Archive for the Alcoholics Anonymous Category

Straightening Out With The Steps

AA was thoughtful enough to allow their program to be used for a group of crazy, albeit very tastefully dressed, Catholics who use the steps to help shame themselves into praying away their gay:

“The following five goals of Courage were created by the members themselves, when Courage was founded. The goals are read at the start of each meeting and each member is called to practice them in daily life.

Live chaste lives in accordance with the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality. (Chastity)

Dedicate ones life to Christ through service to others, spiritual reading, prayer, meditation, individual spiritual direction, frequent attendance at Mass, and the frequent reception of the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. (Prayer and Dedication)

Foster a spirit of fellowship in which all may share thoughts and experiences, and so ensure that no one will have to face the problems of homosexuality alone. (Fellowship)

Be mindful of the truth that chaste friendships are not only possible but necessary in a chaste Christian life and in doing so provide encouragement to one another in forming and sustaining them. (Support)

Live lives that may serve as good examples to others. (Good Example/Role Model)”

The Steps:

We admitted that we were powerless over homosexuality and our lives had become unmanageable.*

We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

We made a decision to turn our will and our lives to the care of God as we understood Him.

We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of our character.

We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make direct amends to them all.

We made the direct amends to such people whenever possible except when to do so would injure them or others.

We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for the knowledge of God’s Will for us and the power to carry it out.

Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.


*Based on the original Twelve Steps of A.A.

The Twelve Steps are reprinted with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Service, Inc. Permission to reprint and adapt the Twelve Steps does not mean that A.A. is in any way affiliated with this program. A.A. is a program of recovery from alcoholism – use of the Twelve Steps in connection with programs and activities which are patterned after A.A., but which address other problems, does not imply otherwise.

Read the entire program of crazy here

I was there…

Quote of the day, from a Salon post, “What my childhood bully taught me

“I want to apologize for all the bullying back in school,” he said.

I’d like to say I was stunned. But we both knew about 12-step recovery programs. He was performing the Ninth Step: “Made direct amends to such people [we had harmed] wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

I accepted his apology, and thanked him for making amends. And I owned my share in those terrible events so long ago.

That’s right. Although I was bullied, I certainly played a part — I was there. Of course, I can’t expect that the boy I was would react with the knowledge I’ve gained in manhood. But I can pass along what I know now to help others who are going through similar experiences. In reality, the biggest reason I got bullied — and I know many people won’t want to hear this, but it’s a Male Truth — is that I didn’t fight back.

No.

School Superintendent’s 6th DUI

So, this school superintendent is on his 6th DUI, and the judge orders him to 3 AA meetings a week, which he must drive out of town to attend.

Mandating AA for DUI is a serious problem, beyond its unconstitutionality. There is no proof that forced Alcoholics Anonymous has had a positive impact on drunk driving rates. And considering the fact that AA promotes binge relapse, I bet any study would show that mandated AA increases DUI recidivism.  The affiliation between the courts and AA has been established long enough that such a study should have taken place already.

How is it possible that so many people don’t see a problem teaching drunk drivers that they are powerless over their behavior after the first drink? Why do courts assume that drunk driving is an alcoholism problem and not a behavioral problem?

 

Arid Club

Akron’s Arid Club Shuts Down

A sobriety club that dates back 60 years and hosts about 20 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings each week closed its doors Friday because of “poor economic performance.”

[snip]

Changing ways of socializing might have contributed to the decline of the club, which was a destination point every year during Founders Day weekend in June, when thousands of people converge on Akron to remember the founding of A.A. here in 1935.

Because of social media like Facebook, Wagoner said, and easy access to people via cell phones, there is simply not as great a need for groups of people to gather in large settings anymore, he said.

[snip]

According to 2010 data from Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office, which regulates charitable bingo in the state, the Akron Arid Club bingo game had gross receipts of $1,231,650 and expenses of $1,105,708 for its 2010 reporting period for a profit of $125,942. Net profits from bingo are expected to be lower this year, Wagoner said.

[snip]

The business model was no longer working, Wagoner said. For example, when people attending the A.A. meetings held at the club leave $5 to $10 total per meeting to help operate the club, the donations were not enough to pay mounting utility bills.

And while membership “was in the hundreds,” lately there were only about 35 dues-paying members, he said.

Last September, the Today Club II in North Akron, also a sobriety club, closed because of financial problems.

Read the whole thing.

Related: AA’s Own Stats Show Slow Demise

 

Treatment 4 Addiction Responds to Peele

A “rebuttal” to “AA Is Ruining The World“:

“‘Addiction Expert’s’ Rant on Alcoholics Anonymous”

According to addiction expert Stanton Peele, there’s a dangerous organization that has the entire world’s safety in jeopardy. This organization is comprised of men and women from all races and creeds, rich and poor and is coming to a town near you! In fact, you may already be living right next door to one of their secret meeting hide outs. Their goals are to be happy joyous and free, to help those in trouble, and to mend relationships from the past in order to live a full and happy life free from drugs and alcohol. The organization costs no money and has no rules or regulations, and no leader. What’s even more frightening is that you may work with a member or even have one in your family! They like to remain anonymous to practice humility. Yes, the thing that Stanton Peele believes to be the end of civilization is none other than Alcoholics Anonymous.

Read the rest, if you’re interested in a longer-than-average, Serenity Rant, full of humble sanctimony, passive aggression (like the title), straw men ( “We all know how much parents hate when their kids aren’t binge drinking and stealing from Mom’s purse to buy more crack!”), sarcasm, protestations of humility, quackery, and saccharine. And finally, the ubiquitous accusations of ignorance:

Again, if Peele had read some of our literature before writing his article he may have a more clear understanding of the difference between alcoholics, hard drinkers and normal drinkers.

This is like telling a biologist that if he’d only read Genesis, he’d have a more clear understanding of the origin of life.  Seriously, if you just read it…

Bonus question: What makes them think we haven’t? Do they believe so blindly that they can’t conceive of someone with an intimate knowledge of AA rejecting it?

Just Another Bogus Study

Harvard, Hazelden and the Center for Addiction Medicine conducted a study which shows a couple of things: 1. When young people enter treatment, their motivation is high, but their coping and self-efficacy skills are low; 2. Those who have the highest success rates, 3 months post-treatment, have the highest levels of self-efficacy and coping skills.

So, they spent money to figure that out.

When entering treatment, study participants reported high levels of motivation to remain abstinent but lower levels of coping skills, self-efficacy and commitment to mutual support groups. During-treatment increases in these measures predicted abstinence from alcohol or other drug use at three months post-treatment. Self-efficacy or increased confidence in ability to sustain recovery was the strongest predictor of abstinence.

When they say “support group,” what they mean is AA or NA. Twelve Step is the only treatment option these kids received. Therefore, what this study cannot demonstrate is any evidence of the efficacy of 12 Step treatment. It would be irresponsible to even make that suggestion.

Slaymaker of Hazelden adds, “The young people in our study were quite motivated to do well in treatment but lacked the confidence, coping skills, and commitment to AA that are critical to longer-term success. Treatment appears to work by increasing their confidence and ability to make and sustain healthy, recovery-related efforts.”

The findings suggest residential treatment provides the boost that the young people need. By reducing their psychological distress, developing their recovery-focused coping skills, increasing their commitment to AA and other groups [they mean NA, not SMART], and by enhancing their overall confidence to stay clean and sober, young people make meaningful changes in treatment that position them for improved outcomes. Because self-efficacy was a strong predictor of abstinence, it may serve as a useful clinical summary indicator to monitor change and relapse potential among young adults in treatment.

Tricky!

They’re not saying AA is important; they’re saying commitment to AA is. Still, the study doesn’t demonstrate this at all, except by default. Since AA is the only treatment option provided, the honest conclusion would have to be that commitment is important. Throwing AA in as a factor is disingenuous, akin to claiming that Pop Rocks are part of a balanced breakfast if you sprinkle them on your oatmeal and fruit.

Does it seem to anyone else that the conclusions they draw are inconsistent with the information they gathered in this study?

Young adults want to recover from addiction by need help to make it happen, study suggests

Young adults undergoing addiction treatment arrive ready and willing to make the personal changes that bring about recovery, but it’s the help and guidance received during treatment that build and sustain those changes, according to a longitudinal study published electronically and in press within the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. The study was conducted collaboratively by the Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School and the Butler Center for Research at Hazelden.

Read the whole thing…

Here’s a link to the study.

[Emphasis mine.]

AA Is Ruining The World

AA Is Ruining The World”

The latest from Stanton Peele:

I was invited to the UK and Denmark to speak by harm reduction activists who are worried about the impact of AA and the 12 steps in their countries. Both Patrick O’Hare, who founded in Liverpool the organization now called Harm Reduction International, and Nanna Gotfredsen, founder and director of Copenhagen’s Street Lawyers, who run a clean needle program and other services for drug users and addicts, watch with alarm as the gains they have made dealing with addicts over previous decades erode. You see, both the British and the Danish governments are increasingly buying into the AA line that abstinence is the best and most achievable goal, both for individual addicts and for their nations.

Read on…

 

The First Lady of AA

I found this video while looking for more information about VJ Hume‘s new play about Marty Mann, called Lush  – The Story of Marty Mann “The First Lady of AA”.

If Marty Mann is the First Lady, what does that make poor, long-suffering Lois? The Lunch Lady?

(h/t raysny!)

Susan Cheever’s Sanitation Campaign

As for profiting off its intellectual property—the crown jewels of any corporation—AA declines to do so. — From Susan Cheever’s “No Money, No Problems” at The Fix.

What is Cheever doing? What is her interest in cannonizing Bill Wilson and so aggressively rewriting and revising AA’s history? Why is she reframing AA’s motives, tailoring and omitting facts that are common knowledge to anyone who knows anything about AA?

AA already has the stellar reputation. Bill Wilson has already been mythologized. It’s already conventional wisdom that AA is what you do.

 

Pop Culture and Powerlessness

One of the things I find so maddening about this ongoing conversation about AA is that it’s like trying to get a floaty out of your glass with your finger, or a piece of shell out of a cracked egg: You can see it plainly, but as soon as you get close to it, it slips away. Deconstruction theorists would have a great time exploring how meaning in AA swirls around a complete void. Take God, for instance: Clearly, faith in God is essential to AA. It’s right there, all over the steps and all over the Big Book. God is in the slogans. And many non-believers have had the experience of being told that without God they wouldn’t succeed or survive.We hear stories about sponsors instructing pigeons to believe in Good Orderly Direction or Group Of Drunks until they can graduate to believing in God. Drunkalogs usually begin with protestations of atheism and end with a spiritual awakening. And if you surf around the recovery blogs, you’ll notice that they are unabashedly religious. Hazelden’s “Thoughts for the Day” are, too. We see this. But there seems to be a consensus among AAs to deny it with the vehemence of a cheating spouse, and the spectacular display of gaslighting keeps people coming back, despite their best instincts.
Continue reading Pop Culture and Powerlessness