A new comment left on a 2009 Psychology Today blog post by Stanton Peele:

Psychologist / Alcoholic / Addict / AA Member

Submitted by Anonymous on September 18, 2011 – 6:52pm.

I am a psychologist who is clean and sober 17 years. I owe my sobriety to the fellowship (the group of fellow recovering alcoholics) and the program (12 step) of AA. That’s the plain and simple truth.

It amazes me how fellow psychologists who are not alcoholics (or who are but drink their 2-3 cocktails every day freely, denying that they might have a problem) speak against the ONLY “treatment” for alcoholism that works for EVERYONE. Yes, you heard me correctly. AA has a 100% success rate for those who remain in the program long enough to 1) lose the obsession and 2) go through the full 12-step process as it outlined in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Peele responds appropriately:

You should [lose] your license,

Submitted by Stanton Peele on September 18, 2011 – 6:57pm.

you nut.

I wonder if this psychologist thinks you have to be schizophrenic to treat schizophrenics. Maybe you have to have Alzheimer’s in order to treat other Alzheimer’s patients.

  • Jonny Quest

    Don’t ever trust anyone who uses the word “sobriety.”

  • LOL!

    Yeah, only cancer patients can put other cancer patients’ disease in remission!

  • Amy

    Wow, Between the psychologist I went to for a year and after reading what this crazy woman said, I dont even feel like trying another one. Makes me tired thinking about it. Im so glad Stanton said that to her. I feel like leaving a comment myself. Is it safe?

  • causeandeffect

    Oh crap! I use that word, I guess I’m not to be trusted.

    100% says the nut. I used to hear the claim that the bb was meant to say “nevers have we seen a person fail…” and I thought it was an outrageous claim since I couldn’t see how it ever worked, so I googled it and bill said he never said never. But then I ran into the Orange Papers which I agreed with but at first, thought he seemed too “resentful” so I kinda dismissed it. But I kept researching my doubts and kept running into the Orange. I was fascinated and couldn’t stop. So nutters like this guy with their wild claims do serve their purpose. They inspire research. He should lose his license though. Definitely.

  • causeandeffect

    Safe? You might get harassed by a whackaloon, who will only show more whackaloonacy, but other than that, I think it’s safe. Haha, one of the tags is Dunning-Kruger effect.

  • You go Stanton. I just can’t stomach all the true believers anymore.

  • hulahoop

    I tried to find a couselor or therapist to talk to when I was at home the last time. It turns out all of them sounded just like the therapist quoted here. What in the hell do I need to pay them money for and have my insurance company pay them when what I can get what they are preaching in a “free” AA meeting?

  • AndrewWS

    What amazes me is that this allegedly professional person thinks that someone who drinks 2 or 3 cocktails a day is a potential alcoholic. If they do that without doing harm to themselves or others, then that’s great. The man’s a rabid total abstentionist apart from anything else.

  • hulahoop

    Andrew, that caught my eye too. Steppers maintain an all or nothing attitude. They do not seem to realize some people can drink safely after taking a break from and examining what made them over indulge in the first place.

  • Actually following the Jellinek Phases this type of drinker could be classified as:

    “Alpha alcoholism. This type represents a purely psychological dependence on
    alcohol. There is neither loss of control nor an inability to abstain. What is evident
    is the reliance on alcohol to whether any or all discomforts or problems in life,
    which may lead to interpersonal, family or work problems. A progression is not
    inevitable. Jellinek noted that other writers may call this species problem

    There are 5 species of Alcoholic besides Alpha Alcoholism according to Jellinek. The other four are:

    Beta alcoholism.
    Gamma alcoholism
    Delta alcoholism
    Epsilon alcoholism

    The last one is very interesting:

    “Epsilon alcoholism. While not studied in depth, this type appeared to be
    significantly different from the others. Jellinek called this periodic
    alcoholism, a type marked by binge drinking. Though not elaborating, he
    felt this was a species by itself, not to be confused with relapses of gamma


    You see, using the Jellinek Curve they have identified everyone that ever drinks in wide far reaching definitions. That way the councilors who send people to AA so they can hit bottom and keep coming back until there financial resources are drained have an out. If you resist the chanting of Bill Wilson, they will attempt to keep you alive long enough to drain all of your assets. If you start chanting Bill Wilson and start referring other customers to them quickly enough they will let you go and you may be able to save some assets.

  • SoberPJ

    You. Must. Chant. Bill. Wilson.

  • You have to remember that when talking to a counselor who make A LIVING off of the alcoholic, you should never question Bill Wilson or the Jellinek Curve. They will agree with you to seal the diagnosis of DENIAL and sentence you to more AA meetings because you just can’t follow the “simple program” of asset depletion that they rely on to live off. Once you are diagnosed and they put it in your chart you are marked as a prospect they will do every thing in their power to make you “hit bottom” to “help” you and put you in recovery. Unfortunately you may also die in the process.

    “Some may die so others will live”, “We are the chosen ones”……………..

  • Mona Lisa

    I don’t always agree with Stanton, but I give him a whole lot of credit for saying straight out what needs to be said!

  • AA brainwashing works so well that they tell people they’re being brainwashed. You hear ridiculous statements like “My brain needed a little washing” 🙁

    I bet this psychologist has uttered that line a few times

    AA is not a cure. The steps are very effective if you’re honest, but if you’re really honest it’s nothing new and never was.Redemption through admitting wrongs and making amends is in the bible

    The groups didn’t exist for years, it was just the book, and that was when AA had a actual recovery rate. It was around 75%, but those days are long gone. Anyone who claims 100% for anything is a loon

    Or brainwashed

  • flannigan

    @wayne kernochan
    Please cite source for your claim that AA once had a 75% recovery rate. Thanks in advance.

  • There’s another comment on there which ends:

    “Funny and desperate fellow, is our Stan.”

    What’s funny to me, is how true steppers are always writing their online comments in Yoda syntax. Fellow? Nobody really uses that word today unless they’ve read the BB 4,000 times.

  • REALLY? It is one thing to say that AA worked for him. it does for a small %,but it is another thing to state it works 100% of the time if you work the steps. This being written by a mental health professional is a thousand times worse.

    When people commit suicide while a AA/NA member,what is the most common statement from fellow members? I guess he was not working the steps-even if the dearly departed had been sober for 20 years ! It is because AA/NA is practicing medicine without a licence and talking people out of getting the professional help they need for depression and/or other unresolved mental health problems that could of had something to do in the first place of falling into addiction.

  • Sally

    Of course, you have to remain in the program LONG ENOUGH for the obsession to go away. That’s how it works 100% of the time.

    If you spend 5, 10, 50 years in the program and still have the obsession, then you just didn’t remain long enough.

  • Jonny Quest

    @Sally: LMFAO

    This is the ruse, the hook that Steppism uses, this “desire” and “obsession” business.

  • AnnaZed

    @ wayne kernochan ~ Hi Wayne, I hate that my brain needed a good washing thing though I heard it many, many times in AA. In fact, I think that I may have said it myself but I have blocked out any memory of that because it’s traumatic to even think of it.

    This however “…The groups didn’t exist for years, it was just the book, and that was when AA had a actual recovery rate. It was around 75%, but those days are long gone.” is not correct.

    AA was a group movement from it’s very inception when to sheared off from The Oxford Group. How else was Wilson going to be able to scam his living off of it? The 75% success rate of the famous first 100 (who were really fewer than 50) is just old AA myth. The number of those from that initial group who were able to stop living their lives as chronic alcohol abusers or (as in Wilson’s case) alcohol dependent persons was the expected 5%. In fact my great uncle was one of those failures. My grandfather (his brother), who was the editor of the Dallas Morning News and a civic minded Presbyterian, had nothing but withering contempt for Wilson and his cohorts whom he recognized as grifters and con-men immediately.

    JR should note that my grandfather, as the disillusioned, weary and cautious family member of a person with an intractable alcohol abuse problem smelled financial grift off of first Buchman then Wilson in the 1930s and 40s and no amount of appeal to his considerable religious nature ever altered this assessment. In a side note, I’m pretty sure that he never wrote an editorial criticizing either organization (The Oxford Group, AA or for that matter The Moral Rearmament) not I don’t think because he hewed to the anonymity line per se but because being a man of his time he found the subject itself deeply shameful and considered it a private matter. As a military man (he served as an officer in both world wars) he was particularly outraged by Moral Rearmament members seeking and being granted military exemptions in both the UK and here at home during World War II. He felt that told you everything that you needed to know about the organization.

  • Sally

    AnnaZed, that is fascinating about your Grandfather!

    Since AA was just a tadpole back then I wonder if he figured the shameful subject wasn’t worth his time?

  • disclosure

    This is interesting…

    Amethyst: History and Mythology

    The name Amethyst comes for the Greek words meaning a for “not” and methustos for “drunken” (not drunken). This was reference that the Greeks believe that the stone was an antidote against drunkenness. Wine goblets were carved out of the stones and the it still symbolizes sobriety until this day. The story behind this is that the Greek god Dionysus (god of intoxication) was angered one day by an insult of a mortal and swore revenge on the next mortal that he encounters. Dionysus came across the mortal Amethyst, a beautiful maiden who worshipped the goddess Diana. Dionysus created tigers to attack the maiden but Diana turned the maiden into pure crystalline quartz to protect her. At the sight of the crystal, Dionysus cried tears of wine which gave the crystal a purple color and creating the amethyst.

    Article Source:


    I can’t believe that a psychologist who was required to take statistics (which examines mode, medium, no absolutes etc) can cite such bat crap as 100%. We were taught that there are no “Absolutes-neg or pos”; it takes just one example to disprove your theory. In this case, wackaloon batshit. Way to go Stanton- call him/her out on clearly AA biased statisitcally-unstatistical nonsense. In fact, this should be published intermittently to educate and remind Therapists and Psychologists: 1) There are many alternatives to AA (get educated on all possible avenues ) 2) Your patients aren’t “One size fits all” (manufacturers had to take that off of over-sized t-shirts-it wasn’t true-one large person disproved it) 3) If you’re having difficulty being objective-step back and take a refresher course for your patient’s well being 4) for heaven sakes if you can’t remember the basics of statistical analysis and actually believe that any program, person, facility, diet etc is remotely close to being 100% successful-I challenge you and some friends to stay on a highly restricted diet long enough for you to have gone through the 12 steps and lost the obsession for food. Stick around long enough to “REALLY GET IT” then report your stellar statistical findings after a year. I’m sure it won’t be close to a 100%. This is a biased blog, taken that in consideration you are considered 100% wackaloon by our standards, once the trolls chime in, the percentage will go down.

    OHHHHHHHHHH, I get to do ftg-please cite your source for your figure of 100% (who, what, where, when and how) this could be ground breaking technology to treatment centers, therapists and addicts across the globe. Sorry ftg-I strayed.

  • KellyRyan

    Just another self-absorbed therapist attempting a PR spin to promote her business and her, “empathetic appeal to potential clients.”

    I’ll never forget sitting in a meeting for women I started, to find 5 therapists quoting the Big Book and blathering prattle about what they had just read. These same five were eager as could be to talk to women after the meeting. Sell, sell, sell that program.

  • AntiDenial– that is to me the absolute worst thing about this entire issue, not just these attempts to brainwash but that it is done in the guise of medical treatment. I cannot stand the response we all here know to questions re: one’s own DX or the “method” of 12 step treatment of, “Well, your best thinking got you here”.

    How is this medically even relevant? That they pin people down by elevating their addictions to a “primary disease” even further sickens me. Utterly. I even know of a psych hospital in the news locally occasionally for their giant trauma program occasionally somewhat in trouble for refusing ANY trauma therapy to patients in the detox/substance abuse program on the grounds that they must deal with their addiction problems first, and that it might apparently take years for them to get around to their “trauma” issues.

    What?!? Who the hell out there decided that a stepper who has “seen the light” and only after conversion to the cult goes through what is frankly a limited certification process (and goes through it with an INTENSE bias, needless to say) has the proper credentials to make any recommendations to psychiatrists, insurance, families, etc. about someone’s treatment? Or to anyone at all? If their criteria rest on breaking down resistance to “the program” in essence then they can malign any patient’s records & ability to be treated, which makes me sick.

    I know it is an axiom in psychiatry (rather this is an educated guess on my part) that many patients with mental illnesses do not actually think they have any problems at all and that the efforts to convince some people to be treated takes some serious effort–but these are serious cases. Transferring this idea that EVERYONE has some sort of mental deficiency and MUST be “talked into” accepting treatment, whatever the treatment, seems the backbone of (and bread and butter) of the 12 step treatment industry. I’m frankly appalled, and this wasn’t my situation at all, that really young people are thrown into these “treatment centers” and even psych hospitals where the games are so insidious in terms of breaking them down.

    Sorry for the rant here, but I am truly horrified that this goes on, that people are thrown into situations in which they are FORCED to question their sanity. The two-hatters who gain credibility in advising psychiatrists in some of these places have far too much power over the innocent, and it is not medical treatment. At ALL. I want nothing more than to change this system, and while so many protest that this doesn’t happen in “meetings”, the idea that the tentacles strangling the ability of people to get any real help that isn’t rather damaging are NOT coming from the 12 Step folks is simply absurd.

  • Tallmike

    The situation is far more grim than one would conclude by only reading the comment from this AA psychologist. There are a good many psychotherapists who have never had any problems with substances but yet they also have copped the AA philosophy and then push it off on their unsuspecting clientele. I’ll cite Dr Drew and Dr Patrick Carnes here, both adamant 12 step pushers. Both snake oil salesmen. It’s all about making money, not really helping people with evidence based methods. Oh, and remember, they can’t lose. The people with the propensity to push 12 stepping as “one size fits all” can conveniently explain away any situation which does not fit with their delusion. Remember all the ready excuses? “He was not a REAL alcoholic.” (emphasis mine) All those returning veterans from Viet Nam who had formerly had heroin problems when in Nam and then quit on their own when they came home couldn’t have been real addicts or they could never have remained clean. For any psychotherpist pushing 12 stepping, it’s a “heads I win, tails you lose” situation. The deck is stacked in their favor unless we expose it and point out that there is no rationality behind the stepping delusion. That psychologist is guilty of committing a cognitive distortion… “all or nothing thinking”. Just keep exposing the nonsense and never back off.

  • I had Hank Hayes on my blogtalkradio show today and he wrote a great book that I want to help promote. He is totally exposing the Bullshit lies in AA. I hope to have him on again next week for Part 2 because we didnt have enough time.
    I know there seems to be thousands of these steppers everywhere. ANd at times I feel llik eI am up against Goliath. But we have to plan … like”David” in this story. It’s like a chess match. I’m thinking!

    Anti Denial has done some real proactive work in Florida. Sally in her part of the country. Every bit helps. So exposing but then promoting the alternatives. Nutley NJ Has opened up the light in an entire town! Carolyn in her neck of the woods has gotten a whole new perspective on AA. And AA in west Los Angeles got an ear full of me for 2 years. Paul c did his part in Carlsbad. Quite frankly, it’s depressing.

    I think Keeper and I and a few others from this blog will eventually go crash a meeting with our new found thoughts. I will report to all of you what happens when we do it. I think we should go to a big meeting where all of us will get to share. We could all pretend to take our cakes or take a chip. Something cute like what Gerald Estes was doing when he targeted AA meetings in Florida and North Carolina in 2000 and 2001 for teenage boys and raped and murdered one of them. TJ Mc Guire …Keeper’s son. this is her Native American name she took on after he was murdered.
    you can listen to the archived interview that I did with Keeper a few months back.

    I interviewed her a few weeks ago in person and I was just watching the footage. Its hard to take.

    These kinds of therapists are such unsuspecting fools. Kelly Ryan, I would love to attend that meeting once. Not really , but you know what I mean.

  • Amy


    Listened to Hank on your show when I got home. Sorry I missed it live. I really got allot out of everything he said. Let us know asap when he is on again. Especially when he addressed “living in the past” and how destructive that is. One of those things thats good to be reminded of. Life is so short. I would like to plan to listen live. Hope it’s a little later in the day.


    Nice to hear your voice on the show !!

  • As depressing as it seems about the stronghold AA has in this world-there are some bright spots. The entire state of Florida changed there Unified Probation Order on July 1st of this year that took out the AA/NA language and put in support groups.

    But there needs to be more alternative meetings and knowledge that if people on probation ask that they can request an alternative. Some are starting to accept online meetings.

    I think sites like massives and St are making a difference and will continue to. I mean with a 95% failure rate there is I am sure many searching on the internet for like minded people. We need to get the word out MORE that people to to demand that they have a choice. One thing is a common thread when you talk to probation officers and drug courts is that they say they rarely have people complain. In part I believe they do not know if they ask,they could have alternatives. Some will allow going to regular church count as a meeting,going to grief counseling,going to support groups totally unrelated to drugs as well. Of course those are the more progressive courts. But it starts with asking.Judges and probation officers are not going tell you this info because they prefer you go to AA for the most part.

  • Sally

    AntiD, great work on the linguistics angle in FL!

    I think most don’t complain because anything but jail sounds good to them.

  • Sally-It really is a huge step for an entire state to change the language and remove AA/NA.
    Talahassee has expressed that they WANT to really see options being offered,this is only in its infancy stages,but it has stemmed I assume from complaints and probation officers wanting to have more flexibilty to offer their ‘clients’.

  • StevenSlate–I had to come back to see that Yoda comment….I just realized that the signature line in some rather rude emails I received was, “There is no try, only do”–Yoda”. Remembering your comment above, I luckily just busted a gut.