First of all, we should all be thanking Gabrielle for this most important work. It’s about time. For those of us who have been working for years to reveal the truth behind the lies of 12 step programs, this work is long overdue. Glaser’s perspective comes from a journalistic viewpoint. She has no horse in the race other than the truth. The journalistic truth. The care for women. Hopefully, this will give steppers pause with their typical “you’re killing alcoholics by turning them away from AA,” or “you’re just trying to sell your book” or “you’re not an alcoholic therefore you cannot possibly understand,” or “AA saved my life,” “you are in denial,” “how can you say this about a group that has helped millions,” or downright personal attacks … because they have no other recourse when faced with the truth about their beloved cult religion. Search the ‘orange papers’ and read the cult test and the biggest lies of AA for further info.
What’s fascinating (and long overdue) is the look at women, specifically American women, and how our emancipation also brings access to the male dominated world … and therefore, more drinking like the men. The problem is that metabolically, women become intoxicated faster than men since fat cells retain alcohol, but water dilutes it. Since women have more body fat and do not have as much of the enzyme (alcohol dehydrogenase) that breaks down alcohol before it enters the bloodstream, this leaves women more susceptible to liver and brain damage. The other problem is women are judged more harshly than men for the same behavior. Being a ‘lady’ does not include drinking to excess. Fancy that Hedda.
Another fascinating part of Glaser’s studies reveal the habits of our ancestors and how attitudes and habits have changed since Martha Washington wrote a recipe book including fifty alcoholic drinks and a few hangover cures. The early American colonists drank a lot … Alcohol was safer than water which was contaminated with raw sewage. Even the children drank alcohol. As Glaser writes, “Historians estimate adults in the eighteenth century drank about a gallon of beer a day.” Ahhhh, the good ole days. ; )
Something Glaser found, which we should all keep in mind, is the difference in trigger mechanisms for women and men. Her findings show that STRESS is the predominate trigger for women, while VISUAL CUES are the predominant trigger for men. Men reported feeling more aggressive and powerful when they drank, while women reported feeling calmer, less inhibited and more easygoing. This makes perfect sense …
The chapter (chapter 6) about Monica Richardson is terrifying and unfortunately a very common type of story in 12 step culture. ’13th stepping’ is a monumental problem in 12 step groups. This type of abuse is rampant “in the rooms” and is dismissed, mocked and minimized. There are rapes and sexual abuse continuously and the victim is told to ‘forgive and find their part,’ and that these abuses are ‘outside issues.’ Mostly, just like in general society, the rapes and abuse go unreported. The court system has been duped into thinking that AA is safe to mandate convicted felons as a condition of parole. This practice makes the 12 steps even more dangerous than the emotional abuses (labeling oneself with negative affirmations for the rest of one’s life – as if that weren’t bad enough.) Worst of all, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services (AAWS) refuses to do anything about these safety issues. AA brings panels into prisons full of child rapists to convert them into the ‘program’ and then picks them up and takes them to meetings following release. The vulnerable members have no idea they are very likely sitting next to a rapist who they must hold hands with and pray. AAWS has a ‘corrections kit’ that instructs members how to bring criminals into their ‘way of life.’ Vulnerable young women are especially victimized, but predators are all over the meetings. Beware! Monica is a brave lady for exposing her truth on behalf of all the victims of predators in these meetings. And Gabrielle is correct – Monica is a ‘statuesque stunner, with huge green eyes, curly auburn hair, and a husky contralto.’ (That outta get the men interested in ‘visual cues.’) Monica has a radio show with thousands of listeners.
Glaser does claim that AA traditions recommend no dating within the first year of sobriety. If someone has research to back this up, please share it. As far as I know, dating in the program is considered to be another one of those ‘outside issues.’
One place where Glaser gets it wrong is on page 83. She states that the steps are ‘loosely’ based on the Oxford Group. No. The steps are directly stolen and plagiarized from the Oxford Group. Again, the orangepapers are a good source for more information.
Then, in their bible known as The Big Book – there is a ‘Chapter To Wives.’ It says, “Patience and good temper are most necessary … if he gets the idea that you are a nag or a killjoy, your chance of accomplishing anything useful may be zero … He will tell you he is misunderstood. This may lead to lonely evenings for you. He may seek someone else to console him – not always another man.” in other words, if he cheats, you only have yourself to blame. Also, this chapter is dismissed and minimized in meetings. The problem is that this horrible book was written by men who could not/would not take responsibility for their actions – it is easier to blame your nag of a wife (as if the wives can make the husbands do anything al all). It makes one wonder how many marriages have ended due to a husband’s membership in this group and been given permission to 13th step everyone he can get his hands on.
Glaser tells the story of Marty Mann’s group very well and their anger (same today) when their cult religion was first criticized. On page 107, she talks about a 1976 Rand Corp study of more than 2000 men (no women included) and their treatment outcomes. The study shows that, 18 months after treatment, 24% were abstinent, while 22% were successfully moderating. This idea of successful moderation put Mann’s group into a tizzy. They went ballistic. Again, the dogma of ‘killing people,’ ‘denial,’ giving people permission to relapse,’ – all of that fear-based nonsense. The study was conducted without evaluating the type of treatment modalities but a random study of alcohol dependent subjects. It is as true today as it was in 1976 – a good percentage of people (even ‘real’ alcoholics) can and do successfully moderate. The AA abstinence insistence is all about keeping the cult alive. This ‘program’ is not a program to help people recover. It is a program to keep AA going – since 95% of people leave. AA takes credit for spontaneous remission. The Big Book has a section that separates ‘real’ alcoholics as those who cannot ever touch a drop of alcohol lest their brains be trigged by the uncontrollable urge to drink themselves into oblivion. Hogwash. The orange papers are the result of years and years of study and are a very valuable resource. Why? You may be asking why? The truth calls into question the foundation of the multi-billion dollar treatment industry which (the majority) have one tool: The 12 Steps. Rehabs are in bed with 12 step programs and the sell of the “AA approved’ literature. Money is a powerful motivator to keep the lies alive. The minimum you will pay for a month stay in rehab is $18,000. In fact, rehabs do not want you to get well, they want you to ‘keep coming back!’
On page 109 – Glaser speaks of sociologist and scholar Jean Kirkpatrick. Jean realized that, unlike the dogma of the 12 steps, her problem was an excess of humility, NOT a lack of it. She lacked confidence and the 12 steps are designed to keep one powerless and dependent on the meetings for the rest of ones life. Kirkpatrick was one of the first to push back against the ridiculous notion that one was powerless or defenseless against alcohol. Rubbish. Dangerous rubbish. In fact, it has been proven that this misinformation promotes binge drinking. See the Brandsma Study for more. There is no lack of research documenting the dangers of 12 step program. (There is only anecdotal ‘because I say so’ evidence that the steps work.) Kirkpatrick founded the empowering secular group for women: Women For Sobriety. It is useful for those who wish to abstain. For everyone else, there is Harm Reduction, Stanton Peele’s Life Process Program, Moderation Management and The Sinclair Method. Glaser does a great job informing the reader of the powerful work with Mary Ellen Barnes and Ed Wilson in the chapter about Joanna … another brave soul.
Speaking of Moderation Management, Glaser speaks about Kishline the founder of MM and her horrible drunk driving accident. It is vital to point out that Ms. Kishline had this accident months after going back to AA. Steppers like to use her drunk driving as proof that moderation does not/cannot work. In fact, quite the opposite is true.
I would have liked more research on the ‘disease model’ of addiction. Addiction is not a disease. Again, this ‘concept’ is all about money. Look at Steven Slate’s research and the Baldwin Research Institute for more. Glaser does a great job explaining how Mann hooked up with Jellinek and used his dubious ‘curve’ of addiction to further the cultural hold of AA. As a student at the Hazelden Graduate School of Addiction Studies, we were presented with the Jellinek Curve as proof of the ‘disease concept.’ Of course, Hazelden is a billion dollar industry with their monthly (repeatedly if necessary) stays and their publishing company of ‘approved’ AA literature. They even have a ‘bookstore’ filled with nothing but 12 step dogma in the lobby. However, Dr. Marvin Seppala is slowly and discretely introducing Naltrexone into Hazelden. Of course, he must tread carefully past the cult religion in which he too is brainwashed, but he is also a man of science and cannot ignore it any longer.
Also, Glaser asserts that there is a strong genetic component to addiction. This is highly debatable. Look at Stanton Peele’s research.
This book is genius and a very quick read, I did not want it to end. Finally the truth is told. Her research is solid and all documented in her notes with links for more info. Thank you Gabrielle for this most important and enlightening work! We do NOT need to believe the ‘powerless’ dogma of the 12 steps. We need to be empowered and that is exactly what this book does. An invaluable resource for anyone who is struggling with substance problems or has a loved one struggling in the 12 steps – male or female. It does NOT work, even if you ‘work it.
Read it. You’ll be glad you did.