sworcery just left a link to his “Why I Left AA” story in the comments. It’s an incredibly thoughtful piece, so I wanted to highlight it here. Go read it.
I left AA about 2 months ago. As to why… well, many reasons why! But I do feel much, much better now. I wrote a little essay (ok, a big one) about why I left. In the interest of preserving screen space on this blog, I instead included a link to the file. I hope you all find it enlightening and insightful. And I look forward to getting to know all of you better here on ST.
humanspirit sends this odd article from another author who’s critical of AA. She seems more critical of AA’s group atmosphere (she doesn’t want to hear about other people’s problems), but doesn’t seem to be critical of the 12-Step mythology, like the notion that you’re powerless or have to hit “rock bottom” — which leads to some contradiction. For instance, she calls willpower “nonsense,” but then goes on to say that she just quit drinking on her own. But, I’m still glad that people are beginning to talk…
“I Survived: The Alcoholic Who Healed Herself”
I was aware that something had to shift, but felt powerless to change. It is nonsense to think that willpower alone will get you through; it’s like trying to climb a mountain in one day with no previous experience.
I am currently training to be a psychotherapist and one of the most important things you learn very early on is that therapy is not going to work for anyone unless they want it to work. That is the magic that you can’t teach anyone to have; it is like a switch in the head. I had a switch in the head but I had to hit rock bottom before I found it.
[In AA] I’d spent hours on end listening to other people’s problems but felt no one was really listening to mine. I’d had it with other people’s problems, but that’s what AA is all about.
So I went off and did things my own way one step at a time. First I stopped drinking at home, and then one night – 12 September 2002, a date I will never forget – I thought, ‘I am going out sober.’
Read it all.
Dr. Drew Pinsky’s Authoritarian Approach to Charlie Sheen
I don’t normally go after people but Dr. Drew Pinsky is saying things that are so offensive and destructive that I am making an exception.
In the name of love and all the people who have been misled, mislabeled and mistreated by the disabling beliefs of the addiction-recovery-treatment industry–I’m calling names. And right now I’m calling out some of my least favorite company, Dr. Drew Pinsky and kind.
In a recent video with hollywoodlife.com, Dr. Drew Pinsky discusses Charlie Sheen (sprinkled with condescending head nods and ending in smug amusement because the fate of someone’s life is such a funny subject): “Whether it’s drug induced or drug withdrawal or whether he has bipolar disorder, I don’t know but right now he’s manic. That’s an acute psychiatric emergency. Bipolar patients that are manic are more likely to kill themselves or hurt themselves than when they’re depressed. So this is somebody who should be in the hospital.”
Note that Dr. Drew Pinsky is calling for the involuntary medical incarceration of someone who has not violated the law. If he wasn’t using medical terms to threaten someone’s liberty and to dehumanize them by refusing to respond to what they are saying, we would call this “libel.” But what is going on here is worse than slander because this kind of insensitive, uncaring, profit-oriented, social-control oriented behavior is destroying people’s lives.
Read the whole thing…
Is Dr. Drew More Like Charlie Sheen Than He Thinks?
by Maia Szalavitz
Could Dr. Drew Pinsky be following Charlie Sheen off the rails? Recently the “Celebrity Rehab” host claimed that Sheen was “in an acute manic state” — a public statement which teeters on the bounds of psychiatric ethics (more on that after the jump). Moreover, Pinsky — contradicting his own previous statements about 12-step programs being critical to recovery — told TMZ that Sheen, who denounces 12-step, “has got a point” and that “their success rates aren’t that great … but it DOES work when people do it.”
Dr. Drew’s assessment of Sheen may well violate a principle of the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) ethical standards known as the Barry Goldwater rule, which was adopted after psychiatrists diagnosed the presidential candidate in a magazine article as “paranoid” and “narcissistic” and questioned his mental fitness for office — without ever examining him in person.
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?
As we head into day 3 of The Great National Head Explosion about Charlie Sheen there are two items on the Stinkin’ Thinkin’ agenda:
1. In case you missed it, here’s the link to Stanton Peele’s GMA appearance.
[UPDATE: Hey, is there any tech support here that can help Stanton pull this video off the CBS site so he can post it on his blog? If so, can you write to me? email@example.com]
2. mikeblamedenial brought up an interesting question in the comments, which deserves a thread:
Question: Why would the producers pull the plug on a billion dollar franchise shortly after its star publicly attacks Alcoholics Anonymous?
This is a long download, but worthy of a look. Chuck Lorre is the exec who Charlie also had harsh words for. Perhaps Charlie’s ostensible paranoia and anger have more basis in reality than is being disclosed.
And he adds:
…a personal manifesto about her break with AA, on her blog “Living the Dream” at gogorach.blogspot.com:
Since I left AA well over a year ago, I’ve taken a strong look at myself and my life. I have come to the conclusion that POWERLESSNESS IS A LIE and a way for me (and others) to escape responsibility for myself, my life and my emotions, which is a cop out for children. Foolish for grown ups. DEFINITELY NOT FOR ME.
Grown ups know what they want and how to get it. A lot of times, we gotta say no to what we want to do very badly. It’s not always easy, but GROWN UPS DO IT. I want to be a successful person. Getting and staying wasted will never get me there, so I don’t do it. “God” has nothing to do with it, AA has nothing to do with it, being liked and popular has nothing to do with it with. Getting REAL has everything to do with it.
Read the whole thing…
[Thank you, new contributor Gunthar2000! – ftg]
I don’t remember if it was summer or winter. I couldn’t tell you what time of day it was. There are many specifics of that encounter that I find difficult to recall.
After years of working the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous I was still unable to stop drinking. It seemed like no power on this earth would ever be able to relieve my desire to drink. I had spent a thousand mornings, and as many evenings, on my knees begging the God of Alcoholics Anonymous to save me from myself. I’d been to detoxes and rehabs… hospitals and psych wards. Over and over I’d tried, and over and over I’d failed. I was beginning to think that I was forsaken.
Gasping and choking, I’d carried my swollen feet up the library stairs, hoping that there, on the internet; I might connect with someone who held the secret key to sobriety.
I’d been bombarded with messages of hopelessness and self-doubt for so long that it was beginning to seem like the only way out of this would be at the end of a rope, or maybe a cold steel razor. Another day… another wish… and my ambition would sputter to a halt… I was lost.
I sat down at my usual place and began typing… Continue reading LEAVING ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS