Posts tagged Al-Anon

Al-Anot So Normal

In a lunacy contest between AA and Al-Anon, I’m not sure which one would win. Below is a quote taken from the “Al-Anon Family Group” section of the 12-Step forum, Miracles in Progress:

I was over a friend’s house who is in the program and he showed me a birthday card from his daughter. She had written in the card that she will always be there for him. I felt sick to my stomach when I read that sentence. I wound up lying and saying that it was a nice card, then couldn’t figure out if I should have told him that it is emotional incest for his daughter to feel she has to emotionally take care of him or not saying anything at all. I am very confused about this. What is the healthy thing to do? I have been contemplating calling him and telling him the truth, but don’t know if it is my place to do so. Also, I don’t feel he is healthy for me to be friends with since this is very sick behavior. Does anyone have any experience with this?

I’m not sure which is nuttier: this question, or the follow-up responses where just one other person questioned this guy on how telling a person that they always be there for them qualifies as “emotional incest” and “sick behavior.”

Those of you reading this who may be unfamiliar with Al-Anon, should understand that this conversation is centred around the idea of co-dependency. It’s an “affliction” with no clinical foundation, and thrives in the rooms of Al-Anon. It seems that just about everyone who walks into a meeting turns out to be co-dependent.

Pressing The Mute’s Buttons

A couple of months ago I wrote this post about AA’s tradition of anonymity, and how AAs use it (and break it) to suit their purposes. Among the reasons for breaking anonymity that I wrote about, were for spin control, and as as an abuse excuse. After reading this op-ed in the Cape Cod Times, I felt compelled to add a third reason: as an appeal for sympathy in order to bilk the good people of Massachusetts out of some more tax money. Continue reading Pressing The Mute’s Buttons

Is he lying?

Humanspirit directed me to a thread on the Guardian that ST readers might want to crash: It is an advice column, in which someone writes in with a problem (My boyfriend is stealing money from my account and using it to by Oxy!) and readers respond (Al-Anon!):

I have been with my boyfriend for four years. When we met he was doing drugs recreationally. I explained I did not want drugs in my life and he agreed to quit. Six months ago he started to act differently and one day money was missing from my bank account. He broke down and told me he was doing OxyContin. He said he was not addicted and was glad I had found out. I believed him and was determined to help him.

A month later more money went missing. A few more times he appeared to be high, but insisted he had just been drinking. Then I was doing the washing and discovered drugs in his pockets; he said they were months old. How do I know if he’s lying? What do I do to get him to stop?

The first two responses to this question really made me feel sick. This really is the way we treat addicts and alcoholics:

He is lying; that is what addicts do, it’s part of their armor.


He’s lying and anything other than complete rejection of him will be interpreted by him as your tacit approval

The guy probably is lying. Idunno. It sounds like it… But he’s not lying because that’s What Addicts Do. These pieces of Tough Love Wisdom allow anyone to become an expert on everyone else’s personal situation, to feel comfortable walking into anyone’s life and make grand, knowing pronouncements about exactly what’s happening and what drastic measures must  be taken, without exception.

This gave me a little flashback to my high school years, when my mother used to send me to a Tough Love quack to straighten me up. This is when Tough Love was all the rage — it was all over the TV — and it just blew my mother’s mind! You mean, you can lock your kid in a room with nothing but a mattress? Cool! She never went that far, but really relished the idea. So, this counselor would spend our sessions talking to me about his last trip to Europe or griping about whatever had inconvenienced him that day, and would occasionally say, “I really don’t know why you’re here. Your mother should be here! Haha!!” But, when she’d show up to collect me, he’d say to her, “Of course she’s lying to you. Don’t fall for her lies.” I wasn’t lying to her (well, that’s when I started!), and he knew it. But he confirmed her worst fears about me, and making her feel like she was taking the correct action — and kept himself in European vacay and Polo Cologne. This guy lined his whole office with his empty Polo Cologne bottles — I shit you not! Those reeking green bottles covered every surface of his office — windowsills, shelves, molding… To this day, I instantly loathe anyone who wears that stuff.

Anyway! Here’s the thread.

Angie the Anti-Theist on Al-Anon

Angie is writing a series on her experience in Al-Anon. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.

humanspirit talks about Al-Anon

Humanspirit just posted this in the comments, but I want to turn it into a front page post, because it is an important perspective that’s been missing from this blog. Thank you, humanspirit. –ftg

My name is humanspirit, and I’m not an alcoholic. But I am appalled at the way the AA 12-Step program is allowed to stand in the way of anyone’s attempts at get real help for alcoholics or addicts. It is disgraceful that AA, with its worse than useless program and cod religion, has managed to establish itself as the only organization to help alcoholics or addicts.

So, not being an alcoholic, why do I feel so passionately about this? It’s because the man that I love descended so deeply into chronic alcohol addiction that he could hardly function. Because he knew he was dying, and would die if he carried on much longer and was crying out for help – any help – which wasn’t forthcoming despite our best efforts. It’s a long and very sad story. I moved out of our mutual home because there was no way I could cope with it and could still carry on going to work, etc. He wasn’t violent; he wasn’t nasty – just hopelessly addicted. The sight of him, sitting in the garden in the early morning light, clinging to his bottle of wine in a silent, confused daze, day in, day out, absolutely broke my heart. Continue reading humanspirit talks about Al-Anon