Further Reading

Why shouldn't you be held responsible for the two people Audrey killed?


Neither AA nor anyone else who is competent uses the term "blackout" to EXPLAIN such behavior as that exhibited by Kishline. As you ought to know, the term mainly refers to an absence of memory for one's behavior and events experienced while intoxicated.

Without doubt the major factor in the problem of addiction and alcoholism is denial. It could be compared with the force of gravity pulling a runaway train down a steep grade to certain destruction, and people like you are back there giving it a push, perhaps, as much as for any other reasons, for ego and money. My question is this: How do you manage to live with yourself, knowing as you must, how you and those like you have enabled denial in tens of thousands of both nascent and fully developed alcoholics. How often do you think of the greater suffering that has been and will be endured by children of alcoholics because of your self-serving message of "hope" that for most, is false.

Certainly some people who exhibit problem drinking may learn to manage it, but who are you to try to convince people that with allegedly expert guidance such as yours/MM's, THEY are qualified to decide which group they are in.

Kishline killed those people, not because AA failed, but because she failed to be honest with herself. I have always considered pop psychologists like you and Wayne Dyer an embarrassment to the field of psychology, but your behavior goes beyond that to raise questions of criminal negligence. I think it would be quite appropriate if relatives/friends of Kishline's victims sued you and sued the organization of which I understand you to be a board member — Moderation Management — out of existence.

Mike Carr

Dear Mike:

I've floated on Addict-l several times your comments blaming me for Audrey Kishline's crash and the death and the suffering of other alcoholics and their victims, saying I should be held legally accountable for the deaths of Audrey's victims, and saying that I am an embarrassment to psychology et al. This is a list which invites both disease advocates and those who take a social-learning approach and others who do not subscribe to the disease model of alcoholism. There are spirited, sometimes bitter, debates about related issues, and very little resolution.

My purpose in submitting your comments and others from people sending me hate mail about the Audrey Kishline matter (but yours were the most vicious comments) is to let the list know that such sentiments are out there. I feel about them as if I got mail saying, "You're a dirty Jew, and your people are degrading the world," or "You and other drug reformers are the cause of inner-city degradation," or (in Morris County, New Jersey where I'm politically active), "Your liberal views have ruined our country" (and I have heard all of the above). That sort of thing.

Despite the split on Addict_l around the disease theory (including certainly controlled drinking) no one there expresses views like yours; when I post your comments, people either reiterate that no individual or school of thought should be blamed for Audrey's actions or else that I am trying to provoke the list by throwing in your comments — as though I made you and people like you up! But I swear you're real. (Perhaps some people on Addict_l do agree with you, but it is too polite a society to allow such views to be expressed and people on the list who want to say these things are unwilling to come out with them.)

Nor have I seen views like yours expressed publicly by reputable individuals or organizations (although I know they are out there). The most I have seen, on the list and publicly from organizations like the NCADD and George Vaillant, is the claim that Audrey's crash proves moderation techniques don't work. I view that statement as so ignorant as to defy response (like claiming that Darryl Strawberry - who was scheduled to speak at an NCADD national conference when he was caught with cocaine - proves no one can abstain from drugs/alcohol). But, I believe this is a fairly common reaction to the Audrey crash, and it is a public relations battle that has to be fought by MM and other moderate-drinking practitioners.

So, thanks for sharing, and I know you can find like-minded people out there. You could then form a group like, "stamp out controlled-drinking advocates and practitioners," which is a movement just below the surface and might just be waiting for someone like you, perhaps a little more well-placed, to kindle that conflagration. Ironically, on the other hand, there is a new movement called harm reduction therapy (spurred by needle-exchange advocates and others who care for street heroin and other drug users) which is giving a whole new slant to the idea that abstinence cannot be the sole goal of therapy efforts.

We'll see which movement gains the upper hand, and good luck!

Yours truly,
Stanton Peele