A Critique On Alcoholics Anonymous Read Count : 16

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Sub Category : Self Help

What is addiction? 

     I cannot even fathom a broader question at this moment. I believe inquiries of such generality require an answer of a similar range: God. 

     That’ll get some attention. But, in all honesty, do we really know what addiction is? I know we think we do. But in actuality, it all depends on who you ask. 

     If you ask a recovering addict involved in the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous, AA, the answer you receive will probably be that it’s a disease, or a spiritual malady. AA is a faith-based 12-step program dominates treatment in the United States. But researchers have debunked central tenets of AA doctrine and found dozens of other treatments more effective.If you ask a mainstream scientist with no personal experience of addiction, he or she will most likely agree—it’s what they’re paid to say. However, if you ask a non-mainstream scientist, such as Dr. Marc Lewis, who has dealt with his own drug addiction, you’ll receive quite a different answer—the same answer that I’ve discovered to be true.

     Addiction isn’t a disease; at least, not in the sense that it’s commonly referred to, like that of diabetes. Whether it's a disease or not is actually irrelevant to recovery. All it does is lessen the stigma of being an addict, so the people in your life will still hang out with you. News for you, if they weren't there for you without the disease justification, then they are not your friends, at all.

     Most of what you hear pertaining to the neuroscience, or the neurobiology, of addiction is only a theory, having yet to be proven—like that of addiction being of a “chemical imbalance” in the brain. I can only guess that it must be because of how these six-syllables roll off the tongue so smoothly that elates one to feel as if they know what they’re talking about; but in reality, they don’t have a clue.

     Just what exactly is a ‘chemical imbalance?’ 

     They say it’s when the brain releases too much of a chemical or not enough. But then, how do we know this? Sure, it makes sense, but that doesn’t make it true. We don’t have anyway of measuring the neurochemicals that play such a huge role in our moods and behaviors. It’s only a theory, and I widely disregarded one, too.

     Back to the disease model. If addiction is a disease, then anyone with a functioning brain can and most likely is already “diseased.” The stigma that tails the dreaded word of ‘addiction’—especially when followed by the word ‘drug’—has become so demonized that those who suffer as a result of the lack of research in brain chemistry, are seldom met with the love and compassion (which initially drove them to escape or dull the emotional or physical pain) they desperately need. 

     Rather, they’re met with insensitivity, harsh judgement, and no longer regarded as functioning members of society—a society that is hardly without a flaw. And it's down, below our feet where we keep them, underneath our own self-deception of living a “non-addictive” life. This, however, doesn't begin with any stigma, but is the result of something else—a particular program, perhaps?

     While drug addicts are left living on the outskirts of an already broken society, those who keep them there are also glued to their phone and computer screens, waiting for their own fix. They wait in anticipation for their next shot of dopamine from receiving a ‘Like’ on their Facebook or Instagram page. 

     Social media has become the new “opiate of the masses.” It works no different from that of a drug. We receive the same effect when snorting a bump of cocaine:

     The brain uses the same neurotransmitters and receptors when one receives a ‘Like,’ comment, ‘thumbs up,’ share, or any indicator that someone has acknowledged your digital presence. I say acknowledged because seldom does anyone actually like what you’ve posted if it doesn’t benefit them in any way . Rather, it’s more of an acknowledgment, like saying, “Hey, we’re still friends, so I care about this too!” 

     Why have more people succumbed to narcissistic tendencies? 

     Social media. 

     Rene Descartes had claimed the most famous philosophical quote up to about ten years ago, known to many intellectuals as the “Cogito, after its Latin phrasing Cogito Ergo Sum,” meaning, I think, therefore I am (which he later changed to “I am, I exist,” in his Meditations on First Philosophy.) However, in the past ten years, Descartes’ “claim-to-fame” has become something more innately known and considered ‘common sense’ to millennial generation and younger, who could relate more by giving it a piece of what makes them stand out from previous generations: more individuality—a makeover, if you will. And thus, we have the defining quote of the early twenty-first century: I tweet, therefore I am. (Which I’ll go ahead and, like Descartes, change it up to be more accurate: I tweet, I suck.)

     The self-acclaimed “philanthropist” and first president of Facebook, Sean Parker, has blatantly stated that “Facebook was developed to get people addicted.” The avaricious Mr. Parker still claims this title is paradoxically still known as a philanthropist? Even with consideration to his charitable donations, it’s no amount to suffice for the damages to society and human welfare in which his company is responsible.

     One last point on the misconception of addiction being a disease: During the War of Vietnam, many GIs became addicted to heroin, either from being previously treated with morphine or being tempted by its insanely cheap price—around $4/bag, compared to $40/bag in the states. Either way, normally 5% of all heroin addicts stay clean, however it was 95% of the GIs  who'd managed to stay clean when they came back home. And only 5% relapsed. 

     AA's claim to fame of being "the only way to recover," is bullshit. Sure, we don't know if these GIs went to AA or not, but there is a known experiment involving rats which proves my point. And I don't see any furry rodents, besides my ex, holding claws chanting the Serenity Prayer. (Look up Peter Milner and James Olds, because I'm not typing all that.)

     For those who truly wish to understand what addiction is and how to recover from it, I will say that it's not your fault for misunderstanding. It's no fault of any citizen. But if you want to point the finger, you can start by discovering the hidden agendas for having television shows reveal these sometimes obvious fallacies. Shows such as Intervention and Celebrity Rehab that use a "tough-love" approach to recovery. While such television programs don't reveal the entire truth, such as Celebrity Rehab, painting a highly misleading picture of how long it truly takes to recover, others can be downright appalling. 

     In Intervention, an addict's loved ones, the only people he/she has left in the world, read letters that remind, or inform, how their lives had negatively been affected because of actions and behaviors solely of the addict. The parents, guardians, siblings, friends, whoever involved, take zero responsibility in playing a part in the enablement of their addicted "loved" one. 

     That "dear friend" or family member at the moment is feeling the lowest they've ever felt in their overwhelmingly dark and experienced lives, while everyone around them points the finger. It's not that the family members don't care, they've been misguided by the advice given by television producers and one of two paid addiction 'experts.' Though, nobody is as lied to as the star of the show—the Addict. 

     Here is an obvious example of how family members enable their loved one's addiction: They do this by participating in their loved one's televised addiction, where not only is the addict misled about what the documentary actually is, they reveal every horrible thing the addict has done. Much of the family's personal, private matters then become displayed to be viewed all over the world.

     At the end of every letter is an ultimatum, by that of "an offer they can't refuse." Basically, if the addict decides on going to treatment, they immediately hop on a plane to spend the next 3-6 months living with other unknown drug addicts at an inpatient treatment facility in an unfamiliar place usually across the country. The treatment centers used in shows like Intervention and Addicted, are always based within a 12-step program—that of/or affiliated with the failed ruins of an ancient program known as Alcoholics Anonymous

     Okay, maybe it's not ancient, but it still uses the same steps and traditions that haven't been updated to fit any other addiction other than alcohol. Even that of Narcotics Anonymous, HA, CA, etc., all still use the same 12-step doctrine—which probably hasn't been changed since its founding in 1935. If you've been to a Sunday mass in a Christian Church, then you've basically been to an AA meeting. One person speaks about a bunch of things you've already heard millions of times, or if no speaker, you hear these same things but from various people, who raise their hand and identify themselves with, "Hi, I'm Bobby, and I'm an alcoholic/drug addict." This is also sometimes followed by their "clean time"—how long they've been sober—which for a small minority can be years, yet they still consider themselves "addicted." 

     I could go on and on about the fallacies and hypocrisies of the money-making, Ponzi scheme that became of what started as a strong community with a program that had used to work decades ago, but I'm done trying to help others who don't care to open their eyes at what's clearly happening. Hopefully, they'll realize it before their addiction takes them.  (Feel Free to visit my personal recovery blog at http://jaallison.blog or email me at jaallison22@gmail.com, if you feel feisty.)

     If you really want to know how corrupt Alcoholics Anonymous is, please visit: https://theaatruth.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/irrationality-of-aa/#more-112

     Rehabs based on the 12-step program of AA have the lowest rates of success within the world of recovery—with a whomping 5-10% of people staying clean. Look it up. They also have a firm belief that their program is the only way to achieve sobriety. 

     This alone should tell you something is up, and perhaps, they're not the answer. 

     You don't need a higher power to recover; although, in my experience, it helped temporarily. The addict should learn to become more open-minded to new beliefs anyway if having a closed-mind was a past behavior—when using drugs. The same goes for making amends. I can't think of a quicker way toward a relapse. Why would you put yourself in a high-stressed situation when you are still becoming accustomed to the vulnerable state experiencing everything over again like a child, with a cleared head. You're just getting back on your feet and amends throws you straight into the lion's den.

      If those people who you think need amends aren't there right now for you while in your recovery, supporting you, then they are not a friend and don't deserve a damn thing from you. 

     An addict needs to be surrounded by people that love and care for them. They must truly understand that they are loved no matter what—with or without drugs. When you know who your real friends are, keep a mindful distance from those other people; until, you are strong enough in your recovery. 

     The addict must also reestablish themselves in their, or a new community. This can be done by getting a job that has nothing to do with anything or anyone that will remind him of using. It's always good to meet and befriend other addicts. But not anyone belonging to AA. Sure, they'll tell you the program works if you work it correctly, but inside they are miserable. You can see it when they yell their phony cliches at you. They will see you improving and how truly happy you are and will want to give up AA and join you. I promise. 

     AA is nothing but a giant cult/pissing contest. It revolves around a reward system of sobriety chips. Do not fall for these plastic pieces of nonsense. If you want one, just hop in a meeting and say you have a year or two or three. How would they know? It's anonymous, right? If it was anonymous they wouldn't be announcing their names and that they are addicts. Just saying that psychologically sets you up for relapse. 

     I'm going to end this with a story from the last 12-step meeting I had attended three years ago. It was an HA meeting, being that I was shooting heroin from age 19 to 29 (I'm now 32 btw). I never wasted it by smoking or snorting it either. 

     Anyway, a kid in say his early to mid-twenties kept going on and on about how his god had gotten him a job. They had to ring the bell on him. Now, according to his story, this wasn't his first job ever, nor did he speak of any hardships that would keep him from getting a job besides his heroin use. 

     "If it wasn't for God, I wouldn't have this job. He got it for me." This was when he finally shut up. 

     I wanted so bad to tell him, Dude, I highly doubt any god is responsible for getting you that job. God didn't fill out any application. God didn't give a solid interview. God didn't even get you sober to be able to do all this. You did. Give yourself some fucking credit, for God's sake!

If you have questions, concerns, insults, please direct them to jaallison22@gmail.com. 

     Thank you, I'm Josh and I'm no longer an addict. 


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