A question posted on PhillyBurbs:
In all the 12-step groups I’ve been in, I’ve known few people who haven’t been abused at some point in their lives. Yes, there are a few of us who come from shining, loving households, who have been loved to death by our families. But most of us have much darker tales.
I met a woman recently, with one of those darker tales, who hasn’t yet begun her steps. While talking with her one day, she told me about her father, who was terribly physically abusive to both herself and her mother. The wearing-long-sleeves-in-summer kind of abuser. Even held a gun to his little girl’s head once.
Now, most sponsors tell their sponsees that they have to make amends to everyone in their lives. I personally have a father who was very minor-league, barely abusive compared to this friend’s story.
My sponsor has always insisted I have to forgive him and apologize to him. Ask him how I can make it up to him, for all the damage my being an alcoholic has done to him.
I think this is bull. And I think it would be insane for my friend to make an amend to this man. She was an innocent, helpless child, and the person who was supposed to protect her harmed her in ways unimaginable to any sane person. What could she possibly owe him?
Now I know I’m still considered quite new to recovery by many, I know this goes completely against my sponsor’s teachings, and I know I’ll probably think this very foolish one day.
But I also know I can’t be the only angry soul out there thinking this way.
Does anyone agree with me on this?
No responses so far.
Mark Kerrigan gets two and a half years in death of father
In a case which could give the most rebellious son a moment of pause, Mark Kerrigan, brother of Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan, will serve two years total for assault and battery of his 70-year-old father Daniel Kerrigan.
According to a report from CBS Boston, the 45-year-old was acquitted on charges of involuntary manslaughter, but the jury still found him guilty of assault and battery. The original sentence handed down May 26th, 2011 was for the maximum two-and-a-half years, but six months of the sentence was suspended at the request of defense attorney Janice Bassil, in lieu of a one-year probation sentence added on to the jail time.
In the same report, we also learn that Judge S. Jane Haggerty ordered Mark Kerrigan to take an anger management course, as well as attend Alcoholics Anonymous. Was that a wise move? While the convict admits to having a drinking problem, is AA the best choice? With all the support AA gets from the legal community, they only claim a 5 percent success rate. That’s 95 percent failure. Why not require him, and others like him, to undergo cognitive behavioral therapy, where progress is usually achieved?Daniel Kerrigan died from heart failure after a fight with his son, Mark. Prosecutors claimed Mark Kerrigan caused his death when he grabbed his father’s throat with enough force to break cartilage in his larynx, which led to heart failure. His defense attorney convincingly argued the 70-year-old died from clogged arteries.
Addiction scientists support this floobedy floo, and that’s why progress in addiction treatment is so stagnant. Where would we be if medical science considered itself powerless over disease?
12-Steps Overcome 3-Fold Disease
“Drinking just seems to be the most important thing in the world and I am no exception and I didn’t make it. I thought I could keep it under control, but I couldn’t and I didn’t. The seed was sown, though, and I found myself back in the fellowship of AA 13 years ago, and I’ve been here ever since.”
Mike declined to have his full name given, following AA’s strict policy demanding members’ anonymity when the organization is concerned.
Mike began drinking at the age of 13.
“I was raised in an environment of drinking and it was always the normal and not normal to not do that. I came from a house that didn’t always have food in the fridge but always a case of beer. I wasn’t drunk all the time when I was 13, but I did drink out of the gate to get drunk for the effect.”
Alcoholism is a disease, Mike said.
“It is a disease of three-fold. It is a mental obsession, coupled with a physical allergy and a spiritual malady. Once you cross the line into the pickle world, you can never become a cucumber again. You just can’t.”
Go down the rabbit whole with Mike…
PZ Myers has picked up on the Seccuro/Beebe story on his blog Pharyngula, where he spends a lot of time exposing spiritual quackery and fighting the invasion of religion into public policy.
The fact that Beebe sent his amends letter to Seccuro as part of his 9th Step work in AA seems like it might be a great opportunity for Myers to highlight the fact that this religious organization fostered a scenario in which a criminal like Beebe could re-traumatizes his victim, rather than turn himself in and make a full confession to the police, as a way of “making amends,” in the interest of achieving his own personal spiritual awakening through working the 12 Steps.
But, he doesn’t. Instead, he frames it thus:
The villains here are, unfortunately, all men — men who think they can use and abuse women. It makes me embarrassed for my sex … and it embarrasses me further that there will no doubt be whiny little half-men complaining in the comments of this article. Could you all try to make that prediction false?
Why is the subject of AA so far out on the fringes of the skeptiverse? Sexual predators are routinely sentenced to turn their lives and will over to a Higher Power, and I wonder how this is not relevant to the wider debate about religion in public policy.
In which the author pretends that he is clearing up some general misconceptions, in order to repeat every last bogus piece of completely non-controversial, culturally ingrained conventional addiction “wisdom” that everyone has already believed for generations: “What I do want to do,” he says, “is lash out at some of the myths, old wives’ tales and sheer rubbish surrounding addiction.” You know this is going to be a trenchant piece when the first myth he tackles is: “If it’s legal, it can’t be that bad.”
Drug hell memoirs often make for self-indulgent, voyeuristic vic-lit (victim literature). And that includes A Million Little Pieces by James Frey, although the artistically embroidered bits were entertaining enough.
So why then more about addiction?
Well, because I need to tell you about the “hideous Four Horsemen – Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration, Despair,” as the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book terms them. And how, after battling them for a decade or more, they trotted away for a bit. Then came thundering back with a diabolical fury that saw me go on to autopilot and, in a moment of utter insanity in mid-2009, pick up a bottle of vodka and shamble down the Via Dolorosa.
Read the rest…
In today’s Salon advice column by (AA? I believe so…) Cary Tennis, an AA member writes in to say that he has hated every bloody minute he has spent in AA. So, Salon doesn’t actually have to dive in and write an AA critical article, it gets one of its readers to do it for them. Whatever. It’s a start. The conversation is picking up…
I’m Sober, I’m Depressed and I hate AA
It’s Saturday night and in a few more weeks I will have been sober six years, with the help of AA, daily meetings, sponsors, steps, the whole bit. I’ve had times of peace and serenity, and gratitude for my healthy body and mind. But, for the most part, I’ve hated it from the beginning. And it’s just getting worse. I try other meetings — there are hundreds every week in the city I live in. I’ve also been to meetings in many different countries, and in the U.S. from Anchorage to Key West.
I’m a musician and travel a lot. That’s another thing. I don’t find any joy in my music anymore. My neighbors are having a jam tonight and I am in bed, listening, trying to watch a movie, wishing I could be there drinking a beer and jamming with them. My joy is gone. Vamoose. It went back in March of ’05. And now, even if drinking means death to me, it seems like a better choice than continuing to live this way. Continue reading Salon Joins the Act…
Bedford Archives of AA Co-Founder to Be Preserved
BEDFORD HILLS — Anyone who has ever loved a drunk knows how much a pledge to quit drinking is worth.
But these are not ordinary broken promises.
The quit-drinking oaths that a certain Bill Wilson swore to his wife 80 years ago on the family Bible are now considered so valuable to the Alcoholics Anonymous story and to American history in general that they can no longer be entrusted merely to safe storage here at the couple’s historic home and grounds.
“Those archives are a national treasure,” said Manhattan writer Susan Cheever, who used the archives extensively for her 2004 biography of Wilson. “AA is one of the most extraordinary things that has ever happened in our world, and he was one of the three or four most important men of the 20th century.”
Wilson proclaimed alcoholism a disease three decades before the American Medical Association did. The 12-step recovery solution that Wilson and co-founder Dr. Bob Smith created reversed the historically held belief that hard drunks could not stay sober, and it became the standard treatment in U.S. hospitals and clinics.
“It is the only way we have to deal with addiction, and we live in an age of addiction,” said Cheever, whose memoir of her father, John Cheever, documented the writer’s battle with alcohol. “Bill Wilson truly changed the way we think about ourselves.”
Read the whole thing …
(Thank you, G2K)
Lucy just posted this link in the comments, but it is begging for a thread crashing. It is such a nasty piece of passive aggressive, sanctimonious AA gaslighting that I think I should issue a trigger alert for people who are still untangling their minds.
7 Reasons Charlie Sheen May Hate AA So Much
In one of the myriad interviews he gave over the last week, Charlie Sheen said clearly that he hates AA.
A lot of people have trouble with Alcoholics Anonymous. AA is full of people and people can be messy and flawed.
The human train wreck formally known as Charlie Sheen is a common sight in the AA meeting halls. The only difference between Mr. Sheen and other self-absorbed, delusional, frantic addicts is the size of the audience to which they rant. These people do not last long in AA. They mock the Fellowship and the 12 Steps (PDF) as too religious or simplistic. AA is beneath them.
Here are a few possible reasons why Charlie Sheen might hate AA so much.
Reasons Why Charlie Sheen May Hate AA
- He would have to admit he is powerless.
- He would need to embrace Humility.
- Deep tissue Change would be required.
- He would have to be Anonymous!
- His Higher Power could not be Charlie Sheen.
- He couldn’t blame anyone else for his troubles.
- He would need to learn to be Grateful.
This article offers one really sound reason why anyone might hate AA.
ST reader J.G. just sent me this infuriating, yet revealing, little post on PopEater. I am seriously dying of a cold right now so I can’t compose a coherent thought. I’m just going to leave it up to everyone else to debunk. Also, I know some of you all are sick of hearing about Charlie Sheen, but this article not about him as much as it’s about the response from the status quo to their worst nightmare: having that 5% figure hit the mainstream. If I could sum up the argument, it would go like this, “The truth is irrelevant. We’ve been lying for so long that people will die if they find out.”
I can’t find a good quote to pull, since it’s so short and packed with lunacy, so go read the whole thing and report back.
Charlie Sheen’s Anti-AA Comments Dangerous for Addicts
If these assholes were truly concerned about people’s lives, they wouldn’t be drawing a bright line under statements that make Sheen sound like he’s gone around the bend. Clearly, they’re trying to discredit the 5% by placing it in the context of some really nutty assertions. But, if they genuinely believe that Sheen is mentally ill, they why are they not, instead, focusing on how irresponsible it would be to send someone to AA whose problems clearly fall outside AA’s scope?
I can’t stop asking myself how on earth this woman got a blog on the Huffington Post. She really brings it this time, applying her advanced degree and expertise in addiction treatment to bear on these difficult family issues.
Oh, wait… No. It’s just another article recommending Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon. And thank God for AA, or else how would vindictive, self-involved, busybodies make a living off the backs of vulnerable people?
Educating Yourself About Your Loved One’s Addiction
Here are the points she makes:
1. Do your own research on addiction.
2. Be wary of well-meaning advice.
3. Be mindful of who you talk to.
4. Attend Open Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings.
5. Attend Al-Anon Meetings.
6. Seek Professional Counseling [but not with just anyone, of course].
7. Movies [...just like real life]
8. If I can be of service… [See #6]