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Conference Call with Stanton Peele-

I participated in the Drug Policy Alliance’s conference call with Stanton Peele.  I really enjoyed the call.  It was so refreshing to have a professional addiction expert say the the things you have been criticized for saying for years.  I, Like Dr. Peele do  not believe that 12 step programs and harm reduction programs are compatible.

First, I would like to explain that I have a Master’s Degree in Public health, and I have spent the majority of my life (from about 15 until 38) being told that I have a disease called addiction for which there is no known cure.

There have been times in my life that my drug and alcohol use was completely out of control.  However, that is not my only experience with drugs and alcohol.  I have had other times where I have been highly successful while using drugs and drinking alcohol.  When my life has become unmanageable many times it is a result of drug policy as opposed to the drugs themselves.   There have been times that my life was seemingly just fine and then some life event has caused me a serious disruption (such as getting a drug charge).  I have quickly gone from managing my substance use to chaotic use….I believe this is because I lacked the skills to cope with my problems.  CBT and DBT, which Dr. Peele discuses as well as mindfulness are all techniques that I use now so I do not have to fall into chaotic drug use every time I have a serious problem.

There are some major problems with 12 step programs.  First, black and white thinking is one of the first signs of distorted thinking.  It is not surprising to me that 2 alcoholics came up with a plan for not drinking that consisted of such ALL OR NOTHING thinking.  The idea that “half measures avail us nothing” is a very damaging statement made by AA. Basically, what I understand that to mean is that there is no point in trying to moderate I am either drinking full force or stopping….there is NO in between.  This is repeated at meetings so much that I believe that people internalize this and one outcome is that when they slip and begin drinking or using they don’t even work for moderation.  They have been told that it is impossible by treatment professionals, counselors, groups, books….why are all those people telling lies?  For that many people to say these things they must be proven scientifically right? WRONG!

Another serious problem is the idea that at the core of my disease is my selfish self centered nature.  How in one sentence you tell me that my “disease is not a moral failing” but I don’t have the capacity to be honest and I am both selfish and self centered.


If finding a higher power is the solution to my problem then lack of a higher power must be the cause of my problem right????

ONE MORE THING:  So, I have to abstain from all mind and mood altering substances for the rest of my life or my disease will be activated and I will go right back to my addictive ways.  IF this was true then why are alcoholics and drug addicts sitting in meetings chain smoking and drinking coffee??? HOW my friends is this possible.  According to AA/ NA they should be at the crack house before the meeting ends robbing their grandmas and lying to their loved ones.

I am afraid that people believe this stuff because the 12 step text is treated like it is a combination of sacred text and proven science.  People quote the text as if it was written by GOD.  Why do we allow people to talk about this stuff like it is proven science when it is just a bunch of hoopla.  My favorite part of the program is this:  GO ask a long time member or a your sponsor about these things and they will tell you something like this:  Your disease is playing tricks on you trying to trick you into using???  Your disease and the southern baptist devil sounds awful familiar …. Peace Louise

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