Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Green Papers


I am sure I am not the only one to have read from this site. I just wanted to get your opinions on the credibility of this site.
I found it to be very informative. I learned a few things I had not really thought about before. Like more clarity on the statistics.
Quote from the site;
"Research has shown that there is no sharp distinction between alcoholics and non-alcoholics. Instead, alcoholism can be rated from zero to extremely severe according to the number of symptoms. People are spread out all along the scale, just like with blood pressure or IQ. We're in the 21st century, but the sad fact is, there is no medical cure for severe alcoholism. All medicine can do is provide detox services and crisis management and help people to heal themselves."


  1. Any time someone uses the phrase “…research has shown…” I start to get a little nervous. My first question is “What research?” So when agent Green says that research has shown that there’s no difference between an alcoholic and a non-alcoholic, I start to wonder.

    I was just on a rant about the topic of measuring success in recovery, and I don’t want to go on another one. But this is a topic that just won’t go away, for some reason, regardless of the fact the you cannot measure success.

    To begin with, you need to agree on a definition of what you’re measuring. Here it’s alcoholism. Most give a very broad brush definition of the subject to include (as Green has apparently done) every manner of problem with alcohol.

    Next, what’s success? Do we measure it in terms of not drinking over a period of time? How long? Is five years enough? 10, perhaps? If I stay sober for 10 years and start drinking again, am I a success? How about if I get sober and die a year later? Am I more successful than the one who went out after 10 years?

    And if we do agree on definitions and terms, then what’s our control group gonna be? Can’t do statistical studies without a control group. Sorry.

    There are a lot of other reasons that any “study” of recovery rates in any program, not just AA, is damn near impossible. I'm not going to waste any more time on them.

    While Agent Green certainly had good intentions here, he’s pissing into the wind. This guy Orange, and Stanton Peele for that matter, seem intent on “proving” that AA not only doesn’t work, but it’s also a cult. I don’t know what Orange’s agenda is besides his own egomania. Peele is a bit more obvious in that he’s trying to sell his own recovery program.

    Orange has no credentials that I’m aware of (other than his claim to be in recovery). Peele, as I recall, is a sociologist. Both are self- proclaimed “experts” in the field of addiction. Legends in their own minds.

    Both Orange and Peele will use decades-old studies to support their arguments. Both take Vallant’s data out of context. Both ignore any studies that contradict their own opinions. You simply cannot argue with people like this, so why bother?

    If Green wants to take Orange on, then I wish him the best of luck. He’s wasting his time, though. If people want to swallow the shit that Orange puts out, they will. I don’t look at him as a threat to AA any more than Peele, Thaddeus Jude House (now there’s a fucking example of statistical abuse) or our little friends at ST.

    People are attracted to AA because it works. Devoting 100+ web pages trying to prove that it doesn’t work won’t detract from that. You can’t argue with success.

  2. Yeah I've been to Green's site. Doesn't he have some other stuff on there too?

    It's my understanding that there's about 10% alcoholics or potential alcoholics around and there's just as many... about another 10% hard and/or problems drinkers floating around.

    You have to decide whether you believe these stats or not... or if they're even relevant to you. I like to look at them for argument sake.

    I would like to mentions here that there seems to be some folks who have labelled themselves as alcoholics or had that label placed on them... and some are perhaps not... then of those, some would be offended if you told them otherwise.

    A.A. and my experience with going through the book with myself and some others... with regards to 1st Step identification... has lead me to the awesome and usful skill of finding out whether or not I'M an alcoholic. I can't tell you whether you're not though. I can draw conclusions and get a gut reaction about it... but in the final analysis, only you can find your own truth.

    Anybody who can stay sober on MOTR... maybe these are the hard drinkers?

    Now... based on your recent post... what do we do about these non-A.A. types in A.A. meetings? I personally get get around them. They don't bother me. Some of you will say they kill other alkies who don't have recovery.

  3. Oh, if you go back out and drink again, you fail. You start over and that's that.

    If you die, that sucks fucking donkey ass. Don't be a fuckup and die. Live and be happy. Party sober till you puke.

  4. I think your 10%/10% figures are pretty accurate, Patrick. Nobody seems to disagree with them. It's how you use those figures in success measurements that suck. And arguing about success rates also sucks. Green would be better off ignoring Orange and presenting his arguments based on their own merits.

    As to my cupcake making ladies in AA, they're fine. They don't bother anyone(except my 20 buddy). Even have a non-alcoholic husband who comes to the meeting alone while his alcoholic wife goes to another. I'll have to make it a point to stand next to cupcake lady next week and pray with her...

    By all the studies done on success so far, if I stay sober for more than 5 years I'm successful in my recovery. There are virtually no studies that go beyond that point, according to Vallant's "The Natural History of Alcoholism Revisited".

    If I drink at 6 years then, I'll be a successful recovered fucking donkey ass sucker. I just won't pick up a six year chip.....

    Carry on.

  5. Ha ha! I like your gauge as good as any.

    But if Green is to avoid responding to Orange, he'll have to start with a name change.

  6. There is no sharp distinction between a non alkie and an alkie, yeah ok. There is no real distinction between my lower intestine and this article, they are both full of shit.

  7. Well allllllrriiiiighttttty then!!!!
    Moving fucking on. That went over well.
    Statistics has been the conversation of late on many sites. Whether we like it or not statistic questioning is not going to go away. It is the way most professionals judge their success.
    I know that word again "success". I thoroughly agree on "how do we determine success".
    Impossible in a autonomous society as a AA. It would be a insult.
    I believe it is my responsibility as a AA member to help people understand what is going on in AA.
    2011 AA is drastically different from 1935 AA. There were only hard core alcoholics, alcoholics were screened to make sure they fit in.
    Today anybody can show up in AA and start puking their message.
    Hey I asked for opinions and got them. Thanks Joe for taking the time to explain yourself again. I can only hope you can continue so at some point we can have the AA back of our ancestors or better said, "the shoulders we are standing on".

  8. I mangled that last sentence.
    I was trying to say that I want the AA back that my grandfather went to. Where true alcoholics came and shared their story and solution.
    I am standing on their shoulders today, trying to keep the message clean and true.
    Orange, Stanton and all the other programs out there are great. What I don't understand is why they have to base their promotion of their program on debasing AA. I don't see AA denigrating other venues to recovery.

  9. Does anybody like the fact the Green Papers name is in a green color. How fuckin sweet is that.

  10. Here's a question,
    Is the AA of old gone? Is it to much water over the bridge? I'm of the mind that I can't change groups but have been given the power to help individuals who want to recover. If AA dies I will be fine. I'm not sure how the meeting makers of the world will fare.

    On a different note, although I disagree entirely with Green's article, I did check out his site, and appreciate the fact that he is not vile and hate filled as Peele, or orange. Seems like a character who one could actually have an exchange of ideas with.

  11. Just remember. If AA dies today it will start up again tomorrow with one Alcoholic helping another Alcoholic. Hopefully the hand of God will play a part in it.

  12. I agree with your assessment of Green, Rob. That's why I said that he seems to have good intentions and I wish him the best of luck. But getting into a pissing contest with Orange isn't gonna accomplish anything.

    If you read the exchange between the two guys, Orange "demanded" that Green produce any studies that contradict Orange's "arguments". When Green did so, Orange vehemently objected, calling the studies "propaganda". 'Nuff said about Orange's intellectual honesty.

    Which got me to thinking. What's this guy's agenda? I can see Stanton Peele and Thaddeus Jude and such attacking AA, as AA is competition for the lucrative rehabilitation trade. "Prove" that the competition is bad, that we're good, and you make money. That's a powerful agenda.

    But Orange doesn't try to sell a program, he just attacks AA. And expends a lot of effort doing so. So I began thinking, what's his motive? Where's the profit? Good Samaritan? Bullshit!

    He's not doing this out of the kindness of his heart, trying to prevent a bunch poor alcoholics from becoming entrapped in the snares of a diabolic cult. His attacks are too sophisticated. too vicious, too personal, too clever. And the key here is clever.

    If you want to make money you offer a product that's attractive to a certain market. His product is strong anti-AA bullshit. Very emotional, pseudo-sophisticated, "intellectual" arguments. His market? How about all the bitter, angry drunks out there out there like out little friends on ST and the like?

    This guy is very clever. He has a huge audience of angry, ill-informed, alcoholic conspiracy freaks, and he's telling them exactly what they want to hear. AA is bad, it's a cult, it's everything they want it to be because it didn't work for them.

    Not their fault. Can't blame them. It's a conspiracy! But they're too smart and they saw right through it! So thank you, bless you Mr. Agent Orange for clarifying this for us, for verifying that it's not our fault that we can't quit drinking.

    Oh, and so we can show you our appreciation, can we make a "donation"? Do you take PayPal? Of course you do. Isn't that a PayPal logo at the bottom of all 100+ web pages on your site?
    Bless you, Mr Agent Orange. Keep telling me what I want to hear. Don't worry, I won't bother to check your "facts."

    Like I said, clever.

  13. Rob, Green admits that he's not alky. So I wouldn't put it on him to know the difference between an alky and a hard drinker.

    There are other attempts to differentiate the two... besides the A.A. founders/book. Under the Influence comes to mind. There's some things in the book I like, and things I don't.

    Anybody who is of the belief that a drink or two a day being a bad thing... I'd like to question that belief system. Where did this come from? I could never pull that off... nor would I hope to try.

    But what about those who can? I came from a group who will put that challenge on you if you question your identification as an alcoholic. In other words, I know a group of guys and gals, who... even if THEY question your identification as an alkie... or your resolve to do some certain thing about it... they will put you on that Marty Mann test if they can. And they have put some people on it. They say that more often than not, the person in question goes on to not be alky after all.

    Would a treatment center counselor or a therapist have the balls or the freedom to do a thing like this to a client?

  14. Good points Patrick,
    I wish more people in AA drank, they would find their truth a lot quicker, in particular those who aren't alcoholics but believe they are because of external situations.

    Treatment centers and counselors believe that alcohol is the problem. Folks that read this blog know differently. Booze is my solution. I know of 2 things that treat alcoholism,alcohol or spirit. Funny how alcohol is called spirits, must be a coincidence.

    I like to hear of groups like yours, folks who are armed with facts about themselves. Folks who aren't all fluff, we'll love you until you can love yourself. Most alcoholics love themselves a bit too much.

  15. My group does what Patrick's does. A few weeks ago, we had a lady in the meeting questioning her alcoholism. The meeting topic was the long form of Tradition Three and how the requirement is much more than a desire to stop drinking. I had talked about how for the real alkie, the strongest desire is not enough, but for the problem drinker, a simple desire based on circumstance will usually be enough. This lady has been in A.A. for four years and can never ever really be at peace and can never ever finish an inventory. She is really fucked up and neurotic, and that is weird, because I had mentioned how if you're not an alkie, doing the steps will make you sicker if you are basing your First Step on the lie that you are an alkie.

    During crossfire, it was put to her as a consideration "Could it be that you are not an alcoholic and that you don't belong here?" Another woman whose alcoholism I question (another story) shot back "It's not for us to decide if she is alcoholic!" I told her that no one is deciding anything for this lady, that only she could decide, but it is our responsibility to ask the hard questions to help her to decide. I then asked the undecided lady if she wanted to go to the bar down the street after the meeting. I told her I'd buy the first two drinks for her, but after two it was time to go. That idea appalled her and she looked at me like I was Adolf Hitler or something.

    I don't know if she has made peace with the question or not because I haven't seen her since. We probably won't see her again at our meeting, because the non-alkies and MOTR's usually only come there once.