It’s really happening! Congratulations, Monica!
Here is a story about 13th-stepping by a counselor at Cornerstone Recovery in Houston, TX:
HOUSTON (KTRK) — A substance abuse counselor is accused of having sex with one of her patients — a 16-year-old boy — and police say it happened more than once.
According to police, the counselor and her patient had attended an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting on a July night after which they went ‘parking.’ When police arrived, the whole alleged relationship began to unravel.Until Tuesday, Amanda Leann Kueht was a drug and alcohol recovery counselor. Now she’s a defendant, arrested Tuesday night by West University Place police. Now Kueht, 28, is charged with sexual assault of a child under 17.
“Had inappropriate contact with a victim that is underage,” said prosecutor Amanda Skillen.
On July 27 in a church parking lot, a West U. patrol officer is said to have spotted a car. It didn’t seem right and then he observed a partially dressed male teenager and Keuht in the back seat.
“The female subject in the back seat was 28 years of age and the male subject in the back seat — our victim — was 16 years of age,” said Patrick Phil Clark of the West U. Place Police Department.
The couple’s clothes were disheveled. Later, the teen told investigators while no sex took place that night, it had before.
“It had been going on for a few weeks with numerous encounters,” said Clark.
Her name has been taken off of the Cornerstone website, where until now she was listed as a managing counselor. It said this about her:
“She is completely dedicated to helping adolescents and their families recover. Mandy takes pride in being organized and dependable. Over time it has become apparent that she has a passion and enthusiasm for the 12 steps and helping others, as well as her own spiritual and mental growth.”
A true angel of mercy!
Has anyone seen this?
It seems that in 2010, Paul E. Clearly, Trustee of the General Service Board of AA, Inc. submitted a report about child sexual abuse in AA to the GSB’s Subcommittee on Vulnerable Members in AA (I know!). He detailed several shocking instances of predation and implored the GSB to take responsibility for the safety of AA’s most vulnerable members. He concludes:
For a host of moral, ethical, and legal reasons, it’s time for the General Service Board to provide leadership in addressing the issue of child sexual abuse in AA.
Read Paul Cleary’s very revealing 7-page report, “Predators in AA,” and don’t miss the GSB’s predictably despicable abdication of responsibility on the last page. There is some reference to GSB’s response around the web, for instance here, here and here, but I could find only one reference to Cleary’s original report (which I was unable to download as a pdf, but could view in google docs).
SOMEWHERE near the middle of “The _______ With the Hat,” Stephen Adly Guirgis’s lacerating portrait of a couple trapped in the self-inflicted prison of addiction, it becomes clear that simply putting the cork in the bottle will not fix everything. Or anything, really.
So opens a review in The New York Times written by David Carr, himself a “recovering addict”, 12-stepper, and author of his own addiction memoir. Thus it shouldn’t be surprising when he goes on to describe the main character, Jackie, as a:
ball of id who is doing his best to stay sober, one day at a time.
“Ball of id”, is of course a pejorative here which backs up a diseased/deterministic view of people with substance use problems (Corrected). He continues about Jackie:
….he is smart enough to know that if he continues to use mood-altering substances, he will be back in jail, or in a mental hospital, or, if things get really wobbly, buried in a box.
Jails, institutions, or death. Lather, rinse, repeat. The entire review is colored by Carr’s standard romanticized view of recovery which he pretends not to have: Continue reading Which Mother#$%?!ng Hat Are You Wearing?
Remember officers Mata and Moreno, the two NYC cops who were acquitted of the charges that they raped a drunk woman whom they had been called to help? The story was of interest to us because Moreno used the 12 Step get out of jail free card, claiming that he is in recovery from alcoholism and stuck around to counsel this inebriated, semi-conscious woman about her drinking problem. Also, as I pointed out in “Why Addiction Recovery Should Be A Feminist Issue,” drunk women are not credible witnesses.
The Village Voice is reporting today that just a few months before this, another woman was involved in a disturbing incident with Mata and Moreno. She was also drunk, had just been robbed, and was making a bit of a scene. Mata and Moreno were called. They refused to take her police report, and instead harassed her for a few hours. Their behavior that night never came up during the rape trial. Continue reading Mata and Moreno Update
Last night I had dinner with an old friend who is a clinical psychologist at a state prison. And, once again, I heard about concern about the predators that get into AA. However, I was surprised to hear about it from a non-AA member and from a professional who deals both with predators and victims.
This morning, I got up and read this story in the paper, and was once again reminded how important the work is that Massive Attack does.
There are so many different angles from which to criticize the current state of addiction recovery. Not only is it a culture, a permanent lifestyle, and a religious institution, but it’s an enormously profitable industry that thrives on its own failure (relapse is big bucks). But it seems that people who are participating in the progressive conversation on the big stage aren’t aware that addiction recovery is a parallel universe that influences popular culture. It’s imperative that progressive voices genuinely begin to challenge it, and I’m going to try to appeal to different arenas of the activist sphere and make a case for why addiction should be part of the conversation. Right now, I am hoping to put recovery culture on the feminist radar by offering a condensed version of this twisted world and the culture it has generated. I don’t have much of a feminist pedigree, but I hope I can make a good case for its relevance to feminist activism.
I’ve spent a lot of time on this blog throwing tantrums about the fact that addiction gets no play among the skeptic and new atheist writers out there – people who actively combat quackery and religious influence in public policy. How does it escape these people that a whole branch of public health has already been handed over to the faith healers?
I have a few theories about that. But my favorite is that, despite their skepticism, they’re still a little superstitious about the topic: Addiction is such a complicated and elusive condition. Who wants to touch that with a ten foot pole? The reason addiction is such a mystery, though, is that our conventional understanding of addiction has its roots in religious philosophy – not science, psychology, or medicine – and it has not evolved at all in 75 years. Neither has the way we treat it. The vast majority of addiction facilities in this country employ the 12 Step program for spiritual enlightenment as the basis for their treatment. Things we take for granted about addiction, for instance that it’s a “progressive, fatal disease,” are completely unfounded, but they put the sharpest critical thinkers in a bind. Doesn’t everyone know at least one person who believes that their life was saved by accepting their powerlessness? How do you start challenging that if you think that someone could die of it?
“I’d be dead without AA” is one among many thought-stopping cliches that keep criticism of addiction mythology at bay. Add to this AA’s own persistent misinformation campaign, its unimpeached reputation as a benevolent organization, their noble insistence on anonymity, the public’s general ignorance, and the amount of time and effort it would take for someone on the outside to piece together a big picture. This mess has allowed a fringe religious culture to spring up around addiction and quietly influence the landscape in ways that I think would be of enormous interest to feminists. At least I hope I can make a case for it: Continue reading Why Addiction Recovery Should Be A Feminist Issue
Lucy wrote this in our comment section. I thought that I would highlight it here. It illustrates what happens when controlling sponsors are allowed to do their thing, unchecked and with no accountability. When some 12-step Nazi like our resident trolls JD or Mr AA point to the costs of a sobriety coach, or a secular treatment approach (as they did yesterday about Steven Slate), implying there are no costs to those who involve themselves in AA – I point to stories like this. Unfortunately, these type of stories aren’t uncommon. Sometimes the costs are nothing more than a loan to an AA grifter. Sometimes the costs are a lot more….
“A woman I sponsored has mild cognitive deficits from a birth trauma. Her problems include a learning disability and balance problems. She understands what is happening, but she is a few beats behind everyone else. She comes from a wealthy family, and she was able to make it through a small college with an adjusted curriculum.
Her learning problems led to depression which led to heavy drinking. Her marriage broke up and she landed in an AA group in the town where her parents lived. She was told to get a sponsor, and was told that the entire group was sponsored by M, an older man who was a retired mechanic.
M told her to stay away from her parents, whom he said would make he want to drink. He invited her to move out of her apartment and into his house.. He said she could either sleep on the couch or share a room with his teen-aged son, a high school drop-out, whom he also sponsored. He suggested that they would even make a good couple. He also told her to quit her job, as he would take care of everyone.
Three months later, she was pregnant with the son’s baby. She called her parents to tell them the good news, and was surprised when they begged her to come home and go to the psych ward. By now she was worried about taking care of the child and, over the strong objections of her sponsor and his son, she went to the hospital.
It took a long time to deprogram her from the things the sponsor had said to her when she was depressed, terrified and alone. When what had happened sank in, she and her parents spent a hefty legal sum paying M to get the son’s parental rights revoked so that she would no longer have to have contact with M. (The son later killed himself.)
I don’t care about who has sex with who, or even what kind of sex they have. Nor do I like the “fucking a cripple” comment, which I find ugly and degrading. However, I know what Massive is talking about when she talks about predators.
AA has plenty of sex offenders, but most women (and men) know better than to spend much time with them. The real problem is the controllers, the ones who delight in running the lives of others and leaving other people to clean up the mess. They fuck people up and then tell them it’s their fault for being angry about it.
AA has three types of members – the uninformed, the predator and the mentally ill. If you know what AA is, it is hard to go there with a clear conscience.”
What They Say When They Think No One’s Looking
Over on the community pages, allyb directed us to a thread on SoberRecovery, which I want to highlight here on the front page. AA members take great exception to it when we highlight instances of abuse among AA members, because, they say, all groups are autonomous, and no single member can represent or speak for AA as a whole. Of course, AA — as an organization — does not provide any oversight, and is not accountable at all for what happens in meetings, either. This is a nice, tidy little buck-passing loop they’ve arranged for themselves.
And we don’t buy it. If AA doesn’t exist as a responsible entity, then what actually happens in AA and among members is AA. If it seems that we are picking on individual members, that’s because we are. These people are AA. You can deny responsibility on the technicality that’s built into the traditions, but we place the responsibility squarely where it belongs — on AA’s members.
The thread allyb exposed begins with a post from Sugardaddy, whose ex-girlfriend is a new AA member. He is very concerned because she is being aggressively 13th-Stepped in the meetings she attends. After outlining the specific behavior she has encountered, which is reprehensible, he says, “She is SCARED,” and follows up with a couple of questions: Continue reading What They Say…