Friday, August 11, 2006

Warning--extreme (semi)-adult content.

As the SHAMblog faithful will know, we try to keep things clean around here. Yeah, on very rare occasion, even your upstanding host has resorted to one of the milder expletives (pertaining to bulls and what they do with unmetabolized food) in order to make a point. That said, I've also alluded to the hate mail I receive when I do media, especially if the discussion turns (as it always will) to Alcoholics Anonymous. If you've read my book, you already know that I'm harder on AA than on any other facet of the SHAMscape, not just because I think the organization plays fast and loose with facts (which it does), but also because AA became the model for the Recovery Movement and the so-called culture of blame, both of which have had provably disastrous effects on America. Anyway, after a long period of radio silence, I've begun doing interviews again in connection with the forthcoming release of the paperback version of SHAM. Today, someone attempted to post what follows on the blog. The opening South Park allusion refers to an instant-classic episode of the show ("Bloody Mary") that parodies AA and its mindset. I find it interesting that in that same reference, the commenter essentially makes my case: that the recovery movement has given an awful lot of people easy outs for bad behavior.

Originally I blocked this from appearing as a comment, but on reflection I think it provides valuable insight into what happens when you attack some people's sacred cows--even if you have the weight of evidence on your side. It also shows the degree to which people will get all wrapped up in anecdotal evidence, giving it a weight and meaning that may have nothing at all to do with the Big Picture. And so, without further ado:

"Following in South Park's monument of ignorance? That's okay. Too many people say that they are "alcoholics" these days to gain social graces and pity, or "addicts" or "mental disorder suffererers."

Real alcoholics, once they quit, cannot drink again. Read that, fucker. CANNOT DRINK AGAIN. They will relapse and lose most of their money, property, and social position (meaning they will get fired). Real alcoholics, like my father still is, keep sober and keep going to meetings because they know the danger of relapse. Shit, ask my brothers who watched my father waste his live away in a box under a bridge for so many years with booze and drugs. Addicts do NOT get to come back in moderation.

Your kind of thinking and that of the South Park creators about that episode is fucking dangerous and will cost lives. But it's okay, you guys don't give a fuck. Hell, you're just trying to find the next tiny revolution and gain a little bit of social status. Who cares if a few junkies or drunks die in some alleyways because they refused to believe in the programs after reading and watching/reading the new "alcoholism doesn't exist" bullshit? Pfft, their problem, right?

Oh, to be clear: Fuck you and die.
For the record, I am very, very sorry about people who lose their lives and/or souls to alcohol and other mind-altering substances. That is why I want there to be a cure--a real one; a permanent one--for the nightmare of addiction. That is why I don't want pseudo-recovery organizations to be able to hide behind misleading or made-up statistics in their effort to save face or protect their own turf and public image.

Finally, I apologize to anyone who was offended by this. We shall now revert to our customary G rating.


Cosmic Connie said...

As I mentioned in a previous post, fundamentalist attitudes such as that displayed by your anon contributor turned me off of AA years ago. Maybe some people do need to believe AA is the only way; perhaps believing that is the only thing that keeps them sober. But my guess is that far more people are damaged by such attitudes than are helped by them.

And for the record, "South Park" has long been a guilty pleasure of mine. (How can you not love a show that has given us such splendid characters as Mr. Hankey?) The Rev doesn't much care for the show. But I think it's just because he has more refined tastes than I. :-)

RevRon's Rants said...


You don't even want to get me started on the reactions of rabid fandroids when they feel their pet organization/celebrity/philosophy/political ideology is referred to in less than reverential terms. We're fading the same kind of fanaticism right now. Can't say more, 'cuz the lawyers are everywhere, watching, waiting...

The only thing thatn keeps us remotely sane is the realization that no matter what position one takes, when you express an opinion publicly, there will be people who have such a large branch up their burro that they will stop at nothing to make your life miserable. So be it. It is obvious in their diatribes that their own misery is far worse than anything they could hope to inflict upon their "enemies." We can either hold them in our thoughts, in the hope that they might one day awaken to the absurdity of their vitriol, or we can invite them to, as Vonnegut suggested, "take a flying f*** at a rolling donut." If their protestations seem overly grandiose, omit the donut and replace with "the moon." Either response is likely to be equally effective. :-)

Steve Salerno said...

Thanks, folks, for your support. If I may say so myself, what I really like about this blog is that we have a group of "idea people"--some regulars, some semi-regulars, some who just drop in when the spirit moves them--who aren't the least bit shy about taking issue with each other's ideas (or pointing out the subtle or not-so-subtle flaws in something that your, ahem, esteemed host throws "out there"), but who also generally are able to separate the idea from the human being who produced it. We may want to go medieval on each other's thoughts (though we're wont to do even that in a respectful manner), but we don't go medieval on each other. If you haven't been in the public eye, you have no idea how rare that is (which is one reason why I make every effort to keep my family's actual physical whereabouts private; you just never know). We live in a culture, after all, where even highly placed politicians can't seem to keep the rhetoric out of the gutter. It's a damn shame.

Rodger Johnson said...

I’m going to keep my comments clean after this: That fundamentalist’s post is bullshit.

As the son of an alcoholic, not all live their lives homeless, destitute, and despicable. Mine had a very good career first in private industry, then as a middle manager for the Defense Contract Management Administrations – a unit of the Department of Defense.

Granted my father was far from a good man, and he drank plenty, hit me plenty. After 1999, he stopped drinking until February of this year. If you read other posts, you’ll know the tragedy that befell my family, so there’s no need to rehash that here. Nonetheless, he started drinking again – heavily at that too.

To give you an update, he’s stopped drinking, come to term with the passing of my mother, and is sober again. He, on occasions, drinks a beer during dinner, but nothing further.

Dear friend who’s pissed because Steve tells the truth, you need to stop making excuses for another person’s choice to drink. When enough is enough, he’ll stop. When enough is enough, he’ll learn to control the alcohol. It’s a thing like money, and the drinking of it is like sex – it makes you feel good. But all of them are good in moderation. And moderation is a choice.



Keeping the blog content rated G is wise, but sometimes reality isn’t rosy, Disneyland fairytales. I wouldn’t worry about offending you readers – I think we are well matured adults.

Anonymous said...

Steve- I am deeply offended by the language in this post- just kidding! People always think that whatever happened to them is what reality is, and then get all worked up about it. Don't take your critics too much to heart, you know you're on solid ground and that's what matters. Keep up calling them as you see them.

Anonymous said...

The thing that disturbs me most about Alcoholics Anonymous is summed up in a discussion praising Weight Watchers in the book "Three Fat Chicks on a Diet"--you can never leave. Once you're in it, you're supposed to stay in it for life and just keep on attending those weekly meetings. Or else! Backsliding is inevitable, only the meetings will save you from your real self. Well, maybe it works for enough people to keep the program--and profits--rolling. (The Three Fat Chicks endorse it heartily.) But that's waaay too much like a cult for me!