Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Alcoholism... Disease or Behavioral Habit?

The more I listen to what the DC (Disease Concept) people have to say about the issue, the more I agree with them.

The more I listen to the DC critics, the more I think they're just a bunch of h8ers... aka anti/XAers.

I disagree with some of the precepts of the DC and how they are presented. Bill Wilson, would be a critic of the disease concept, but wouldn't go so far as to make these claims made by DC critics;

  • Drinking for the alcoholic is a choice
  • The term "alcoholic" is bullshit to begin with
  • Anybody can quit drinking by just stopping and it's safer to moderate for most drinkers
  • A.A. is a religious cult and is scientifically indefensible
  • DC advocates strip the alcohol abuser of responsibility and freedom
  • The DC model does not work and is harmful for hard drinkers and communities
  • DC misappropriates public resources in the area of research
  • There is no physical component to chronic drinking but is rather a symptom of an underlying emotional disorder or a failed attempt at self-cure of that disorder.
  • Alcoholism and addiction do not exist but are empty words used by well-intentioned but misguided people to medicalize socially deviant behavior.
  • The behavior of excessive drinking can, over time, become a deeply engrained habit, like smoking. But like smoking, one can just quit. Most problem drinkers "mature out" and quit on their own.
  • The focus should be on finding a way to alter the drinking behavior that becomes socially harmful.
  • The concepts of craving and loss of control of drinking lack scientific credence, so they are also empy words. Craving is merely memory and loss of control is learned and can merely be discarded. Moderated patterns of use can be relearned.
  • Treatment is a failed social experiment that has turned into a multibillion dollar fraud. "Most alcoholics recover because they heal themselves."
  • 12 Step groups are little more than religious cults. Coercing someone to A.A. is a violation of human rights and professional ethics.
  • The disease concept has taken freedom and responsibility from the individual and replaced it with professional power and governmental coercion.
  • The stigma of alcoholism needs to be increased and any effort to reduce it does a disservice to the alcoholic *(even though there is no such word) by reducing pressures to moderate consumption and could have the additional unintended effect of increasing the prevalence of addiction.

I, like Bill W., don't like the word disease as it relates to the behaviors of the alcoholic. But some of the claims by the DC critics sound like they are coming up against the Alcoholism Industry... rather than the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. But some of these claims are in direct opposition to what Alcholics Anonymous proclaims.

I will try to respond to some of these claims with my personal experience and interpretation of my own... personal experiences in the utilization of Alcoholics Anonymous as an alcohol abstinence and spiritual program and recovery method;

  • Drinking booze for me is not a choice. That is a fact for me and one that pisses off not-like-minded- nor like-experienced people for some reason. Here are some other terms that get their goat for some reason; real alcoholic, recovered alcoholic.
  • Alcoholic very well describes me. You could say that I drank with little regard for myself and others from the get-go, despite consequences of my personal health, freedoms, success in life, ability to socialize and fit in to society in the short and long term, etc. This is totally inconsistent with my behavior in most all other matters. I didn't want to be a pubic failure nor a risk to my personal well being and standing in the community, much less a risk to those around me... until I started to drink.
  • Anybody can quit drinking and it's safer to moderate? Speak for your damned self. Why don't they offer Schlitz Malt Liquor in prison btw? Another yummy topic for another day. Go to bed with a Schlitz, wake up with the Schitz.
  • A.A. is a religious cult blahblahblah? Not so fast, skippy. I didn't go to a meeting today and nobody missed me. I sort of wanted to go, but have work to do. I cannot afford the luxury to go just for the heck of it. I'd like to have gone for mere social reasons, but don't need a meeting today. I do have a report to get done and I'll finish it today on time... while writing this piece as well. So take your "cult" claim back to your own cult-ridden den and observe your own anti/XAer tendencies. What are you thinking about today besides how much you hate A.A. and proAAers? See, dickhead? Who's the victim of the cult now?
  • Some of the most extreme DC advocates may want to show a bit of compassion for us, but how can somebody strip me of responsibility and freedom? How exactly? I've been sober 6.5+ years and am now going through my 7th set of steps sober. How exactly does the belief in a disease concept strip me of responsibility? Do people from Disease Concept Central call me daily and guilt me into going to a meeting? Do they get their frothy emotional appeal on my collar? Do they pat me on the back and say, "There there McGowdoggie... it's gonna be ok. You just sit down and have a nice banana split. DCC is gonna take care of you today. You just go to meetings and call us when you get out." You dickheads wouldn't know a 3rd Step if it slapped you in the puss. We DO appeal to God to take away our difficulties. We DO appeal to God to guide our lives. But that doesn't mean that we are not responsible for doing steps and fitting ourselves to be useful and whole in the society about us... in more ways than you would ever give us credit. This is an obvious knock to the A.A. program and a poorly conceived one at that.
  • You take care of the hard drinkers and give A.A. a shot at the alcoholic. If those who are lead to A.A. are given the dignity to find out for themselves whether they belong or not and if they're willing to do the 12 proposals in their entirety, we can approach and surpass the 36% recovery rate that A.A. enjoys. That's right. Loran Archer cancels out Agent Orange and all you anti/XAer dorks with your spontaneous remission bullshit. The 64% of failures must be non-alcoholics or alcoholics who aren't done drinking yet.*
  • Misappropriations of public resources may be something the DC community is guilty of, but not near as guilty as you anti/XA hacks. A.A. is exempt from this discussion due to its own traditions and non-control of the treatment community. That's right. If A.A. had control of the treatment facilities, it would look something like the program of recovery as outlined in the A.A. book and it's no where near that. A.A. oriented treatment is what you would call "empty words". If treatment did their job, they'd release the problem drinkers after they detoxed and sent them on their way to the recovery of their choice, be it A.A., RR, LF, SMART, MM, or whatever recovery they want. I'm getting off topic to the mention of treatment methods here, but there's plenty of DC advocates that have done wonderful research and you anti/XAers would just dispell it as bunk out of one side of your mealy-mouths, while blathering on and on about how nobody in the A.A. cult will hear your loud and inane claims for your treatment method, "Not-A.A.". Meanwhile, those DC Advocates merely verify what they have been saying in the 164 of the A.A. book since 1939.
  • No physical component? My own experience debunks that myth. How about yours? Tell me about YOUR drinking for a minute. And yes, I will by using MY definition of alcoholic, thankyouverymuch. Since I am one, I'm fucking qualified. Fuckin' A right.
  • Medicalize socially deviant behavior? Well whatever works for you... do it. I'll do it my way. You take the high road and I'll take the low road. I've solved the drink problem and the "socially deviant behavior" problem... and the "Disease Concept" pro nor con didn't weigh in the method that got me there. If you want to argue for the sake of argument, call it what ever the hell you want to. Get back to me when you've tried to help a drunk by merely showing them what you yourself do.
  • Alcoholism is like smoking? Stick your cigarette up your ass. The grown-ups are talking about booze now. Here's a penny. Now go pound it into a dollar and go play on the freeway.
  • You want to alter drinking behavior? Good luck with that. How's Audrey Kishline doin' these days? How'd that work for her? Oh, that's right. Blame her behavior on A.A., when it suits your claim. She had no illusions whatsoever that she could ever moderate and control her drinking, and she can drive well at 0.26. She was never a member, much less a founder, of a program that condones "Moderation Management", aka MM, A.A. forces you to drive to meetings when you're drunk. A woman can do most anything at 0.26. That's not even a buzz for a battleaxe like her, right? Being over 3 times the state limit for DUI is not her decision because A.A., er... Bill W... er... somebody who advocates A.A. said it's a disease and she's neither responsible nor does she have the freedom to choose whether to drive or not. BTW, was she headed to an A.A. meeting when she killed that poor guy and his 12 year old daughter? What does Stanton Peele say about this? He never advocated moderation for those in alcoholism recovery, right? Anything, so long as it's not A.A. That A.A. will make your drinking worse.*
  • Concept of craving lacks scientific credence. What does Wiki say about the Disease theory of alcoholism these days? What does Wiki say about A.A. these days? Hmmm... it's good to hear both sides of the issue once in a while. My experience says that once I start, I cannot predict the outcome, unless I planned on getting trashed and destructive on the front end. I do that sometimes. I like to get drunk and fuck things up... sometimes. Not always. I'm very good at it, btw. Tell me about your experience with cravings now. I'm listening...
  • Treatment is a failed social experiment. Amen to that, brotha. Most alcoholics recover because they heal themselves? Hmmm... I have an opinion about that one.
  • 12 Steps are cults? Hmmm... maybe some of them. The ones you go to. Not the ones I go to. Bitch. Coercing someone to A.A. is a violation of their human rights and professional ethics. Amen to that, brotha. I went to A.A. because I thought it was a good idea. It was my goal coming out of high school and college. I graduated 3rd in my hs class. Had I graduated 2nd or 1st, I'd have included it into my Valedictorian or Salutatorian Speech; I want to become a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and I'm well on my way... just 7 more months and my goal will become complete! Yay to me! Fuck you all and die! Stupid dickheads. I didn't want to go to A.A. nor do A.A. But I did it and I stopped getting harassed by the professional community and the court systems. I don't even see Probation Officers anymore... for the purpose of fullfilling my legal obligations... er Violations of my Human fucking Rights! Professional ethics! You punished those poor alcoholics to seek help! You should be ashamed and disbarred!
  • Disease concept = government coersion! Oh, the government that you voted into office? Go have a fucking drink. Have a martini and a Red Bull.
  • The alcoholic, of which there's no such word, needs more stigma. Engrave the A letter to their forehead! A for AAnarcy, AAsshole, AAssoholic, AAssinine, AAntimony, etc.

*You anti/XAer dickheads. The alcoholics' prognosis gets better, not worse (see his August 30, 2010 article), when they drink more and crash harder. You got it ass-fucking-backwards. Moderate your drinking though. Get down. I support you on your drinking. Drink away. Drink em if you got em. I'll buy you your first one. But if you don't drink it, I'll make sure you at least wear it.


  1. I'm still looking forward to seeing the tards moderate. An "Alcoholic" can't do it. If there is such a thing as an alcoholic.
    They say it's a matter of choice. I'd like to see one of them choose to drink 6 drinks a week without struggling or trying to sneak a 7th. It can't be done.
    Where do you suppose "K" went? He probably had to go to AA and now he's ashamed to surface here in cyber space.
    Besides. I think there's a little cotton left in their ears from their first few meetings. Every time we say "Illness" they hear "Disease".
    "Illness" you fools.
    I can see them now with their fingers in their ears shouting "La La La La La" because the word "Illness" removes their ability to call BS on our "Disease". They just don't want to hear it.
    Remember the Trailer Trash Internet Debating Techniques?
    Here we go again.

    Lesson #1:
    The first part of any response should be to personally attack the opponent.

    Check! Speedy has mastered this. Otherwise no substance exists.

    Lesson #2:
    Put incorrect words into your opponent's mouth.

    Check! Illness/disease is just the tip of the iceberg

    Lesson #3:
    Misconstrue your opponent's message purposely so as to build a straw man argument that is easier to knock down than your opponent's real argument.

    Check! That's the main purpose of ST They mention the fly in the ointment over and over. I'm sorry they choose to eat the fly instead of apply the ointment

    Lesson #4:
    Take all of the weaknesses in your own position and project them onto your opponent, whether or not true. Later when the opponent picks up how the weakness is really yours, you can point to their unoriginality in throwing it back at you.

    Check! I'm still expecting some answers fro MA as to other "Constitutional Violations"
    As of yet, nothing.

    Lesson #5:
    Rather than addressing your opponent's points head-on, insult their intelligence instead and extrapolate your claim of their lack of intelligence as being the reason why their points fail.

    Check! Any response from Speedy will substantiate this one. And I do mean "Any" response.

    Lesson #6:
    Purposely mislabel your points as "fact", so that it is harder for your opponent to question it.

    Check! Not enough bandwidth to elaborate on this

    Lesson #7:
    Repeat your lie over and over until it sinks in as a possible truth.

    Check! As said before, in the couple meetings they've actually been to they have seen more than I ever have. It's simply not possible.
    I'm calling bullshit on your lies.
    Maybe the date rape pills that the Drunk Sailors kept slipping into MAs drink did something to his memory.

  2. The Program of Alcoholics Anonymous is elusive enough as it is. If you're solid about your need for recovery and you've found a group that is pointed in the right direction, it's just a matter of following directions... a few simple rules... and going about it with the proper attitude. Once you've got that in place, you can "recreate your life" and you can plot out a life that's very much worth living.

    The ST crowd and the anti/XA crowd in general will never come to that table with the realization that POP A.A., aka MOTR... is the mainstream of A.A. and just not worthy of being called A.A. but... nevertheless, it seems to be helpful for some on some level. These anti/XA types just never admit that perhaps there's a division between what we call the spirit of the fellowship and the fellowship of the spirit. And this is a very nonintegrous act on their part that they refuse to amend. The claim/fact that some of them have been in and around A.A. for long periods of time and they give no credence to the possibility to the fact that some are in it for recovery and some are in it for something else... is a telling sign that they are out to harm and destroy A.A. But some of them claim to have done the steps. If they've done steps and are not in awe of how awesome the program is, they've either done something wrong or it just isn't right for them.

    I guess I could meet them half way and admit that A.A. has done a pretty poor job of assessing those who don't seem to get what the program has to offer and steering them safely to something else. There is some lines in the book which give specific instructions to an exit strategy, but all MOTRers and anti/XAers can seem to remember is being accused of being "constitutionally incapable of being honest" and "we'll refund your misery" and "wait for the miracle" and a slew of other MOTR slogans. There's something missing from 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th edition Big Books; namely a passage that was taken out of the original manuscript and it falls between the end of the ABCs and the next sentence, "Being convinced..." It should read something to the effect, "If you're not convinced of these, you ought to reread the book to here or else throw the book away." But then it might be nice to add the passage, "Try something else".

  3. Let's get real here for a second; most anti/XAers are radical atheists. That's a whole fellowship of its own. They have a huge following and would just love to have their day in the sun and stick it to any faith-based faction such as this one.

    I belong to a States forum that has other categories such as TV, Sports, photography, etc., and I was involved with a thread about the recent show LOST. It had a huge following and it was fun to get on there and listen to all the crazy theories about what the show meant and where it was going. They got all butt hurt and pissed off when it had a "spiritual" conclusion and overall theme and were pissed off that it wasn't totally scientific and secular. I think truth be told, you can spin it either way.

    If you want to live this life with no Magical Buddy in the Sky, then that's what you'll get. If you have faith and expect your life to be a blessing, that's what you'll get.

    At very minimum, those anti/XAers have changed me. I'll never again be the big book thumping radical bleeding deacon that I was probably destined to be. No... I'm pretty quiet and observant in meetings actually... believe it or not. I'm skeptical... of who's there, why they're there, what they really want from A.A. If they can do something besides the steps and stay sober on that, they're not of any use to me and I'm not of any use to them. So just leave them be. They certainly leave me be.

    This doesn't mean that A.A. isn't for some atheists however. Danny's blog has good info about this ... right from our own books. Nobody should have a problem with the spirituality of the program... the essentials of recovery being the indispensable willingness, honesty, and open mindedness.

  4. I have no doubt that when they actually did attend AA (if they did)they were in the group that consists of exactly what they speak out against.
    They went to clubs, they tried to own and brainwash newcomers. They went on several dates with others in their little groups that like to separate themselves from the herd. Remember the herds within the herd.
    Therefore that's the only exposure to AA that most of them got. No wonder they couldn't get sober and stay sober. They were on a white knuckle ride the whole time. As a result they developed resentments in an atmosphere where they were supposed to get rid of them.
    They were doing it wrong. Since they hung out in their own little circle of friends, nobody set them on the right path.
    As anyone can see, their bitch list speaks of the alano club only.
    Truth be told. I'm glad they found another way. We don't need them contaminating our organization.
    There's several thousands like them in AA across the world. A complete waste of sperm sitting across the table from me spewing misinformation.
    Perhaps I'll direct them to ST and cleanse the gene pool in AA as they suggest.

  5. the other night, I went on a 12th Step call.

    After we qualified him, we asked the guy if he'd attended any A.A. meetings and he'd read the book. He said yes to both questions. I asked him if he believed in God and he said that he was an atheist, believed in logic and reason.

    He wasn't belligerent about it, in fact he stated his beliefs calmly and clearly. This guy might be one of the few true atheists I've met. I told him that this was no barrier to sobriety if he could maintain a degree of humility and an open mind. We asked him if wanted to stop drinking for good and he said yes. So when we left him, we asked him to think it over and if he wanted to carry out the program of action to give us a call.

    Haven't heard back from him yet, maybe we won't. I suspect we will after booze kicks his ass some more.

    I believe that it takes more conviction to be a true atheist than it does to be a belligerent agnostic or even a Christian the way most Christians believe. In fact, religious belief can be a bar to religious experience and if you think about it, guys like this are a blank slate. I told him that where he is is a good place to start.

  6. The book says something specific about who is elgible to receive the spiritual approach, and the need for it based on whether the prospect has lost the power to choose the drink or not.

    Being an atheist or an agnostic are not any such barrier to getting this deal according to the book and some folks I've seen get this deal in A.A.

    In fact, I've met a member or two who said being an atheist coming in made it easier for him to choose... God or not God. Some believers have to come to realize they really do NOT believe to get on with it.

    What baffles me is how some of these radical atheists yell and scream in protest being labeled with anything... yet they label themselves as atheist... no matter what. Well... are you an atheist or do you have a problem with booze?

  7. I haven't heard from that guy. I suppose he is finishing the job as I got the feeling that while he wants to be done drinking, there is is still an idea that there is something he is going to do to bring that about. Which I guess in a sense, that there is something he is going to do-drink 'till he can't anymore. I got the sense that he believes that what he needs to do is:

    1. Stop drinking
    2. Change his behavior, which means change friends, change habits, etc.
    3. Be a good boy from now on

    Went to a powerful retreat over this past weekend. Don Coyhis from Colorado Springs came out and lead us through the steps.

  8. I saw Don C at the FOTS in Silver Creek back in 97 or 98 and you were probably there, I just didn't know you then. I also saw Joe H and Mark H there. Frank was there too. I heard him yelling at the ICYPAA people to stop chanting. Ha! Is ICYPAA a safe haven for young folks or just another specialty group? Is it A.A. or not?

  9. Patrick,

    I was there at Silver Creek FOTS. Don C. spoke on Saturday night and I was the ten minute speaker before him. I remember Big Frank jumping on ICYPAA people, thought it was funny. I also remember giving Dan Sherman a bad time about his "Big Book Awakening" workbook. Dan was showing it around and Frank said that it looked like the work of someone with a computer and a lot of time on his hands and besides, "We already have a workbook, it's blue and says Alcoholics Anonymous on the cover. Why you always trying to reinvent the wheel?" Everybody just goes "Ulp!" and kind of slinks away.

    AS for ICYPAA, I don't know. I know a few who got sober young and are solid on the path, but for the most part, I think it just creates one more little division within A.A.

  10. I was the NH speaker for the NH conference of young people in AA NYCYPAA (same kind of deal as ICYPAA) 4 years ago,I was 3 days shy of my 35 th b-day, the unofficial cut off for being a young person in AA. They sure love their chanting. Freaked me out. I introduced myself and was greeted with ä shout of " WE LOVE YOU ROB, LOTS AND LOTS AND WHOOOOOOOOOLE BUNCHES". After I got centered I said, yeah, that's what my ego needs. I'm with Dr. BOb, the message is attractive as is, no carnival tactics are necessary. I sure wish I would have known Big Frank, have some of his talks but never met him. I bet I would have liked him. Off to Maine this weekend for a wedding, take care.

  11. And then there was the "warm fuzzy's". Little pieces of a carpet tuft that enabled you to trade it in for a hug... sort of like them Bourbon Street folks do with the beads, I guess. Show me your tits - er! Give me a hug.

    But... they mean well. Be sober, have fun.

    Yeah, Frank. He was a mean old bastard when he wanted to be. And he always wanted to be... cept for when a pretty lady was around. He was a real charmer. But after he degraded and insulted you in a crowded public place, he'd get you aside and say something nice to you. He used to tell me, "Shut the fuck up. You don't know shit!"

    Oh, and he was a big sumbitch too. About 6 foot 8, white hair, and Scotch Irish. I guess he was once a football player. I would have like to have seen him in his heyday... from about 84' to 91'. He softned up a lot after about 96, when I got to really know him.

    RIP Frank. He helped a lot of low bottom drunks.

  12. Don't forget, Frank was also a sheep rancher and a lawyer. Dangerous combination.