Posts tagged quit drinking

Yep, He Ain’t No Doctor

The Seattle Times confirmed that David Scratchley, the crack-addled director of the Matt Talbot Center in Seattle, is not really a doctor. In fact, he hasn’t even met the standards to be a drug counselor. And if what is contained this police report is true, he is one sick son-of-a-bitch.

Mayor Bob Ryan: AA Hero

Sheboygan, Wisconsin mayor Bob Ryan is a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. Or, as he put it, “an intensive outpatient program.” It’s worked so well for him, that last week he once again got liquored up and decided to kick some ass:

Sheboygan Mayor Rejects Council’s Call For Him To Resign
Ryan recently came under fire since going on what one bartender called “a rampage” in Elkhart Lake that included contact with police after a barroom scuffle in the early morning hours of July 25 and passing out in a tavern. Witnesses also said Ryan verbally harassed women in local nightspots with rude and sexually tinged remarks.

It’s the third drinking incident since Ryan was elected mayor in April 2009, the first occurring in September 2009 when a YouTube video surfaced of a drunken mayor at a local tavern making sexually explicit comments about a female relative.

The second was in July 2010 after he visited local taverns with his brother. It was after that incident that Ryan first said publicly that he is an alcoholic.

Mayor Ryan is a perfect fit for AA, where he’ll be able to continue his shenanigans unfettered; but back in the real world, this latest incident was enough for the city to settle a sexual harassment suit filed against him:

City, Angela Payne settle sexual harassment complaint against Bob Ryan

Angela Payne — who accused the mayor of drunkenly propositioning and attempting to kiss her — will be paid more than $750,000 under the settlement, a source said. That figure includes the money Payne would have earned under a five-year contract typically given to department heads, with damages and attorney fees likely added on. Payne’s first-year salary was set at $75,000.

Payne was fired in August 2009 after just six months on the job and a month after she said she rebuffed Ryan’s advances. Payne alleged in a complaint with the state Department of Workforce Development that the events were related. Ryan denied the allegation, and attorneys were prepared to defend his stance until his highly publicized relapse last weekend.

This guy makes Ted Kennedy look like teetotaling alter boy. And his drunken trifecta is enough to award Bob R. our “AA Hero of the Month” award. Congratulations, Bob!

Alcoholics Anonymous and the Counseling Profession: Philosophies in Conflict

I was listening to Mike and Blame this morning on Massiveattack’s radio program, and Blame referenced this, originally posted in Journal of Counseling & Development. It’s an interesting read:

Alcoholics Anonymous and the Counseling Profession: Philosophies in Conflict

“Although AA believes in a medical cause for alcoholism, their treatment program is a nonmedical one that includes both social and emotional elements. At the core of AA’s treatment program lie the 12 steps. These steps were originally adapted from a Christian organization, the Oxford Group. The group emphasized changing one’s life and removing sin by passing through five stages known as the five procedures. These stages involved giving in to God, listening to God’s direction, checking for guidance, achieving restitution, and sharing (Kurtz, 1988). Continue reading Alcoholics Anonymous and the Counseling Profession: Philosophies in Conflict

The Looking-Glass

Here’s an entertaining exchange from a couple of AAs over at the Online Daily Reflections blog. It’s a rare occurrence that we capture this kind of lunacy in the wild, so I thought that I’d post it here.

It started out innocently enough, with Lyby G writing about how her Higher Power™ evolved from a table, to a tree, to her AA group itself, and finally to AA God™. You know…just standard AA stuff. But soon it devolved into a fight between her and “Guardian Angel” over who is the most sober and least resentful:

The first blow was struck by Guardian Angel, who questioned whether Lyby was “really sober” because she was not really working the program. He started the exchange with the “are you in AA, or around AA?” tactic — a classic and effective move. As an added touch passive aggression, it’s written in a kind of freestyle haiku-like manner:

the reality
that you leave out
of the well written story
is that you have been around AA for 20 years…
and have been sober ???

Lydy shows amazing restraint, and simply states her years of sobriety as evidence of its quality:

Sweetheart, I’ve been sober over 27 continuous years in Alcoholics Anonymous and don’t believe in the GOD of the Oxford Group –
atheists and agnostics stay sober in AA every day of the week and we’ve been doing it for nearly 76 years!!!!

Not being one to be deterred from a good serenity battle, Guardian Angel reminds Lydy that it doesn’t matter how long a person has gone without a drink, and her years of abstinence means nothing. She isn’t really sober, even though she hasn’t had a drink in a quarter of a century. Any good AA knows that real sobriety means working the program properly. He ups the ante by accusing her of taking prescription medications, and in keeping with passive-aggressive tone, ends the sentence with a smiley face :

What part of b) don’t you understand?

Your sobriety is quantity not quality
and I would bet millions you abuse meds :)

Intuitively knowing how to handle what seems to us normies to be a baffling accusation – that someone who hasn’t had a drink for 27 years isn’t really sober – Lydy fights fire with fire, and counters the prescription medication accusation with the classic “you have resentments” accusation. She even brought Guardian Angel’s mother into the mix:

Sorry sweetheart, you gonna lose that bet — that’s what you get for taking hookers to the boat lol.

I would bet the $2 I put in the basket every meeting that you have unresolved resentment issues towards your mother that your sponsor really wishes you’d deal with.

Perhaps if you’re being such a troll on here, then you aren’t being abusive towards the members of your home group at f2f meetings.


UPDATE: Guardian Angel has informed me in our comments that I was wrong in what I wrote. She (he?) was actually responding to Paige,  but Lyby defended her “because she is a meddling old bag,who is crazy.”

Thank you, Guardian Angel, for taking time between the Sabbaths to clarify this.

Sober Recovery Advice of the Day

In response to this statement: [“…Doing the next right thing day in and day out in sobriety and working my butt off to get a job is not supposed to take me from a halfway house (which is a blessing) to a park bench.”]

Enoy sez (in a spiritual, not religious way):

“Million dollar question….

How do you know ?

Who are you to decide how it’s suppose to be ?

In a sincere way , perhaps that is why you haven’t moved on yet. You still have these expectations of how things “should be” based on your own feelings and thoughts rather than “They will be as are”

If you read the 3rd step prayer I think you will see that you haven’t yet completed the third step. I thought I had too until I got a rude awakening to the fact that I had not. ( mentioned this in the other thread )

Many times in my life I’ve gone through terrific struggles , during the struggle I hated it , didn’t understand it , thought it unfair and not right…. Later looking back… It was the best thing that ever happened to me because it gave me new strength, new perspective, new understanding of myself and others.”

You know the “Footsteps in the sand” message right ?

It just. Makes. Sense. Cuz, you know…nothin’ happens by accident. And homelessness is SO much better if God puts you there.

Serenity Searching With Chuck W.

Charles A Williams, Jr., an AA in New York with a scorching case of resentment, has been sentenced to five years of probation. Chuck is a serenity thief, who abused his position as Highway Superintendent by using town workers as his personal construction and landscaping crew. Shortly after his arrest, he threatened to shoot the local district attorney – for which he spent 97 days in the pokey:

No jail time for ex-Patterson highway chief

As part of the sentence, Williams, 47, will serve no jail time, having already spent 97 days at the county jail after threatening to shoot Putnam County District Attorney Adam Levy soon after his February 2010 arrest. Williams, who resigned from his elected $89,000-a-year job this past February when he pleaded guilty to a single count of second-degree grand larceny, will be on probation for five years, less the 97 days served in jail.

Visiting state Supreme Court Justice Albert Lorenzo also ordered a curfew for the first year of probation that requires Williams to be at his East Branch Road home from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., except for Fridays, when he can stay out to 10 p.m. to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

Williams ‘ home at 699 E. Branch Road was at the center of the corruption case after state police and prosecutors said he used town workers on town time to put an addition on the home and landscape around his pool. He also used town mechanics to fix his personal vehicles on town time and stole $12,000 in gas from the Highway Department.

Nicely done, Chuck!

Stinkin’ Thinkin’ Over at the Sober Recovery Forum

What happens when there is dissension in the AA ranks? It depends on the platform. In real life, anyone questioning any part of the program will be derided. On an internet forum run by 12-steppers, they get censored. Even if it is not their AA section.

A few days ago, we were directed to a thread that was started at the Sober Recovery forum titled “The Concept of Powerlessness.” As is most often the case in these discussions about ‘Big Book’ scripture, it devolved into a circle-jerk of pseudo-intellectual mental contortion and philosophizing. I find it difficult to make it through more than three or four posts before my reading voice morphs into the “wah wah wah” of the teacher’s voice in Charlie Brown.

This time, I paid closer attention to the conversation, because a rare voice of trenchancy – “John Barleycorn” – jumped into the conversation. Knowing this was would go over like lead balloon, and knowing the AAs moderating the Sober Recovery forum would delete any challenge to the dogma quicker than one can say “rigorous honesty,” we took a screen shot. Click on the image below to enlarge:

It was followed up with this, which has yet to be deleted, but I’ll go ahead and include it here because I suspect it will be. It’s just makes too much sense:

One problem with using examples from internet forums is, AAs tend to couch their language more than they do one on one or within the confines of a group. What John Barleycorn is asking for is an alternative to tell a person who repeatedly fails. Something beyond a slogan. The answer, of course, is that the program cannot fail. It can only be failed. The onus, and the fault, is always on the individual. Always. It says it right there… in the ‘Big Book’.

It’s almost unfair to ask this of a group that is currently under the AA spell. They’ve been conditioned, and have no point of reference other than the insular world of AA. To a worm in a horseradish, the world is a horseradish.


Jonny Quest, aka “John Barleycorn,” advised us SR deleted another post that would dare to criticize AA. Here it is:

Picking Cherries

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™.




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.

Former Sprint employee gets 1-year sentence in cellphone scheme

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!

AA Man Blows His Own Horn

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.

Charges reduced for a man who showed up drunk at an AA meeting

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.

Alrighty then….