A.A. reminds me of the John Huston movie, based on a Carson McCullers story, Wise Blood. In it, a young Army serviceman returns to his Booble Belt origins and finds a special niche, becoming a streetcorner preacher who insists he's founded a Church of Truth Without Jesus (or something like that: the Rev. Hazel Motes doesn't know what he believes). Like the prist in Buñuel's Nazarin, he learns that the going in the life of an itenerant pastor can be rough, and if the rough get going, they learn that no good deed shall go unpunished. To these people, A.A. serves as a surrogate religion, and just as every good Christian wants God to know he is contrite each Sunday, saying "I am Jim Martin and I am an alcoholic" now and then is the functional equivalent of taking the sacraments.

When people ask me if alcoholism is inherited or learned behavior, I volunteer my considered opinion it is both. As a child, on the way home from seeing an uncle who made us pancakes with maple sirup every weekend, I asked my dad what Undle Phlete did for a living, he told me, "Phlete's a realtor," a remark I found curious in view of the fact Uncle Phlete always had a bottle on his counter labeled: TEACHER'S. My father in his later years slept through the evening news, all the trendy soaps, the nightly news, and the talk shows because he'd come home drunk and set out to get drunker.

My older brother at 13 was sneaking into the family pantry to crack an occasional can of Dad's Buddweiser, given us by the case as a cost of business. My father was an attorney and represented some of the employees of the distributorship. We traveled to Mexico frequently, since the booze was cheap, and one morning after a lovely night's sleep in Tamazunchale, we came downstairs looking for Phlete III who we found sitting with his high school buddy we'd invited along, eating tamales and drinking cervezas.

I will not long dwell into my own downward slide into that small glass circle at the bottom of every pinrt and fifth; I will only say that the end came the night I realized I had made a fool of myself in a family setting and thought of something the Buddha said: As you think, so shall you be. My thinking while lushed was nil. My tongue, already objectionable to many, became Lash Larue's hand extention and everyone had welts.

Somewhere I got hold of a book entitled How to Quit Drinking Without A.A. I won't go look up the author and publisher but refer you to google. The author prescribes such a wise and intelligent (I dare say secularist) approach to quitting, I cannot recommendd it more highly. I found that what I was suffering from was a chemical imbalance; that is, the booze had brought about a dependency on sugars. (Ever noticed how a lot of alkies take up candy and become "chocoholics"? I'd simply die without a handful of M&M'S.)

He advised first a regimen of milk thistle tincture dissoved in water to go to work immediately cleansing the liver of toxins. While I am not a huge believer in food supplements, the milk thistle, taken along with the other herbs and foods the author recommends, take the edge off the wanting. These days I drink O'Doulls Amber and sometimes have all-juice cranberry-pomeganate drink with no added sugar and aid my immune system and heart simply by drinking something I could simply swear is a good burgundy.

What is the A.A. slogan making the invitee indoctrinated into the belief that it is a higher power that rules them and that they are not going to drink because they fear obey this higher power. To me, "higher power" = "God." It would appear to me to be the same old rosary.

Now, my younger brother Terry? He quit once again and went to an A.A. meeting. One of the fellows he helped get home said, as they reached a street corner with a convenience store on one side, "Can we stop here a minute?" They did. He emerged a few minutes later with a twelve pack tucked neath his arm. Terry did not go back to A.A.

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I too had an problem with alcohol. I started drinking heavily after my divorce from the love of my life. Long story short, got depressed, hit the bottle very hard. After I gotton over her, I continued to drink heavily. I've done that for years. It gotten to a point where that was all I wanted to do. It did start to affect everything I tried to do. Then it started to affect my health, that's when something had to be done. I still refused to attend A.A.. Step2 took care of that, so I was on my own. After some time of asking myself why, It became clear that I developed a "bad habit". The logical path was behavor modification. Don't get me wrong, It took a long time for me to admit to myself that I had a problem. It was not easy, then figure a way to correct it. That was the hardest part, how was I going to straiten myself out with no help. I decided to dry out for a week, then relearn how to enjoy the booze in a responsible way. It wasn't easy to find the "have enough" point, but eventually I found the stopping point where it's just enough to where I'm having a good time, but still can behave in a reasponsible way.

The point I'm making here is that one does'nt need organized groups to help to over come there problems. Although going it alone is no easy task and It helps to have support, it's not impossible.
Precisely, and I only recommended the book How to Quit...Without A.A. as good mind training while easing oneself back to sanity. You take what might be called the Stoico-Nietzschean approach: stand on your own two feet and simply quit. Nuff said.
I never knew the terminology for what I am doing, ( trust me it's an ongoing struggle ). Also it does get easier with time. The iorny is that have read Nietzsche.
I don't think I could stay sober without the human network of AA. I just don't think I could do it...
Doesn't all of that "higher power" nonsense bother you? Some, including myself, believe it is a form of Christeranity.

Hi all.

I'm a young mother in NZ who used to be a serious pisshead. When I got pregnant I gave it all up, and it was hard. My partner is currently in prison and has completed a treatmant programme and is attending NA.

His letter are getting more and more full of wishy washy stuff and lingo, and I can't help feeling when he gets home we're not going to get on, because for me personally, giving up alcohol made me see how foolish all that new agey, god nonsense is, but he's had to have it 24/7 inside.

I understand completely how hard it is to give up, and if it helps him I suppose thats what he has to do, but I don't think I can cope with a man who is constantly focused on the past, on being in constant 'recovery' and telling me all about how his "new found understanding of self esteem will alllow him to become a 'pro-social' person" etc.

I'm harsh I know.

Any tips on how I can maybe help him to see he can do it from a rational perspective, and without all the lingo and stuff that means nothing outside of his N.A. group?
Religion is a crutch.  Alcohol is a crutch.  They have that in common and this, too: when you are drunk you see through a glass darkly.  (Yes, I am turning the Biblical passage on its head.  Whole books in the Bible can be interpreted in a non-religious way, e.g. Ecclesiastes.)  I was amazed at how I got off the New Age stuff when I stopped hitting the hooch.  It was as though the religious crap was the "enabler" as A.A. people describe spouses, family members, &c. (anybody who actually helps you be an alcoholic by not making you stop).  If your partner insists on using that lingo, as you put it, you must assert your atheism and insist that the Higher Power is "the one between your ears."  The retired TV mogul Ted Turner became famous/notorious overnight for saying "Christianity is for losers" is because it is true.  Christianity and, actually, all religions teach that you must submit your problems to an Easter Bunny-like entity called Jesus, Allah, Yahweh, whomever, and trust in that entity to do the right thing.  Well, he or she rarely does.  Belief is the abrogation of personal responsibility; small wonder that the first thing people do when you mention their mistakes is to blame someone else.  There is a whole complex of fallacious logic involved in this, but it boils down to having an invisible unknowable thing to blame for one's shortcomings.  That is what Turner meant by loser.  An alcoholic believer has the double whammy.  While drunk, they can say, "I can pass out on the floor and God will do what God will do, so I am putting myself into his hands."  ("Him," in this case is Jack Daniels or Mr. Glenfiddich.  Or maybe Mrs. Gilbey or the Mexican guy, Joe Crow.)  Of course, God, being perfect, and having made us in his image, must have a lot of hangovers.




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