Like Gardners

AnnaZed found AA’s current promotional campaign.  What else but an evangelical religion has the nerve and obliviousness to promote themselves the way they do.

About AA – Collaboration: Paving the Way to Sobriety

Here are some excerpts

Committed to helping those with alcoholism regain their lives, Judge Hueston relies on the relationship she has developed with the A.A. community in her district and throughout the state. “I hear these stories every day in my courtroom, tales of horror and heartache, dysfunctional backgrounds, people who have lost jobs, lost kidneys, lost limbs; people who are living in abandoned buildings….”

“You and I are like gardeners,” she says, talking about the role that A.A. can play in helping alcoholics who come through drug courts. “We have to plant seeds and hope that at some point they get it.” Describing one of the people who came before her court whom she had remanded to A.A., a woman who had been actively using drugs and alcohol for many years—“she was strung out, her eyes were sunken, her kids were in foster care, she was homeless”— Judge Hueston witnessed the incredible miracle of A.A. The judge detailing how the woman complained bitterly about having to go to
A.A. and would have preferred simply being in jail. “It’s too hard,” she said. The woman, however, returned a year or so later to Judge Hueston’s court—with flowers for the judge—sober and slowly regaining her life.
“Drug court is creative and it’s holistic, and we’re trying to wrap around our services and our support in a meaningful way. But I cannot do it alone. I need help. I need a team. And A.A. is a very powerful part of the team.”

It sounds like you can’t be too stupid for Yale, either:

Richard S. Sandor, M.D., graduated from Yale University in 1968 and received his M.D. from the University of Southern California in 1972. Prior to full-time private practice, Dr. Sandor was the Chief of the Chemical Dependence Treatment Programs at the Sepulveda VA Medical Center and then Medical Director of the Saint John’s Hospital Chemical Dependence Center. He has lectured and written on the subject of addictive disorders and was President of the California Society of Addiction Medicine from 1993 to 1995. According to Dr. Sandor, when it comes to using A.A. as a resource for healthcare professionals, “You in A.A. have a great deal to teach those of us in the healthcare field.” Dr. Sandor, who began treating alcoholics when he was director of a care unit at a California hospital, attended A.A. meetings as part of his early training. There, says Dr. Sandor, “I learned about recovery, which in all my fine academic education, I had never learned anything about. I knew how to detox people, I knew how to treat all kinds of physical and psychiatric illnesses; but I knew nothing about recovery. And these wonderful people in the meetings taught me about how recovery comes as a result of working the Twelve Steps.”

  • DeConstructor

    Under the US judicial system there should be no secrets.

    I have stated on several sites that anyone who is sentenced to AA via any entity of the US judicial system should not in any way be bound to the "suggestion" of imposed confidentiality.

    I would also recommend that anyone who has been sentenced to AA understand that AA is a public meeting, and there is nothing to prevent anything that is stated there to be confidential by any means.

    I would also suggest that persons sentenced to AA certainly feel free to fully expose anyone else who is at an AA meeting, and to repeat anything that is stated there.

    This all should be public information and people should feel free to record anything that happens at an AA meeting they are sentenced to, to be posted on youtube, and certainly feel free to comment on who was there and what was said on social networking sites.

  • causeandeffect

    vomit

  • Eddie Spaghetti

    That is true, DeConstructor. Also, although I have not seen this happen, there is nothing that would prevent law enforcement from placing undercover officers in AA/NA meetings.

  • I can't tell you how many people have told me that "AA doesn't really believe that it's a disease, it's just 'like' a disease" or that they have no official stance on the disease debate. It's such BS, as propaganda like this shows. If they had no official position, wanted to stay out of the disease debate, and didn't want to endorse the disease model, then they wouldn't choose board members like this one, and they certainly wouldn't reprint his comments:

    In terms of his contribution to the board and to the A.A. Fellowship, John hopes to be a bridge to the larger medical community where he perceives a failure to understand the disease of alcoholism and to recognize the solution that A.A. offers.

    “I hope I can be a catalyst,” he says. “The organized medical community knows about A.A., but I don’t think they really appreciate how important it is. I think people in the addictions field do, but the addictions field is really tiny. Ultimately, I hope on a broad scale

    that my physician colleagues and those in the corporate world can learn more about A.A. and accept it; to recognize that the disease of alcoholism is not simply a moral or character flaw and that there’s a well defined, step-by-step path to recovery that works.

    Also, I'm flabbergasted by this last comment:

    There are not many diseases,” he says, “where you can simply stop doing something and arrest it. It’s really pretty remarkable.”

    Yeah – it's not really remarkable because it's not a disease, it's not compulsive, it's not involuntary – and you just invalidated everything else you said, nitwit. There are no disease you can directly choose to be cured of. None. Curing or treating an actual disease requires an intermediary step of a surgical procedure or application of medication or something other than a choice to simply refrain from an activity.

    Anyways, thanks for showing us this, it is ridiculous.

  • Commonsense

    Checkout Dr. Sandor's latest AA promotional blockbuster book ($2.53 used or $3.49 new from Amazon.com): "Thinking Simply About Addiction"
    http://www.thinkingsimply.com/

    I like his answer to the following question: Does treatment “work”? Answer: Work on its own? No.

    There you have it. An industry "insider" admits it doesn't work!

  • AnnaZed

    "…The judge detailing how the woman complained bitterly about having to go to

    A.A. and would have preferred simply being in jail. “It’s too hard,” she said. "

    This anecdote I would submit is nothing but a bald faced lie (or rather a typical example of AA style rigorous honesty®); an acute but as I say transparently and intentionally deceptive subversion of the truth of the situation which is that citizens are coerced into 12-step religious services (known as meetings) on pain of incarceration.

  • AnnaZed

    Jesus what a strange typo; to make sense the sentence should read

    "… and a cute but …"

  • Marco

    Nobody should be forced to go to AA by courts. It pisses me off that AA does not complain about this. It`s not only wrong but against their traditions : attraction not promotion , let alone forced promotion! But AA, even if they agreed with me, DOES NOT DO CONTROVERSY, little Ghandis that they are… Sure ,sometimes someone will really get into AA by being forced there (I heard one AA member speak recently and that is what happenned to her ,after a worse DUI than mine; she and her lawyer figured that going to AA would help with a reduced sentence, ), but I bet most forced people just get resentful being somewhere they do not want to be.

  • Mike

    @Annazed: "This anecdote I would submit is nothing but a bald faced lie…"

    Agreed. I heard variations of this story a few times during my program years. People preferring jail to AA because of the rigor involved. Right. Exactly what rigor is involved in lolling about in a meeting hall, drinking coffee at night and believing one's own lies?

  • DeConstructor

    AA does refer to the "disease" in several of its written pamphlets. I do not know how they can claim distance from the concept when the AA faith was the driving force to get the faulty disease model credibilty and popluarize the idea.

    This was very apparent when AA evangelist Senator Harold Hughes successfully pushed the Hughes Act of 1970 that forced insurance companies to pay for the 28 day rehab industry we now have.

    http://www.peele.net/lib/nca.html

    All of this is dependent on the successful promotion of the disease model of addiction.

    In more recent news, since the insurance industry was beginning to balk at continuing payments to the rehab industry with little or any successful results, the mental health parity bill was tacked onto the banking bailout bill of 2008.

    This bill was tacked on in the middle of the night brought by Democratic Rep Pat Kennedy, and his AA sponsor Republican Rep. James Ramsted and forces insurance companies to continue to pay for faulty 12 step rehab for as many times as it takes, until victims of this alleged disease "get it".

  • Mike

    @Decon: "This bill was tacked on in the middle of the night brought by Democratic Rep Pat Kennedy, and his AA sponsor Republican Rep. James Ramsted and forces insurance companies to continue to pay for faulty 12 step rehab for as many times as it takes, until victims of this alleged disease “get it”."

    Please, don't even get me started with Kennedy. I come from RI and have always been appalled by the guy. I'm just glad he gave his seat up. A shame that it did not happen before the bailout.

  • LUCY

    I hate this crap.

  • Eddie Spaghetti

    I suppose the flipside is that court ordered AA can be an inexpensive and easy way for a defendant to impress the court and fulfill requirements. If AA were not available, defendants might be compelled to pay for more expensive options. Indeed, one is not required to share anything at meetings. All you really have to do is show up and have someone sign a piece of paper. Now I agree forced AA sucks. But before we 100% condemn it, I think we should consider what the alternatives would be if AA did not exist as an avenue for defendants to fulfill court mandated treatment obligations. Heck, as I understand it, all it takes is 2 people to have a meeting. So in theory, all you have to do is get together with one other person, call it a meeting, and have the other person sign whatever documentation you need.

  • AndyM

    I thought the job of a judge in a criminal court was just to impose an appropriate penalty on those found guilty of a crime and to acquit the innocent. Just when did it become part of their remit to diagnose what is "wrong" with the accused and diagnose "treatment"? Defendants don't appear in court charged with the crime of being an alcoholic. No such crime exists. Nor is being drunk an excuse or extenuating circumstance for any crime. Judges are not employed to make medical judgements or prescribe quasi-medical treatment on the advice of 12 step recovery zealots.

  • Eddie Spaghetti

    Good points, Andy. But keep in mind that many people go to treatment in order to get a reduced sentence. If treatment were not an option, many defendants would find themselves serving more jail time. For example, the judge might think the defendant deserves prison for a crime, but is willing to give probabtion instead if the def. participates in treatment. If the defendant accepts the deal, we can often assume that he benefited from having treatment as an option. But of course that analysis can be warped when more time is threatned than should be imposed in order to get the def. into rehab. Overall though, I think criminal defendants generally benefit when judges have treatment as an option.

  • tintop

    The defendant stays out of jail. And, he does not take up space in an already overcrowded jail. The judge saves money and is compassionate; a good deal for the system. Everyone wins is this symbiosis.

  • jhtepper

    Jeez. I feel the firestorm comin' from this post. The heat'll keep me warm all weekend.

    "Eight~Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional. We define professionalism as the occupation of counseling alcoholics for fees or hire. But we may employ alcoholics where they are going to perform those services for which we might otherwise have to engage nonalcoholics. Such special services may be well recompensed. But our usual A.A. "12th Step" work is never to be paid for."

  • DeConstructor

    Lyndsay Lohan.

  • DeConstructor

    Charlie Sheen

  • SoberPJ

    Can someone splain this to me?

    "But we may employ alcoholics where they are going to perform those services for which we might otherwise have to engage nonalcoholics." WTF?

  • tintop

    affirmative action for drunkards? That is what it sounds like to me.

  • SoberPJ

    Why do they even need to say it? I never noticed how strange it is. So what, they might have to employ people.. They can choose whoever they want, unless they are saying something more specific, but what? Or, is it just more stupid shit that they want to make sound official ?

  • AndyM

    Never give a normie an even break. Isn't that one of their mottos?

  • AnnaZed

    @Mike, yeah I forgot to mention that the other reason that I know it's a lie is because I have heard it many times in meetings.

  • Mona Lisa

    Oh God I read this in the morning before I even had my coffee. Now I am going to have to go back to bed and whimper for a while.

  • That's a good story to keep in our back pockets all the time, because AAs are forever insisting that no one is ever forced into AA. It's always a choice between jail and AA (as if that were a legitimate or honest choice). The woman in this story preferred jail, and was sent to AA instead.

    And since this story is part of their promotional literature, it demonstrates that they are encouraging forced participation in AA, in which no choice is presented.

  • AndyM

    Judge Hueston witnessed the incredible miracle of A.A.

    Not even just your ordinary everyday miracle, but an incredible one? Wow! But the judge isn't actually quoted as describing aa as a miracle, is she, only as a "very important part of the team".

    It's quite a good pointer to how much out of touch aa is with the rest of the world how liberally they use the 'm' word, devoid of any sense that it is hyperbole. Outsiders don't quite pick up on the fact that when aa literature uses the word "miracle", as it does at least a couple of times in that pamphlet, it is meant literally, not metaphorically.

    Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence and claims don't come much more extraordinary than "hallelujah, its a miracle!"

    AA is close to unique, I think, in advertising a service or product as a "miracle" with no trace of comedic exaggeration (as in New Miracle Higher Power Toilet Cleaner).

  • Eddie Spaghetti

    If not drinking requires a miracle, I don't think it is fair to hold drunks and addicts legally responible if they get wasted. How can we hold someone accountable for not having a miracle happen to them? But of course we do hold such people accountable, as common sense and life experience dicates we should. So we'll call it a mircale that the drunk could not have achieved without the grace of a higher power if he stays sober, but we'll talk in terms of personal accountablity when he picks up. WTF?

    On a side note, I wonder what the judge would say if a defendant tried to call an AA oldtimer to the stand as an expert witness on alcoholism?

  • SoberPJ

    "There, says Dr. Sandor, “I learned about recovery, which in all my fine academic education, I had never learned anything about. I knew how to detox people, I knew how to treat all kinds of physical and psychiatric illnesses; but I knew nothing about recovery. And these wonderful people in the meetings taught me about how recovery comes as a result of working the Twelve Steps.”

    How do intelligent medical professionals NOT SEE that this is faith healing? How do the lay people in AA get this unearned adulation? This has to be through the format of the conversion experience sharing. Things were bad, I found AA, things are way better.. lather, rinse, repeat.. I guess anyone would believe it if they heard it enough. I did..

  • Rick045

    "Those obstacles can take many forms he explains; they can take the form of psychiatric illness, physical illness, family problems. So, it's my job, says Dr. Sandor, to figure out what is keeping an alcoholic from doing what I know will help – that is becoming a member of AA and working the steps – and helping get over the obstacles to that."

    Sounds like a real creative guy. So, according to him, mental or physical illness, and family problems aren't serious issues in their own right, but mere "obstacles" that keep a person from getting into AA and working the twelve steps.

    In other words, he considers it his job to convince people that those "obstacles" are nothing more than evidence of their "denial"…