Archive for the Sicker than Others Category

Sharing a name with a saint didn’t help him – The Update

Smitty counseled teens to keep them off drugs, but his own experience convinced them that they would relapse. He thought he might make the revolving door work more efficiently by selling them the drugs himself. Interestingly, his defense attorney claimed that he wasn’t motivated by money, but by his own “powerlessness.”

The story is here (

Because you need donuts when you are torching a building to save lives

Thomas Downey had just been released from prison and needed a meeting. He also needed donuts.

The story is here.

Why We Were Chosen

Why We Were Chosen Group

Sometime in the 1980s, a meeting chairman in San Francisco gave me a wallet-sized card engraved with a portion of the text from “WHY WE WERE CHOSEN,” an eponymous speech given by Judge John T. on the fourth anniversary of Chicago’s first AA club in 1943. He said that, although GSO Conference had declined to approve the text as AA literature, the San Francisco groups had thought it such an important message that they handed it out to newcomers and visitors.

“WHY WE WERE CHOSEN” talks about drunks as prophets and saints, and places AA as a movement as important as Christianity. It’s both grandiose and inane at the same time and a real Christian might find it offensive, as Dr. Arthur H. Cain did when he called it “idolatry” in his Saturday Evening Post article. You can read both the tract and Cain’s response on Orange’s blog:

By the time I first saw the tract, I had already heard all kinds of BS, from an aging hippie explaining that Bill Wilson’s birth was the “dawning of the Age of Aquarius,” to how AA was so “cutting edge that science was trying to catch up with it.” I considered most “Meaning of AA” proclamations as either psychobabble or Godbabble, and I thought it was harmless drivel. But, twenty years later, I got to see harmless drivel in action.

A friend asked me to speak at a “Chicago” Group here in my home state. She explained that Chicago Groups follow the 90 minute format of the groups in that city using a speaker who introduced the topic, and a chairman who “calls up” responses from the group. She didn’t particularly like the group format, because she thought the men used it to exclude women. She had been going simply because her daughter attended, and now she hoped to change the group by bringing in women speakers. She wanted me to be her first speaker, even though she wouldn’t be able to be there that night. I didn’t know what a Chicago Group was, but I liked her and I thought it would be fun. I also wanted to encourage young women.

On the day of the meeting, I got a call from a man who introduced himself as the Powerfully Recovered Alcoholic who would give me the Chicago Group speaking rules. I needed to wear a “modest” dress and make-up, to introduce myself as a “Recovered” Alcoholic, to give both my sobriety date and sponsor’s name, to not use curse words, and to limit quotations either to the first 164 pages of the Big Book or to the “Other” Big Book.

Well, okay.

When I got to the clubhouse, a young woman wearing a flowered Sister Wife dress opened the door. She was in the middle of introducing me to the other similarly dressed Sister Wives when I realized she was the daughter of my friend. Her Andrea Yates thousand-mile stare had been so flat that I hadn’t recognized her. She handed me to a faded young man in a baggy suit, unpressed tie and scuffed shoes, and then she faded into the wall.

The young man was the Powerfully Recovered chairperson. He showed me to my seat, and began to read “WHY WE WERE CHOSEN” from the podium. He was near the end of the tract when I noticed that everyone wore oversized clothes.

I picked an innocuous topic and I told the usual jokes, but I just couldn’t connect with anyone. I was the only person wearing the right size and a smile in the room. I realized that looking like a normal person might very well constitute immodesty in this crowd.

After I spoke, the Powerfully Recovered chairperson began choosing men (not women) from the audience to give short responses. The gloomy men spoke about duty and privilege, and the (nearly) cheerful men talked about their new lives. They inserted “Praise God” an average of once every 90 seconds, and thanked their tireless sponsor, who was the Powerfully Recovered chairperson.

I was glad when the meeting was over and, for the first time in AA, I did not stay and talk to the crowd. I never went back.

My friend later told me that she had gotten her daughter into therapy and that the therapy had caused her daughter to leave the group. The daughter had the divorced her husband, mainly because he lost his job because he was missing work to be at the group. He then left the group and moved back to Iowa to live with his parents. Both of them blamed the group for destroying their marriage.

The Powerfully Recovered chairperson admitted that he has twice been hospitalized for depression, and he has left the group, which shrunk from a club house to a weekly meeting.

Child Rapist Keeps Coming Back!

(h/t G2k)

Keith Snyder Gets Five Years In Sex Assault

A Battle Creek man, claiming he had no memory of the incident, was sentenced Friday to at least five years in prison for a sexual assault earlier this year on a young boy.

Keith Snyder, 58, former owner of Flash Sanitation and Rooter Man in Battle Creek, could serve up to 15 years in prison.

Snyder told Calhoun County Circuit Judge James Kingsley that he is remorseful, but because he was drinking that night he doesn’t remember what happened on April 9, the day the boy said he was assaulted. Snyder told the judge he agreed to enter no-contest pleas in the case because he didn’t want to force the boy to testify at a trial.

“I am sorry for the hurt and the pain I have caused from one night of drinking,” Snyder said. “It is hard for me to understand how this happened.”

He told the judge he has stopped using alcohol, is attending meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and has been attending church.

Here’s another dangerous son of a bitch, who’s been anonymously sitting in meetings — next to your single-mom sister. This story hits a little harder today (if that’s possible), coming the day after news of Bill Zeller’s suicide. Zeller was raped as a young child, and the impact it had on his life was shattering… devastating.

Snyder did this to a kid, and he’s using his AA membership in an attempt to mitigate his sentencing. This blows my mind, because if I knew that I had perpetrated such an apocalyptic outrage upon a small child, I would lock myself away forever. I would check myself into the pit of hell.

The child’s mother told the court her son is suffering because of the incident. She said he is angry and afraid.”This beautiful boy has become a nightmare,” she said. “He is not a little boy. He has no innocence left. He is scared.

Five years. I wonder what the terms of his parole will be?

Some (mothers) must die…

Murderer Sentenced to 19 to Life in Prison

GOSHEN — Ardis Alaqarbeh could have been the angel who saved Brian Reinhardt’s life.

She was helping him beat a heroin addiction. She rented him an apartment in her home in Greenwood Lake. She bought Christmas presents for his young child, because she knew he didn’t have the money — he had stopped paying his rent.

On Jan. 7, Reinhardt ended Alaqarbeh’s life in a senseless flurry of violence. She had told him to move out.

He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Sept. 1. On Friday, Reinhardt, 25, was sentenced in Orange County Court to 19 years to life in prison.

I wonder where this registered nurse, mother and grandmother, met this dangerous, bi-polar heroin addict…

Read the whole thing.

Keep Coming Back!

OK. I think I got the gist of this:

Ms. Elizabeth Peters is an arsonist. When she gets drunk, she sets fires. And in 2008, she burned down her neighbors’ houses. No, she didn’t go to jail for this. She got got to plea bargain, instead, because it turned out that her confession was inadmissible. So, what she ended up with is probation. And, naturally, according to the terms of her probation, she must not ingest any alcohol. (I wonder if she’s allowed to have matches.)

So, of course, she’s been drinking. She was hospitalized in October for drinking, and while there, admitted that wasn’t her first relapse. At this point, social workers recommended an inpatient treatment program, which she refused to attend (I don’t blame her for that). Now, the prosecutors want the terms of her probation to be honored — which would require her to spend five years in jail. In court, Ms. Peters admitted to violating her probation, and the judge decided not to enforce the mandatory jail time. Guess why. You get one guess.

Peters pleaded guilty Friday to the violation.

Den Uyl said that she technically had not admitted drinking, only refusing inpatient treatment. He noted that she spent seven days in the Carrier Clinic in Belle Mead in January and then completed a 26-day inpatient treatment program.

The judge noted that Peters has been attending weekly counseling sessions and daily Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

“I am going to continue the defendant on probation, with strict compliance,” the judge said. However, he modified the terms of her probation to include random monitoring for alcohol use.

Obviously, Alcoholics Anonymous has not been working for this woman. Because. She. Is. Mentally. Ill. This is a woman who sets fires to other people’s houses when she drinks, and she is still drinking. And she’s going to Alcoholics Anonymous meeting every day, where people give each other phone numbers, socialize, and visit each other’s homes. Sounds like

Does it seem to anyone else that they are going about this assbackwards? So… the arsonist drinks, and that’s a big problem, of course, but not as big as the part about where she sets houses on fire. Seriously, there is something else going on there, right? She burns houses down. I don’t know what approach is appropriate for arsonists (long-term, intense, very specialized, psychiatric treatment — and keep her off the streets), but it seems like that should be the priority. This is clearly a case where the alcoholism is a symptom of some more enormous imperative. Forget the spiritual awakening: snap an alcohol monitor on her, and treat her for mental illness.

What could go wrong?

Sex Offenders in the South End – A Secure Residence
Inside the SCTF

It’s a month since King County’s Secure Community Transition Facility opened.

The “SCTF” is SODO’s new level-3 violent predatory sex offender residence, at Spokane and Second Avenue.

“It’s not known when a court will move a qualified civilly committed sex offender into the SCTF,” says Steve Williams, spokesperson for Washington State’s Department of Social and Health Services.

This DSHS facility is equipped for six residents, with capacity for twelve.

Twenty-five cameras see you in and see you out. To enter, press an intercom button, identify yourself. From the control room, a staff member unlatches the door’s magnetically controlled lock. A concrete sidewalk follows a wall of earth-toned bricks rising 10 feet to black wrought iron bars. A corridor opens to the sky. At the end is the “sally port.”

The sally port is a steel and glass box, with doors to the sidewalk, a meeting room, a visitor bathroom, and the core facility. No two doors can open at once. Each withstands 1800 pounds of force.

Well, thank god they’ve implemented such high security measures and round-the-clock supervision over these violent sex offenders, because…. um…

Wait,  what?

Typical residents will be violent sex predators who may re-offend, who served prison time and finished a rigorous treatment program at McNeil Island’s Special Commitment Center.

Most are men, mid-to-late 40s, some older, out of shape from years of incarceration.

Each continues treatment, learning to integrate into society, to shop, manage money, find jobs. There are weekly individual and group therapies, reinforcing positive behaviors, countering negative ones. Those with histories of alcohol and drug abuse may attend Alcoholic Anonymous [sic]. Residents keep journals, share them with treatment providers.

Here’s the story.

And the linked article.

"Safe Haven"

I have been making reference in the comments to an opinion piece in the August issue of Grapevine, which is titled: “Safe Haven, Keeping the rooms free of predation: Whose responsibility is it?” and I think it’s about time I actually put it up here. It’s not available online, and it’s rather long, so I’ll transcribe some of it.

It begins:

How safe is your AA meeting? Have you ever personally not felt safe? Have you ever had someone give you a hug and walked away with an uncomfortable feeling?

I ask these questions because I view with concern the sexual predation that I’ve seen in AA meetings. I have seen it happen in all gender relationships, but my personal experience is as a woman being preyed upon by men.

I know what many of you are thinking, “Well, that’s an outside issue,” but I disagree. How can it be an outside issue if it affects my safety in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous? Continue reading "Safe Haven"

Someone's on the Pity Pot!

In February 2009, A.A. member and hotline volunteer, Russel C. Mentzer Sr., was acquitted on rape charges. Here’s the story:

Russell C. Mentzer Sr. this afternoon denied raping a woman who claimed he assaulted her after she called an Alcoholics Anonymous hot line for help in November 2007.

Mentzer, 45, of Middlesex Township, who was manning the hot line, told a Cumberland County jury that the woman asked to come to his house and willingly had sex with him. She seemed to be only slightly intoxicated, he said.

He admitted to lying about having sex with her when police first questioned him, but said he did so because he thought the rape accusation would go away. Mentzer said he admitted to having sex with the woman after DNA showed he had intercourse with her.

The woman testified Monday that Mentzer prompted her to drink several glasses of wine until she became incoherent. She said she didn’t remember having sex with him, but awoke naked in his bed with Mentzer beside her.

And here’s the outcome:

 After deliberating for six hours, a Cumberland County jury this afternoon acquitted Alcoholics Anonymous hot line volunteer Russell C. Mentzer Sr. of charges that he had raped a female caller.

The woman claimed during Mentzer’s three-day trial that he had her come to his home in November 2007, prodded her to drink wine and had sex with her when she blacked out. She said she couldn’t recall the sex, however.

Mentzer, 45, of Middlesex Twp., said he and the woman had a consensual sexual encounter.

The woman declined comment on the verdict. Mentzer applauded it and said he will pray for his accuser.

Legally – in this case – this is not rape. Ethically, however, Mr. Mentzer was entirely in the wrong. Any conscientious, responsible AA member would say that his first course of action should have been to counsel her over the phone, and failing that, to help her find a meeting ASAP, and failing that, to direct her to an available female AA member for support. What he, of all people, should never have done is to invite a vulnerable, intoxicated woman to his home. He violated the “norms” of AA, but he didn’t violate AA, because AA doesn’t exist as an accountable, responsible entity. “Norms” are not policy or standards. There is no policy, no standards. Until there is accountability, what happens in AA is AA, and no one can argue otherwise.

No matter what a reasonable and responsible AA member would say about what he should have done, what Mentzer did does not fall outside the bounds of AA, because there are no bounds. There is nothing in the steps or the traditions, nothing about qualifications for manning the hotline, that prohibits him from offering alcohol to an alcoholic. But, as an AA member, what he believes is that once an alcoholic has had a drink, she is powerless to resist another one. And, so his defense that she was willing and only “slightly intoxicated” completely undermines the program. He also believes that she is unable to consent while drunk. And he gave her another one and another…. And then he had sex with her.

 And now he prays for her. And he is just sicker than others. And he does not represent AA (no one does; not even AAWS, Inc.). And this is an exception. And the victim has to “look at her part” and not be resentful or angry. Hey, which one of these people do you think is going to be shunned and gossiped about at AA meetings from now on? Which one of these people is a sponsor? Which one is on the pity pot?

Maybe she should try a different group?