Nikkiana's comment to the October 22, 2011 post:
One thing that we've been told over and over and over is that alcoholism is a disease -- like any other, and that is an interesting and somewhat helpful notion. Except that -- It is the only disease we know of that you can get yelled at for having (and I have done my share of that yelling, to my shame). It is the only disease for which the sufferer is subject to arrest, trial, enormous fines, and incarceration. There is no other disease that is "treated" by forced participation in bogus religious brain washing, ritual, and practice against one's will. I know of no other disease that exposes the victim to ridicule, humiliation, and public censure like alcoholism.
This sums up so perfectly so much of my frustration and anger in life right now. It's the only disease that I know of that is openly regarded as a moral failing by the masses with everyone saying "Well, you did it to yourself."
There are more thoughts on that... but I haven't had my morning coffee yet.
Nikkiana thank you for commenting. It has been good having you here the past couple of weeks. It is good to have a friend (I hope we may presume to use that descriptor) who shares the double stigma of the feeling many in the poly community have towards those effected by alcoholism and the way the typical recovery community responds to polyamory. It is a double bind. How interesting that in your Internet search under the keywords " alcoholism" and "polyamory" our Blog popped up. I'd be honored for the notoriety were it not that dealing with this is such a nightmare
AA's founders coined the concept that alcoholism is a "disease." They proclaimed it in The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, the bible of AA. This "disease concept" is at best a hypocritical paradox that AA uses to leverage people struggling with alcohol and or drug dependency under its tent, and into the treatment centers with whom they are parasitically linked with our courts. I have been declared to have the "disease" now for 10 months. The 12 step treatment paradigm is that there is only one treatment and that is God (always followed with, "may you find Him now") in order to achieve remission of the incurable disease you must "turn your will and your life over to the care of God, make a searching and moral inventory of yourself, admit to God and yourself and to another human being (i. e., your sponsor) the exact nature of your wrongs, and be entirely ready to have god remove all these defects of character, Humbly ask Him to remove your shortcomings, make a list of all persons you have harmed, and become willing to make amends to them all, and make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others, and continue to take personal inventory..................and on and on...... (paraphrased from the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.)
Firstly, is it any wonder that society has a view that alcoholism is a character disorder which results from godlessness, character defects, and sin? This is the "treatment" that is universally performed by alcohol and drug addiction treatment centers all over the U. S. and to a good extent world wide. It is the treatment that is mandated by the courts. In my case acquiescence and public profession of adherence to this, is the only way I have to stay out of jail for the remaining 459 days of my probation. WHAT OTHER DISEASE DO WE TREAT WITH A REQUIREMENT THAT WE CONVERT TO AN EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS CULT OR GO TO PRISON?
My circumstances are not rare or unique. In our mid-size large urban area there are literally hundreds of these organic cells ("meetings") of this cult called Alcoholics Anonymous, with literally thousands of people in them. Many have been converted. It is not at all uncommon in the groups I attend to meet people who have literally decades of sobriety who after 15, 20, 25 and sometimes even 30 years of sobriety attend AA meetings several times a week, even daily.
As you hear people talk of how they came to AA new folks arriving generally reveal that they are there because of a court mandate. Occasionally there are folks who are there as a result of an ultimatum of an employer to get to treatment or lose one's career. There is this myth that AA purports during the ritual readings of AA's sacramental dogma at the beginning of each of its meetings that AA IS A PROGRAM OF ATTRACTION NOT PROMOTION. They purport and have said so often that people come to AA because they wanted help or because they saw what people who were in AA had and wanted that in their own life, that AA participants come to believe it. I have made a point of talking to A. A. participants who mention that AA is a program of attraction not promotion. I ask them how they first came to AA. Almost universally these folks tell me they came to AA to stay out of jail, or to keep their job, that they didn't want to be there and were angry about it when they came. They see nothing about that that is inconsistent with the "AA is a program of attraction not promotion" principal. The truth is AA IS A PROGRAM OF COERCED RELIGIOUS INDOCTRINATION into a late 19th and early 20th century evangelical Christian sect called Buchmanism. Buchmanism still exists microcosmically as a sect that is based in Kentucky, but has spawned this huge state mandated religion called 12-step based alcoholics or narcotics or insert whatever other addictive agent or behavior, anonymous. It was a Buchmanist subsect called the Oxford Group that founded and promoted AA.
If alcoholism is a disease, something which I am not convinced of, then why would it be treated in this fashion? Why do we not have requisite religious cults to which cancer victims must convert to save themselves from their defects of character and enable them to be forgiven for the sins they have committed to cause them to have cancer, and once forgiven, why do we not have them start the whole confession, forgiveness, penance do-loop over and over again for the rest of their lives as the only possible way they can be cured. In AA it is not enough to quit drinking to be cured. You must instead become a convert. Why should being in remission from cancer be thought of as being well.......why should they not have to attend weekly, even daily, religious revival meetings, and why should their failure to do so not result in their being jailed? That is how alcoholism and addiction are treated.
The difficult thing for me is that I begin to question whether everything that they tell me in treatment is suspect and untrue....the fruit of the poison tree dynamic. If they can ethically and rationally espouse this dogma, then is it likely everything they have told me about drinking is just as much a lie? I have said I am not convinced that alcoholism is a disease. How can I be when it is these folks and their adherents who espouse that explanation for addiction?
How do I know that were I to ever have a glass of wine again I would of necessity then go on a huge bender and drink myself to death or become a violent murderous criminal or whatever other horrors they have told me? This problem is tough, and there are no reliable partners from whom to learn about it or to try to get help. The ones there are all rely on the drivel that is AA that has become the basis of modern "science." It is as reliably scientific as is the scientific reasoning upon which creationism rests.
The treatment of addiction is lies...told over and over and over and over so often and with such authority, and foisted through a multibillion dollar network of treatment centers, treatment programs, treatment practitioners, and 12 step cult groups which operate primarily via court mandated participation, that our culture has come to believe this whole nonsensical mythos.
So Nikkiana and sue it is not difficult to imagine why it is that we have these stigma-laden attitudinal and dynamics to deal with. I just hope that I will be allowed to continue bluffing my way through participation in the cult long enough to have my freedom restored to me in 459 days.
Unlike chess, life continues after check mate.