Thursday, December 4, 2014

Who claims simply going to an AA meeting will cure alcoholism?

I notice that many anti-steppers and even authors of research papers pretend that Alcoholics Anonymous members (us pro-steppers, if you will) claim to have someone at AA who waves a wand that magically makes someone stop drinking. This has never been claimed at any meeting I have been to -- and I have been to thousands of them.

This particular expectation of AA -- that it somehow makes everyone who enters its rooms sober by some kind of sorcery -- is not one that the program pretends to have. I have heard countless times that "AA is a simple program, but it is not an easy program."

Amazing cures is not how the real world works. It is up to the individual alcoholic to work the AA program. It is sad that many choose not to work it (or, for that matter, try anything else to get clean and sober).

Ever since I entered the rooms, I have been told time and time again that many, if not most, people won't make it. And, it gets worse: There is nothing out there more effective than AA. Nothing.  (My source for this assertion is the Cochrane review of 12-step programs).

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Did Karla have a sponsor?

Dr. Peele, in the comments to the his inaccurate hit piece published earlier this week claims that Karla (who I have now detailed in two previous blog entries) in fact had a sponsor.

His exact comment was as follows:
Gabrielle responds: "I happen to have notes in my possession that state Joanne Frye [sic -- it's spelled "Fry"] was Karla's sponsor -- in her own handwriting."
Now, it's very interesting that Dr. Peele uses Gabrielle Glaser as a source claiming that Mrs. Fry was Karla's sponsor. Because, when I read Gabrielle's own words, my conclusion was that Karla never had a sponsor. And, indeed, that piece written by Gabrielle never states that Karla had a sponsor.  To wit:
As a relative newcomer to AA, Suzanne said, Karla had not yet chosen a sponsor [...] Joanne Fry, Patrick’s wife and the woman she had asked to be her AA sponsor
Carefully observe that Gabrielle does not say that Fry became Karla's sponsor, but tries to imply that she might have been.

Now compare this to Joanne Fry's own account:
We were not, ever have been, nor intended to be or become sponsors for Earle or Brada; we simply knew them.
We have two different stories being told here. I choose to believe Joanne Fry never became Karla's sponsor because Glaser's own account of Karla Brada's death never directly claims Fry was Brada's sponsor, and because Joanne Fry out and out denies ever being her sponsor.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

In response to Stanton Peele

Stanton Peele, like Ken Ragge and Monica Richardson, is a long-term habitual AA hater and anti-stepper. He has a long-established bias and dare I say resentment against the 12-step programs.

So, it comes as no surprise to me that he has written another anti-AA hit piece, this time discussing one departed Karla Brandy Mendez, who I have already discussed in a previous blog entry (Karla's story, which is old hat at this point, is getting a lot of renewed attention because of a recently aired 48 Hours TV episode on her tragic death).

I will address some points made by Dr. Peele.  His claims are undelined like this:
  • AA never taught Karla to abstain. Actually, it did.  Or, should I say, AA gave Karla clear cut directions on how she could abstain. Directions which are very, very effective for anyone willing to follow them. If Karla had, instead of starting a relationship with another newcomer, followed the program as written in the first 164 pages of the Big Book, she would certainly be alive today.
  • Karla didn’t learn to protect herself through attending rehab, AA, and NA. AA has but one primary purpose, Dr. Peele, which is to carry its message (being, the message as written in the first 164 pages of the Big Book) to the alcoholic who still suffers. AA's strength and success comes from not deviating from that message.
  • AA disrespects women Actually, as I refer to in another one of my blogs, AA is a safe place for women. Most people with time suggest that newcomers do not date, and that men stay with the men and women stick with the women. A number of AA meetings (about 8% of the meetings in the area Karla was from) are women's meetings which men are not allowed to set foot in.
  • AA takes no responsibility This is an outside issue, Dr. Peele. Karla was beaten and killed outside of the rooms of AA. She went down that path because she refused to work the suggested AA program.
  • AA doesn’t work. Well formed studies, such as PMC2220012, show that AA actually does work. The extensive Cochrane study shows there is nothing out there with a track record better than AA's record.
In conclusion, Dr. Peele brings up the same old long-refuted attacks on AA again. It is sad that suffering alcoholics may use these articles to justify unhealthy and self-destructive behavior instead of going to a meeting, working the 12-step program, and getting better.

In terms of the lawsuit brought on by Karla's family, it has been withdrawn (sounds like the family realized there was no legal basis for making AA responsible for their daughter's death) and now they are trying to sue their sponsors, never mind the minor technical detail that the people they are suing were never actually their sponsors.