Saturday, January 19, 2008

Blackboard Jungle

I have as much anxiety this morning as I would if I were stepping into a real jungle! I am not teaching the whole class today, just two portions of it. I don't particularly like standing in front of a group and talking (unless it is an AA meeting), and I don't feel like I truly understand one of the topics of discussion. I am happy that at the end of this day, this first day of teaching will be over. And at the beginning of March, this whole class will be over. Then I can decide if I truly want to do this. If you gave me an escape clause right now, I think I would jump on it!

A former sponsee called me last night. As we talked, she got snokkered. At first I asked her if she was drinking, and she said no. After we talked for about an hour, she finally admitted it - of course by then I could barely understand a word she was saying. She was sober for 11 months and got drunk, and has not been able to put any time together since then. She does not want to be sober. I don't know how to help someone who doesn't want it. It is my belief that I cannot do anything for someone who doesn't want "what I have" except live as well as I can and be an attraction. I suggested she try going into treatment, they are good at pushing recovery on the unwilling and undesiring, but I am not.

And the really unfortunate thing is, people think they have forever to change their minds and get sober, but many of them do not have the luxury of time. They will not live long if they continue to drink. I believe this woman is one of those. It is so sad to see a person throwing her life away. And she is the only one who can change that. We can go to the ends of the earth to help a person who wants help, but I don't care to be the one a person calls to cry to while she is drunk.

I better get myself bathed, dressed, and prepare to head out the door to the blackboard that awaits me.


Scott W said...

With those that cannot be honest enough with themselves to get and stay sober we can be sympathetic, but not empathetic. We can't project our feelings onto another, we can just be there if they want to get sober.

I always try to remember that another person's life is what they choose, in one way or another. Their soul has a purpose here and its lessons are its own.

dAAve said...

To the extent that I know you, I think you are a natural and perfect fit to teach, guide and instruct.

If we could keep people sober just by telling them what to do, it would be a very different world. Some get it, most don't.

MICKY said...

Mary Christine Said:
She does not want to be sober. I don't know how to help someone who doesn't want it.

Micky Said:
Dear Mary,
You can't help anyone, especially when you are being controlled by Satan (AA).

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
—John 8:44


MICKY said...

Mary Christine Said:
I don't particularly like standing in front of a group and talking (unless it is an AA meeting), and I don't feel like I truly understand one of the topics of discussion.

Micky Said:
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
—2 Corinthians 4:4


MICKY said...

Mary Christine Said:
It is so sad to see a person throwing her life away.

Micky Said:
Dear Mary,
Have you "thrown your life away?"

But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
—2 Corinthians 11:3


MICKY said...

How Bill Wilson Invented Alcoholics Anonymous

Seventy-one years ago today ( 10 June 2006 ), outside the Akron, Ohio, city hospital, Dr. Robert Smith swigged from a bottle of beer. He and his friend Bill Wilson had just mapped out a new way to cure alcoholism, and they were sure it would work. Smith only needed one last drink to prevent hand tremors on the job. It sounds like the recidivist’s lame excuse, but the beer did turn out to be Smith’s last. The date was June 10, 1935—now known as the official birthday of Alcoholics Anonymous.

If Wilson’s story sounds familiar, even clichéd, now, it’s only because he popularized the idea that “sharing” one’s story is a necessary part of overcoming alcoholism. Every drinker’s trajectory is different, of course, but Wilson helped define what we now recognize as the basic plot points of addiction.

By the time he got a call from an old drinking buddy in 1934, Wilson had, in AA parlance, hit bottom. In 1905, when he was only 10, his father had left his mother; his maternal grandmother raised him and his sister in Vermont. He took his first drink at a dinner party in 1917, after he joined the Army as a second lieutenant. Following an uneventful stint in Europe during World War I, he moved to New York City, got married, and made a small fortune on Wall Street. He also drank for days on end.

The crash of 1929 all but ruined him, both financially and emotionally. His drinking prevented him from keeping a job, and he and his wife, Lois, had to move in with her father in Brooklyn. He started bar fights, blacked out, and stole money for booze from Lois’s purse. He was hospitalized after several benders and always vowed to quit drinking, but he never could. He had just returned from a stay in Manhattan’s expensive Charles B. Towns Hospital when Ebby Thatcher, a friend from boarding school, paid him a visit in November 1934. The two had spent many liquor-drenched evenings together over the years, and Wilson looked forward to another. But Thatcher was a changed man. He had joined the Oxford Group Movement and gotten sober.

The Oxford Group was the brainchild of Dr. Frank Buchman, a Lutheran minister. Popular in the 1920s on college campuses (including Oxford University, from which it took its name) and in upscale neighborhoods, the group promoted Buchman’s belief in divine guidance: One should wait for God to give direction in every aspect of life (it wasn’t about alcoholism or any other single problem) and surrender to that advice. Buchman’s program emphasized public confession of sin during meetings at members’ houses, making restitution to those sinned against, and promoting the group to the public. The group’s individualistic bent—if God’s guidance could solve everyone’s problems, social movements seemed useless—divorced it from activism or politics. But when Buchman told a reporter in 1936, “I thank heaven for a man like Adolf Hitler, who built a front line of defense against the anti-Christ of Communism,” the Oxford Group’s fortunes started to fall. After Buchman’s death, in 1961, the group all but disappeared. Few remember his name today, but his principles—surrender to divine guidance, confession, and making amends—live on in another unlikely fellowship.

Wilson, an atheist since age 11, dismissed Thatcher’s claims: “Last summer an alcoholic crackpot; now, I suspected, a little cracked about religion.” But a month later, back in a hospital bed in Towns doped on barbiturates and belladonna (which were used to treat alcoholism at the time), Wilson yelled, “If there be a God, let him show himself!” “Suddenly my room blazed with an indescribably white light,” he wrote in 1957. “I was seized with an ecstasy beyond description. Every joy I had known was pale by comparison.” The next day, Thatcher brought him a copy of William James’s The Varieties of Religious Experience, in which James writes that “the only radical remedy . . . for dipsomania is religiomania.” Wilson would devote his life to the idea that surrender to God was the only replacement for surrender to alcohol.

When he got out of the hospital, Wilson not only joined the Oxford Group, he also went on a crusade to convert other drunks, trolling bars and hospitals for potential initiates. He believed that the Group’s principles were the best and maybe only course for curing alcoholism. On a business trip to Akron in the spring of 1935, alone in a hotel lobby and struggling to avoid the bar, he scoured the church directory for the number of the local Oxford Group. An Episcopal minister put him in touch with a woman whose friend, Dr. Robert Smith, was an alcoholic. Smith agreed to meet with Wilson for 15 minutes. They ended up talking for six hours. Smith decided to quit drinking that very night. His wife invited Wilson to move in for the duration of his stay in Akron, and the two men devoted their free time to the Oxford Group and enlightening other drinkers.

Around the coffee table at night, the two debated the best ways to reform alcoholics. But Smith himself had not yet tasted his last drink. In June he returned from a conference in Atlantic City so soused that his wife worried he wouldn’t be able to perform a scheduled surgery in three days. But after bed rest and gallons of coffee, when the time came Smith was ready. Wilson dropped him off at the hospital on June 10, 1935, and gave him a beer to steady his hands. That was the last drink of Smith’s life, and the moment Alcoholics Anonymous was born.

Before Wilson returned to New York, he and Smith helped rehabilitate two alcoholics, who began attending Oxford Group meetings. This “alcoholic squadron of the Akron Oxford Group,” as they called themselves, were the first members of what would become AA. Back home, Wilson began opening his living room on Tuesday nights to a contingent of alcoholics from the New York Oxford Group. But the two camps tended to clash. The nonalcoholics resented Wilson’s concentrating his attention on a minority clique, while the alcoholics chafed under the Oxford Group’s aggressive, authoritarian atmosphere. “These ideas had to be fed with teaspoons rather than by buckets,” Wilson later wrote. In 1937 Wilson decided to sever his faction entirely from the Oxford Group.

More important, the Catholic Church hated Buchman, and Wilson didn’t want to alienate Catholic alcoholics. He didn’t want to alienate anybody, in fact, a feat that proved difficult when he began to codify his process. The twelve steps he listed in the self-published Alcoholics Anonymous (also known as the “Big Book”) in 1939 were really just a restatement of the Oxford Group’s tenets. The ideas of personal powerlessness and divine guidance appear in six steps (for example, Step 1, “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable,” and Step 3, “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him”); confession and restitution permeate five steps (e.g., Step 5, “Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs,” and Step 8, “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all”); while the last step promotes the group’s beliefs (“Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs”).

The agnostic members of the New York group objected to Wilson’s references to God and feared driving away unreligious new members. To appease them, Wilson deleted the phrase “on our knees” from “Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings” in Step 7, substituted “a power greater than ourselves” for “God” in Step 2, and added “as we understand him” after “God” in Steps 3 and 11. But half of the steps still mention “God,” “Him,” or a higher power.

AA professes to be spiritual rather than religious. Wilson tried to explain the distinction in a chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous entitled “We Agnostics”: “As soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God. Much to our relief, we discovered we did not need to consider another’s conception of God. Our own conception, however inadequate, was sufficient to make the approach and to effect a contact with Him. As soon as we admitted the possible existence of a Creative Intelligence, a Spirit of the Universe underlying the totality of things, we began to be possessed of a new sense of power and direction. . . . [L]ay aside prejudice, even against organized religion. We have learned that whatever the human frailties of various faiths may be, those faiths have given purpose and direction to millions.”

In 1939 alcoholics in Cleveland decided to form their own chapter. They took the title of Wilson’s book as their name, becoming the first group to call itself Alcoholics Anonymous. But even after the publication of the Big Book, the organization grew slowly. Its early members came mostly from the middle class. After all, the founders were a surgeon and a Wall Street trader. Wilson and Smith continued to convert alcoholics on barstools and in hospital beds, but membership didn’t take off until The Saturday Evening Post ran a laudatory article on the organization in March 1941, under the headline “Freed Slaves of Drink, Now They Free Others.” AA mushroomed from two chapters and 100 members in 1939 to 360 chapters and 10,000 members in 1944.

The disease theory of alcoholism helped boost the numbers. In the nineteenth century, most people saw alcoholism as a moral failing, but doctors had already begun to wonder if it didn’t have a physiological basis. Wilson’s doctor mentioned to him that he thought alcoholics suffered from something like an allergy to alcohol, and Wilson helped promote the idea to the American public. Although many dispute that theory today, it has undoubtedly removed some of the stigma from alcoholism, making it less shameful for alcoholics to seek treatment.

As the organization ballooned in the 1940s, Wilson decided it needed to govern itself. He set up a general conference of elected delegates from local groups, which would, in turn, elect representatives to a national assembly. After implementing the plan in 1950, he said, “I became entirely sure that Alcoholics Anonymous was at last safe—even from me.”

Smith died of prostate cancer in November 1950; Wilson, a lifelong smoker, succumbed to emphysema-related pneumonia in January 1971. Since then, their 12 steps have been adapted to treat everything from compulsive gambling to overeating. The group’s near-institutionalization in American society has, however, brought it its share of controversy. Courts often order perpetrators of alcohol-related crimes to attend AA, and some have argued that given AA’s religious underpinnings, their sentences violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment. In 1997 the New York Court of Appeals agreed, ruling that “adherence to the AA fellowship entails engagement in religious activity and religious proselytization.”

In recent decades, secular alternatives to AA have sprung up around the country, as have movements advocating moderate drinking and control rather than abstinence and admission of powerlessness. But AA remains the most popular self-help group by far, boasting more than two million members worldwide in over 97,000 groups.
American Heritage


MICKY said...


"Thirteenth-stepping" is a euphemistic term used among members of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to refer to people (particularly men) who target new, more vulnerable members (typically women) for dates or sex. Previous research suggests that women frequently experience sexual harassment in AA meetings and even in chemical dependency treatment settings.

The objective of this survey study is to describe the frequency of various 13th-stepping experiences in a sample of women involved in AA., Fifty-five women, aged 17-72 years, completed an anonymous survey to describe their experiences with 13th-stepping by men in AA.

Results showed that at least 50% of the participants had at least occasionally experienced seven of the thirteen 13th-stepping behaviors listed in the survey. Also, compared to women who had never attended a female-only AA group, women who had attended such groups reported more 13th-stepping experiences from their attendance at coed groups.

Two of the study participants volunteered that men they met in AA had raped them., It is important that chemical dependency treatment providers be aware of 13th-stepping in AA, particularly when treating women. Especially vulnerable women, such as those with histories of sexual abuse. When women's groups are unavailable, women should be adequately prepared to protect themselves from 13th-stepping.


MICKY said...

Could the crap pile get any deeper.?

Delusional thought for the day:
For awhile, we are going back to the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, and pick out passages here and there, so that they may become fixed in our minds, a little at a time, day by day, as we go along. There is no substitute for reading the Big Book. It is our "bible." We should study it thoroughly and make it a part of ourselves. We should not try to change any of it. Within its covers is the full exposition of the A.A. program. There is no substitute for it. We should study it often. Have I studied the Big Book faithfully?

I'm having to seriously wonder which God hazelden refers too.It certainly isnt the God of the bible.Perhaps the folks at hazelden have never read Psalms 119.Hazelden and AA have repeatedly proven itself to be doctrine of the anti-christ.Their gospel is one of compromise.They are leading people astray.

Hebrews 4:12For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Jesus the Great High Priest 14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens,Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Posted by Esther


MICKY said...

Yes, it's a cult - Ray Smith - Jun 15th 2006
As far as I'm concerned, any group that tells it's members they will die if they leave is a cult. More important: is AA a destructive cult? Again, I'd have to say yes. They teach powerlessness and foster an unhealthy dependance on the group.

AA, in a study by George Valliant, AA Board of Trustees, has a 5% success rate (over one year). Kathleen Sciacca has done studies in NYC on dual diagnosis clients that show their chances aren't even that good.

Most people who have an alcohol problem quit on their own; they also have a 5% success rate. However, during that first year, AA has a MORTALITY rate that is six times higher than no treatment at all. I almost became one of those statistics.

I embraced the powerless concept, but as an atheist, had no Higher Power to "save" me; I saw my only options as remaining a drunk or suicide. I've been working for an Assertive Community Treatment team for the past two years as a peer advocate, and almost every one of our clients has their own AA horror story. AA has a large anti-medication, anti-therapy faction.

Many newcomers are told to throw away their medication, God will cure them *IF* they work a good enough program. Promoting a spiritual solution to a physical problem is nothing more than faith healing.


MICKY said...

Loaded with bad ideas - vincent - Jun 15th 2006
I have about 9 years of first hand experience with 12 stepping. I was a 'true believer' for the first 5 years after which I began to have a lot of mixed emotions about recommending it.

My moment of clarity came when I was talking to a woman about her daughter needing treatment. After I had given usual spiel about why she should go to meetings, the woman asked me if I would send my daughter to the meetings. I looked at her,paused and said, "absolutely not".

At that moment I had to admit that I had been conned. Most importantly, it doesn't work. A 5-7% success rate is nothing to brag about. My last 4 years of involvement were spent mainly observing what was "really" going on and my conclusion is that it does more harm than good.

There is a lot of negative programming in the literature and especially in the readings that are read at 'every single meeting'. When this is coupled with the fact that many people sitting around the room giving advice have severe control issues and/or are mentally unstable it is a recipe for disaster.

I think it still gets professional recommendation today mainly for 2 reasons. Firstly, the treatment industry is largely populated by people who are programmed, secondly, because it is easier to send them to meeting than treat them and it doesn't help that they can't pay.

There are several practices that go on in the meetings that are aimed at indoctrinating people into the cult. Just a few of these are, in no particular order, Repetitive actions like reading and identifying yourself as a member every time you say anything, strong pressure to conform to group thinking and philosophy, reinforcement of the ideas by passing them on, bonds formed by sharing intimate secrets......+ many others.

Add to this the desperation people are often feeling when they show up and they will usually not question any of it until they have time invested in it and the hooks are set.


MICKY said...

the 13th step - carol - Jun 8th 2006
I went to several meetings years ago, and being a young an attractive woman, never walked out of one meeting without some loser hitting on me. It was not helpful.


MICKY said...

Limbic System - Mel F. - Jun 17th 2006
I remember reading how cult conversion occurs. It's usually based in the limbic system area of the brain, which deals more with emotions, in contrast with the cerebral cortex, which is where critical thinking skills, analysis and logic happen. Conversion is usually emotion-based(limbic system).

Although there are 'fact-y' reasons one may support AA(however dubious), the attraction is still emotion-based. Just go to a 'meeting and listen to a 'share' or three. And, it's typical of cults to tell you you can't trust your own mind.

In AA, you are told, 'beware of the intellect'. Thinking 'outside the cult' is demonized and labeled as "intellectual pride". When, the reality is that it's just a way for a limbic system mindset to stay dominant by pretending that that which comes from the cerebral cortex cannot be trusted.

Cults have always taught that you cannot trust your own mind. Instilling that belief is often basic to them exerting their control. I guess that's why the 'converted' need to believe that they are under 'God-Control'.

Cuz they believe they can't 'do it' on their own- that their own faculties of reasoning are worthless.. Funny, how those under "God-Control" all seem to be led by a God that's in agreement with the particular cult any given person is taken with.


MICKY said...

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
—Ephesians 6:11-18


MICKY said...

I love you, Mary Christine! Do you love me? I love you, Mary Christine! Do you love me? I love you, Mary Christine! Do you love me? I love you, Mary Christine! Do you love me? I love you, Mary Christine! Do you love me? I love you, Mary Christine! Do you love me? I love you, Mary Christine! Do you love me? I love you, Mary Christine! Do you love me? I love you, Mary Christine! Do you love me? I love you, Mary Christine! Do you love me? I love you, Mary Christine! Do you love me? I love you, Mary Christine! Do you love me?

Zane-nawwaa said...

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. Not the best metaphor, but it fits. I am so sorry that Micky is STALKING you. 12 messages is a bit much. Hang in there luvie.

Mary Christine said...

You are a fucking asshole.
Sorry I can't stay and tell you more, I must go to church now.

Pam said...

Don't read them sweet yellow onion, just delete...ho humm.
I'm waiting for you to post something like "got to bed late last night, up grading papers" You know teachers are always in bed grading papers.

Anonymous said...

Everyone in AA is truley pure and honest with themselves wanting to change for the better, I have never drank but my parents both come out of AA, they are divorced and my mom is back to drinking excessivly, but my father has been sober for 27 years, everyone in AA I admire