“That was 75 years ago. The big book is an historical document with some good ideas and many that have outgrown their usefulness….”
A.A. Alfie, an AA.
[also see: Alfieholics Anonymous]
In an update on the Little River Club situation in Miami, which we posted about here last month, their secretary-treasurer has broken his anonymity so he can garner some public sympathy. In keeping with the AA belief that the only alternatives to AA are jails, institutions or death; Bob H attributes the club with saving his life:
The Irish Times wrote a good piece on America’s addiction to the treatment industry. It includes a brilliant and insightful quote from a familiar voice:
The prevailing method of treating addiction is known as the “Minnesota model”, after the Hazelden organisation’s first residential centre in Minnesota in 1949. “The 28-day patient model was driven by what insurance would pay for,” says Jaffe. The idea was to end the snake-pit-style institutions in which mental illness and addiction were treated until then.
The vast majority of rehab centres have adapted the 12-step therapy invented by Alcoholics Anonymous back in 1935. The first step is to admit that one is powerless to control one’s addiction. Half of the 12 steps mention God.
“It’s very much a carry-over from the temperance movement of the 1800s,” says Steven Slate, a recovered addict and founder of TheCleanSlate.org website.
“Alcohol was from the devil and you were a sinner. The devil got hold of you. Now it’s the disease that gets hold of you. It’s this outside thing; not me. It’s faith-healing and we are calling it treatment.”
Slate is part of the backlash against America’s rehab culture. He believes the obsession with addiction and rehab has become a self-fulfilling – and self-perpetuating – prophecy.
Like Jeffrey Schaler, the author of Addiction is a Choice and Gene Heyman, a lecturer in psychology at Harvard Medical school and author of Addiction: A Disorder of Choice, Slate says people do drugs, sex and alcohol because they are pleasurable, and that the best way to overcome addiction is to find other things that make you happy.
Slate blames rehab culture for making people believe they’re engaged in a lifelong struggle against addiction. “It’s horrific,” he says. “They don’t allow people to move on with their lives. They keep them in their clutches.”
An AA near Chicago has talked his judge into allowing him to attend his AA meetings while he is out on bond awaiting trial. It just makes sense that since his character flaws include burglary and setting buildings on fire, he should be focusing in on dialing down his drinking:
“Kowal is accused of setting four fires and burglarizing the Picnic Basket Restaurant on Milwaukee Avenue during the morning of March 24.
No one was injured in the fires, which broke out separately in residences in the 200 block of Homewood Drive at about 3 a.m. and then about an hour later in the 200 block of West Cook Street, fire officials have said. Both of those homes sustained significant damage, authorities have said.
The third and fourth fires occurred sometime during the overnight hours in two unsecured garages in the 200 block of Homewood Drive and the 300 block of Laurel Avenue, causing minor damage to those properties, authorities have said.
Drobinski alleged that Kowal has admitted in handwritten confessions to setting the fires. Residents, including children, were asleep in all of the homes at the times the fires occurred, he said.”
I’m guessing his drink of choice was the “Flaming Moe.”
Charles “Chucky” Doucette Jr., an AA and convicted murderer in Beverly, Massachusetts; got a “not guilty” verdict in his assault trial. He was accused of threatening his sweetie with a bullet to the head, and pulling her alongside his truck. According to the neighbor, it was Chucky’s girlfriend, another AA who he had 13th-stepped, who was the instigator this serenity battle:
Upset that the girlfriend he met in Alcoholics Anonymous was drinking again, Doucette took back the key she had to his home and moved out her belongings, Markus testified. While they argued outside his house, she claimed he threatened her and then, while she was standing beside the driver’s side window of his truck, he “dragged” her alongside as he drove away.
But Doucette’s neighbor, Sophia Mahalares, said she witnessed the incident from her second-floor window and told the jury that Markus was not dragged.
“She fell straight down to the ground,” Mahalares said. Markus was unsteady on her feet and appeared drunk, the neighbor said. And, from her vantage point, Mahalares said, it looked like Markus was hitting or grabbing Doucette through his truck window.
Fifteen minutes after calling 911, Markus left a voice mail with Doucette telling him to “get your ass back here.” She left six more voice mails for him, called his sister looking for him and then at 9:21 p.m., “after not getting what she wants,” she called back the police, Dullea said. It was then, 31/2 hours after the incident and her initial report, that she first mentioned the threat to authorities.
It’s a classic American love story!
“WOW, just wow. Sober 8 months in the rooms of AA and CA. I stick around the rooms and attribute my sobriety to AA because It works. Heres [sic] some numbers for you… 40 people went to my rehab… 27 relapsed because they most likely had some of the thoughts about AA this video does, 6 are back in prison, and 4 are dead now from over doses [sic], myself and 2 other people are still sober because we worked the step s and got involved in AA… JAILS, INSTITUTIONS, AND DEATH.”
griffin210, an AA. Explaining in the comment section of Blamethenile’s “Is Alcoholics Anonymous a Cult?” video, how the 95% of his rehab class failed because they did not properly work the program.
David Colman just wrote a piece on anonymity in AA, in which he breaks his own anonymity [Challenging the Second “A” in A.A.]. I don’t really have a opinion on his opinion, other than to say that it is a thinly veiled puff piece that omits many of the ways AAs use or break their anonymity in order to promote a specific agenda. I posted on a few of those ways here a few months ago. Of course, I could never make my point as well as our resident troll, JD, does when he wrote:
“You do have some idea how many judges and lawyers are solid AAs, right? They are a firewall against this kind of thing. And the members in all the media. Plenty more in government than you can imagine. Plenty in the medical and all science professions, lots of people highly placed throughout business, ect [sic]. Like any facinated [sic] groupies you keep track of entertainers, but there are a ton you’ve no clue about.”
At least with this New York Times writer, he was open about his affiliation with AA — although I wonder if he would have disclosed his AA affiliation had the subject of the piece not been about anonymity itself. As JD correctly points out, many of the stories promoting AA and 12-Step recovery are written by AAs who never disclose their AA memberships.
What interested me more than the piece itself, was this bit written in the comments section. Specifically, the second paragraph, which I have emboldened:
“As a member of AA for many years, I have always understood that keeping anonymity (especially at the level of press, media and films) is not only for the well being of single members, but for the group as a whole.
When an individual identifies as a member of AA in the public, and then proceeds to relapse over and over again or engage in other “bad” behavior (stealing, lying, cheating, hookers), people who do not understand the program will often use that individual as an example of how AA doesn’t work.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to defend the institution, which saved my life, because some celebrity decided to go blabbing about their “membership” only to relapse (like many of us do!) and have their mugshot splashed on the cover of a tabloid.
Although anonymity is unrealistic in this day in age [sic], and that at a personal level it is an individual’s right to divulge their sobriety, I still believe it should be an ideal to uphold—at least in the public eye.”
Now, anyone who has been around AA for long enough understands what this person will tell those people who don’t “understand the program”: The offending person is either not a real alcoholic™, in which case the program could not possibly work (it only works on real alcoholics, ya know). Or, they did not properly work the steps, which is the only explanation for someone who fails a fail-proof program. And, of course, it will be peppered with the usual buzzwords of “angry” and “resentment.”
What really caught my attention was the irony of this AA complaining that using a singular example is a fallacious way of judging the whole program. It’s the “few bad apples” argument: Sure, there are rogue members who are either not real alcoholics™ or did not properly work the program, that go out on occasion and pick up a hooker or slap their wife around or fall off the wagon; but these are isolated cases. What you should do is focus on the millions of people who bettered themselves through AA.
We’ve all heard this argument countless times, both in AA and from AAs commenting on this blog. It’s another example of AAs wanting it both ways: on the one hand, they don’t want us to point out anecdotal examples of AA’s failure; but on the other hand, they want to hold up anecdotal examples as evidence, and as proof that AA really works. You know…cherry picking and special pleading. It’s among AA’s most ridiculous arguments, which is saying something for a group who thrives on the ridiculous. The entire program is based on the anecdotal, from its ‘Big Book’ scripture to the way they carry the message™.
David O’Donnell has both a resentment and an anger problem. Last year, after assaulting his wife, he was sentenced to AA. Problem solved, right? Wrong. She was found dead a couple of months later:
Husband pleads guilty to wife’s slaying
O’Donnell had an active protective order issued against him, barring him from having any unlawful contact with his wife. That meant the couple could be together, but police would have more leverage if any illegal activity was taking place, police said.
The order alleged that O’Donnell had assaulted his wife in June and had an alcohol and drug abuse problem.
After the June assault, an emergency protective order barring him from any contact was issued, court records show. But in July, a less restrictive order was issued that required O’Donnell to attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings four times a week.
Keep coming back!
The good news for Chris Destasio is that he will be receiving his twenty-year sobriety chip next year. The bad news is that it’s going to happen in a Federal prison. It seems he sported his rigorous honesty™ by stealing more than $100K worth of cellphones from his employer, and then selling them on eBay:
The phones offered by Cellerific were popular because they were “NIB” (auction shorthand for “new in box”) and because they were “cold” phones that didn’t have numbers assigned to them.
Judging by the hundreds of positive feedback comments
he got on eBay, Cellerific had a solid reputation for low prices and quick service.
Buyers didn’t know that Cellerific was Destasio, an account manager for Sprint Nextel. When he was charged, prosecutors alleged that Destasio had discovered that if he charged the phones to his accounts at miniscule prices — sometimes as low as 99 cents per unit — the businesses either didn’t notice or didn’t care.
The government has since determined that wasn’t entirely the case. A presentencing memo from an assistant U.S. attorney noted that “Mr. Destasio’s discretion to set prices and to grant discounts to Sprint Nextel’s customers appears to be less extensive than the parties believed at the time of the negotiation of the plea agreement.”
Jeanne Cooney, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office for Minnesota, declined to specify how much discretion Destasio had in setting prices, saying it was part of the investigation.
The single wire-fraud count Destasio faced involved an Aug. 10, 2009, transaction in which he told a buyer to wire $409 to his PayPal account to cover the cost of a phone.
Sprint Nextel told federal investigators it lost $144,657.28 through the scheme. That’s the sum Schiltz ordered Destasio to pay in restitution.
His attorney, in making the case about what a great guy he is, cites his time in Alcoholics Anonymous:
“Admirably, Mr. Destasio voluntarily sought professional help for his chemical dependency in 1992, and continues to attend AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) groups to assist him in his sobriety,” the lawyer wrote.
How many people do you think this guy sponsored over the years? Keep coming back!
OK…so it really wasn’t his horn.
A guy in Pennsylvania arrives at a school all liquored up for an AA meeting, is told by the janitor that he is at the wrong place, so he steals a kid’s trumpet and leaves. Then he shows up at the right location, and proceeds to make an ass of himself:
According to police, Heffner, 32, came to St. James School on Feb. 3 asking how to find the AA meeting. A janitor told Heffner and another man the meeting was not being held at St. James. The janitor told police he later saw Heffner walking away from the school carrying a stolen trumpet. An empty trumpet case was found open on the floor near the door where the men entered, police said.
Around the same time the janitor notified police, another call came in from The Presbyterian Church on Grant Street for a disturbance involving two men. They matched the description of the men at St. James, police said, and one of them had a trumpet.
Police apprehended and arrested Heffner in the church parking lot. A witness told police Heffner came into the AA meeting at the church, placed the trumpet on a piano and became disruptive. Police said Heffner was highly intoxicated.
The good people of Beaver Falls can rest assured knowing this won’t happen again, because he’s still in AA (it was working so well for him before):
Heffner told Sewickley Patch he made a mistake, is back to work and is in recovery, attending AA meetings regularly.
“I’m always going to be a recovering addict for the rest of my life,” Heffner said. “The only requirement to go to AA is the desire to stop using,” Heffner said.