Further Reading

What do 12 steppers do to people who object to their coercing people into treatment?


Forgive me if I seem like I am trying to drag you into another gratuitous donnybrook over "who's right". I forward this as context so that I can belatedly convey my sincere thanks for the contribution you made to my escape back to full humanity. Many of the things you have published made it possible for me to carry out "triage" upon the various kinds of dung being purveyed.

For what it's worth, I turned out these many years later, to be one of those fabled individuals with whom I so was mesmerized in your writings - an autonomous, self-accountable and fully recovered ex-addict.

Warm regards,



Get me into a donnybrook? Why don't you mention my helpfulness on some of these lists? People see me as being entirely negative in these things.

But you, you did it on your own and want to give me some credit. Believe me, this is the easiest gig I get. Thank you for being yourself, and for producing (with the incredibly willing consent of Chris R.) one of the most compelling displays of how odiferous the whole disease enterprise is, how disrespectful in the name of helping, how "Do this because it's good for you and if you don't I'll hate you and you'll die" their modus operandi is.

Can I reproduce the exchange at my site and perhaps send it to another addiction list as needed? I can keep your name or expunge it as you prefer. In either case, you have plenty to be proud of, and I am so pleased that you give me some credit for your self-success.

Best wishes, S

Dear Stanton

Nothing would delight me more. It's not my way to presume to much. With respect to the field/racket of recovery you are certainly a central figure and, one might suppose, the occasional object of "bimbo-love" and starry-eyed recovery groupies.

Years back, when I finally solved my personal addiction equation, I put the whole thing quietly behind me. I had already given up so much of my life to the damn thing, and fought so hard to remain free of the AA Gulag, that I was adamant I would lay no more of my life on that particular altar.

Now I live and move in a circle - both personal and professional - where the only experience anyone has ever had of me is as a completely non-demonstrative, non-drinker. And it has been good for me - I've truly relegated the whole sweep of those years to a settled state, one from which I draw many credits of wisdom, insight and strength...but not one I've felt obliged to trot out and parade around. I guess it's time to wade back in, hmm?

You'll notice (with some perverse glee, one would hope!) the immediate "Shame-o-Gram" my post in response to Rugaber dislodged from the edifice of the 12-Step Death Star - the Denial-Bot responding under the pen-name Deborah W.

It's this fact - that they are actively programming people to destroy themselves - a deranged and loopy "Bushido" that is redolent of the "People's Temple" - that makes it impossible for me to excuse myself from the fray on a permanent basis.

You may use my name if you think it important, but if it's not - right now I'm being recruited by [...] to come work as a jet transport flight instructor...I wonder what they'd think, eh?

Best regards,


From: Chris R.
To: drug-policy@lists.wku.edu
Subject: Richard's compassion that kills
Date: Tuesday, February 11, 1997 8:21 PM

Like most Internet residents, Richard is far more frightened of abstract, alleged violations of rights then of the reality of addiction.

Let's look at the excerpt below:

>The most pernicious, dangerous and universally destructive
>addiction of which I am aware is this bizarre notion that
>someone is entitled to define reality and COMPEL another/others
>to accept that definition (aka: POWER). What you advocate is
>clearly compulsion. For their own good, of course...

First: no one is "entitled" to "define reality," which if we want to get metaphysical, is what it is regardless of what you or I say about it. However, in a democracy, an elected government can do things in the broader society's interest.

Let's look at an example: because armchair, suburban libertarians felt they knew what was best for many mentally ill people, we saw a massive deinstitutionalization in the 1970s that resulted in such wonderful freedom for all those who became homeless and froze to death.

In our abstract, hysterical devotion to "freedom," a principle that is universally worshipped and unassailable, and therefore not in need of the paranoid defense some people give it, will we soon say that Alzheimer's patients should not be "compelled" to do anything?--Even though many will gladly walk into the freezing snow because of their mental illness? Perhaps so.

Some real world examples of all this horrendous coercion into treatment would help make your case worthwhile.

Chris R.

Subject: Chris's Summary Dismissal of "Poor Richard" (was: compassion that kills)
X-ListName: National and International Drug Policy
Date: Wed, 12 Feb 97 07:11:48

My dear Chris:

Years back I was as deeply addicted to alcohol as any of those you would rubber-stamp as "alcoholics". I was coerced in many ways, by many people and in service to many and various agendas. I found my way out of the trap largely in reliance upon my own resources, augmented by a few, crucial bits of knowledge and insight of which I was truly needful.

It's interesting to note that I never encountered a 12-Step adherent during that crucial period who failed to diagnose me as suffering from a "cunning, baffling and incurable disease". They had the answer, period.

Like you, they all held, as an article of faith, that it did not matter HOW I got their "help'...only that I DID GET IT! And there was complete faith I would be suitably "grateful" afterward - indeed such "gratitude" being a litmus test of whether someone has actually "gotten it".

After the fact, when it became clear (based upon factual results) that I had recovered without the "indispensable", higher-powered program, *this* fact/anomaly was held to be *a priori* proof of the distinction between "a drinking problem" and "the true alcoholic". More tautologies.

Throughout the depths of my personal trial - during which the outcome was very much in doubt - one central theme was reinforced and impressed upon me at every juncture...if I didn't drop my perverse and pig-headed "denial" and "surrender" to the "program" I was irrevocably doomed.

This dilemma was an easy one when I honestly weighed these two mutually exclusive alternatives - accept the AA paradigm for "Life, The Universe and Everything" or die. Given only a choice of acceptance of 12 Step Truth or death then it was, by God, time to head over to the funeral home and lie down.

Contrary to another 12 Step article of faith about (so-called) "denial", no one was more aware of the mortal threat overhanging my life. *I* was the one paying the price even when I wasn't counting the cost. I was determined to find a path out of the maze of illusion that is the essence of addiction - a way not requiring the surrender and repudiation of innate personality. I kept looking and found it. It turns out that recovery is easy...it's resisting carefully and masterfully orchestrated coercion that is hard.

I WAS coerced into treatment. It was worse than useless, I might as well have been a prisoner of war. I saw others in the same predicament that, afterwards, went out, took the inevitable "first" drink, and in a manner consistent with the AA conditioning promptly and dutifully got drunk. Soon after some of these found a way to die altogether. Perhaps they, too, preferred death to alternatives they simply could not abide.

In this is the reflection of another of those seamless tautological absurdities - one's degree of "illness" is proportional to how stubbornly one resists having one's tattered self-concept shredded further and utterly discounted.

I don't hold much hope that the above "real world example" will impress you overmuch, Chris. And, beyond the subtly pedantic cast that characterizes your commentary, I find the tone of your particular response to me to be especially arrogant, disrespectful and insulting.

While you are free to invalidate what I say, I *am* one of those "real world examples" you demand. Additionally, your sneering dismissal of my "devotion" to human "freedom" is insolent, contemptuous and contemptible - in my case it is neither abstract or hysterical - it's been bought and paid for. You, sir, go too far...


Re: Richard & his "happy" sobriety

My observation is that you are so miserable being clean & sober, you might as well go back out & use. Working some type of recovery program, whatever it may be really is the only thing known to work in the long run. Yes there are those determined to prove this wrong all the way to their grave. I have met many of these poor souls & have never met an angrier, unhappy group in my life. Nobody is going to tell them what to do to get their lives back in order. Nobody is going to brainwash them into going into some religious 12 step cult. These people are not to be scorned, they have made their choices in life & willingly live with these choices. Its the people around them I pity, family, friends et all. Particuarly the children who have no choice but to live around this constant negativity. One point that is never addressed comes directly from AA literature which states "Alcoholics Anonymous does not demand you believe anything. All of its Twelve Steps are but suggestions." "...all you really need is a truly open mind. Just resign yourself from the debating society and quit bothering yourself with such deep questions as wheither it was the hen or the egg that came first. Again I say, all you need is an open mind." Page 26, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions I don't like anybody telling me what to do either. Maybe I'm mistaken, but I can't find it anywhere in a Twelve Step program that says I have to believe or do anything (except perhaps not drink or use). You are obviously intelligent with your big words Richard, but I think you'd feel better if you lightened up a little.

Deborah W.