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“I WISH” Sequel II, A Response To the Always Evocative Anonymous

In response to my last post I heard back from one of the ubiquitous anonymy as follows:
It's too bad you created a situation in your life where you are forced to participate in a program so contrary to your nature. It gives rise to your bitterness and cynicism, which were rampant before your arrest and "recovery". Sustained negative emotions make it harder to avoid drinking (or any other addictive behavor).

AA and its offshoots have helped millions of addicts find peace and sobriety. That being said, I understand that it doesn't work for everyone, for various reasons. I thought the adaptations of the steps as written by the agnostic group were beautiful and don't see why the concept should be controversial.

I am wondering what you intend to do after this next year to maintain your sobriety. I think it's difficult to impossible to do it alone. Have you considered starting your own group? It could incorporate parts of AA or be completely different. If you are committed to remaining sober you will need a plan for accomplishing that.
Anonymous, it is always good you are out there for me. You (and likely others who share your self-identification cowardice) have evoked, or provoked, so much here that has been growth inducing and worthwhile. I would have agreed with you that I was responsible for creating this situation in my/our life but I have been re-educated by my rehabilitation program and by AA to know that is wrong-headed "stinkin' thinkin'" to quote a frequently cited AA/rehabilitation euphemism. You see, I am afflicted with a terrible disease called alcoholism and cannot help myself, and besides you see, the majority of the disease has nothing to do with drinking. I am powerless. The only hope I have is to turn my life over to god ("may I find Him now".....I am required to always say that as a good rehab client.). If I fail to find god, my situation is totally hopeless. Even if I never drink again, the disease of addiction can never be cured. In fact, whether I drink again is irrelevant. "The disease is alcoholism and drinking is only a symptom," is what we are taught to recite over and over. I likely will relapse repeatedly, as part of my entirely predictable disease process, and will likely have to go back through treatment 3 or 4 more times (at $8000.00 to $10,000.00 each time through, unless inpatient treatment is required, then likely it will be more like $50,000.00 each time). There is nothing I can be responsible to do to prevent that. It is inevitable. I AM responsible now, though, to find god and turn my life over to him. Unless I do that I have no hope of sobriety anyway. If I do find god, and go to AA, and provide employment for dozens of rehab. professionals, and court fees, jail fees, and returns on capital investment for treatment center investors (I am buying some of that stock after all is a gold mine), and of course attorney fees (so far mine are like $8000.00), and then if I go to weekly meetings reciting the Big Book and encouraging others to hold up this end of the economy, I TOO CAN BE ONE OF THE "MILLIONS SAVED BY AA" all praise to my higher power(s) as I know him (never her).
It interests me that I managed on my own, with the help of our T, to quit smoking. I had a terrible nicotine addiction. I smoked two to three packs a day. I had difficulty going twenty waking minutes without a cigarette. All behavior cued me to smoke because I smoked continuously while I did everything. I was hugely addicted. When I even cut back I had huge withdrawal symptoms and terrific cravings……cravings so severe that they affected me both emotionally and physically. This is not surprising. The clinical literature indicates that nicotine is our most highly addictive substance. Its withdrawal is worse than alcohol, heroin, and cocaine withdrawal....all the other addictive substances. Hell, they have documented cases of prisoners whose nicotine habit was so extreme that they starved to death while incarcerated trading their food away to get tobacco. They so valued their tobacco that they quit eating to the point of death to satisfy their habit.
There are no twelve step nicotine addiction programs. There are no nicotine addiction treatment centers. There are not tens of thousands of smokers’ anonymous meetings all over our communities meeting at all hours of every day and night... There are no certified nicotine rehabilitation counselors to help you learn that your nicotine addiction is a disease over which you are powerless, and that you must find god to permit you to find a way to live with it one day at a time. But then there is no legal, and rehabilitation, and health care industry to flourish helping poor helpless powerless smokers, to find a way to get through their lives 24 hours by 24 hours, one day at a time and throwing off hundreds of billions of dollars annually. The interesting thing is that most of my peers in the rehab. program, who have found god to get them past the alcohol/drug addictions they are powerless to deal with on their own, leave the rehab. program as often as possible to suck down cigarettes, as rapidly as they can, just as do most AA and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) members. In fact many of the alcohol and drug addiction rehabilitation counselors I have met, most of whom are addicts in recovery themselves, all smoke tremendously compulsively….despite their higher power’s control of their lives.
I bet before I die I will see marijuana legalized and nicotine prohibition, then we will have twelve step programs and huge religious programs so that god can reveal himself to and remove the horror of the disease of nicotine addiction from those poor powerless souls it has in its grasp. They will have to wake up each morning and pray to be delivered from smoking, and will cycle through jail periodically to renew their motivation to be in “recovery” when they relapse as their disease will inevitably cause them to do.
I haven’t smoked since January 2000. I don’t want to smoke…ever. It no longer even occurs to me. If god helped me do it he failed to reveal himself to me, or I was just oblivious (perhaps that is how I failed to notice my alcoholism withdrawal symptoms and am now not noticing my cravings to drink………..similar obliviousness). I don’t find I have to wake up each day and make a decision whether to smoke or not for the next 24 hours. In fact I don’t think of it at all. Yet nicotine is chemically and clinically a far more highly addictive and insidious a habituation than alcohol and the other drugs we tend to become addicted to. How is it our higher power missed this one I wonder?
Anonymous, yes, I am cynical and negative. I would have thought the result of my situation might have been that someone would suggest that I behaved badly, and need to find a way to correct this behavior, and go forward. That is the antithesis of alcohol rehabilitation and of alcoholics anonymous. You see, I have a disease. I am powerless. There is nothing I can do alone. I can only be saved by my finding God. Without Him, there is nothing I can do.
This would be ludicrous were it not such a huge and well developed travesty and waste.
I know that supposedly I will have to have a plan and a support group for what I will do after I finish my probation to keep me from drinking, since I am, you know, powerless without the help of god and a support group. Yes, I could form my own support group of other addicts to meet with and compound our powerlessness exponentially, so we can more effectively summon our higher power (I imagine the poor beleaguered higher power dude as busy as he is with everything, is awfully grateful that all of us powerless addicts are gathering in powerlessness groups and covens, to make his effort to save us more efficient). But I bet I won’t. If I feel some overwhelming need to drink that would be avoided by my attending a meeting of a whole group of devoutly powerless people discussing their powerlessness and how god has saved them, AA meetings are still all open and I know where they are. They are generally not terribly unpleasant and sometimes there is some really great humor there. I attended one last week with a woman who recounted her last ever drinking episode during which she went out to mow her lawn in nothing but her high heels, and her matching purse and hat, (this is a somewhat obese, not particularly attractive middle-aged woman) at 2:00 AM. It seems that she tried to convince the police the neighbors summoned (too bad she didn’t have an old fashioned rotary push mower she might have gotten away with it) that they shouldn’t arrest her in that her purse, hat and shoes all matched perfectly, but they just wouldn’t “get it” and leave her alone. In her case I have to say thank God and Praise Jesus that she has been saved……but I digress.
I could attend AA meetings anytime I choose, and there are good people there, and fellowship, and who knows I may just go to some occasionally just because……but my plan is to do what I found effective when I quit smoking. I didn’t smoke. I think what I will do this time is I will not drink………..just as I am now even without having done my step work, and without having had my powerlessness supplanted by God.



  1. Anonymous11:43 PM

    Wow, youre one miserable person! Finding god, or whatever it is that you're doing, certainly is not the answer. Find a way to be happy.

  2. Anonymous11:55 PM

    AA and all 12 step programs are free. Attendees may throw a dollar in the hat if they wish. Or not.

    AA is not the same thing as getting into legal trouble. People who get into legal trouble, as you did, incur a cost. That may not be fair or equitable, but it's the way the system works and AA has nothing to do with that. The formal programs which you apparently were required to attend have nothing to do with AA. They might use the 12 step model, but they are not in any way formally connected to AA.

    Your considerable rage is misdirected. I only hope that those who choose to attend AA are not affected by your presence there. It's wrong to force you to attend. I believe it hurts the other members, unless they find a way to learn from your arrogance.

  3. weirdgirl5:06 AM

    i don't actually read 'rage' here...more a justified frustration about the way the *addiction as disease* model is peddled. I managed my sobriety and will continue to do so, without the help of god or a 12 step program. I knew that for my health, my sanity and my life I needed to stop drinking. So I did. It is not always as easy as that may make it sound, but it IS a choice. A choice I make each day and will continue to make, because things in my life are worth more than any drink.

    I stand and applaud you Tom, for finding your way to your own sobriety in your own fashion. Whatever works, I say!

    With respect

  4. I just feel the need the sigh, sometimes no matter how carefully you choose to explain, other people put their own slant on it and feel the need to anonymously tell you how wrong you are....*sigh*.
    I think you are doing a fab job at it,any battle you fight is hard on your own , or doing it whilst fighting against perceived wisdom.

  5. Wow, Tom ...

    It's a while since I read your blog and I haven't caught up with the arrears, I will do in time.

    I'm a do-it-yourself-er myself, I second your plan to beat the addiction on your own. I'm sure it can be done. I have never been addicted to either alcohol or cigarettes, but I used to smoke until the age of about 35, when I suddenly decided I didn't like it, threw the pack with a few remaining cigarettes into the fire and never smoked again.

    I have always found a forceful attitude to be counterproductive. When a change of habit is needed, a decision is made, and for a while nothing may happen, then suddenly the habit disappears. Trying by force of willpower has always been useless for me. "Resist nothing!" is my latest mantra, you might not like it of course but there it is if you are interested.

    The neighbours summoned the police to her??? That's absurd! Why can't Americans get over this ridiculous aversion to nudity? And what happened to their sense of humour?

  6. Anonymous12:02 PM

    To 'a hidden slave'...get over the fact that people choose to poplar abnormally. If a blog owner sets their settings to accept anonymous comments, then they WANT them. If it's so distasteful to a blog owner, they can simply change their settings. Besides, considering the fact that the majority of you are anonymous yourselves, with made up names, it's realy the pot/kettle situation.

  7. Anonymous12:05 PM

    Oops..."popular abnormally" is supposed to be "post anonymously". Stupid smart phone!!!

  8. Anonymous12:24 AM

    "a hidden slave" somehow identifies a person??

    Give me a break. You and all the others are as anonymous as someone admitting to be anonymous.

  9. I'm delighted you were able to quit smoking on your own with sheer will power. I do want to point out one difference between nicotine and alcohol. Smoking cigarettes does not impair your judgement in the same way alcohol does. People often are incapable of making the decision to quit alcohol themselves because they are so impaired - that's where family and/or the legal system become involved (sound familiar?) "Helpless" is too strong a word for me - as touted in the AA meetings - but I think the word "impaired" is accurate for most people.

    The same goes for people with a mental illness. They don't realize they are impaired and need medication or treatment. If you have diabetes, then you can weigh the choices and decide to take the medicince or not. But if you have a mental illness, then someone will probably have to assist you - or legally force you - to take medication, because you are impaired and won't be able to make accurate assessments. It's a very different dynamic than choosing to comply with a diabetes management plan or to stop smoking.

    And if the person with mental illness goes off their medication because they feel fine... it will take the support of others to help that person know when they have become ill again. It will take someone familiar with the problem and with the skills to address it.

    The impaired judgement is organic to both mental illness and to alcoholism and therefore makes them both more difficult to manage.

    Just some ideas to ponder...


  10. Nothing to say except you are all in mouse's thoughts. Addiction just sucks. There's no easy way to get through it.



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