When I read Ruth Fowler’s defense of the 12 steps in The Fix, I was surprised. Ruth had interviewed me for The Fix a few months ago, for an article on revolutionary addiction experts, and during the “developing a rapport” portion of the interview, she offered me her personal story. Unbidden, she told me that she decided to give up alcohol when she moved to the States and started dating an addict in recovery. She quit only to support him, she told me, but she had since learned to love the hangover-free lifestyle and the bonus weight loss. Her interest in the subject of addiction? Just her innate British curiosity, she said.
I don’t know if lying violates the 12 steps (I don’t see how it could, since everyone in AA lies) but it certainly violates journalistic ethics. In my case Ruth’s deception resulted in an inaccurate, biased and derogatory profile of me (within a couple of days after the article posted, some of Ruth’s nastier observations were edited out and re-written*). For publications with an ethical code (which of course leaves out The Fix), Ruth is poison.
Since the interview appeared, Ruth has kept in touch, oblivious that the story she told me is inconsistent with the the yarn she spins for The Fix. Ruth is alternately a liar, a fabricator of convenient stories, or simply a person who has no idea of what the truth is, even in the most intimate areas of her life.
In short, she is the ideal spokesperson for AA and The Fix.
* The pre-edited version of Stanton’s entry reads:
Few have been as controversial, or caused as much noise, as Stanton Peele. While his argument hasn’t changed much over the last 25 years, and while scientific evidence has emerged to prove it increasingly less relevant, good ole Peele staunchly sticks to his point: that alcoholism/addiction is not a disease or a biological function, is not present at a genetic level, and cannot be studied through science. Addiction is, he believes, a product of culture and an individual’s response to that experience. In this view, what he terms “temperance” cultures–the UK and US–who treat alcoholism with abstinence, have more problems with drinking than France, Italy and Spain, where the people are moderate drinkers with “normalized” attitudes toward alcohol from a young age. Peele’s arguments are relevant but his stubborn resistance to abstinence and A.A., lauding of programs which favor moderation and management, and rejection of proven scientific and clinical studies have proven incredibly controversial, making him a little outdated in a field that’s ever-expanding in knowledge. Now, if Stanton Peele could incorporate his viewpoint in with scientific, biological, genetic, emotional and spiritual ingredients, he’d have his finger on the pulse. But then he wouldn’t be Stanton Peele–begrudger of abstinence, sobriety, Dr. Drew and AA.
The current version reads:
Few figures in the recovery world have been as controversial as Stanton Peele. While his argument have [sic] been vehemently challenged by many AA stalwarts, Peele, who has authored countless books and treatises on the subjects, remained staunchly committed to his thesis that AA is not the only way to teat [sic] addiction, and that alcoholism is not a chronic and progressive disease. Most addictions, he believes, are a product of culture and an individual’s response to their personal experience. In his view, “temperance-oriented” cultures like Britain and the United States, who largely believe in abstinence-only cures, tend to suffer much higher alcoholism rates than nations like than France, Italy and Spain, where people are trained to develop “normalized” attitudes toward alcohol from a young age. Peele’s moderation-management methods are lauded by a vocal minority of addiction experts and advocates, but his willingness to challenge A.A. and the complete abstinence model of recovery, have made him a virtual pariah among hard-core A.A. enthusiasts.
Links and quoted material added by friendthegirl.