Activists or AA Bashers? By Juliet Abram

I have decided to highlight some ex steppers who are writers getting their ideas printed in more places then their own blogs. Juliet Abram has a blog and runs some FACEBOOK Groups as well. Here is a post about defending ones own opinion about why some DON”T like AA anymore. ( I do think we have a right to express this, just as if we didn’t like a burger joint! )

By Juliet Abram 06/04/14

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Am I an AA Basher because I found Alcoholics Anonymous unhelpful?

Check out more fresh voices in The Fix’s new blog section.

Ten years ago, I learned that AA’s primary purpose was helping “other alcoholics to achieve sobriety” through working the 12 steps. To disagree was to “bash” AA. I believed AA could help MORE people if it was secular, not spiritual. I even objected to staying anonymous. Were we ashamed? People with other diseases organize 5K runs and put magnetic ribbons on their cars.

Today, my home state of Ohio has over 266,000 people with three or more drunk driving arrests. When I was court ordered to 12-step meetings for the third time, I knew I had to do something different. After all, hadn’t I heard in AA that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing and expecting different results?

I had over a year left of probation when I started a Secular Organization for Sobriety (S.O.S.) meeting. Still, my probation officer professed AA was necessary for my sobriety, and my refusing to go could have resulted in jail time.

I discovered that AA is not a support group that encourages the exchange of ideas. It is a fellowship based on living spiritually and carrying the AA message to others. The women who wanted to help me would ask if I had a higher power – was it God, and did I pray to it? I wanted to be restored to sanity, but as an atheist, I could not make believe I had an imaginary friend.

Discussing spirituality, or religion, made me uncomfortable. As far as I am aware, alcoholism is the only “spiritual” disease. I believe it is beyond the government’s scope of power to prescribe prayer under threat of imprisonment. My opposition to the AA organization does not mean I oppose recovery, but as long as 12-step treatment centers only support AA, other options like S.O.S. or SMART Recovery cannot grow.

It’s not bashing AA to claim AA does not work for me. According to a National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism survey of 43,000 Americans, three quarters of those dependent on alcohol recover, and three quarters of those do so without AA. NIAAA uses the clinical definition of remission from alcohol dependence as a person who is no longer dependent, including asymptomatic, or controlled, drinking. A majority of those in recovery drink without problems according the government’s massive national survey.

So I am in the majority! But in AA one drink is failure and sets you back to Step 1, admitting you are “powerless” over alcohol.

In his 2014 book, Recover! Stop Thinking Like an Addict and Reclaim Your Life with the PERFECT Program (written with Ilse Thompson), Stanton Peele writes: “Most people overcome alcoholism themselves, as they do smoking and every other addiction.” Instead, AA enabled me with applause and reward coins for not drinking. Nobody needs to clap for me because I didn’t drink today.

It’s not bashing AA – it’s truth – to point out that AA doesn’t work for everybody – for most people – and that other methods can be helpful to them. Psychotherapy helped me recognize continuing life and emotional problems I had that the 12 steps never addressed. And I don’t consider myself powerless.

Co-founder of AA, Bill Wilson, wrote in 1958: “Today, the vast majority of us welcome any new light that can be thrown on the alcoholic’s mysterious and baffling malady… We are glad of any kind of education that accurately informs the public and changes its age-old attitude toward the drunk. More and more, we regard all who labor in the total field of alcoholism as our companions on a march from darkness into light.” It’s entirely possible Wilson would have considered SMART Recovery or Moderation Management or Peele’s new book as worthy companions to AA today.

I hope those in AA become more accepting of people who disagree with AA, or who find other ways work for them, instead of calling them bashers. Hopefully, we’ll all benefit by having fewer drunk drivers and “powerless” alcoholics.

Juliet Abram is a writer and artist. She is also a former court mandated attendee of Alcoholics Anonymous. Her activist cause for 12 Step alternatives in Ohio is the AARMED with Facts blog.

The Latest Advocacy News Headlines on Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Policy, WHITE HOUSE seeks 1.2 Billion for Addiction Treatment.

There is a huge story trending now with the opiate addiction problem. I have pasted the link, but there are many other stories out  there. Please link the ones you like. I am pretty upset by this , yet I hope some good comes of it and not another WAR on DRUGS ….yikes….make Pot Legal everywhere, drop the drinking age back to 18 and they wont be stealing your opiate pills – then off to heroin. They will smoke some pot and have a beer. God forbid we Americans learn how to drink moderately.  🙂

White House officials announced Tuesday that they will seek nearly $1.2 billion in new federal funding over the next two years to address the growing problem of heroin and prescription opioid use, an epidemic that has become an increasingly important policy priority among the nation’s politicians.

The centerpiece of the proposal is $1 billion in mandatory funding over two years to expand access to treatment for prescription drug abuse and heroin use, $920 million of which would go to the states. Another $500 million, some of which is a continuation of existing funds, would support work by the departments of Health and Human Services and Justice to expand not just treatment but access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone, and support targeted enforcement activities.

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/02/02/white-house-seeks-nearly-1-2-billion-for-drug-prevention-treatment-overdose-response/

Here is my twist on it all.

There are many people who use pain medication properly and and do not abuse it. There are many sides to this problem. The problem with opiate addiction is coupled with the failure of the religious AA or 12 step dominated rehabs that fail miserably…and have for decades. Yes some people abuse these drugs, but saying Opiate Addiction is taking over the country and killing so many is absurd. I along with many have a real disease called CANCER. SOME 600,000 people will die from Cancer in the USA this year alone and over 2 Million will die throughout the world in one year. WHERE IS THE PUBLIC outcry about that? No — they would prefer to march with pink ribbons—–the breast cancer movement is a joke and almost as bad as the way AA has hijacked addiction treatment. The pink ribbon ladies have hijacked Breast Cancer Research and prefer to sit in Support groups and run 5 K walks/runs. I don’t think I will be joining them.

Yes some Doctors give too many pills, I too have received a bottle filled with Vicodin for a broken ankle when all I needed was 12 pills….not 30.   ( I don’t  have an issue or a problem with pills ) so I don’t get the abuse of it ….but… the rest of the world should not have to be penalized. Just listen to his wording– the senator speaking to the  President “The Addiction is going to rise up and consume this country?” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/opioid-epidemic_us_56b26f25e4b08069c7a5ecb6 HMMMM sounds like Nixon, Regan, Bush and yes Harry Anslinger, our first Drug Czar who began our failed War On Drugs.

We need to provide real treatment.  That would be Doctors who are not pushing AA, Mental Health Professionals who are not pushing AA, a 1930’s religious self help group that is also not safe. I had a Father who was addicted , then stopped them for 17 years, and began again and lost everything he had and died in 2008. I know the heart ache of losing someone I loved to abuse of a substance. If I knew about non 12 step help, he may still be alive.

All the two hatter AA members who are making a killer on crap Sober Living, which is like a flophouse, crappy rehabs that charge $1,000 a day to be driven to a free AA meeting where violent offenders are waiting to prey, this is not Mental Health HELP. This is not   Medicine or Science. So when they are handing out the 1.2 Billion Dollars, I hope this money goes to the other 6 free options, that currently exist. I hope this money goes to free clinics we need where SMART Recovery, Harm Reduction, SOS, LifeRING, Women for Sobriety and Moderation, and The SINCLAIR Method are used with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing and can be used along with the psych meds that may be needed. I hope this money will also be used for Research. But I hear it’s only for treatment. Well that’s the other part of the problem. The treatment in America is 95 % Alcoholics Anonymous. A lay person, highly religious support group from 1935, that is unregulated, unsafe and has untrained, anonymous persons in charge. Yes there are leaders in Alcoholics Anonymous. They are on their General Service Board and they work in the NY office and their are delegates that work for free all over the Country.

I hope this money is used for new types of treatment that we know is working much better with young persons like Science and Kindness used at The Center for Motivation and Change, Practical Recovery, St Judes Retreats, The Baldwin Institute, Alternatives in Los Angeles and The Center for Optimal Living… hence Harm Reduction.

AA is infested in rehab to the tune of 30 Billion dollars already. Why does this industry need 1 billion dollars. Ill tell you why. Because those who are already running this Industry, who make big bucks DO NOT ….give BACK ….to help those with addiction disorders, but rather force their AA on everyone from the kid on the block who is shooting heroin, to the MOM hooked on Xanex, to …..the FAA, Pilots, The Board of Nursing, Nurses and Doctors and Lawyers who seek help from just abusing alcohol. The rehab INDUSTRY BUSINESS is already pushing this antiquated thing called  “Alcoholics Anonymous”.

Let’s move on and get 2015 science, medicine and therapy’s to help not only those with opiate addictions, but anyone caught up and/ or suffering with a Drug & Alcohol over use issue.

ALTERNATIVES to ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS-

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In the new year I will do a series to promote the six -free alternatives and some alternate Holistic, and for profit NON 12 step Alternatives.

What happens when one leaves AA and after a time wants to imbibe again, how some feel isolated, how some still want to remain abstinent, and why- and what one does with all the garbage in ones head after leaving.

We are no longer just blogging either. There are many Anti – or ex AA FACEBOOK pages for support. There are many good books to read to fill your mind with sane thinking and therapeutic solutions.

I also want to discuss how AA might have ruined your faith- are you atheist- and reconnecting with ones faith after leaving, and if you have a faith or religion that you practice. How AA ruins certain words and phrases and which phrases are charged for us after being in AA for a long time. Do we feel like we left a cult and why.

Stay Tuned! and Merry Christmas

 Free non 12 step help for addiction:

SMART RECOVERY,

Hams Harm Reduction

THE SINCLAIR METHOD,

Moderation Management,

Women for SOBRIETY,

SOS ( Secular Organizations for Sobriety)

For Profit—Alternatives in Los ANGELES created by Dr Marc Kern and Dr Adi Jaffe,

PRACTICAL RECOVERY in SAN DIEGO created by Tom Horvath,

THE GOODMAN APPROACH in KENTUCKY created by Matthew Leichter, using Harm Reduction, Medication and Therapy.

Jeff Foote in NYC Center for Motivation and Change
Andrew Tatarsky PhD- in NYC
Steven Slate in NYC with St Judes Retreats- works great with young people addicted to OPIUM/ Heroin.
BOB Muscala in Minnesota- Earliest Harm Reduction specialist.

Emily Cavel PhD in Los Angeles- Addiction Specialist and Craft for FAMILIES

I will add the links after x-mas—

Indigogo Campaign Donations – for The 13th Step the film -will get their rewards over the coming weeks.

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We are happy to announce that finally we are preparing to send out your rewards if you gave money to the campaign of the film.

If you moved since September 2013, please send us your new address of PO box address. AND thanks again for your love and support. Your long awaited DVD is coming soon!

AWARENSS FILM FESTIVAL Screens The 13th Step Thursday – Sept 17th- 9pm @ LA LIVE Regal Theaters

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We are excited to announce that we are  1 week away from our next screening in downtown Los Angeles. Please buy tickets ahead and online . Arrive early for a good seat. There is a parking lot right next to The Regal Theaters that will validate.  There will be a Q & A following.

https://awarenessfilmfestival2015.sched.org/event/01c68271a9d064306c6f4efaa5a150e4#

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The 13th Step @ The Steve Allen Theatre- Sept 6 @11am

Please join us for a screening at

The Center for Inquiry –

  The STEVE ALLEN THEATRE.

SUNDAY September 6th @11am

Q & A with Filmmaker Director MONICA RICHARDSON

$8.00 admission

$4.00 Students

(all proceeds go to the center)

The 13th Step -The San Antonio Film Festival-July 30th- plus more festivals added!

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We are happy and excited to announce that The 13th Step, is screening at the San Antonio Film Festival. http://safilm.com this Thursday @ 9pm, July 30th, 2015 in San Antonio Texas, at The Tobin Center. Please go here and buy tickets. Invite professionals you know to the screening.

Please come down to see the film there if you live in the area. There will be  a Q & A after the screening.

We will also be screening at The Voiceless International Film Festival in San Francisco August 14th, 2015. http://www.voicelessfilmfest.com. Please go here and buy your tickets. I will be attending this festival .

The Steve Allen Theatre in Hollywood in Association with The Center for Inquiry is also doing a screening early in September, with the SOS crowd. I will be attending this screening and hold another Q & A after. http://www.centerforinquiry.net/la/events/the_13th_step_documentary/

Next: we just got accepted to another festival in Action in Film Festival, located in Monrovia, California. This is a great opportunity to have the people who live near Los Angeles see the film . Please post on Facebook and Twitter and all social media to share with friends and family and professionals in the local area. http://www.aoffest.com.

The 13th Step, A New Documentary Private Screening @The May Fair Hotel, London, England, Wednesday -May 27th 7pm !

Happy to announce the screening of The 13th Step in London.

You must be invited or make a reservation at the www.the13thstepfilm.com website .

Early arrival can meet and greet in the Foyer near the theatre. ( each reservation provides 1 drink or juice) Doors open at 6pm- seating in theater will begin at 6:45 Please arrive on time as we will screen promptly at 7pm.

Cheers!!!

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An End to Abstinence. A refreshing article on the move away from the AA approach.

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Thanks spj for posting. I felt it needed to be on the front page. Because of copy write issues I am only providing the link here.
http://www.afr.com/p/national/an_end_to_abstinence_V7cmexeD0uehMBEdmijlYO

this article is by Peter Smith, published on October 30, 2014. He mentions our favorite Lance Dodes who co wrote wrote The Sober Truth with his son Zachary Dodes.

“Van den Brink strongly believes that reduced drinking is a viable treatment goal for alcohol-use disorders.”

Van den Brink, who co-founded the Amsterdam Institute for Addiction Research is using the drug nalmephene. He also mentions Hams Harm Reduction by Ken Anderson