here on TSM and started researching the experimental drug therapies. It was such a relief to find that there were a number of medicines which were showing successful outcomes. That's a hopeful message.

  • @ speedy, not to be nosy, but really? i never woulda thought. so, q: is nal. like suboxoneat all?

  • DeConstructor


    I am having trouble logging into the ST email system.. Would you please send me an email so I can respond.


  • darfieldboy

    Hi ftg, if you have not seen it, then this document http://www.nta.nhs.uk/uploads/nta_review_of_the_e… is worth a look, as gives the state of play of treatment for alcohol abuse in the UK, there is a whole section on AA in section 12.4 p139 I wish you well in your enterprise.

    AA certainly kept me sick for 30 years, and it is only now that I am beginning to realise the error of my ways in relying on them and the treatment industry.



  • darfieldboy

    oops, url got truncated it's

  • Primrose

    Darfield, thanks. I thought that I was the only person (apart from the authors) who had read it. I don't know your philosophy, Darfiedl, but I think it would be a help if vulnerable people were warned about the dangers of this cult, and I mean the danger to the mind, not even considering the predation. Do you know of non 12F treatment in the UK? Who would you suggest that we contact? I have contemplated taking out an ad in the BMJ because I am sure most medical professionals (apart from you?) are plain ignorant. Perhaps you could post that in the UK section? Have you written to Ben Goldacre of the Guardian (bad science)?

    Darfield. Rehabs in the UK are overwhelmingly 12 step based. NHS money is spent on this cult. Re the cuts; stopping the waste of 'taxpayers' money' supporting a destructive cult would be good. Lots of 'addiction counsellors' on JSA would be a cost, but for the greater good.

  • Thank you, darfieldboy. That's a great resource. very very interesting!

  • AnnaZed

    120mm fan's identity is a link to a Trojan bot. That's the new way spammers reach people, by posting innocuous looking texts that might maybe seem like part of a conversation then having the malware attached to their sign-in name.


    By the way, I hate this text box. It overrides the spell check (I am a big creator of typos), the cursor arbitrarily jumps around like mad so you have to watch it. You can't cut and paste in the text box except using keyboard commands. I don't feel any overriding need for colored text or whatever this adds to the choices and I post at other WordPress blogs that aren't using this. Would you consider getting rid of it?

  • Hi Anna, I guess that jerkass got through the spam filter… you wouldn't believe how much spam we get every day! Akismet is awesome.

    I just took out the comment editor. I had updated the editor in the dashboard, and it automatically added those features here, too. I remember that these things really mess with everyone's formatting.

  • How do you really feel? JK. I do not really like it either. No offense, FTG. My question is: was that gut looking for stories real?

  • violet, yes, he's real. He contacted me by email, and I suggested that he post on the blog and see if anyone would be interested in contributing. He got a couple of good responses to include in the book. This is the book (pre-sale): http://www.amazon.com/Rehab-Myth-Medications-Conq

  • Oh, OK. I really was worried that he was a fraud. And I was like, why don't they realize? Merci.

  • Cookie

    I agree with almost all of AllyB's remarks about the self-righteous cultspeak. Early on in recovery, I attended NA/AA, mostly because it gace me something to do when I was feeling restless, and also to speak with other addicts/alcoholics. What nobody in either of these programs really addresses is that as addicts, drunks, or humans for that matter, we are all inherently flawed. A program that relies heavily on the acceptance and praise of other people is prone to error. I've known sponsors that had some good times starting out the first step w/a newcomer, then before they knew it, they were asked to jump right ahead to the moral inventory(4th step), only so the sponsor could gossip about it. A very interesting thing happened to a married couple I knew from the fellowship. The husband was a huge NA ranger, and so was his wife-they were VERY Christian. The husband had a high profile job directing one of the programs at a local men's shelter. They were both very self righteous. Anyway, the wife, who was running a recovery house, relapsed and was taking the women's rent and using it on drugs. The husband wanted to divorce her because she was turning tricks again-so on and so forth. The place where he worked told him that unless he wanted to lose his job-it didn't go along w/ their Christian philosophy, he had better forgive and forget. So, he was forced into going along with it. After about 6 months, the wife was indicted on multiple rape charges-she was molesting a mentally disabled young man. I don't know if he was 'allowed' to divorce her at that point, but it really goes to show how much influence some of these programs, and the subsequent "fellowship" has on people.

  • books online are great, wether they are e-books or conventional hardbound and paperback books ,"`

  • darfieldboy

    Hi Folks, I am still getting the hang of this site, so i don't see replies addressed to me as often as I should. Thanks Primrose and FTG for replying so positively to my link the the NTA book. If you live in the UK you can get the hard copy sent for free, go to




    telephone 08701 555 455 and quote product code ALCOHOL2

    I am leaving postings around various sites about our ethos on stinkin thinkin, and I have been asked to write an article by my professional journal about treatment in the UK. It's only since this last time when I went into treatment that all the worries I have had about AA and treatment really surfaced, and since coming out of treatment and finding sites like this have those worries crystallised. I am not against treatment – it does give mixed up people a breathing space to sort themselves out and address the "why" of their drinking, it enables them to detox in a safe environment. What I am against is the overpowering influence of 12 step woo on the outcome of the treatment, When you are paying for it yourself, you start asking these questions. The treatment I had this time was very good – right up to the point when the 12 steps were introduced.

    My philosophy, gained from years of experience, is that if 12 steps works for you, then good for you, but realise that there are other methods, that might be better suited to your particular case, and there is a crying need for those other methods, or even no method at all, to be presented to the public.

  • MJ

    I was shoot 6 times by an officer. Need to get my story out.