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10/23/2011

Lies

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.

Tom

Unlike chess, life continues after check mate.

29 comments:

  1. Wow, I can feel the pain in this, and the frustration, and how unfair this all is! I mean, I can't empathize, as I've never dealt with your particular demon, but can I say at least that I sort of feel your pain in the realm of diseases where people ridicule, humiliate, tell you that you have what you have because of character flaws or sin or other such things. I have dissociative identity disorder--because of acts committed TO me, for goodness' sake--and have dealt with such ridiculous judgmental attitudes due to that! And while I do belong to a Christian religion, they are just as harsh with their own kind; sometimes you wonder what the point even is. Then, a few years back I was diagnosed with what the docs want to call "unspecified brain disease" and, according to the religious experts? I'm just not faithful enough, but if I try harder, all my pain and illness will go away. If only.

    I don't even know if equating any of my stuff with what you are going through is okay with you or comes close to being equal in your eyes. I just wanted to say that I could sense the pain and hurt and frustration in this post and I truly related to it. (And then I felt I should explain why.) *hug*

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  2. I've often wondered as I read your posts whether there are Jewish AA groups that would be more palatable to you, as you seem pretty vehemently anti-Christian. I was thinking that at least they wouldn't be overtly Christian. I get you aren't Jewish any more than you are Christian, and probably less, but at least they'd be (maybe) more tolerent of differences. Today I went looking for them. No dice. I don't think they really exist. The suggestion seems to be that Jews can go to the regular meetings and skip or substitute the Lord's Prayer at the end. Funny, I do get that Christians think of the Lord's Prayer as being something everyone can say, but no one else really feels that way.

    So it made me do a bit more research, looking for athiests or agnostics and AA and I did find this. http://www.agnosticaanyc.org/worldwide.html
    I'm not sure if you already know about them, or if this might help at all.

    Good luck,
    sin

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  3. Impish17:43 PM

    Tom, god to see you again. You're right. We blame overweight individuals, but we don't insert religion into it at least. We don't understand the genetic, hormones et al that causes that problem nor the ones that allow some to drink all their lives without difficulties, and others to have such problems.
    I have faith in you, Tom. While I'm sure you are quite capable of telling them where to go, and what to do with their program, I'm also sure you are capable of playing the game you must while finding a path for recovery with your family and therapists separate from that if you need to.

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  4. Anonymous10:56 PM

    If it's not a disease, then its a severe personality defect. Either way, you need to get control of yourself. I have NO sympathy for someone who goes thru hardship because of CHOOSING to drink heavily, and then whines about the consequences. The terrible things that occurred when you were taken into custody weren't right. BUT that does NOT negate the fact that its your own fault you ended up there. So instead of putting the blame on everyone else, own up to it, fix YOUR problem, and stop whinning about AA. You wouldnt be dealing with AA if it wasnt for what YOU chose to do.

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  5. Anonymous11:29 PM

    Actually, here is a link to info on Judaism and AA:

    http://www.myjewishlearning.com/practices/Ethics/Our_Bodies/Health_and_Healing/Smoking_Alcohol_and_Drugs/Alcoholics_Anonymous.shtml

    And another link for Non-Step Support Groups:

    http://alcoholism.about.com/od/non/Non_Step_Support_Groups.htm

    Maybe you already know about all of these, but if not, here you go.

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  6. Religion is a bigger social disease than alcoolism...
    Haven't you tried baclofene ?
    http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baclof%C3%A8ne

    sorry it is in french but there is a big deal here in France about it becuase it cures alccolism instantely if you take it a little more than normal, and alccolism is a french disease... Even if we done right with those lies and fantasy of stupid religion we still love wine !

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  7. Certainly a friend, Raheretic. Our paths have crossed, and we are on this journey together. :)

    I would say I have a bit more of a neutral stance on AA than you do, but now want to do a bit more of my own research to fact check the history you've presented here and the conclusions you've come to. You've made me curious.

    When I was beginning to research recovery program options, I found myself pretty disillusioned with AA's dominance of the playing field. My main issue is that for some people, God is a concept that is intellectually impossible to swallow, and I think it's pretty unfair to force having to grapple with that on someone just so they can receive treatment. One day where I was particularly frustrated, I think I ended up Googling "alternatives to AA" and ended up tripping across SMART Recovery (http://www.smartrecovery.org/) and their approach has it's roots in some pretty common therapy techniques. Most of their core program I actually already knew the concepts of because I had been taught the same techniques in my therapy for my anxiety disorders.

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  8. weirdgirl6:28 AM

    I am certainly no advocate of AA or the addiction-as-disease model either. I did find this guy's point of view helpful on my own personal journey though:

    http://peele.net/philosophy/index.html

    (I think I may have mentioned him before, I'm not sure.)

    Perhaps you may find something of some value there, but I do understand that your surgery has made the issue a much more physiological one.


    Kindest regards
    weirdgirl :)

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  9. Thank you for all the positive and constructive comments (and the one "other one" too.)

    little butterfly--Your sympathy/empathy for our situation is gratifying. It is not a matter of whether your hurt or mine "equates." I am ignorant of the "unspecified brain disease" but have enough background to have imagine what such a diagnosis might imply....not anything life enhancing to say the least. I am sorry for your having to live through that.

    Impish1 your ongoing friendship and support from the beginning of this struggle a year ago now has been uplifting. I have no question of telling them where to go with their "stuff." That has never been an issue. The issue is living with the three times a week necessity to go pretend to accept and participate in their absurd religious cult for the next year and a quarter to avoid a year of incarceration.

    Anonymous--It is always helpful when one of you anonymi appear. There is nothing I could write in ten volumes that could more effectively illustrate my point than contributions here like yours.
    The ignorance and insensitivity you express is as incontrovertible as anything I might posit. You urge me to fix my problem. My problem according to everyone was drinking. I am now 279 days without a drink. I can only extend that duration one day at a time. AA does nothing to make that occur faster. It doesn't deal with drinking much at all. AA's twelve steps as they proudly state at many of their "meetings" only mentions alcohol once and that is in their very first step. The remaining eleven are silent regarding drinking and don't address drinking at all. Their focus is on religious conversion via a lengthy in depth process of identifying and confession character defects, sins, to a personal AA guru called a sponsor, being forgiven for you sins/charactrer defects via prayer, divine intercession in your life, and your sponsor, making amends (very much like the Roman Catholic penance), and then having completed that process one must repeat it over and over for the remainder of one's life. There is nothing AA provides that deals with excessive drinking unless one accepts the concept that drinking is a function of a separation from godliness.

    Anonymous, it is difficult to determine which is more telling, the prejudice and ignorance you spew, or your cowardice in hiding your identity behind the ubiquitous coward's ID "anonymous." Thank you for your back-handed support. We could never do what we do here nearly as effectively without you.

    I will continue my responses to commenters here in a subsequent comment. I have trouble sometimes getting blogger to accept comments of much length and don't want to have trouble getting this to post.

    Tom

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  10. It's me again back responding to those who were kind enough to comment on this post.

    sin you too are always a steadfast support and friend to the three of us via your input here. No I am no more Jewish than I an Christian it is true. It is interesting to learn of the agnostic AA meetings locations. I have heard of them. They are denied as being legitimate by the national/international AA hierarchy. Just as a Catholic cell must accept the papacy, or a Presbyterian church must accept the apostle's creed, an AA group must be accepting not only the concept of AA's twelve steps, but its literal dogma, which of course includes frequent references to God. The paradigm is simple: no reliance on God....not a legitimate AA group. While my dearest love is for heretic renegades the dilemma is that in order to remain out of incarceration I must satisfy the rules of my aftercare program which requires that I attend an AA sanctioned 12 step based AA meetings twice each week and write a report of each one. Failure to do this they will report to my probation officer I have not completed my program. That will immediately rescind my probation and I will be off for a year in prison. A less complicated issue too is that the nearest of these agnostic meetings is a hundred miles from here making the twice weekly attendance requirment for the next many months really not feasible. It is gratifying though to know there are others out there who share some of my issues with this and who are trying to address them.

    www.esclave.org...MY goodness but your English certainly is superior to my French. Thank you for reaching out across linguistic barriers to connect about this. I couldn't agree more that religion is a far more insidious social scurge than alcohol on its worst day.

    Nikkianna great to hear back from you again as well. I have found researching this topic helpful. One source or critique (or overt criticism of AA) is the orange papers you will find linked on the banner of our Blog. Additionally you can find a good bit of impartial historical information about Buchman readily available. You might find particularly interesting Buchman's work with Adolf Hitler prior to World War II. Buchman was one of the first to espouse that a modern theocracy based on domination by corporations would save mankind and went through an infatuation with Hitler as possibly being the "savior" to make this great world wide conversion occur. His evangelism relies on a key tool called house meetings. Buchmanist house meetings are virtually indistinguishable from a modern day AA meeting in agenda, structure, process,content,in every way. Also it is more than unfair for courts to require religious conversion as part of addiction treatment. It is a gross violation of the U. S. Constitution's prohibition of the establishment of a state religion.

    weirdgirl, thank you so much for hanging in here with us even though we have taken issue with some of your input. You have been steadfast with us from the beginning. Thank you for caring for us and for going to the trouble to try to help. I have looked at Statnon Peele before and do find some really interesting input there too. The issue is that Stanton Peele is not useful to me in satisfying the legal requirement necessary to keep me out of jail. I am not having problems with my not drinking. I am having trouble recovering from what happened to me when the police were called, and getting through the court requirement that I become a reborn evangelical AA Christian.

    Tom

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  11. Anonymous9:15 AM

    Hi, I've been reading for awhile, but never commented. I have been on a similar journey for the last 6 months. I have been struggling to put my life back together on my own as I'm not religious and will not allow someone to shove it down my throat. I know the emotions I am dealing with and can not imagine what it would be like to be forced to go to a program like AA. That, for me would make it so much worse. I admire your strength in doing what you need to do to put your life back together and the courage to share it with us even when it leaves you so open to the pompous and judgemental people who only want to tear you down. What you have written has been a help to me and I hope in some way that might bring you some small measure of comfort. Thank you for putting this out there.

    Faerie

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  12. Faerie, thank you for "decloaking" to comment, and yes, knowing that my writing about what is happening with all this in my life, might benefit someone else feels just wonderful to me.

    And there is virtually nothing that has felt wonderful for a year now.

    Thank you so much for sharing it.

    Tom

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  13. Anonymous1:40 PM

    It really is too bad that the courts push AA...I know of several treatment centres that operate from different view points than addiction-is-a-disease though they are all inpatient. I work with youth with addiction maybe that's why they don't try to indoctrinate them? (another discussion altogether) I have refrained from posting for a year now cause I had nothing nice to say and negativity was not what your family needs, though my thoughts have always been with you and yours. Though I may have a hard time with some of the things that you write this is one thing that I do agree with- ones journey to healing from addiction can not be forced upon them. You may force sobriety on them, but they are not healed. I hope so much that you can find healing <3

    ~Eamand

    P.S.- hmmm "healing" is more espousal of the addiction-is-a-disease doctorine- but the sentiment remains I hope!

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  14. Anonymous1:41 PM

    and apparently I can't spell...

    ~Eamane not Eamand...

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  15. Impish14:14 PM

    Yeah, I know...but you're up to the task however distasteful you might find it to be.

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  16. Eamane, thank you for speaking up and it is good to hear from you with such kind sentiments. I/we too hope for healing. Too we share your perspective that coerced sobriety is not healing, nor does it lead to healing.

    I am curious where you are involved as a treatment professional. Perhaps you are somewhere other than the U. S. Religious indoctrination via AA and court ordered coerced sobriety to avoid lengthy incarcerations are absolutely the norm here from my experience and the experiences I see and hear about from others in "recovery."

    Impish1 thank you once again for your encouragement.

    Tom

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  17. Anonymous7:40 AM

    So basically you are saying that:

    1) you don't have a drinking problem
    2) the incidents in October were not caused by your drinking, but by s & t's overreactions
    3) and due to the resultant legal actions, you are forced to participate in a court-mandated AA program
    4) And you are getting nothing from it, because in truth, you do not have a drinking problem.

    I can see why you are upset.

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  18. Anonymous12:01 PM

    Tom, I work in a group home in Canada with Native youth 12-18 who are unable to cope in foster situations because addiction, crime, mental illness, or extreme development delays due to FASD or fetal intoxication. Life is never boring! We aproach it from a culture perspective and try to heal the hurt from the medicine wheel- balance between the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of the self. And some intensive therapy.


    ~Eamane

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  19. Anonymous I will respond to your four points in the comment above in the order you have presented them.

    1. For you to have derived the idea that, somehow, I don't have, or feel that I don't have, a problem with drinking, you either have to have not read here or perhaps lack literacy in English. I have been to jail twice when in drunken rages I became self and/or other injurious. I have a drinking problem. That is why today is my 280th day of not drinking.

    2.There was one incident in October. I had not been drinking when it occurred. It was 10:00 in the morning. I made a comment in an IM with s that reslulted in s's calling 9-1-1. I was not engaging in threatening or illegal activities of any sort. It was a total over-reaction by the police who hunted me with rifles and a shoot on sight order. They held me in public, in handcuffs and harassed me physically and emotionally despite that I was not intoxicated and was doing absolutely nothing illegal. This event enraged me, and I became quite paranoid in response to it. My therapist has helped me/us to understand it triggered a PTSD response related to child abuse I experienced long ago. I believe that the two subsequent events which occurred in November and January would never have occurred had this event not happened. Those two later events were, by the way, entirely involved with extreme intoxication. My drinking, which was already problematic, ratcheted up even further in the aftermath of the excesses of the police response to the October 9-1-1 call. I am sure too that s and t believe they would have happened anyway. It does not matter who called the police or what happened at this point. What matters now is healing, and finding a way to go on with our lives. That is what we three and our therapist are working on. But back to your original point. You asserted that the October events had nothing to do with drinking but s and t's overreactions. There was only one October event. Alcohol had nothing to do with the October event. That is because when it occurred I was not drinking.......q. e. d. The over-reaction that was problematic in that event was over-reaction by the police.

    3.absolutely legal actions are requiring me to participate in AA or go to jail.

    4.My problem with AA has nothing to do with my not having a drinking problem. I repeat that I have repeatedly discussed my drinking problem, and have never asserted I don't have one. I have a solution for my drinking problem. I have quit putting beverage alcohol in my mouth and swallowing it. I have not drank for 280 days and have no intention of changing that abstinence. My problem with AA is that it does not address my drinking problem (or anyone else's). AA is a program of indoctrination and conversion to an evangelical religious cult. There is nothing about my drinking problem that involves a lack of being in touch with an imaginary higher power, or needing to turn my life over to God, or needing to confess my sins and character defects to another human being who is a more seasoned member of that cult, or having God forgive me of my sins and defects, or making amends to everyone whom I may ever have harmed, or any of the other precepts that are what AA is. AA does not address alcohol issues. It addresses religious conversion. I don't drink anymore. I am not in the market for a Christian evangelical cult religious conversion. My drinking had nothing to do with my religious orientation. My reaction to my drinking is to not drink. It is illegal and immoral for the state to force me to undergo religious indoctrination, appear to adhere to this religion, or be imprisoned.

    Tom

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  20. Eamane, your program sounds excellent and I am sure it helps many young people. I had a hunch that considering how rational your program sounded and its seeming not to center around evangelizing religious conversion for your clients, that you were likely not in the U. S.

    Thanks for getting back,

    Tom

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  21. weirdgirl7:16 PM

    Raheretic,

    If I remember correctly, your career was in advocacy. Is it at all possible that someone in the field (a lawyer???) would be willing to take up your case to get your mandated AA *treatment* transferred to a SMART recovery or some other secular program? (Perhaps including some kind of *drug testing* as well to keep the bigwigs happy)
    Stanton Peele has been challenging the legality of court-mandated AA as a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, and suggesting SMART (and other secular programs) as alternatives.

    I have taken the liberty of adding a link that may be of interest.

    I am glad to finally be feeling like I understand where you are at with these issues - I'm just sorry it has taken me so long! My apologies, and if I can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to call on me. I have access to huge databases of peer-reviewed journals and legal case notes, and would be more than willing to offer my services as a research assistant ;)

    Anyway, here is one of the links:

    http://ffrf.org/faq/state-church/court-ordered-participation-in-a.a/

    I also have a couple of articles to email to you that you may be interested in...just let me know :)

    Kindest regards
    weirdgirl

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  22. Anonymous10:24 AM

    Just curious here. You said you have a drinking problem, but you've been sober for over 280 days. How is it that you've been able to stop drinking?

    If you are not getting it through the AA, where's it coming from? And if it's coming from you just deciding to stop, then do you really have a drinking problem?

    I don't ask these questions facetiously, so please do not insult my intelligence or literacy level because I need to post as anonymous.

    A~

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  23. I haven't been here in a while and am sad to see such negative comments on your site. Obviously there are some tough issues seeking resolution. I just wanted to voice love and support to all of you.

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  24. Weirdgirl5:26 PM

    Anonymous, many people (myself included) give up alcohol without AA! Like anything worthwhile it takes courage, determination and support - but it can be done. Personally I feel that AA would have hindered my sobriety by inculcating a victim mentality and passivity. But that's just my personal opinion - whatever works!

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  25. Weirdgirl, thank you for your suggestions regarding the potential for some legal process to modify my probation conditions that require I not participate in AA. It is interesting. My court is aware of the recent legal precedents that would leave them vulnerable were they to directly require me to attend AA. So my probation officer has told me that while she cannot require me to attend AA, they can require me to attend a rehabilitation program and comply with all recommendations. Of course the rehab. program is completely inculcated with AA/12 step mythos. The aftercare program I must complete requires I attend at least 2 AA meetings each week and file a report of each meeting discussing the meeting's time, location, with whom I spoke there, and what I learned at the meeting that will benefit my sobriety, among other details. Were I not to do this, I would not be permitted into the next Aftercare session. Aftercare absences result in failure to complete aftercare. It has been made abundantly clear that if I fail to complete Aftercare I will serve my prison sentence.

    While it is tempting to want to make a legal fight of this, I don't think it would be something I will do. We lack financial means to do so. We have spent $10,000.00 now in legal fees, court costs, fines, incarceration fees, probation and electronic survielance fees, etc. This is besides the $8000.00 that rehab./aftercare cost, plus costs of drug tests, donations to AA, travel to programs meeetings etc. We struggle to survive economically as a result. I could have drank the rest of my life and not spent nearly as much. Beyond issues of resources for legal recourse, we are dealing with a very aggressive court. I have no doubt that were I to make a legal fight I would be incarcerated throughout the battle, and likely beyond in that it would be viewed as a violation of my probation. I know that sounds pretty draconian and disrespectful of one's right to due process, but it is reality here. Anyone's probation may be violated at anytime for any reason or none at all. Probation is a privilege not a right. I don't doubt that were it known by the court I am writing this my probation would be violated. By the way, there would be no change were we to add drug testing as you suggest. It already is a feature of my probation. I think I will ride this out as noxious and ethically toxic as it is. I am certain it violates constitutional protections, but enforcing those in this environment could well leave us homeless even were we to prevail...that is once I complete my one year sentence for issues I am already convicted of. Thank you very much though for your support and for your offer of research assistance were we to mount a case.

    Thank you too for your testimony in response to Anonymous that you have succeeded in your sobriety without 12-step programming, and beyond that that you feel you might not have succeeded, had you been subjected to AA/12-step indoctrination. This is great to hear from someone I feel I "know." I/we have been fed a steady diet that 12-step is the one and only way to live with addiction. We have been told constantly that unless one adheres to the 12-step process for the remainder of their life, the inevitable outcome will be "jail, institutions, and death." There is no other possible "cure" and no other possible consequence which will result from failing to practice 12-step based living forever. It is good to hear we are not alone in feeling that there is another way to live.

    Thank you for your continued support and input.

    Tom

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  26. Anonymous, several addiction treatment professionals steeped in the latest 12 step based alcoholism training education and experience, have diagnosed me as having the disease of alcoholism, so it must be true. They are the experts, and too they know I must descend into a life of jail, institutions and death unless I attend AA meetings and practice 12 step process for the remainder of my life.

    Your question, am I an alcoholic if AA has not caused me to quit drinking, seems to prompt the usual AA/12-step logical paradigm.

    You are an alcoholic and therefore you can only live healthily by attending AA and practicing 12-step forever.

    If you can live without practicing 12 step and attending AA, then you are not an Alcoholic.

    The other intriguing corollary (or perhaps tangent) to this is, the primary symptom of alcoholism is denial. I would have thought that might have been drinking but I am not an "expert." Therefore if you deny you are an alcoholic, you are an alcoholic.

    I am sorry if you felt slighted by my insinuation about your literacy. It did seem incredible that you could have asserted that I felt I didn't have a drinking problem and have read any of what has been written here the past 18 months. Your comment I was responding to was quite condescending and sarcastic in tone. I thought my response to you was actually quite uncharacteristically of me:) civil in comparison.

    You say you may only post anonymously. All you need to do is at the end of your comment type your name, or whatever psuedonymn you choose to use for this correspondence here, and presto chango, you will have been saved from the cowardice of being one of the despicable anonymi! It is almost as powerful a cure as a fourth step inventory:)

    Tom

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  27. Anonymous2:02 PM

    All posts by anonymous are not necessarily by the same 'anonymous.'

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  28. Just to give an alternate perspective for the Anonymous who was wondering about recovery without AA...

    I can't speak with any first hand experience as I'm a loved one of a drinker, but I've done a fair bit of research into recovery strategies so I feel knowledgeable to try and answer your questions in a general sense.

    Most of the strategies that I've read up on out there for getting sober that aren't 12-step based have their roots in various psychotherapy techniques. More often than not, if you're going the non-AA route to recovery, it's usually under the guidance of a therapist.

    In terms of support group meetings, AA has a stronghold on the market. There are non-12 step meetings that exist, there are several different networks of them... the biggest two coming to mind are SMART Recovery and SOS Sobriety, though there are probably others. However, compared to how large AA's network of meetings is, SMART and SOS are tiny. I'm not exactly sure how many groups SMART offers worldwide, but I've read articles that claim anywhere between 300 and 600 and I don't know the numbers for SOS. According to Wikipedia, AA has a network of 106,202 groups as of 2006. Think about that for a minute.... 106,000 vs. 600. Staggering disparity, huh?

    That's what makes the position that Raheretic's in so disheartening to me. If I'm reading what he said right, it's not that the court legally required him to go to AA specifically, it's just that there's a lack of another option.

    My main reason for not being a proponent of AA is I don't believe that whether or not you believe in a Higher Power should be a barrier free support. I wouldn't go so far to say that AA is evil or bad, but I don't believe a spiritual approach is what's right for everybody.

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  29. Anonymous9:02 AM

    I appreciate what you are saying, Nikkiana. Here's an excellent paper on alcoholism and AA et al.

    http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-effectiveness.html

    Totally worth the read.

    And I remain, ONE of the..

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