Videos on Alcoholism recovery worth watching

I’m An Alcoholic: My Name Is…

Here are a couple of things that I have watched this week. The first was on Channel 5 in the Uk and was called  I’m An Alcoholic: My Name Is….  You can watch the whole thing here http://www.channel5.com/shows/im-an-alcoholic-my-name-is/episodes/my-name-is-and-im-an-alcoholic but I have put a small section from YouTube below.

It contains 7 people who have become alcoholics and who have managed to beat the drink to a greater or lesser extent after loosing control. It certainly deals with alcoholism in a sensitive way and includes people who have used Smart Recovery, AA and Therapy to get well. I think it is a good time of the year to show this as many are attempting a dry January and will have realised that stopping is hard. I think seeing other people who have succeeded will help motivate them to get the help that they need. Many people do have problems with alcohol now and do need help. It is good to see these brave people from a wide range of backgrounds telling their story which will hopefully help break the stigma of looking for support with stopping alcohol. This was something that stopped me seeking help when I needed it until things got really bad.

Gabrielle Glaser on The Atlantic.

I had not seen this recording from last year and although the audio is out of sync it is well worth watching. The Atlantic editor Scott Stossel interviews Gabrielle Glaser, author of “Her Best Kept Secret” and recently, “The False Gospel of Alcoholics Anonymous.”

It is a really interesting discussion with Gabrielle who I met in London last year and who has done a lot to highlight how out of dat a lot of addiction treatment is.

I think we need a lot of open discussion about this type of thing as so many people are not finding the type of solution that would really help them, thanks to the dominance of the 12 step solution. This is a real problem as AA only really helps quite a small number of people that try it. It has been around the longest and is by far the most well established, but not the most efficient way of beating alcoholism.

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  1. Anyway, I cannot stand Gabrielle Glaser, even though I am open to looking for ideas besides AA. She seems so smug, which I don’t care for in myself when I am or in anyone else. She cariacatures AA supporters as people who email her that she is in denial about her own alcoholism, when that is a small and annoying portion of people in AA. The other thing that is annoying to me about her Atlantic article (which they must have decided to rename to “The Irrationality of AA”) is that she keeps conflating as ONE entity: the treatment industry, CADC counselors, AA and the 12 steps as it has evolved since AA into many many fellowships. AA is its own organization, and it is a volunteer organization. If anyone is the bad guy here, it’s the treatment industry and the drug courts who are funneling people into AA against their will. AA is not for everyone, but if it works for you, go for it. I have found a lot of success in NA because it’s text is so much better than AA’s crappy 1930s language.

    Sorry for venting, but I think GG is not intellectually honest by having not done enough true investigation about AA itself or by purposefully choosing to conflate a bunch of things into “AA”, or else she is not very bright.

    You met her, what do you think? I hope I am totally wrong. I just find her article not helpful…. your website here is helpful, she is inflammatory

    • I think Gabrielle has looked at AA a lot, and certainly did get a lot of abuse from AA supporters after her Atlantic piece. I do keep in contact with her and was impressed with her when I met her. I did point out that AA had given me a place to go and a sober community which was useful but we then discussed why the steps are not a way that everyone is going to beat addiction.
      I think her book http://www.recoveringfromrecovery.com/best-kept-secret/ makes many good points, especially on how people regard excessive alcohol consumption today compared to when AA was formed. Certainly there are more females with alcohol problems these days and she has picked up on that.
      I think she has done a good job raising awareness of these issues and also making people aware of alternatives to AA. I don’t think AA helps as many as it could as it is stuck in the past and it is bad that the treatment industry uses the old 12 steps when there are better things out there.
      I would certainly not lump Gabrielle in with some of the anti AA nutters out there, that belive everything on the Orange Papers, or who like to say they were in a cult. AA has had a lot of support in the press by lazy journalists who have not bothered to look at what really happens in AA and the low success rates for complete abstinence. I understand that many people do get a lot from AA but others do not and mainstream articles such as the Atlantic peice have made people aware of solutions such as the Sinclair Method.
      I will see if I can do a podcast with her at some point soon as she is interesting to talk to and I have a lot of time for her and what she does.

  2. That’d be good to hear. I know she has valid viewpoints, but she seems to throw all of AA under the bus for systemic treatment industry issues.

    On the other hand, The 12 steps were originally a pretty successful way to help some guys and gals stay sober and they can still work if done without an iron fist sponsor. But AA’s ingrained rigidity has made its own evolution stunted, and has only itself to blame. I’ve often wondered if I could sit down and write a rewrite amalgamation of the Big Book etc. Without all the anachronisms and chauvanism of BB. I bet it could be done, with flexible language and concepts, yet inclusive enough to foster social support.

    Imagine a book that described recovery realistically. .. “Many of us did the steps with a sponsor and found it beneficial, while also working on emotional fragility especially in a compassionate environment in therapy. Others of us really connected with others by contagious positivity and encouragement of others…. still others found medication helped find a safe space to recover in.”

    I’ll keep looking into this and write back if I make some progress 🙂

    Tony

  3. Hi Tony, i certainly think AA literature needs an update. They can keep the Big Book so people understand the background of AA, but could do something modern, which will connect with the type of people who need help today.
    There is certainly a connection between recovering alcoholics and this was talked about by one of the people in the channel 5 video, who used to go to the same meetings as me. I think it is useful to talk to others who have been through the same problems and who have experience of dealing with recovery issues. Support can be so important especially in the early days. The problems often come from the type of sponsors who go around trying to sponsor everyone and who try to control vulnerable people’s lives. This often leads to disaster, even though they can actually be a misguided attempt to help. My first sponsor was obsessed by AA and his whole life revolved around it. I thought it was good to have such a dedicated sponsor until I realised he had little idea on how to deal with the real world. His ideas were quite extreme and I had the sense to dump him, but he still sponsored about 30 people and would gossip about them all. He was not taking notice of all the traditions and it is the lack of accountability that allows a few to spoil AA. Most of the people there were good and trying to turn their life around and could really help me in a positive way. However a minority were quite loud in meetings and cause many of the bad problems that people complain about.
    There does need to be a line drawn between treatment and support groups, but it is certainly blurred at the moment.

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