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Author Topic: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid  (Read 13620 times)

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Offline CalvinC

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Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« on: February 26, 2007, 09:12:50 PM »
Hello all

I've been back, lurking.....but nothing to contribute, save for this.

I noticed that Ann, one of the moderators, has a link under "Addicted?" to a group known as Sexaholics Anonymous (SA). While the purpose of any twelve step group is commendable--recovery, and a spiritual life--gay men and lesbians may not find SA very hospitable. Why? In SA, sobriety is defined within the strict parameters of a heterosexual relationship, ie, they believe that sex is admissable only between spouses, and they define a spousal couple as "man" and "woman." Obviously, there isn't a lot of room for gay people here.

I would recommend instead a far more inclusive group, SLAA, the largest 12 step group of its kind with that specific mission, a group that states in its literature that gender or sexual orientation is irrelevant. The website might be found at http://www.slaafws.org/

Andrew

(ps. I did bring this up with Ann, but I got no response. As a result, I thought it germane to post.)

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2007, 09:28:25 PM »
Thanks for that post. I am leery of many 12 step programs mainly because they were not scientifically tested until quite recently. The notion of abdicating control to a higher power proves a stumbling block to many atheistic or alternative people, and insofar as Sex Addicts, I wholeheartedly agree that the notion of heterosexual fidelity works only for heterosexuals.

And to be fair, sec addiction is not ever the cause of the problem. It is invariably a symptom. And only a professional counselor - or a professionally MODERATED group therapy session stands a chance of making a real and lasting change.

In AA and NA and the like, the groups are as healthy- or as sick- as the most charismatic person in the group. And given the deceptive nature of most addictions, my money is not always on the "healthy" when dealing with the group leaders.

A combination of cognitive behavioural therapy, the correct medication, and personal committment to real - and realistic-  change is the best best for recovery.

Because it's not the drink. Or the drug. Or the sex. It never is. And removing the anesthetic sets a person up for a terribly painful, and often lonely period.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2007, 09:31:31 PM »
I have to agree with JK. I consider 12 step programs extremely dodgy to say the least. All that "give yourself to a higher power" shit sounds like a total cop-out to this little white pervert.

More than that, I have serious doubts that such a thing as "sexual addiction" even exists. Nothing more than latter day buzz words for those in search of a "condition" to validate their pointless lives, I suspect.

MtD


Offline CalvinC

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2007, 09:43:42 PM »
Well, Matty, nothing like nay-saying. Should we assume that your "insight" comes from experience?

First off, "sex addiction" simply denotes what might in a psychiatrist's office be called "intimacy disorder." As Jonathan states, it's not about the sex (or the drink or the drugs); it's how it is used in order to mask life's other problems/issues/bruises. In any case, all 12 step programs address the addiction itself in the first three steps; the remaining steps are based on the need for spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical stability. So perhaps these people have had pointless lives. Might there be anything wrong in trying to indeed find a point?

12 step groups define a Higher Power as not necessarily a deity, nor does it presume a relationship of subordination. (The higher power can be the group, the literature, whatever; "god" can mean "Good Orderly Direction."

There's nothing "dodgy" about 12 step groups. Invariably, as with any organization, there may be bad apples and the like. But again, as with any organization, these get weeded out.

A<

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2007, 10:03:17 PM »
Well, Matty, nothing like nay-saying. Should we assume that your "insight" comes from experience?

First off, "sex addiction" simply denotes what might in a psychiatrist's office be called "intimacy disorder." As Jonathan states, it's not about the sex (or the drink or the drugs); it's how it is used in order to mask life's other problems/issues/bruises. In any case, all 12 step programs address the addiction itself in the first three steps; the remaining steps are based on the need for spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical stability. So perhaps these people have had pointless lives. Might there be anything wrong in trying to indeed find a point?

12 step groups define a Higher Power as not necessarily a deity, nor does it presume a relationship of subordination. (The higher power can be the group, the literature, whatever; "god" can mean "Good Orderly Direction."

There's nothing "dodgy" about 12 step groups. Invariably, as with any organization, there may be bad apples and the like. But again, as with any organization, these get weeded out.

A<


Sigh. Is it International Pissy Bitch Day today or something? No, Matty the Damned has no experience of these groups from a members perspective nor does he consider his life pointless. He thinks that people who believe in things like "sexual addiction" and "intimacy disorders" lead pointless lives, but he doubts SA can help them.

First up, I've never bought into this "the higher power" is whatever you want it to be rap that the Anonymous Cultists prattle on about. It quite plainly suggests that you have to buy into the notion of a supreme personality that controls all things. I don't accept that. Nor do around 6% of my countrymen.

But don't believe me. Check out the 12 Steps on the SA site that Ann links to. They have copied them directly from AA (and they say so) and God (with a capital G) figures prominently. Same with the 12 Traditions, that they have. There's even a "Fellowship Approved Literature List".

Now what does that remind you of?

The important thing here is that I don't think people who want to participate in these creepy organisations should be stopped from doing so. If these things float your boat, go for it. I say the same about Mormonism or Roman Catholicism or your local Lord of the Rings Re-enactment Society.

I do have a problem when groups like AA, NA or even SA become part of mandated treatment courses. I dispute that 12 step programmes are effective for a significant majority of people.

But what is "sex addicition" or an "intimacy disorder" anyway? Are these labels that we apply to people who don't conform to societal norms when it comes to private sexual behaviour between consenting adults? I suspect so.

And I think it distasteful to compare certain sorts of sexual behaviour to established medical conditions such as alcoholism and substance addiction. These are not the same and it's ignorant to suggest otherwise.

MtD

Offline CalvinC

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2007, 10:11:15 PM »
Pardon me? "International Prissy Bitch Day"? Is this meant to be funny?

My defense, as it were, of 12 step programs takes its cue from your own bitchy comments, if I might put so fine a point on it. Really, if you don't have anything more constructive in your commentary that amounts to little more than sticking out your tongue and saying You're Stupid, then kindly start your own thread. And here's a title for it: Just Jerking Off.

If you aren't interested in the thread beyond spreading your negative brand of superiority, kindly take it elsewhere. Go live one of those pointful lives that you, the arbiter of what is pointless, must have.

Good grief.

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2007, 10:11:27 PM »
I don't mean to be argumentative, but any group meeting that ends with the "Lord's Prayer" espouces a singular agenda.

A cursury research into the history of AA will show you that it was formed without any scientific input other than the verbiage and philosophy of one recovering, Christan alcoholic and a singular physician... in the 1920s, before the advent of psychoanalysis and modern mental health counseling.

And all other "anonymous" programs are based on that same model ... a model that has been  that has been proven to be largely ineffective (except, I imagine for, devout Christian heterosexuals)

At best, the only psychological basis for 12 step recovery is Jungian in theory, as one of the two recovering alcoholics (Dr Bill W) consulted Jung in the early years of his decision to begin a program.

Thing is, given the strong judeo christian (particularly protestant) bent of the recovery program, it seems that only those already leaning towards that belief system (and many gay men and women have HUGE problems with the concepts involved with the Christian religion) stand a chance of beating their addictions using that program.

some sources:
Keith S. Ditman, M.D., George G. Crawford, LL.B., Edward W. Forgy, Ph.D., Herbert Moskowitz, Ph.D., and Craig MacAndrew, Ph.D. (August 1967). "A Controlled Experiment on the Use of Court Probation for Drunk Arrests". American Journal of Psychiatry 124 (2): pp. 160-163.

^ Brandsma, Jeffrey, Maxie Maultsby, and Richard J. Welsh. Outpatient Treatment of Alcoholism. Baltimore, MD.: University Park Press, page 105.

To the best of my knowledge, ALL 12 step groups follow this same formula, which to me is disengenuous considering the VASTLY different natures of addictions to alcohol, cocaine, meth, sex, and the like.

Perhaps converting to an evangelical paradigm helps some people to convert their energy into a positive, or at least a community-supported resource. I submit that for most people, as proven by the statistics insofar as recidivism is concerned, the very notion is anethema to many people here.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline Lis

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2007, 10:12:49 PM »
not only are 12 step groups dodgy... but they are full of incest... (thank you 13th step)... any philosophy that says i have no control of my life is flawed...

only my opinion!
poz 1986....

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2007, 10:17:08 PM »
Pardon me? "International Prissy Bitch Day"? Is this meant to be funny?

My defense, as it were, of 12 step programs takes its cue from your own bitchy comments, if I might put so fine a point on it. Really, if you don't have anything more constructive in your commentary that amounts to little more than sticking out your tongue and saying You're Stupid, then kindly start your own thread. And here's a title for it: Just Jerking Off.

If you aren't interested in the thread beyond spreading your negative brand of superiority, kindly take it elsewhere. Go live one of those pointful lives that you, the arbiter of what is pointless, must have.

Good grief.


Look Calvin, I've said my bit and I've said it in my own inimitable way. If you don't like the tone, well so be it.  If you want to focus on my rough edges rather than accept that I've addressed the issues from my perspective that's fine too, dear.

By the way luvvie, I said "Pissy Bitches" not "Prissy Bitches". ;)

MtD

Offline Lis

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2007, 10:23:59 PM »
I'm a pissy bitch... are you guys making fun of me?     
poz 1986....

Offline AlanBama

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2007, 10:40:33 PM »
I was a big drinker back in the 80's.....(and probably a major contributing factor to acquiring HIV) ...I went to a few AA meetings; seemed more like a pick-up place to me.  We always went out to eat, or to the gay bars afterwards....and everyone watched to make SURE you were only drinking 7-up.

In the end, I was the only one who could "fix" me.   I never actually tried doing the 12 steps, but I do know people who swear that it worked for them.

Those were the days!   Now, two glasses of wine and I am ready for bed......
"Remember my sentimental friend that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." - The Wizard of Oz

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2007, 10:41:33 PM »
For the record, I am speaking as one who attended such a program in the early 90s,  and who then attended schoolto become an LPC. And my eyes were opened at both junctures. I do not want to interfere with whatever works for anyone else. I can only state with certainty that the science is fairly clear about unmoderated religious-based group therapy.

And make no mistake, the 12 step recovery program depends, relies on the spiritual. And the concept of letting a higher power control one's destiny is, in my opinion, a cause of, rather than a cure for, an addiction.

Whether it is Jesus or Gin, the concept of AA is simply that we are neither in control of nor responsible for our destinies, that we must surrender to a higher power. Isn't that precisely what a drug addict does?

Givng anyone or anything the power to control one's destiny is, IMHO, the antithesis of takign personal repsonsibility. Powerless over alcohol? Not really. Because even when that drink was not taken, even when that "sobriety" asserted itself over time, the underlying problems would remain intact, and the pain for which the substance provided an anesthetic remains largely unaddressed.

For the people for whom the 12 step recover system works, I have nothing but respect and awe for you. It is simply not scientifically quantifiable, and for those whom spriritual development is a sore spot or an intensely privatge experience, it is actually a danger.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline jkinatl2

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"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline mjmel

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2007, 11:09:16 PM »
 ??? Now I understand why ANN didn't respond.
Ever heard two tom cats fight in an alley?
Good grief, Charlie Brown! What's all the ruckus about? 

P.S. only my opinion (good idea Lis!)
« Last Edit: February 26, 2007, 11:12:10 PM by mjmel »

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2007, 11:27:10 PM »
Sorry to have offended your sensibilities, Mjmel.

*edited to add:

I find the above comment flamebaiting and not at all conducive to rational debate or conversation.

« Last Edit: February 26, 2007, 11:38:47 PM by jkinatl2 »
"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2007, 11:46:45 PM »
Quotes from the AA Big Book about agnostics or atheists:

"To one who feels he is an atheist or agnostic such an experience seems impossible, but to continue as he is means disaster ... To be doomed to an alcoholic death or to live on a spiritual basis are not always easy alternatives to face."
(AA cofounder "Bill W." on page 44)

"But after a while we had to face the fact that we must find a spiritual basis of life -- or else. Perhaps it is going to be that way with you. But cheer up, something like half of us thought we were atheists or agnostics."
(AA cofounder "Bill W." on page 44)

"But [the newcomer's] face falls when we speak of spiritual matters, especially when we mention God, for we have re-opened a subject which our man thought he had neatly evaded or entirely ignored. We know how he feels. We have shared his honest doubt and prejudice. Some of us have been violently anti-religious."
(AA cofounder "Bill W." on page 45)

"...as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results..."
(AA cofounder "Bill W." on page 46)

"Do not let any prejudice you may have against spiritual terms deter you..."
(AA cofounder "Bill W." on page 47)

"[We] often found ourselves handicapped by obstinacy, sensitiveness, and unreasoning prejudice. Many of us have been so touchy that even casual reference to spiritual things make us bristle with antagonism. This sort of thinking had to be abandoned.... Faced with alcoholic destruction, we soon became ... open minded on spiritual matters.... In this respect alcohol was a great persuader. It finally beat us into a state of reasonableness."
(AA cofounder "Bill W." on pages 47-8)

"If you think you are an atheist, an agnostic, a skeptic, or have any other form of intellectual pride which keeps you from accepting what is in this book, I feel sorry for you."
(AA cofounder "Dr. Bob" on page 181)

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline Boo Radley

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2007, 12:49:25 AM »
I was required to attend several AA meetings in the 80s when I went into institutionalized rehab very briefly.  My psychiatrist suggested I attend AA when I first started seeing him.  He stopped suggesting it in the first year of our acquaintance.

AA attendees almost always talked about the strength god gave them.  The scariest (and last) AA meeting I attended was a GLBT group and their 12 steps specifically stated "god" instead of "higher power."  Early on I stated I was uncomfortable relying on a god I didn't know to exist and could not believe existed but no one replied.  There were just a few seconds of awkward silence.  At the end we all formed into a circle and joined arms and chanted some womb prayer or other goofy crap and I hightailed it out as soon as the first "Amen" was uttered. 

I will never attend any 12 step (or other) program which requires one to submit to an alleged "higher power," "god," or anything else.  I may need help but other people or medications can help, not the Tooth Fairy.  My prejudice aside, if AA works for others more power to them.  Like religious matters I want the right to believe as I do and I will not proselytize and I ask the same of everyone else, including organized religion, but that is another thread...

Boo
String up every aristocrat!
Out with the priests and let them live on their fat!





Everything I do, say, think, excrete, secrete, exude, ooze, or write © 2007 Sweet Old Boo, Inc.

Offline ndrew

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2007, 02:47:02 AM »
It is always best to replace the power of getting high with a higher power...

Drew

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2007, 02:55:25 AM »
It is always best to replace the power of getting high with a higher power...

Drew

I firmly, yet respectfully disagree. As I do with many or most bumper stickers.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline sweetasmeli

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2007, 03:09:45 AM »
I checked out GA for a friend I know with a habit, but as soon as I saw the references to god/a higher power in the 12 step plan - knowing he is an out and out atheist - I dropped the idea. I will however have a browse through the links that JK provided, for what its worth. I say "for what its worth" as I realise that I am indeed pretty powerless to actually help my friend; in the end he has to want to change and if/when he does he will seek the help himself.

As far as 'higher powers' are concerned, I view my own ability to choose how I behave and respond to everything  that happens to me and around me as the highest power in my life.

Melia 
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Yeia kai hara (health and happiness) to everyone!

Offline Boo Radley

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2007, 04:06:30 AM »
It is always best to replace the power of getting high with a higher power...

We're free to think what we want but declaratives including words like "it is always best" should be scrutinized very closely by readers, unless the statement is in obvious jest.  If your word-play is in jest I misunderstood and apologize.

"It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt."

Am I referring to myself?  Quien sabe?

Boo
String up every aristocrat!
Out with the priests and let them live on their fat!





Everything I do, say, think, excrete, secrete, exude, ooze, or write © 2007 Sweet Old Boo, Inc.

Offline skeebo1969

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2007, 07:15:14 AM »



   I cannot dispraise the benefit of AA and NA meetings.  I was a 16 year old crackhead and there were three very important things that occured because of my attending the meetings.   1) Where and who had the biggest rocks.  2) Lis mentioned the 13th step, which helped me lose my virginity.  3) Vulnerable people to rip off.

  Praise Jah!  Haile Selassie ;)


   
I despise the song Love is in the Air, you should too.

Offline mjmel

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2007, 07:52:28 AM »
Sorry to have offended your sensibilities, Mjmel.

*edited to add:

I find the above comment flamebaiting and not at all conducive to rational debate or conversation.



Hey jkinatl2----> :-*

Offline bocker3

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2007, 08:09:39 AM »
For the record, I am speaking as one who attended such a program in the early 90s,  and who then attended schoolto become an LPC. And my eyes were opened at both junctures. I do not want to interfere with whatever works for anyone else. I can only state with certainty that the science is fairly clear about unmoderated religious-based group therapy.

And make no mistake, the 12 step recovery program depends, relies on the spiritual. And the concept of letting a higher power control one's destiny is, in my opinion, a cause of, rather than a cure for, an addiction.

Whether it is Jesus or Gin, the concept of AA is simply that we are neither in control of nor responsible for our destinies, that we must surrender to a higher power. Isn't that precisely what a drug addict does?

Givng anyone or anything the power to control one's destiny is, IMHO, the antithesis of takign personal repsonsibility. Powerless over alcohol? Not really. Because even when that drink was not taken, even when that "sobriety" asserted itself over time, the underlying problems would remain intact, and the pain for which the substance provided an anesthetic remains largely unaddressed.

For the people for whom the 12 step recover system works, I have nothing but respect and awe for you. It is simply not scientifically quantifiable, and for those whom spriritual development is a sore spot or an intensely privatge experience, it is actually a danger.

I will first admit that AA is NOT going to work for everyone.  However it HAS worked for many, many people over the years.  I for one am sure that I would be dead and probably would have taken some with me were it not for AA.  Let me be very clear here -- I did not ever "find religion" or become overtly "spiritual" through this program.  I did NOT give up responsibility for myself either -- quite the opposite happened.  I began to stop blaming the universe for my problems and realized that it was all my doing.  I faced my biggest "demon" at the time -- that was the closet.  I flung open the door in my first year of sobriety and have not look back (of course most people were more surprised with my alcoholism than my being gay   ::) ).  So what is all this "powerlessness" about?  It's about realizing that I can not have 1 drink and not want more -- it about realizing that I can't change other people, or places or things -- all I can do is to change ME.  I am living proof that one does not need "god" (with a capital G or a little g) to do this.  I do not trust in organized religion and keep my distance from it.  The only "prayer" I ever say -- in an AA meeting or out of it -- is the Serenity Prayer.  The point of that one is to help me remember that I can only change me and my attitude, not anyone else.
One can take quotes from the book "Alcoholics Anonymous" to prove any point you want -- just like many take quotes from bible to "prove" their point.  It is a bit unfortunate that one would use their own bias to denigrate a program that has literally saved the lives of thousands.  I don't know what "scientific data" you are looking for, but I personally have seen hundreds of anecdotal examples of success -- including over 10 within my own family.
The most wonderful thing about AA is that there is only 1 requirement to become member -- that you area an alcoholic and wish to not be.  Yes there are "bad apples" in AA, just like in any group.  Yes, there are some who hook up with others when, perhaps, they shouldn't (the 13th step, mentioned earlier).  Of course, I met my partner through AA and we are still together 16 years later, so I guess it's not all bad.
So, in closing -- if you don't like AA, then don't go, but please don't paint it as a failure, because it is most definitely NOT.  Will I ever drink again??  I have no idea, but I have not had a drink since Oct 29, 1989 -- and my next goal is to not have one today (this has been my daily goal for over 17 years now). 

Mike
Atripla - Started 12/05
Reyataz/Norvir - Added 6/06
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Offline alisenjafi

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2007, 08:25:38 AM »
IS there an organization for those addicted to god?
"You shut your mouth
how can you say
I go about things the wrong way
I am human and I need to be loved
just like everybody else does"
The Smiths

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #25 on: February 27, 2007, 08:35:42 AM »
For sure there is not going to be unanimity in opinions about 12 Step programs as we're seeing very clearly here. Like psychoanalysis and many forms of therapy, Steps programs are are a tool if you will which are not for everyone.

Through the decades since the founding of AA and evolution of the principles of that program into other areas many seem to have found them to be helpful. And as we can see from reading here for others they just don't work and/or are downright objectionable.

Some have become concerned about the tone of exchanges. I'll just caution here that if you have something you want to say about the subject, please keep the conversation respectful of others who see things differently. And remember, this exchange is not about "winning" or "losing." It's a discussion.

Thanks,

 
« Last Edit: February 27, 2007, 08:43:10 AM by Andy Velez »
Andy Velez

Offline koi1

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #26 on: February 27, 2007, 09:23:35 AM »
I have mixed feelings about 12 step groups. I had a friend who stayed sober for a very long time while attending AA meetings and then went back to drinking when he stopped.

He is a firm non believer in God but for the most part was able to take the positive from the group experience.

I agree that the groups are only as good as the members in them. What is clear to me is that there are people who cannot just have one drink. The minute he said that he did not agree with not drinking anymore, I knew there was trouble ahead. I believe he knows that now and has been sober for a few months.

I have never been physically addicted to alcohol so I don't know what it feels like. However, I do know that these groups work for some people, even if they end with the lord' s prayer. I don't believe in God myself, but I don't think that the soley by believing int him/her makes people evil or stupid or both (but it can). :D

rob :D
diagnosed on 11/20/06 viral load 23,000  cd4 97    8%
01/04/07 six weeks after diagnosis vl 53,000 cd4 cd4 70    6%
Began sustiva truvada 01/04/07
newest labs  drawn on 01/15/07  vl 1,100    cd4 119    7%
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Offline Bartro

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #27 on: February 27, 2007, 09:38:48 AM »
I went through the twelve steps for an addiction not  yet mentioned.  I didn't care for the group meetings, they made me depressed, so I went through the steps on my own with a therapist.  I too had trouble with the "higher power" thing.  The therapist suggested I could use whatever I felt was my "higher power".  I decided it was already inside of me.  My intelligence, the part of me that knew that I was on a destructive path, the part of me that I had lost control of over the years.  This was my higher power and I needed to reconnect with it.  I have had a few relapses over the years but have managed to regain control each time.  Twelve step programs certainly aren't for everyone but they can be tailored to meet the needs of many.
Rusty

Offline jack

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #28 on: February 27, 2007, 10:01:01 AM »
12 step programs work for many people. That is a fact. It doesn't work for some people. That is a fact. What is the fucking problem? The "lords prayer",please, give me a break. If people are able to better themselves,go for it.

I read the book "courage to change" many times in my attempt to quit drinking. It is a collection of stories about famous people we all know and people we have never heard of who were able to conquer their alcohol addiction through 12 step programs. The book is inspirational and I recommend it to anyone who is having addiction problems. Several of my Friends with drinking problems have quit after reading this book.
I did not attend any 12 step programs, I am too much of coward and would never be able to bare my soul and many faults to any group of people or any person. The fear of telling all to a bunch of people and almost dying from drinking too much vodka while in a horrid Crixivan trial was the catalyst that enabled me to quit drinking. I was an alcoholic the first time I drank a beer. I still remember how wonderful it tasted and great it made me feel. I was a functioning(very well)alcoholic from age 15 to 44. I have been sober 10 years and i am not ashamed to say I prayed to God many times every day to give me the courage to stop.

I can understand a gay person hating organized religion for its belief that a person chooses to be gay. We all know this is not true. I have found nothing in the New Testament from Jesus about gay people. I do see much about tolerance and loving our neighbors. Organized religion is made up of humans who make mistakes,just like all other humans. I just can't see walking away from the whole concept of a Higher Power cause some fuckups run a church like politicians run our government,for their own benefit.

Offline ACinKC

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #29 on: February 27, 2007, 10:45:48 AM »
* Note- I havent read all the responses yet.  Just decided to post MY STORY.

I was in treatment for sex addiction for about 75 days.  It was an outpatient facility so I could go home at night which was good.  I had just been diagnosed HIV+ and in the beginning stages of divorce procedings.  FUN FUN FUN!

Anyway, it was STRONGLY suggested to me that I enter SA.  And when I say strongly, one of the counselors brought it up to me daily and informed me that 95% of those who DON'T go to SA relapse and sink back into old habits.  Now it didnt help that this was the same man who was advising me to seek a balance with my spiritual side.  Which I continually informed him, I DONT HAVE A SPIRITUAL SIDE!  So it kind of felt like Catholic school all over again with him force feeding me his logic and me defiantly standing my ground.

Well I broke.  I went to ONE meeting.  OMG.  I am not one to follow the crowd, or blindly vomit up passages from a book in a specific order.  I just do NOT do well with that type of autocracy in my life.  And THAT is what SA was all about.  Which is very effective for ALOT of people.  And i am not discounting that.  It enables them to not have to think about alot of decisions and this works for a majority of people.  Not for me.  I'm proud to say im one of the 5% that made it (so far) on his own will power.  I don't have to surrender myself to ANYONE.  I got myself into this mess and I'll get myself outta this mess.  Granted I will have help but I aint giving credit to the big douchebag in the sky for making me all better!  Otherwise he'd have to take all the blame too now wouldnt he! 

They did abdicate no sex outside a hetero marriage and the one thing that KILLED it for me, no beating off!  YEAH RIGHT!  Might as well tell me not to breathe!  The other problem I had was that the group I went to see didn't have anyone I would want to "be like".  You know.  As a mentor, no one I could look to as someone I wanted my life to turn out to be like.  And i KNOW that is judgemental and I feel sorta bad about it as I know not everyone in life has been as lucky as I have.  But it just wasnt going to work for me.

So long story short.  Im all better now.  Well, I guess that's a matter of opinion now isn't it.

Edited to add.... I am a firm believer of whatever works for you.  And do not judge others for going their way as I have gone mine.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2007, 11:46:30 AM by ACinKC »
LIFE is not a race to the grave with the intention of arriving safely
in a pretty and well-preserved body, but, rather to skid in broadside,
thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming--WOW! WHAT A
RIDE!!!

Offline ACinKC

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #30 on: February 27, 2007, 10:55:06 AM »
I have to agree with JK. I consider 12 step programs extremely dodgy to say the least. All that "give yourself to a higher power" shit sounds like a total cop-out to this little white pervert.

More than that, I have serious doubts that such a thing as "sexual addiction" even exists. Nothing more than latter day buzz words for those in search of a "condition" to validate their pointless lives, I suspect.

MtD



I call it that cause its seems most appropriate.  Sex was interfering with my life in untold ways.  You can call it whatever you want, depression or whatever, it still means something was CLEARLY wrong in my life.  As I had lost the ability to make good decisions.  I, through help of a few others, regained that ability.  I give credit to no one but myself in this as it was ME that put myself into the depths of shame and it was ME that brought myself OUT.

But I assure you matty.  It was a very real hell for me.  Granted others have it worse, but living through it was no picnic.  That being said.  i wouldnt trade it for the world.  Check the sig line.
LIFE is not a race to the grave with the intention of arriving safely
in a pretty and well-preserved body, but, rather to skid in broadside,
thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming--WOW! WHAT A
RIDE!!!

Offline Florida69

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #31 on: February 27, 2007, 11:04:43 AM »
Honestly, you guys it is whatever works best for you.  If you suffer from alcholism or drug addiction there are many programs and rehabilitation arenas to pursue.  In my opinion we all have to do what works best for us.  My issue is I am not a quiter, but with that said I have never and I do mean never been in the place where I could not say, you know I have had enough.  We are all in charge of our own future and sobriety.  When you are hurting yourself it is one thing, but watching someone you love and care about is another issue all together.   If you really love this person, you will do anything, accept anything to get them the help they need.  I did scan the entire conversation before I wrote. I have to admit that I am really confused here as to why some of the members continue to attack each other for their points of view.  We are all different and that is what makes us special.  Take care, D
Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
Calvin Coolidge

Offline aztecan

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #32 on: February 27, 2007, 11:42:18 AM »
Just to add my 2¢ worth here,

Jonathan wrote,
Quote
Whether it is Jesus or Gin, the concept of AA is simply that we are neither in control of nor responsible for our destinies, that we must surrender to a higher power. Isn't that precisely what a drug addict does?

This is my problem with 12-step programs. I attended a couple of AA meetings with my ex, who said he wanted my support.

From what I could tell, many simply had traded one addiction for another. They now have religion rather than booze, or whatever.

I'm not saying this is necessarily wrong. If it works for someone, more power to them.

I thought I could never surrender control of my life to anyone or anything. The found there was an exception - smoking. Thta is something I am now addressing because I cannot tolerate the feeling I have lost control over it.

Regarding sexaholics, I have trouble accepting it is an addiction. I think it more likely applying the label of sexaholic provided a legitimacy to something hitherto left undiscussed.

Whether it is or isn't, addictive behavior in itself is simply a symptom.

I have seen it countless times during my life - people self medicate to soothe some underlying pain. This is especially true in the gay community, where ostracisation and other societal repercussions are a way of life.

Alcoholism, drug addiction, sexual compusiveness, whatever, all masked the underlying problem. Unfortunately, in the U.S., were are very good at treating symptoms but not nearly as good at treating the underlying problems causing them.

Whether you mask the pain with god or gin, it is still just applying a bandage, not curing the cause of the wound.

HUGS,

Mark
« Last Edit: February 27, 2007, 11:44:16 AM by aztecan »
"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline AustinWesley

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #33 on: February 27, 2007, 11:52:56 AM »
IS there an organization for those addicted to god?

LMFAO....... What say everyone?  Is there?  

Hmm, I figure if AA is your deal and works for ya then great.   I'm not religious and I think it's sad that people are forced to go to groups which have another agenda.  

I think people often switch addictions.   Personally, I'd rather date a raging alcoholic than a 12 stepper strung out on some sort of delusional mass hysteria.   There is a cult like element to most of these groups.   Just like this group, I'd say take what ya need and leave the rest.

There are other programs out there like Rational Recovery etc. that J mentioned.   These aren't widely advertised so unfortunately many seeking personal intervention are stuck with no other options.  

And I also question the success of these groups.    Hell, that stupid bitch who founded MADD has herself had two DUIs so ya gotta wonder where her "Higher Power" was hiding.

I've been to a few of those meetings.   Those were enough to drive anyone to drink.   I respect anyone attempting to improve their life and work on their own issues whatever they may be.   Some people need help from others, some do it on their own.  

I would never agree that one is "Powerless" and think it's asinine because it's self defeating.   Everyone has the power to stop drinking or drugging or whatever.    And you don't need to give yourself up to God, Buddha, or Benny Hinn, or James Jones to accomplish your goals.

When I found this group I can tell you I breathed a big sigh of relief when I learned it wasn't some faith based disaster.   At least so far it hasn't been and I saw nothing in the "Terms of Agreement" about giving myself up to God.   Then again, I didn't read them  ; )

 

Diag. 3/06  Infected aprx. 2 mo. Prior
Date        CD4   %      VL
4/6/06     627    32    36,500     NO MEDS YET!
6/7/06     409    27    36,100
8/23/06   408    25     22,300
1/2/07     354    23     28,700
2/9/07     139    30     23,000  Hep A Vaccine same day???
2/21/07   274    26     18,500 
3/3/07    RX of Truvada/Sustiva Started.
4/5/07    321     27      Undectable 1st mo.  
5/16/07  383     28    Undectable 2nd mo.
8/10/07  422     32   UD <48 on new scale!

Offline jack

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #34 on: February 27, 2007, 12:27:33 PM »
I remember when I used to think people who believed in God or people who sought help from therapy were weak. Pussies, all of them. Get them out of my life. LOSERS. Lead,follow or get the fuck out of the way.
Life has a funny way of making a fool of you,no matter how rich,powerful,or cool you are. I wish I could monetize the difference between how smart and cool I thought I was and how smart and cool I really was.
I quit booze and drugs without a 12 step program and without giving up my whole being to a higher power, but I did pray to my God every day for years, as I was trying to quit, and trying to change my life. I am still a work progress as most here are.
I have to say this, if you haven't prayed to someone or something for help from an addiction, than you probably haven't been addicted or aren't smart enough to realize you are addicted.
Anyone who prefers spending time with a raging alcoholic than someone who believes in God obviously hasn't spent much time with an alcoholic and is probably under 30. We are all invincible under 30 and maybe even 45,but sooner or later reality catches up with all of us. I have seen alcohol ruin some of the strongest,smartest,and best people I have ever known.  Very few of the people I know who have recovered have done so without prayer or some type of spiritual transformation. I am talking CEOs,Physicians, PHDs,artists, athletes. These are not dumb or weak mutherfuckers.

Offline AustinWesley

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #35 on: February 27, 2007, 01:04:00 PM »
I remember when I used to think people who believed in God or people who sought help from therapy were weak. Pussies, all of them. Get them out of my life. LOSERS. Lead,follow or get the fuck out of the way.
Life has a funny way of making a fool of you,no matter how rich,powerful,or cool you are. I wish I could monetize the difference between how smart and cool I thought I was and how smart and cool I really was.
I quit booze and drugs without a 12 step program and without giving up my whole being to a higher power, but I did pray to my God every day for years, as I was trying to quit, and trying to change my life. I am still a work progress as most here are.
I have to say this, if you haven't prayed to someone or something for help from an addiction, than you probably haven't been addicted or aren't smart enough to realize you are addicted.
Anyone who prefers spending time with a raging alcoholic than someone who believes in God obviously hasn't spent much time with an alcoholic and is probably under 30. We are all invincible under 30 and maybe even 45,but sooner or later reality catches up with all of us. I have seen alcohol ruin some of the strongest,smartest,and best people I have ever known.  Very few of the people I know who have recovered have done so without prayer or some type of spiritual transformation. I am talking CEOs,Physicians, PHDs,artists, athletes. These are not dumb or weak mutherfuckers.

I take it that was for my benefit ; )  I'm flattered you think I'm under 30 as well.   So, are you suggesting that age is the defining factor of wisdom? 

Clearly, the analogy of being with a raging alcoholic was sarcasm.  Oy, I've not referred to anyone as losers as you have.   Who knows?  HIV may take my mind one of these days and I'll end up with dementia and have my own spiritual transformation, but I wouldn't' bet money on it!
 
Diag. 3/06  Infected aprx. 2 mo. Prior
Date        CD4   %      VL
4/6/06     627    32    36,500     NO MEDS YET!
6/7/06     409    27    36,100
8/23/06   408    25     22,300
1/2/07     354    23     28,700
2/9/07     139    30     23,000  Hep A Vaccine same day???
2/21/07   274    26     18,500 
3/3/07    RX of Truvada/Sustiva Started.
4/5/07    321     27      Undectable 1st mo.  
5/16/07  383     28    Undectable 2nd mo.
8/10/07  422     32   UD <48 on new scale!

Offline bocker3

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #36 on: February 27, 2007, 01:19:40 PM »
I want to clarify the point of my earlier post.  It was definitely not to say anyone was wrong in their beliefs about the usefulness/effectiveness of 12 steps program (well, really AA, as I've not attended any other).  What I was trying to point out -- and it seems to have gotten lost -- is that there is absolutely no requirement for a believe in God.  AA takes no position on organized religion at all.  Yes, you can find quotes in the Alcoholics Anonymous book that will lead you to believe differently (read the whole thing, not just selected quotes please), but I assure you that I am speaking the truth.
I only entered the conversation because it is important to let people know that AA is not synonymous with religion -- many folks who might be helped may never try it if this is what they think.  Some people do become very spiritual via AA, others (like myself) do not.  What I gained was an understanding of MY RESPONSIBILITY in my life and some tools and tricks for living one day with a drink.  Please, please feel free to give your opinions without painting such a broad-based assumption that all people need a religious epiphany to be 'successful' here.

And on another note -- while I agree that alcoholics may pick up that first drink due to a whole host of issues, so that drinking the first drink may be a "symptom" -- I am an alcoholic because I have a disease -- alcoholism.  It is a disease all by itself -- not a symptom.  Once I start, I can't stop. 

Thanks for listening.
Mike
Atripla - Started 12/05
Reyataz/Norvir - Added 6/06
Labs - Pre-Meds
Sep05 T=350/25% VL98,559
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Offline penguin

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #37 on: February 27, 2007, 01:23:04 PM »
No group, no god, no medication, no partner/friend/family member "saves" you. You save you, with every molecule of strength & basic survival instinct you possess - n that certainly isn't my definition of powerless.

Over the years, I have come to distrust anyone, or anything which attempts to diminish or otherwise take credit for the sheer awesomeness of this achievement.

kate
« Last Edit: February 27, 2007, 01:30:11 PM by penguin »

Offline bravebuddharich

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #38 on: February 27, 2007, 01:25:16 PM »
I'm not surprised at the level of defensiveness - most gay men belong at SLAA meetings. Most gay men just dan't look at their destructive behavior patterns, and how they hurt themselves and others. I know this seems harsh, but it's so true!!

I know my distorted thinking about sex and love is why I am HIV positive. I understand fully that I was influenced by what gay male culture was telling us at the time, which I wish I had rejected and been stronger then. One of my difficulties on these message boards is that so many still endorse the insanity of gay male selfishness. No names here, just something to think about - if you are defensive about it, it's something to take a serious look at for yourself - and for the well being of others, too!

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #39 on: February 27, 2007, 01:35:24 PM »
My only two points, lost perhaps in rhetoric, are simply:

There is no empirical evidence that AA works as well or better than therapy combined with chemical intervention.

There IS evidence, gathered from court-ordered AA followups, that the concept carries a roughly 95% failure rate.

Moreover, the passages I quoted were not "out of context" or nonsensical. They are acornerstone for the program. You cannot, CANNOT be an atheist or agnostic and pull off the steps. The Big Book is VERY clear on that. From my personal experiences, anyone who is not devoutly Judeo-Christian is going to be lumped in with atheists and agnostics as soon as they decide not to use the word God, or say the Lord's Prayer.

Whatever works, I salute the people involved. But I refuse to give credit to a theocratical and unscientific method which seems more like a cult than a recovery program. It has never been extensively studied outside the court-ordered arena due to thr anonymous nature of it's members, and as such there is no actuale vidence that it carries more than a five percent efficacy rate for any period over six months.

There are far better, in my opinion far more appropriate programs and services out there for addiction management and treatment. WHat spooks me is the amazing devotion it's members have, to the point of antagonism towards anyone who dares to question Bill W.

And those quotes from the Big Book? Trust me, more where that came from. I spent years studying it.  I don't know an awful lot, but I do know that phenomenon, having tried to live it - and failed simply because

A) I was 13th stepped at my most vulnerable
B) I was ostracised because I was not Christian
C) I was explicitly told that there were NO OTHER options, when in fact there were and are.

If my words can save ONE OTHER person from the slippery slope of despair and low self esteem I endured during that dark passage, well, I don't really care who I piss off. People get HIV thanks to such messages of failure and worthlessness. People get raped. People drink and drug themselves to death.

It is, in my opinion, as dangerous and scientifically disproven as the ex-gay movement.

Having exhausted my ability to articulate for the moment, I respectfully withdraw from the conversation.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline jack

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #40 on: February 27, 2007, 01:53:24 PM »
Austin, I was merely referring to the age when I chose to spend all my time with raging alcoholics rather than people who did not drink. I couldn't stand to be with people who weren't drinking or people who would have just a couple. Fucking losers.. Little did I know.
And yes Wisdom does have lot  to do with age, if you learn from your mistakes. Don't you feel you have more wisdom today than you did yesterday,a month ago, a year ago, or  a decade ago? If you did not gain Wisdon as you aged,what would be the point in living at all?

A Few things I know today that I didn't know when I was under 30, which i consider to be wisdom.
People who tell you how much they make are usually lying.
People who claim to "break even" in Vegas are always lying.
People who brag about all the pussy they get are usually lying.
Sell when others are buying and vice verse.
People who cheat at golf are never to be trusted. NEVER,EVER.
Never ever judge a person by the auto he drives or house he lives in. Chances are they are living payday to payday.
I don't need to have sex with someone every day of the week.
Do everything in moderation
Never drink champagne after more than 7 Black Russians
Drinking a bottle of Nyquil or doing quaaludes to come down off Acid is not very healthy
Being bald is so much better than having hair,especially since I couldn't get laid in a whorehouse with a handful of hundreds in my present condition.
Houston is more Texas than Dallas, and Austin is the best city in US.
Fuck, i have gone off topic again.
I love my wife more than I did yesterday and she is better looking today than the day I married her.  I really don't know if I would be alive today without her strength.
Golf is more addictive and more expensive than any other addiction.
I love kids.

Offline ACinKC

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #41 on: February 27, 2007, 01:57:58 PM »
Jack.  FISHING is by far more expensive.  Boat.  Lures. Poles. Bait.  I am a golfer and my father in law is a fisherman.  He outspends me 10-1.  Even WITH a CC membership.
LIFE is not a race to the grave with the intention of arriving safely
in a pretty and well-preserved body, but, rather to skid in broadside,
thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming--WOW! WHAT A
RIDE!!!

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #42 on: February 27, 2007, 01:58:04 PM »
<< What I was trying to point out -- and it seems to have gotten lost -- is that there is absolutely no requirement for a believe in God>>

This is patently untrue, as the Big Book explicitly states in the chapter "To The Agnostic." I respect that you got a lot out of your interpretation of the AA program, but rest assured that yours was not an officially sanctioned interpretation. Not by a long shot.


jack, you said:

<<12 step programs work for many people. That is a fact. >>

Please provide scientific evidence for this fact.

Here are my sources, as I am loathe to use my anecdotal experience as fact - something I notice AA members do with impunity.

http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-effectiveness.html

"For many years in the 1970s and 1980s, the AA GSO (Alcoholics
Anonymous General Service Organization) conducted triennial surveys
where they counted their members and asked questions like how long
members had been sober. Around 1990, they published a commentary on the
surveys: Comments on A.A.'s Triennial Surveys [no author listed,
published by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., New York, no
date (probably 1990)]. The document has an A.A. identification number
of "5M/12-90/TC". The document was produced for A.A. internal use only.
It has a graph on page 12 (Diagram C-1) that shows that newcomers drop
out, relapse, leave, or disappear at a staggeringly high rate.8

Averaging the results from the five surveys from 1977 to 1989 yielded
these numbers:

* 81% are gone (19% remain) after 1 month;
* 90% are gone (10% remain) after 3 months,
* 93% are gone (7% remain) after 6 months,
* and 95% are gone (5% remain) at the end of one year. "


Australian General Service Conference 1994
Chairman's Opening Address

"Our 1992 Survey showed that only 5% of newcomers to AA are still
attending meetings after 12 months. This is a truly terrible statistic.
Again we must ask 'Where does the fault lie?'"

Dr. Ron Whitington -- Chairman, General Service Board.

1994 WORLD SERVICE MEETING
HIGHLIGHTS
COUNTRY REPORT
AUSTRALIA

... The survey was a well conducted professional study involving 1,425
members from 123 of the country's AA groups ...

http://www-gatago.com/alt/recovery/aa/24656969.html

More sources for those so inclined to research:


10. Imber, S., Schultz, E., Funderburk, F., Allen, R. and Flamer, R. The Fate of the Untreated Alcoholic. J. Nerv and Ment. Dis., 1976, 162:238-247.
11. Cahalan, D., Cisin, I. H. and Crossley, H. M. American Drinking Practices: A National Survey of Drinking Behavior and Attitudes. New Brunswick, Rutgers Center for Alcohol Studies, 1974.
203. Kissin, B., Platz, A. and Su, W. H. Social and Psychological Factors in the Treatment of Chronic Alcoholics. J. Psychiat. Res., 1970, 8:13-27.
235. Bailey, M. B. and Stewart, S. Normal Drinking by Persons Reporting Previous Problem Drinking. Quart. J. Stud. Alc., 1967, 28:305-315.
236. Kendall, R. E. and Staton, M. C. The Fate of Untreated Alcoholics. Quart. J. Stud. Alc., 1966, 27:30-41.
238. Lemere, F. What Happens to Alcoholics. Amer. J. Psychiat., 1953, 109:674-675.
268. Cahalan, D. Problem Drinkers: A National Survey, San Francisco, Jossey-Bass, 1970.
269. Goodwin, W. W., Crane, J. B., and Guze, S. B. Felons Who Drink: An Eight-Year Follow-up. Quart. J. Stud. Alc., 1971, 32:136-147.
Treatment of Drug Abuse and Addiction -- Part III, The Harvard Mental Health Letter, Volume 12, Number 4, October 1995, page 3.
(See Aug. (Part I), Sept. (Part II), Oct. 1995 (Part III).)
Outpatient Treatment of Alcoholism, by Jeffrey Brandsma, Maxie Maultsby, and Richard J. Welsh. University Park Press, Baltimore, MD., page 105.
Bebbington, P. E. (1976). The efficacy of alcoholics anonymous: The elusiveness of hard data. British Journal of Psychiatry, 128, 572- 580.
Cross, G. M., Morgan, C. W., Mooney, A. J., Martin, C. A., & Rafter, J. A. (1990). Alcoholism treatment: A ten-year follow-up study. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 14(2), 169-173.

Alcoholics Anonymous and the Counseling Profession: Philosophies in conflict     Christine Le, Erik P. Ingvarson, and Richard C. Page, Journal of Counseling & Development, 07-01-1995


and one ofmy favorite books when I was in training to be a counselor:

Narcissism, Denial of the True Self     Alexander Lowen, M.D.
Macmillan Publishing Comany, New York, 1983, and
Collier Macmillan Publishers, London, 1983.
ISBN: 0-02-575890-X
LC: RC553.N36L38 1983
LCCN: 83-18794

Thing is, I DO agree that chemical dependancy is a real issue. It must be addressed both singularly and through the community. I do not agree with Bravebuddharich that the fault rests solely in the gay male community. It rests in the socoety as a whole. The gay community might magnify or otherwise distort the views, but they certainly neither invented nor improved upon them.

ok, NOW I withdraw. Sorry, I felt bad that I did not do adequate research to back up my supposition.

I would like to leave the conversation with a quote from Senator Patrick Moynahan:

Everybody is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.

I base my assessments, indeed most of my important chocies, on empirical quantifiable evidence. I tend to give far less credibility to anecdtoal evidence, even my own.

Sorry if I ruffled feathers here.




"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline jack

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #43 on: February 27, 2007, 02:04:54 PM »
Going off topic again. I wish all of you who doubt the ability of religious based organizations to change peoples lives for the better could see the work done by the Star of Hope Mission here in Houston. I have had the good fortune to attend their yearly charity event. Yeah, I get put off by the people standing up shouting "praise the Lord", and I hate Christians panhandling for cash but the good this org does brings tears to my eyes every year. An incredible organization that is run some of the smartest and most successful business people in Houston. Amazing people.
Of course none of it can be scientifically proven.

Offline jack

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #44 on: February 27, 2007, 02:25:01 PM »
Jk, I know Science is your God, but I know people who have benefited from AA. Anecdotal but it is a fact. I have read several books with many contributors who were helped by AA. I am an alcoholic! That is a fact but it cant be proven scientifically. Do the surveyors ever think that maybe people weren't returning because AA worked?
Do I need science to prove to me that smoking cigarettes is suicide? NO, I have seen several people in my family die very young, who smoked. I have the fucking God given common sense to know cigarettes kill. I don't need a survey from the government to prove it to me.  If I see the Sun come up everyday for fifty years do I need science to prove that the sun comes up everyday? If I see people who have become sober through their involvement with AA should I tell them they haven't because there is a survey that says it can't be?
 My grandfather was swindled out of several million in the 50s by his AA sponsor, so not everyone benefits. But to go on surveys? I hope most are more truthful than I am with the morons who call me every night.
Saw Pat M  a few months before he died. He had a stack of papers and books and was getting hammered as usual in the restaurant owned by the now infamous Abramoff in DC. The waiter told me he, Paddy spent every afternoon shitfaced in the same seat.

Offline Lwood

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #45 on: February 27, 2007, 02:35:05 PM »
I rarely enter Heated Discussions like this one, but after having tried out one of these programs I feel qualified to throw my .12¢ in......

I immediately  have /had an issue with anything that requires me to "Admit that I am Powerless...."  doesnt that just kill it right there ??   I just dont roll that way.  
Support groups can be invaluable to a point, but at the end of the day, all they do is give you what you need to help Yourself.  
 Dont You think that the  whole  "12 Step " model should be considered version 1.0   : a good idea, in part,  but seriously in need of some upgrades if not a complete rewrite.

 

"Fortunately, I Keep My T Cells Numbered For Just Such An Emergency"
  -Either Foghorn Leghorn or Johnny Cash

Offline AustinWesley

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #46 on: February 27, 2007, 02:42:53 PM »
Jack,  I'm truly puzzled by your push for religion here.   I find most tend to get upset when discussing it cause they've no clue what they are talking about, not suggesting you in particular.

I think that it's great if you have gained something beneficial out of your faith.   But why not give yourself a little credit?   Why is it everytime when people accomplish something it's "by the Grace of God"?

Since I'm not running for a political office here I don't feel the need to lie about my beliefs based on not just experience, but beliefs based in science, logic, and good ole fashioned common sense.

I'm absolutely stunned that a majority of Americans claim to believe in God.   If that were true, then we'd have teachings of "intelligent design" and "creationism" in our school systems.   Fortunately, we've been spared from that nightmare to an extent.

Why does religion have to permeate every single unrelated subject known to mankind from the Oscars to rehab to presidential elections?

As Kate said, the only one who can "Save" you from an addiction is YOU.   Well said Kate!   If others choose to credit a largely disfunctional system it's their choice, but I'd say pat yourself on the back and say Fuck Yeah, I did it!
Diag. 3/06  Infected aprx. 2 mo. Prior
Date        CD4   %      VL
4/6/06     627    32    36,500     NO MEDS YET!
6/7/06     409    27    36,100
8/23/06   408    25     22,300
1/2/07     354    23     28,700
2/9/07     139    30     23,000  Hep A Vaccine same day???
2/21/07   274    26     18,500 
3/3/07    RX of Truvada/Sustiva Started.
4/5/07    321     27      Undectable 1st mo.  
5/16/07  383     28    Undectable 2nd mo.
8/10/07  422     32   UD <48 on new scale!

Offline jack

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #47 on: February 27, 2007, 02:57:20 PM »
Austin, I am not pushing religion on anyone, I am just saying it aint all bad as you guys say. There is much good done and bad to, but how is that different than anything else. I haven't read any scientific studies on the subject and am only going on my own experience.  I couldn't give a rats ass if you are an atheist or a mormon. Its your personal choice. What I am against, is people attacking organizations for no other reason than they are faith based.
Good luck to all you fuckers with addictions,you are on your own.
I don't understand your shock that most people believe in a God of some type. 
« Last Edit: February 27, 2007, 03:15:46 PM by jack »

Offline NycJoe

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #48 on: February 27, 2007, 03:09:31 PM »
I understand that everyone has different beliefs and that's a good thing.  What I don't understand is this intolerance and hatred of religion.  If you don't like it..hey that's cool that's your choice.  But why condemn others for it or condescend them.  Are there bad religious groups?  HELL YES.  Are there good ones.  Hell yes.  Just like any other group.  Remember that diversity is a good thing.  I have a great group of friends ..one jewish one atheist one protestant and a mix of a few others and we all get along great and don't ever judge or put down ones beliefs. Its called respect.  Its okay to disagree without TRYING to make someone else feel like a dumbass for their beliefs.

Offline Strayboy74

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #49 on: February 27, 2007, 03:16:19 PM »
I find myself sadly disappointed by the ignorant, illinformed and braggartly polarized judgement I'm reading on this matter.

There are millions of people for whom this program has worked.  Millions of people, mind you, despite diametric opposition to the very concept of God, manage to surrender to the idea of prayer and give honest attempt at using the guidelines of the program offered by NA, AA or any other A in order to help them live a more fulfilling life in the face of the compulsive urges that have driven them.

Isn't prayer of any kind just really a hope?  Allowing oneself to give hope in recognition of surrender that some things might possibly be beyond one's control?  That's the way I see prayer.  I don't believe there is an omnipitent entity supervising my existence with finalizing decision.  However I do believe that there is goodness in this existence and my prayer is this hope that things outside of my ability to influence will find themselves at a positive outcome.

I believe I understand Ann's choice in remaining silent.  As with any strong belief there will develop zealots - People compelled to push their beliefs on others at any cost.  Since the program of AA and NA dissuade this pracice through its principle of attraction, not promotion - Ann or any other, in defense of this outline for living ones life, might be at risk of being labeled as a zealot.  Unfortunately, zealots of this program DO exist and for a long time they kept me from finding good experience in this program.  And, worthy of mentioning are the sick individuals that prey upon others (i.e. the 13th step) who have become so broken down by their obsessive behaviors that they are willing to look anywhere for help.  Yes, these people are out there.

However, it is unfair to stand in judgement, contrary to the fact that it HAS worked, and CONTINUES to work for multitudes of people.  Especially with the only considerable shred of experience being sad statements justified in self-delusional guise that someone can know what it's all about just because they've attended one meeting - or had one negative experince, or even think that it was just too depressing to continue.

One day of orientation at a University does not earn you the degree.  It's something that must be worked for.

And with that, I pray that people find their way.

-joseph

(who is mortified that he, to some degree, agrees with jack)
 

Offline Bucko

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #50 on: February 27, 2007, 03:27:49 PM »
I have personal experience with 12-step programs through my family, where both parents and my sister are alcoholics and drug addicts.

My dad admits that he has a problem. But after more than thirty-five years of trying, he has been unable to stop drinking for more than four to six months. He is an avid Christian, but not of the showy bible-thumping variety.

My mom is an agnostic, and has never possessed the presence of mind to recognize how her abuse of drugs and alcohol is a symptom of her diseased way of looking at her life and attending miseries. I can no longer communicate with her...it's simply too painful.

My sister spent almost twenty years in a cloud of booze and drugs. Her one attempt at detox transformed her life, and has remained substance-free since 1990. In the beginning she leaned heavily on AA, but has since moved on. She remains deeply spiritual but not affiliated with any organized religion. It is her belief in the "higher power" that has sustained her sobriety.

Brent
(Who judges not that he be judged)
Blessed with brains, talent and gorgeous tits.

The revolutionary smart set reads The Spin Cycle at least once every day.

Blathering on AIDSmeds since 2005, provocative from birth

Offline carousel

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #51 on: February 27, 2007, 03:34:31 PM »
I have a problem with the AA 12 Steps to heaven programme.  But there is no doubt that many have benefited from its services.

When organisations are financially hardpressed to offer widespread support, it's the only place for many that they can go to.

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #52 on: February 27, 2007, 03:40:10 PM »
<< There are millions of people for whom this program has worked>>

I urge you to show me the science which is not anecdotal. Someting, anything first tiered and peer reviewed.

Like I have been careful to state, for those whom AA is a good fit, more power to you. More health, more happiness. More freedom. But all empirical evidence states that it has between a 90 to 95 percent recidivism rate. And that simply cannot be ignored.

As I posted earlier, there are a plethora of recovery programs which do not subscribe to the concept of powerlessness and spirituality.

<< One day of orientation at a University does not earn you the degree>>


I was in AA for ten years. That's hardly orientation. I went to thousands of meetings, at dozens of locations. Some gay, some not. In that time I was 13th stepped by people I trusted at my most vulnerable, there was an unwavering attempt to indoctrinate me into the program for the singular benefit of the program. And any time I found myself at odds with Bill W, I was told in no uncertain terms that it was my "sickness" talking.

I finally had an epiphany, and have not looked back since. That was twenty years ago. I have no regrets, except perhaps for the time wasted. I do not use my experiences in this discussion except as a personal illustration. Other than that, they are anecdotal and irrelevant.

Why must you insist that people refrain from disparaging your viewpoint when you feel comfortable disparaging others? That's not debate nor is it discussion. It is personal attack. It is defensive, and it responds to the hours of scientific research with a simple Eff You.

Makes me wonder why I made an effort to have a discussion, when it is obvious that zealots refuse to entertain one. All I know is the science, and it's simply not true that millions of people have recovered through AA.  It's actually impossible, if you consider AA's OWN claim to have a 35 percent success rate (which has never been substantiated nor replicated in any recovery research), add to that the fact that AA's research determined that five years' sobriety constituted a success, and divide that by the 80 or so years that AA has been in existence. The numbers simply do not crunch.

Disappointed,
Jonathan

PS: For those grappling with addiction, wishing to experience a recovery program with strong psychological and rational scientidic quantification, I highly recommend:


http://rational.org/

http://www.smartrecovery.org/

http://www.secularsobriety.org/

http://www.unhooked.com/index.htm

http://www.womenforsobriety.org/

http://www.moderation.org/

http://www.mywayout.org/


That, and/or individual CBT has been proven to work using quantified data.  Did anyone look at my source material? Or does the Big Book supercede all attempts to quantify it's efficacy?

Honestly, I find the 12 step model dangerous for gay and lesbian people especially. And to a slightly lessor degree, for women.  Powerlessness, or the impression thereof, is a leading cause of HIV infections. Promoting more of it is irresponsible and detrimental. But that is simply my opinion.

I notice no one cares much for the facts, and I find that really discouraging


"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline DanielMark

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #53 on: February 27, 2007, 03:43:57 PM »
Having had extensive personal involvement and helpful experiences with AA and a 28-day treatment program in the past, I can only say that all of it helped me in coming to grips with many parts of my life, especially the parts linked to my substance abuse.

Any sound 12-step group will not tell you up front that it may not be the way for YOU but that it has worked for countless millions.

Understanding the concepts of addiction takes person experience, as does understanding how any 12-step program is laid out to work.

If a person can’t handle the idea that their way of living isn’t benefiting their life, that another way might be better, then AA or any other 12-step group is obviously not for them.

Daniel

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates, Ancient Greek Philosopher
MEDS: REYATAZ & KIVEXA (SINCE AUG 2008)

MAY 2000 LAB RESULTS: CD4 678
VL STILL UNDETECTABLE

DIAGNOSED IN 1988

Offline Strayboy74

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #54 on: February 27, 2007, 03:47:28 PM »
<< There are millions of people for whom this program has worked>>

I urge you to show me the science which is not anecdotal. Someting, anything first tiered and peer reviewed.

Like I have been careful to state, for those whom AA is a good fit, more power to you. More health, more happiness. More freedom. But all empirical evidence states that it has between a 90 to 95 percent recidivism rate. And that simply cannot be ignored.


I adore your attempt at finding definite resolutely empirical conclusions in something that is anonymous.  It's cute.

edited to add:

Additionally, I invite you to show me where I've made a personal attack upon you -  It was never my intent.  Its sad that you perceive my beliefs to be so very threatening to your own.

-joseph
« Last Edit: February 27, 2007, 04:33:51 PM by Strayboy74 »

Offline AustinWesley

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #55 on: February 27, 2007, 03:57:07 PM »
Hmm, I don't know.   I was forced into an AA bit for a DUI.   Barely over the limit, pulled over for having illegally tinted windows ; )  Just my luck!   In CA, everyone is forced into this bit.   Don't ask!    All I can tell ya was that whole experience totally ruined all my prison fantasies!

Anyways, when I was there at a local AA meeting I thought I'd take advantage of it and share my experience with crystal meth and how I successfully managed to overcome my own addiction and didn't feel I had a drinking problem.   OMG, talk about a bunch of judgemental fucking assholes.  

Do you think they gave me a chip for that?   Nope, but I had to go through this mess for several meetings and went to different ones.   I learned a LOT.

Especially creepy was one in particular I mistakenly went to for some kind of convicted pedophiles and sex offenders.   Don't ask me how I got into that, but I will tell you it was all I could do to listen to the two pedophiles blaming alcohol and drugs on what they did to children.    I found it was nothing more than a huge cop out.   Wow, let's not take any personal responsibility and blame it all on the booze.

I'm with J, for those struggling with addiction, who don't feel AA is for them look into the other programs.  Don't give up because of one or two or even 12 bad experiences.   And, if a dysfunctional setting suits you then you can try that too.   To each their own I say!

Wesley
Diag. 3/06  Infected aprx. 2 mo. Prior
Date        CD4   %      VL
4/6/06     627    32    36,500     NO MEDS YET!
6/7/06     409    27    36,100
8/23/06   408    25     22,300
1/2/07     354    23     28,700
2/9/07     139    30     23,000  Hep A Vaccine same day???
2/21/07   274    26     18,500 
3/3/07    RX of Truvada/Sustiva Started.
4/5/07    321     27      Undectable 1st mo.  
5/16/07  383     28    Undectable 2nd mo.
8/10/07  422     32   UD <48 on new scale!

Offline jack

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #56 on: February 27, 2007, 04:01:06 PM »
JK, the only zealots I see here are those who are opposed to faith based help groups. I have never been to an AA meeting but do know people who claim to have been helped by the process. I have no science to back my claims. Maybe they are lying to me, but i haven't seen these people drink in a long time. I did pray everyday in trying to quit and haven't had a drink in ten years.
Science? Is it even possible to scientifically prove someone is an addict? NO. or that alcoholism is a disease? NO.
Why? Because everyone is different. Some people,like myself, become addicted after one drink and yet other people are able to go through life having one or two drinks and are able to stop.
 Some people get lipodystrophy,some don't. Scientists were telling me it was the hiv in the mid 90s, but I knew that wasn't true. Should I have believed the Scientists?
Scientists told me that serostim was improving my body's ability to metabolize fat, which of course was total bullshit and the scientists were paying the Docs to use HIvers as guinea pigs. My point is Science it not the golden rule you claim,just as Religions isn't.

Offline jack

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #57 on: February 27, 2007, 04:12:12 PM »
Austin, I doubt you had a drinking problem and I too would hate being forced into an AA session. As I have stated I didn't have any desire to go that route,and am just saying that I do know people who claim they went to AA and were helped. I have no scientific statistics to base their claims on.
But booze can make you do things you wouldn't normally do. I know people who turn into complete morons when they drink and are the nicest people in the world when sober.
I had a friend tell me I tried to pick up his college age daughter in a grocery store. Now, I had been drinking, and I dont remember doing it and its something I dont usually do since I have been married but it scared me. She told him I said she had a great ass. I still dont think I did it but I dont know for sure.

Offline Boo Radley

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #58 on: February 27, 2007, 04:15:36 PM »
Ahem... to drift back to the topic

Yesterday I sent the following email to SA:

Quote
On Mon Feb 26 20:28 , 'R. Noremac' sent:

    Does your society include homosexuals?

    Thanks.

    Rod Noremac

This was the response:

Quote
Subject: Re: SA literature for gay/lesbian people?
From: SAICO
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2007 10:03:52 -0600
To: "R. Noremac"

Yes, all members of the human race welcome to come to meetings and see if the 12 Step program of recovery will be of personal benefit.

Where are you located?  Can we refer you to a local meeting?

SAICO

I'm not going to reply but it seems the program includes gays but maybe they're more heterosexually oriented or they place a value on monogamy that doesn't always fit a gay person's needs.

Boo

String up every aristocrat!
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Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #59 on: February 27, 2007, 04:22:57 PM »
I had a friend tell me I tried to pick up his college age daughter in a grocery store. Now, I had been drinking, and I dont remember doing it and its something I dont usually do since I have been married but it scared me. She told him I said she had a great ass. I still dont think I did it but I dont know for sure.

Why am I quoting this last line of Jakeys? Coz I think it's a hoot. I didn't know you had it in you Jakey, you randy old dog. ;D

JK has produced the evidence that condemns 12 step programmes for what they are. Abject failures. Not only that he's produced links to more sound and effective alternatives.

But I reiterate my previous point. If these sort of things lift your shirt you're welcome to them. I'm sure there's great comfort to be had in flocking together with other inebriates, shedding tears, slapping backs and calling for the help of a non-existent deity to keep you out of the cooking sherry.

Or the underpants of the 17 year old slut next door.

The problem arises when courts of law and other agents of the state require people to attend such programmes with no regard to the science. Or to the fact that there other more effective interventions available.

MtD

Offline Val

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #60 on: February 27, 2007, 04:29:05 PM »
Since religion appears to be a major issue throughout this topic, I decided to chime in for my 2 cents as well.  
""Why do some people "hate" religion?""   I sincerely don't know!  I, for one thing, don't --- I despise it! And I have no respect for any religion whatsoever.
Moreover, it is my opinion that people may hate religion..."because everyone has a god to kill for.  They just have different names!" M. Good.
And the killing and the  finger-pointing with the judging has been going on for thousands and thousands of years!

Take, for example, The Christians.  How many people are aware that in the beginning it was just a small sect?  Like any other sect of that time?  The Romans ruled what was considered  "the world" back then.  And their gods and godesses system was a  brilliant and fascinating structure  they imported from Greece!
Today, when we speak about sects in the Western world everyone runs for shelter, right? It was the same thing  back then.  The Roman Emperor Constantino was the one who changed everything favorably for the Christians back then...

So I will remain stolid about religion as a whole and will change my mind in this regard, perhaps,  only when Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslins and the others abandon their pernicious ways of thinking and dealing with others.

Val
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Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #61 on: February 27, 2007, 04:41:09 PM »
I adore your attempt at finding definite resolutely empirical conclusions in something that is anonymous.  It's cute.

edited to add:

Additionally, I invite you to show me where I've made a personal attack upon you -  It was never my intent.  Its sad that you perceive my beliefs threatening to your own.

-joseph



A)Of course, one might ask the same about the claim that millions and millions have overcome addiction to alcohol based on AA - if it is, in fact truly anonymous. I think setting up a strawman argument that burns it's fabricator is also pretty cute.

 Did you check out my sources? The research done was done both through interviews with outpatient recovering alcoholics and those who go through court ordered (therefore heavily monitored) AA meetings. other studies involve rehabilitation services, both in and out-patient, as well as other sources which eshew strict anonymity in the interest of science. One caveat; I was wrong. The definition of a "cure" or a "Success" is two years' abstinance in most of these studies, not five.

The Natural History of Alcoholism: Causes, Patterns, and Paths to Recovery, George E. Vaillant, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1983, pages 283-286.
The same text was reprinted in Vaillant's later book, The Natural History of Alcoholism Revisited, George E. Vaillant, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1995, on pages 349-352.

example:

Professor George E. Vaillant of Harvard University is a Class A member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.. He is one of the leaders of A.A., and one of the biggest promoters of A.A..
Professor George E. Vaillant is not an "independent authority" at all.

While working at the Cambridge-Sommerville [Massachusetts] Program for Alcohol Rehabilitation (CASPAR) back in the 1970s and 1980s, Dr. Vaillant conducted an 8-year-long clinical test of A.A. treatment of alcoholics, enthusiastically trying to prove that A.A. works and is a good, effective treatment for alcoholism.

Vaillant's A.A.-based treatment program had no better a success rate than several other treatment programs that he examined, or even a group of alcoholics who got no treatment at all.
As Vaillant plainly stated, his A.A.-based treatment program "failed to alter the natural history of alcoholism." ("Natural history of alcoholism" means what usually happens to untreated alcoholics.)
A.A. didn't work; it didn't save any alcoholics. A.A. was no better than no treatment at all.

And it was even worse than that, because, after 8 years of A.A. treatment, 29% of Vaillant's patients were dead. That is nearly one out of every three patients, dead.

Vaillant's A.A.-based treatment program had the highest death rate of any treatment program that he examined. Even Professor Vaillant called the A.A. death rate "appalling".

And Prof. Vaillant also wrote:

"AA certainly functions as a cult and systematically indoctrinates its members in ways common to cults the world over."

"...in the absence of proven scientific efficacy, critics are legitimate in suggesting that mandated AA attendance may be criticized as a failure of proper separation between church and state."
The Natural History Of Alcoholism Revisited, George E. Vaillant, page 266.


And please don't quote Project MATCH to me. That was science along the lines of Duesberg, lavishing over 27 million US dollars to study clients who received NOTHING like typical AA treatment. Also, they did not even have a control group, much less factor in spontaneous remission.

Thing is, I have posted more or less WAY too much quantification. If you want to disparage it, at least read it.

Insofar as personal attacks:

<<I find myself sadly disappointed by the ignorant, illinformed and braggartly polarized judgement I'm reading on this matter.>>

Sadly, I find only one side of this discussion to be ill-informed. That's been, to date, the side that provides no footnotes nor tangible quantification for their assertions that "millions" of people remain abstinent thanks to AA.

But while its been entertaining to research this stuff, I know for a fact that no minds are changed when something held so dearly as a religious-based addiction recovery program are concerned.

You can call me a lot of things. I daresay ignorant is not one of them. Braggardly polorized? That, sir, is Latin for "I got nothin."

Is it at ALL possible to divorce a person from the program and have this discussion logically and rationally? Dunno. I'd venture to say probably not.

My opinions are my own, and I have not been browbeaten into changing them based on anecdotes. My research, my facts if you will, stand or fall on their own merits. I much prefer the science to the rhetoric, in matters involving HIV and addiction and, well, anything in between. I'm funky like that.



"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

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Offline thunter34

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #62 on: February 27, 2007, 04:45:20 PM »
After reading all this, I think I need a drink.
AIDS isn't for sissies.

Offline Ann

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #63 on: February 27, 2007, 04:46:02 PM »
(ps. I did bring this up with Ann, but I got no response. As a result, I thought it germane to post.)


Andrew,

I missed your PM. I just had a look and sure enough, there it was. You sent it at 1:42am Saturday morning, my time. I don't think (but I'm not sure) I was even still here at my computer at that time. I often have quite a few PMs in my inbox every morning and it can be easy to miss some. I'm human guys, eh?

I've had a lot on my plate lately and I've probably missed more than one PM recently. The decent thing would have been to PM me again to ask if I got the first one. But, whatever. I'm practically homeless at the moment and I've been busy with all sorts of things - including all the other stuff that goes on around here aside from PMs.

I wasn't here at the computer when you started this thread. I left the B&B this morning at 6:15am to fly to Liverpool for my clinic appointment. I got back here to the flat at 8:45pm - to find this thread and people's speculation as to why I remained silent. I remained silent because I wasn't here and had no idea this thread was posted, much less the original PM. Contrary to popular belief, I DO have a life outside AIDSmeds.com and I think I'm entitled to one.

I removed the offending link. It would have been gone last Saturday if I'd seen the PM. Sorry. It was there with some of the people who post in the Am I Infected forum in mind - heterosexual men who compulsively go to sex workers, then beat themselves up over it and insist they MUST have hiv because, according to them, they deserve to be punished with it. Had I known it was offensive to some I never would have used it in the first place.

Ann
« Last Edit: February 27, 2007, 04:48:07 PM by Ann »
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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline thunter34

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #64 on: February 27, 2007, 04:56:08 PM »
I've never really clicked on the link, but I think having a link like that was a good idea.  I would just suggest perhaps adjusting the link to offer several resources to accomodate various orientations and belief systems.  I'd hate to see the whole thing get tossed. 
AIDS isn't for sissies.

Offline Strayboy74

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #65 on: February 27, 2007, 05:03:20 PM »
I'm funky like that.

A pity it is that you are of the perception that I care to change your belief.  In brutal honesty, I truly don't mind what you allow yourself to believe or not believe.  

I'm merely stating my sadness at the inability for others to allow peaceful existence to beliefs other than their own - Living in a black and white existence with an unyielding desire to make others believe theirs is the only way.  With little to no evidence.

In fact, regarding the matter, I hope (I'll not pray - so as not to cheapen the very goodness and sensitivity to your unbending consideration) that people continue to find their way through addiction, in whatever way their system of values and beliefs will allow.  I trust you can agree with me to hope for an end, even if you can't agree to the means.

And THAT is all I have left which is deserving of being said on the matter.

Resolutely,

-joseph

<end>

Offline Ann

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #66 on: February 27, 2007, 05:08:53 PM »
I've never really clicked on the link, but I think having a link like that was a good idea.  I would just suggest perhaps adjusting the link to offer several resources to accomodate various orientations and belief systems.  I'd hate to see the whole thing get tossed. 

Yeah, well, I've had a really long day and if you don't mind, I'm going to relax and watch "Shameless" before I go up to the B&B for bed. I'll look in to posting a different link tomorrow... or maybe the next day or the day after that or some time in the future. I've got to get my house packed because HOPEFULLY, I'll be out of the B&B sometime next week. So sorry, but my life just might have to take precedence over this place for a few days.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline aupointillimite

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #67 on: February 27, 2007, 05:10:54 PM »
After reading all this, I think I need a drink.

Me too.

Perhaps booze would alleviate this situation...
Your tastebuds can't repel flavor of this magnitude!

Offline AustinWesley

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #68 on: February 27, 2007, 05:19:50 PM »
I had a friend tell me I tried to pick up his college age daughter in a grocery store. Now, I had been drinking, and I dont remember doing it and its something I dont usually do since I have been married but it scared me. She told him I said she had a great ass. I still dont think I did it but I dont know for sure.

Why am I quoting this last line of Jakeys? Coz I think it's a hoot. I didn't know you had it in you Jakey, you randy old dog. ;D

JK has produced the evidence that condemns 12 step programmes for what they are. Abject failures. Not only that he's produced links to more sound and effective alternatives.

But I reiterate my previous point. If these sort of things lift your shirt you're welcome to them. I'm sure there's great comfort to be had in flocking together with other inebriates, shedding tears, slapping backs and calling for the help of a non-existent deity to keep you out of the cooking sherry.

Or the underpants of the 17 year old slut next door.

The problem arises when courts of law and other agents of the state require people to attend such programmes with no regard to the science. Or to the fact that there other more effective interventions available.

MtD

I'd agree.  In my case I was forced into this mess via court order.   I didn't even have a parking ticket before this so yeah I was pissed I was forced into that whole additional nightmare with all the religious overtones, hand holding and everyone exchanging sob stories and failing to take personal responsibility for any of their actions.

I don't just feel AA is appropriate for those who don't buy all the religion and powerless garbage.   I felt it was one giant pity party where anything goes and little constructive was achieved.   That was my experience.

Fortunately, everyone here didn't have such a horrible experience and used their particular experiences and used AA and NA and it worked for them.   So, no it doesn't matter how you overcome addiction, but I still think some of the other programs are better.  

Speaking for myself if anyone in my family had ever proposed an "Intervention" with AA being involved with a bunch of religious rhetoric I would have run for the hills ; )   I wonder how many do.

But, I agree with Joseph that sometimes the ends justify the means for those blessed few!

« Last Edit: February 27, 2007, 05:24:48 PM by AustinWesley »
Diag. 3/06  Infected aprx. 2 mo. Prior
Date        CD4   %      VL
4/6/06     627    32    36,500     NO MEDS YET!
6/7/06     409    27    36,100
8/23/06   408    25     22,300
1/2/07     354    23     28,700
2/9/07     139    30     23,000  Hep A Vaccine same day???
2/21/07   274    26     18,500 
3/3/07    RX of Truvada/Sustiva Started.
4/5/07    321     27      Undectable 1st mo.  
5/16/07  383     28    Undectable 2nd mo.
8/10/07  422     32   UD <48 on new scale!

Offline thunter34

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #69 on: February 27, 2007, 05:23:37 PM »
Yeah, well, I've had a really long day and if you don't mind, I'm going to relax and watch "Shameless" before I go up to the B&B for bed. I'll look in to posting a different link tomorrow... or maybe the next day or the day after that or some time in the future. I've got to get my house packed because HOPEFULLY, I'll be out of the B&B sometime next week. So sorry, but my life just might have to take precedence over this place for a few days.

Ann


Oh, yeah...by all means.  Just a thought for on down the line.  Hope you get all moved and stuff as smoothly as possible and soon!
AIDS isn't for sissies.

Offline NycJoe

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #70 on: February 27, 2007, 05:27:09 PM »
Quote
I'm merely stating my sadness at the inability for others to allow peaceful existence to beliefs other than their own - Living in a black and white existence with an unyielding desire to make others believe theirs is the only way.  With little to no evidence.

In fact, regarding the matter, I hope (I'll not pray - so as not to cheapen the very goodness and sensitivity to your unbending consideration) that people continue to find their way through addiction, in whatever way their system of values and beliefs will allow.  I trust you can agree with me to hope for an end, even if you can't agree to the means.
[
 

Could not agree more Joseph.  I say whatever helps.  For some it is faith for some it is something else.  Who is to say who is right or wrong.  I have no hostility or anything bad to say about someone who does not believe in AA or anything faith based.  The only thing I do not like is when it becomes intolerance or hatred of someone who happens to think that way.

Offline aupointillimite

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #71 on: February 27, 2007, 05:34:41 PM »
And Prof. Vaillant also wrote:

"AA certainly functions as a cult and systematically indoctrinates its members in ways common to cults the world over."

"...in the absence of proven scientific efficacy, critics are legitimate in suggesting that mandated AA attendance may be criticized as a failure of proper separation between church and state."
The Natural History Of Alcoholism Revisited, George E. Vaillant, page 266.

OK.  Jonathan brought up the concerns that I have about AA and NA and Fill-In-The-Blank A's.

One is that AA is a religious institution, yes?  I mean, an organization that tells you you're not going to get better without the help of a higher power is taking a religious stance, correct?

So doesn't it follow that the government ordering people to attend AA is akin to ordering them to attend church?

I'm afraid I haven't looked at any statistics regarding the efficacy of AA, but I do know about 20 people who have attended at one time or another... it worked for a couple of them, but the vast majority did fall off the wagon...

The cult aspect is something that I've often wondered about... I can't help but think that AA takes one addiction (to substances of various kinds) and literally replaces it with an addiction to group therapy.  People who have to attend AA for 20+ years to deal with their alcoholism are about as cured as someone who needs to attend a therapist for 20+ years to get over some issue.  Get a new therapist.

When my friends did join AA, I was often surprised at how quickly they became something like intellectual automata... they quoted from the Big Book like it was the Cultural Revolution or something.  Each creed and precept was treated as a tautology... and these were smart people... but they seemed to be sort of brainwashed.   
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Offline thunter34

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #72 on: February 27, 2007, 05:40:07 PM »
Well, from my understanding of it, their stance is that addiction is something from which one is never cured.  One attends meetings on an ongoing basis in an attempt to avoid being overtaken by the addiction...much like we pop meds on a schedule to avoid getting overtaken by HIV.  It's framed as a condition which is apt to resurface unless one remains vigilant.
AIDS isn't for sissies.

Offline Ann

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #73 on: February 27, 2007, 05:41:06 PM »
Just for the record, I removed the link NOT because some here deride the whole concept of twelve step programs, but because the particular program I linked to seems to be homophobic. I didn't realise - if I did, I never would have posted it in the first place.

As for twelve step programs in general, they aren't eveyone's cup of tea but if they work for you, then go for it. Whatever works!

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline Bucko

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #74 on: February 27, 2007, 05:44:41 PM »


When my friends did join AA, I was often surprised at how quickly they became something like intellectual automata... they quoted from the Big Book like it was the Cultural Revolution or something.  Each creed and precept was treated as a tautology... and these were smart people... but they seemed to be sort of brainwashed.   

They weren't brainwashed, just desperate to find a solution.

Brent
(Who still imbibes in red wine from time to time)
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Offline aupointillimite

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #75 on: February 27, 2007, 05:46:09 PM »
Well, from my understanding of it, their stance is that addiction is something from which one is never cured.  One attends meetings on an ongoing basis in an attempt to avoid being overtaken by the addiction...much like we pop meds on a schedule to avoid getting overtaken by HIV.  It's framed as a condition which is apt to resurface unless one remains vigilant.

So, it's merely a difference in philosophy of addiction.  I happen to disagree with it quite vehemently... but of course... what's better?  Drinking yourself to death or attending group therapy once a week?

That's a rhetorical question, by the by.

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Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #76 on: February 27, 2007, 05:56:10 PM »
I always feel bad when someone mistakes my enthusiasm for scientific quantification for proseyletizing. I simply enjoy the scientific method, and try to make it clear where quantifiable facts end and my anecdotal experience and opinion begins.

Again, I am sorry if I made anyone feel bad.


*edited for a typo
« Last Edit: February 27, 2007, 05:58:11 PM by jkinatl2 »
"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

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Offline dtwpuck

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #77 on: February 27, 2007, 06:31:18 PM »
No opinion on the efficacy of **Fill In The Blank** Anonymous programs.
I just think it's ironic that the biggest control freaks I know are twelve-steppers.
And... well... reading this thread I've come to find out that it's all about giving up control.
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Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #78 on: February 27, 2007, 06:52:10 PM »
Jonathan, I must respectfully disagree with some of what you have expressed. I say that even though I find some of the positions expressed by Bill W in the AA Big Book absolutely unacceptable.

But as with the work of Sigmund Freud to take another example, along with what is unacceptable and even infuriating at times in the Big Book, there is also a great deal overall in the program that has been useful to many people. You repeatedly say you want science and not anecdotal information.

In the early years of the HIV epidemic yours is the same position which was used by doctors and researchers, among others, to dismiss what those actually living and dying  with the HIV virus reported. It tooks years of activism before the establishment came to see that the anecdotal information was informative, sound and a very valuable resource in addressing major problems in the epidemic.

For me it was a perfect example of how important it is to respect both traditional science AND informed anecdotal material. My experience has been that it's all-too-easy for those who wrap themselves in the scientific cloak to ignore other important essentials.

Also, when you say something like "the concept of AA is simply that we are neither in control of nor responsible for our destinies, that we must surrender to a higher power," your misstating a basic principle of 12 Steps programs. In fact it's a paradox of the programs that speak of recognizing that the alcoholic or the addict or the debtor or those in other programs does have to accept not being in control.

But here's the important paradox. The programs absolutely emphasize that not being in control does not excuse anyone from not being responsible for their actions and their life. In fact what I have seen with many, many people in program is an immeasurably heightened sense of behaving responsibly in their lives. Doing that is an essential part of the programs, whatever the specific probelm being addressed.

Does it work for everyone? Of course not. But for many it has proven to be a life preserver which has made all the difference in overcoming behaviors and addictions which are often ultimately deadly unless gotten under control.

I want to emphasize that I am not proselytizing for these programs as an answer for everyone facing any of these problems. But I think it's rigid and shortsighted to simply dismiss AA and it's offshoot programs as religiously-based cults and their positive accomplishments as "unscientific."

These programs have evolved through the decades just as Freudian theories through the work of others. (Ironically Freud was actually much more flexible and open to change than many of his followers). Sure, there are always going to be some who will rigidly insist on following early AA positons as well as those who are inflexible Freudians.

I have no religious affiliation although I consider myself to be "spiritually inclined." I have witnessed many times what I can only call blessings in how someone has found help in a Steps program which helped to turn their life around. Even if that's not "scientifically quantifiable" I consider it to be something of great value and worthy of respect.

Sincerely,
Andy Velez

Offline jack

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #79 on: February 27, 2007, 07:13:01 PM »
just buy the book, Courage to Change by Dennis Wholey. It is the best.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2007, 07:15:57 PM by jack »

Offline mjmel

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #80 on: February 27, 2007, 07:20:54 PM »
Well the opinions and some well constructed arguments are all over the board--so to speak.
Nothing like religion, polictics and money to raise arguements and tempers.
I am sorry to read that some have been offended when they have reached out for help because of religion or God-ness.
Not all of us Christians are so arrogant. Albeit, I know this isn't going to make a difference here.

(modified previous post. this one is more in line with thread.)
« Last Edit: February 28, 2007, 06:18:19 AM by mjmel »

Offline bocker3

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #81 on: February 27, 2007, 07:40:08 PM »
People who have to attend AA for 20+ years to deal with their alcoholism are about as cured as someone who needs to attend a therapist for 20+ years to get over some issue.  Get a new therapist.

OK -- First, I've been sober for 17+ yrs -- I do NOT consider myself cured.  If I have a drink, I will quickly be back where I was in 1989.  What I do is not drink each day -- it has certainly gotten easier over time, but I am under no illusion that I have been cured of alcoholism.
Second, I did not replace one addiction for another.  I attended meetings regularly for many years, but truth be told, I have been to maybe 5 meetings since I moved to Richmond in 2000.  I do continue to try and follow many of the principles of the program -- mainly, remembering that I am powerless over other people, places and things.  I am not powerless over me or my actions -- I can make changes, if I try.  However, back to the meeting thing -- clearly, if I had replaced one addiction for the other, I'd either be drinking or going to meetings regularly.  I do neither -- yet I've still managed to not drink.
Third -- are members "cultlike"?  I don't know -- I believe AA saved my life -- I would surely be dead today if I had not stopped drinking.  So, yes, I believe strongly in it -- but I know it's not perfect and it will not work for everyone.  The point of my posts here is to help counter the message that some are trying to convey that it is dangerous.  That is absurd.
Lastly -- AA is not religious, it may be based on spiritual principles, but it is decidedly not religious.  You do NO need to be of the Judeo-christian bent to attend or succeed.  Yes, I was raised Catholic, but have been away from that for most of my life.  JK -- you can insist that people need religion to belong, but you are wrong on this.  You are absolutely entitled to your opinion on 12-step programs, but you do NOT HAVE THE RIGHT to tell me that I can not be in AA or succeed in AA because I do not subscribe to a religion.  I have 17 years of proof in my own existence.  It may not have been your cup of tea -- and I agree that most fail, but it still works for some.  I don't know their success rate, but it is disingenuous to use statistics from Court Ordered AA attendance.  One of the cornerstones of AA is that you have to want to stop drinking -- being forced to attend a meeting is not the best formula for success (I will not disagree that the courts might rethink this, but that is not what is being discussed here).  

A final thought -- if there is no "empirical data" that it works -- where is that "empirical data" that it doesn't work??  You see, I have a degree in Epidemiology and one thing that I do know -- you can almost always find numbers to back your position if you look hard enough and/or slice things small enough.

I have to say that I have never been this "hot" about a topic on these forums, but it scares me that there are people who would give the impression that 12-steps are useless and dangerous -- and then go on to discount others who dare to call them on it.  Before you say I'm doing the same thing -- reread all my posts in this thread.  I have repeatedly stated that this will not work for all, if not most.  I have repeatedly said that there are "bad apples" that will 13th step people (by the way I have a friend who was hit on by his therapist -- so I guess you should discount all therapy now too) and I have repeatedly said that I have never been required to believe in God or any religion, yet I've successfully stayed sober up to today.

Mike
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Offline aupointillimite

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #82 on: February 27, 2007, 07:46:32 PM »
A question. 

Why is alcoholism not curable?

And for that matter... what is alcoholism?

And what is an alcoholic?

What set of criteria have to be fulfilled to make that diagnosis?

And what about those criteria make the condition chronic regardless of whether the alcoholic drinks or not?



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Offline bocker3

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #83 on: February 27, 2007, 08:09:12 PM »
First, I grabbed this definition from JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), so that I wouldn't be explaining how unscientific my interp (that will follow) goes by others in the forum:

"To establish a more precise use of the term alcoholism, a 23-member multidisciplinary committee of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence and the American Society of Addiction Medicine conducted a 2-year study of the definition of alcoholism in the light of current concepts. The goals of the committee were to create by consensus a revised definition that is (1) scientifically valid, (2) clinically useful, and (3) understandable by the general public. Therefore, the committee agreed to define alcoholism as a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial. Each of these symptoms may be continuous or periodic."

Now to get back to your other questions.

Alcoholism isn't "curable" because an alcoholic can't safely drink alcohol.  They may be able to "control" their drinking at times, but they will usually get out of control.  For me (this is anecdotal, but what the heck), it is epitomized by the fact when I hear someone say "Let's go for a drink."  I think, "What the hell do you want to have one drink for??"  I never had just one drink -- I drank until I got drunk.  I made many bad decisions while drunk -- including driving repeatedly, resulting in 2 DUI arrests.  I drank every day!  When I lived in Mass. and a snowstorm was predicted, while everyone else was buying milk and bread -- I was buying beer and cigarettes (another addiction I had).  Now, I consider myself a fairly intelligent guy -- but not when it concerns alcohol consumption -- and definitely not AFTER consuming alcohol.
So, when I don't drink -- you'd never know that I suffer from alcoholism, because there are no manifestations, but if I drink some -- they will likely come out again.

I hope that helps answer your questions.

Mike
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Offline aupointillimite

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #84 on: February 27, 2007, 08:12:33 PM »
It is characterized by impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial. Each of these symptoms may be continuous or periodic."

So, does someone who not drink for almost 20 years have "impaired control" over drinking?

I wouldn't think so at all.

In fact, I would think it would be quite the opposite.
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Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #85 on: February 27, 2007, 08:33:53 PM »
<<
In the early years of the HIV epidemic yours is the same position which was used by doctors and researchers, among others, to dismiss what those actually living and dying  with the HIV virus reported. It tooks years of activism before the establishment came to see that the anecdotal information was informative, sound and a very valuable resource in addressing major problems in the epidemic. >>

I wholeheartedly agree. And if you recall, I was one of the first who stood up and discussed the long term psychological impact of Sustiva, when it happened to me. Mine was an anecdote, but it made its way (along with countless other anecdotes) into the literature. And is now a serious issue facing anyone with chemical depression who is considering Sustiva.

But Andy, we have had 70 years to analyze the AA paradigm. And other recovery programs have brought about a significantly more profound and effective method for battling alcoholism.

I daresay that my own prejudices prevent me from ever endorsing an unmoderated support group when such a group is invariably "run" by the most charismatic persons there - and considering the charisma inherent to most active addicts, this bodes poorly for any individuasl group effort.

I do not mean to discount anecdote.

But seventy years of study? Thats a lot. And with SO many alternatives to the 12 step paradigm, it would be remiss if this site did not offer at least a few alternatives.

And ergh, dont ge tme started on Freud. I prefer my cocaine addicts a little less, um, matriarchally obsessed. I'm all about the CBT and Adlarian approach, but Freud, for all his accomplishments, has NOT withstood the test of time insofar as psychoanalysis is concerned. Sometimes a penis is just a schnitzel.

But thank you for bringing the discussion into the realm of civility. That's all I want. Mostly, all I ever want unless I feel someone good and vulnerable is getting beat up.

PS: The sad thing about paradoxes, even important ones, is that they must be resolved if someone is to gain any true wisdom or workable insight from them. One simply cannot be without power and in complete control.

I have a working knowledge of the Big Book, and understand it's significance in the time it was written. I have also researched its authors, their histories, their research, and their rate of success. I find it very sad that the Big Book has, to the best of my understanding, done little to update itself to apply to atheists, agnostics, or those to whom their spirituality does not control their personal destiny. I hate the fact that the Big Book does little for gay and lesbian members, and only pays cursory attention to women.

AA was a good first step in the realm of addiction treatment. But like ECT, I believe that it's time has simply passed for the most part, and for the same reasons. I applaud anyone who manages to turn his or her life around using AA. I simply believe, based on the science (seventy years) that those who do that are either already indoctrinated in monotheism, or would have come to the same conclusions at any rate.

INsofar as the poster that sugggested most gay men are candidates for SLAA, I must respectfully disagree. Sexually compulsive behavior is a symptom of a larger issue, usually revolving around self respect. Eliminating the sexual component does little good if the real issues are not addressed. One simply cannot equate a psychological phenomenon to a quantified chemical dependency.

That having been said, I do think that the tenet of honesty and contrition for harm done is a valuable part of the AA program, and the ability to live a live of personal honor is an important step towards rebuilding a shattered self esteem.
Whatever works. Just realize that other things also work, and for some... perhaps many gay and lesbian people (and women of any orientation) other alternatives might indeed be a better fit.

I have alluded to this discussion in the past, but did not want to ruffle feathers with the full on thing. When I read Andrew's post, I thought two things. One, I should have made out with him more at the museum. And Two, though I applaud Ann and her attempts to help out the BWW, I fond this a perfect opening for a rational discussion - even debate - on the efficacy of the 12 step program insofar as alcohol, sex, drugs, and gay and lesbians are concerned.

Again, it was not my intention to dissilusion or dissuade anyone. I'm certainly not here to mess with anyone's sobriety. This is just a subject rather near and dear to my heart. Andy, as someone who has been a counselor, you know that the addiction treatment/recovery field is still very new - and new alternatives are emerging all the time. I only suggest that enough time has elapsed for a real and frank evaluation of the 12 step paradigm.



"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

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Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #86 on: February 27, 2007, 08:44:00 PM »
<<JK -- you can insist that people need religion to belong, but you are wrong on this.  You are absolutely entitled to your opinion on 12-step programs, but you do NOT HAVE THE RIGHT to tell me that I can not be in AA or succeed in AA because I do not subscribe to a religion.>>

I have not said that. I merely quoted the Big Book, which states that. Please don't shoot the messenger here.

<<it scares me that there are people who would give the impression that 12-steps are useless and dangerous -- >>

Even though I have repeatedly provided almost a dozen alternatives to AA which have been proven to work? It's not AA or NOTHING. It's AA *OR* something else. For those who feel they need it, alternatives ARE available. What I find dangerous is the discounting of the other methods of combating alcohol addiction.

<< It may not have been your cup of tea -- and I agree that most fail, but it still works for some.>>

Do you not see the arrogance in that statement? It did not work for me, so I failed? Eep.

I do not require your approval of my life in order to feel I made many good choices (and some awful ones). You should not need the approval of others to justify a choice that worked out for you.

The message I HOPE gets out from this debate is that there ARE alternatives to AA, and many of them are based on sound, current scientific principles.

I do not judge you or anyone else for your choice to embrace AA. It was right for you, obviously. You got what you wanted out of the program and continue to do so.

 
"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

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Offline bocker3

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #87 on: February 27, 2007, 09:41:58 PM »
So, does someone who not drink for almost 20 years have "impaired control" over drinking?

I wouldn't think so at all.

In fact, I would think it would be quite the opposite.

Hi Benj,

I still have "impaired control" over drinking -- if I were to drink.  I am not drinking, so I may have "control" over not starting, but the problem would arise if I did.

Mike
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Offline AustinWesley

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #88 on: February 27, 2007, 09:51:17 PM »
Hey Mike,

Clearly after all these years without a drink I have to give you personal credit for what you've achieved.   

While I may not agree with some of the things surrounding various "support groups" I do believe you and it seems clear you've made the right decision for you.

I think you should give yourself a LOT of credit for having the fortitude to accomplish your own personal goals. 

However, I can see how many people would not even attempt tackling an addiction due to some of the obvious turn offs and hypocrisy.

You know who you are and that's all that matters!   


Peace!

Wesley

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Offline bocker3

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #89 on: February 27, 2007, 09:52:22 PM »
<<it scares me that there are people who would give the impression that 12-steps are useless and dangerous -- >>

Even though I have repeatedly provided almost a dozen alternatives to AA which have been proven to work? It's not AA or NOTHING. It's AA *OR* something else. For those who feel they need it, alternatives ARE available. What I find dangerous is the discounting of the other methods of combating alcohol addiction.

I have never said it is all or nothing.  Many others have basically said AA is "dangerous" and other misleading statements.  I AGREE that we need alternatives.

<< It may not have been your cup of tea -- and I agree that most fail, but it still works for some.>>

Do you not see the arrogance in that statement? It did not work for me, so I failed? Eep.

A badly worded sentence on my part.  My apologies.  I have no knowledge of your success with combating any addictions and did not mean to insinuate you failed.  Those should have been separate thoughts.  Sorry.

I do not require your approval of my life in order to feel I made many good choices (and some awful ones). You should not need the approval of others to justify a choice that worked out for you.

The message I HOPE gets out from this debate is that there ARE alternatives to AA, and many of them are based on sound, current scientific principles.

I do not judge you or anyone else for your choice to embrace AA. It was right for you, obviously. You got what you wanted out of the program and continue to do so.

I agree with not needing approvals -- for either of us.  Thank you for this clarification -- your earlier posts were sounding (to me, at least) as if you were saying "anything but AA".

Mike
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Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #90 on: February 27, 2007, 09:59:34 PM »
Many others have basically said AA is "dangerous" and other misleading statements.  I AGREE that we need alternatives.

That's not true Mike and rather slippery of you. ;)

What's dangerous is the unchallenged view that 12 step programmes are the only answer. Yes, yes I know you say you agree about the need for alternatives but your implication is that programmes like AA or NA are equivalent to the alternatives that JK has listed.

It's my profound contention that they are not. To my mind AA type approaches are about as equal to scientifically sound programmes as intelligent design is to the proven theory of evolution.

MtD

Offline bocker3

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #91 on: February 27, 2007, 10:36:51 PM »
Many others have basically said AA is "dangerous" and other misleading statements.  I AGREE that we need alternatives.

That's not true Mike and rather slippery of you. ;)

What's dangerous is the unchallenged view that 12 step programmes are the only answer. Yes, yes I know you say you agree about the need for alternatives but your implication is that programmes like AA or NA are equivalent to the alternatives that JK has listed.

It's my profound contention that they are not. To my mind AA type approaches are about as equal to scientifically sound programmes as intelligent design is to the proven theory of evolution.

MtD

Matty,

That is the wonderful things about opinions -- you are entitled to yours and I am entitled to mine.   :P  ;)

I don't know how scientifically sound AA is, but I personally know scores of folks who were saved from the ravages of alcoholism by it.

But please help me understand the "slippery" part of my posts -- for it is YOUu implying that some are "better" than others -- NOT I.

Hugs,
Mike
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Offline bocker3

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #92 on: February 27, 2007, 10:43:49 PM »
Irony.......???!!!

I'm having one of my Sustiva "drunk" nights tonight.  On the rare occasion that I indulge in Krispy Kreme donuts in the evening, my Sustiva gives me an incredible buzz.   ;D   I'm going to stagger to bed now.   ;)

Hugs to all,
Mike
(Who is happy that the heat in this discussion went down.......)
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Offline Longislander

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #93 on: February 27, 2007, 11:10:32 PM »
wow, I just spent unbelievable hour or more reading this damned thread.

Andy, well said, Mike, you too.

Somethings I thought about were brought up later in the thread, such as court ordered attendance. Of course, as shown by Wesleys post, MOST DON"T WANT TO BE THERE!! They go to as many as ordered and stop. Or drop out sooner, and find something else. Personal therapy sessions are great, if the person has insurance. I'm sure many of the alcoholics who find themselves in front of a judge don't have insurance, and are thereby directed to AA ( or other program as long as they get the help).

I'm now completely tired of this subject, but will add my own story.

I am not an alcoholic, I'm only addicted to cigarettes. My stepfather is an alcoholic. He would not only drive while drunk, he would drink the gin str8 from the bottle while driving. He would drink Nyquil from the supermarket if the liquor stores were closed. He hit rock bottom, and was told he could only stay if he stopped drinking. He chose to keep drinking. Til he found himself sleeping in an all night laundromat in Vegas. ( he likes to gamble too). My mom, said, ok, only if you stop drinking. He went to AA, almost daily. He is far from a bible thumper, does not attend church and has not had a drink since 1/21/90. Why is this date so important? It's the day we got a great family member back. My sister loathed this man when we had to live at home with him, and even after she left the house. Today, he's the proud grandfather of her two children, and she's quite happy about it.

This may be anecdotal, but it is FACT.

I'd hate to think an alcoholic GUEST of AIDSMEDS was perusing this site, and couldn't get halfway through this thread before realizing that AA is a sham, and won't help them, and they should just give up~ ( or join an ONLINE recovery program?).
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Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #94 on: February 27, 2007, 11:11:47 PM »
That is the wonderful things about opinions -- you are entitled to yours and I am entitled to mine.

I prefer Clint Eastwoods assesment of opinions being like arseholes. You know, everyone's got one. You might be entitled to an opinion my heart, but that doesn't make it valid.

I don't know how scientifically sound AA is, but I personally know scores of folks who were saved from the ravages of alcoholism by it.

Oy the tyranny of anecdotal evidence! JK adroitly dismissed anecdotal evidence earlier.

But please help me understand the "slippery" part of my posts -- for it is YOUu implying that some are "better" than others -- NOT I.

The slippery part of your post was the comment about the anti-AA/SA/NA view being "misleading." It is not. And I'm not implying anything. I'm saying it outright.

Fondly,

MtD :-*
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Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #95 on: February 27, 2007, 11:49:12 PM »
<<I'd hate to think an alcoholic GUEST of AIDSMEDS was perusing this site, and couldn't get halfway through this thread before realizing that AA is a sham, and won't help them, and they should just give up~ ( or join an ONLINE recovery program?).>>


So my multiple postings of AA alternatives are useless? Good to know.

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Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #96 on: February 27, 2007, 11:50:47 PM »
Ya know? I give up. Thanks for playing.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

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Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #97 on: February 27, 2007, 11:59:36 PM »
So my multiple postings of AA alternatives are useless? Good to know.

Ya know? I give up. Thanks for playing.


Not at all JK. There will have been a multitude of members and lurkers who have read your sage commentary and clicked your links without commenting.

Your work is, as always, more than well worth it. :-*

MtD
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Offline Strayboy74

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #98 on: February 28, 2007, 12:17:46 AM »
Ya know? I give up. Thanks for playing.


I look, jonathan, at your postings, and what I see is a very personal attachment to a resolute outcome which you will drive yourself crazy trying to achieve.  I ask myself, mostly in consideration of your most recent postings, what your motive really is.

What I have gathered in my best understanding of your emotionally charged and condemning monologues is that you are trying to present options other than faith based programs.  That is respectable.  However, what I find that is not respectable, is that in your attempts to promote YOUR beliefs, you have also haphazardly tried to minimize, degrade, and disprove with shoddy statistics a program which has proven itself to work for many people.

Perhaps you could open your heart, and the narrowness of your condemning opinions to the idea of attraction rather than promotion.  People need to find their own way, and NOT be oppressed further with dictative monologue.

Please, unattach yourself from the outcome.  Contrary to your incinuation of 'playing', THIS IS NOT A GAME.

-joseph
« Last Edit: February 28, 2007, 12:19:28 AM by Strayboy74 »

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #99 on: February 28, 2007, 12:23:20 AM »
you have also haphazardly tried to minimize, degrade, and disprove with shoddy statistics a program which has proven itself to work for many people.


Naturally Joseph you can demonstrate how the statistics and other proofs that JK has provided are shoddy, can't you?

MtD

Offline Strayboy74

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #100 on: February 28, 2007, 12:29:32 AM »
you have also haphazardly tried to minimize, degrade, and disprove with shoddy statistics a program which has proven itself to work for many people.


Naturally Joseph you can demonstrate how the statistics and other proofs that JK has provided are shoddy, can't you?

MtD

I don't have to, Matty.  That's the beauty.  I know what works for me - and that's all that matters.  I don't condemn the means of others to achieve sobriety.  I'm grateful for WHATEVER works.

I wish you peace, Matty.  May you find your fault elsewhere.*

-joseph

* - edited to add "may you"
« Last Edit: February 28, 2007, 12:32:31 AM by Strayboy74 »

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #101 on: February 28, 2007, 12:35:35 AM »
I don't have to, Matty.  That's the beauty.  I know what works for me - and that's all that matters.  I don't condemn the means of others to achieve sobriety.  I'm grateful for WHATEVER works.

I wish you peace, Matty.  May you find your fault elsewhere.*

-joseph

* - edited to add "may you"


Ah. So you can't. Just as I thought dear.

MtD
(Who is content finding fault here for now) :-*

Offline AustinWesley

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #102 on: February 28, 2007, 03:14:34 AM »
wow, I just spent unbelievable hour or more reading this damned thread.

Andy, well said, Mike, you too.

Somethings I thought about were brought up later in the thread, such as court ordered attendance. Of course, as shown by Wesleys post, MOST DON"T WANT TO BE THERE!! They go to as many as ordered and stop. Or drop out sooner, and find something else. Personal therapy sessions are great, if the person has insurance. I'm sure many of the alcoholics who find themselves in front of a judge don't have insurance, and are thereby directed to AA ( or other program as long as they get the help).

I'm now completely tired of this subject, but will add my own story.

I am not an alcoholic, I'm only addicted to cigarettes. My stepfather is an alcoholic. He would not only drive while drunk, he would drink the gin str8 from the bottle while driving. He would drink Nyquil from the supermarket if the liquor stores were closed. He hit rock bottom, and was told he could only stay if he stopped drinking. He chose to keep drinking. Til he found himself sleeping in an all night laundromat in Vegas. ( he likes to gamble too). My mom, said, ok, only if you stop drinking. He went to AA, almost daily. He is far from a bible thumper, does not attend church and has not had a drink since 1/21/90. Why is this date so important? It's the day we got a great family member back. My sister loathed this man when we had to live at home with him, and even after she left the house. Today, he's the proud grandfather of her two children, and she's quite happy about it.

This may be anecdotal, but it is FACT.

I'd hate to think an alcoholic GUEST of AIDSMEDS was perusing this site, and couldn't get halfway through this thread before realizing that AA is a sham, and won't help them, and they should just give up~ ( or join an ONLINE recovery program?).

Hey LongIsland,

Well thanks for highlighting me as an "alcoholic"  ; )   LOL, ironically it was my birthday no less and I'd had 2 tropical LongIslands on my night in question.

No, let's get it clear.  I got a DUI.   I was court ordered into an ongoing freak show despite my objections that it violated my civil rights and request that I be able to attend a non secular program.   I thought the whole thing was stupid and in my opinion all the thousands I paid out for having more than a legal limit on my birthday were NOT just cause for what I went through.    If you ask me the whole DUI stuff is PURE REVENUE.   It's a complete sham!   

However, as if having all my prison fantasies ruined on Sunset Blvd. wasn't enough, I had to spend 3 months with a bunch of dysfunctional misfits with bizarre behavior disabilities and a strong affiliation with Christian fundamentals.

If that's not Hell,  I don't know what is?

Wesley
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Offline Longislander

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #103 on: February 28, 2007, 03:19:55 AM »
Quote
Well thanks for highlighting me as an "alcoholic"  ; )   LOL, ironically it was my birthday no less and I'd had 2 tropical LongIslands on my night in question.


Hey Wes, sorry if it came out like that, after an hour or more, my mind was fogged.
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Offline sweetasmeli

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #104 on: February 28, 2007, 04:31:40 AM »
There will have been a multitude of members and lurkers who have read your sage commentary and clicked your links without commenting.

I am one of those such members who has been checking out Jonathan's links.
And I know I already did comment on that but thought it was worth mentioning again.

Like I said in my original teensy post much earlier on in this mighty thread, my friend with his habit is an avid atheist, who would have (without a shadow of a doubt) scoffed at the mere suggestion of GA (given their religious leanings). But that's because I know him and I know (pretty well) how he thinks. So, I wanted/needed to see alternatives to religion-based organisations.

I also know myself. If I were indeed an addict in need of help - I'm presuming Chocaholics Anonymous does not exist :D - then I know that any religious-based organisations would not be my choice of support either, as the principles they are based on would hold no meaning for me. But that's just me.

I say whatever works for you, go with it.

One of my philosophies in life has always been: as long as you're not harming others, do as you please.

Yeia kai hara (health and happiness) to all!
Melia

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Offline bocker3

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #105 on: February 28, 2007, 06:49:48 AM »
I also know myself. If I were indeed an addict in need of help - I'm presuming Chocaholics Anonymous does not exist :D - then I know that any religious-based organisations would not be my choice of support either, as the principles they are based on would hold no meaning for me. But that's just me.

I say whatever works for you, go with it.

One of my philosophies in life has always been: as long as you're not harming others, do as you please.

Yeia kai hara (health and happiness) to all!
Melia

Melia -- thank you for your post because it helps illustrate 2 points that I've been trying to make (admittedly the first point more strongly than the 2nd).

1 -- AA is not a religious based organization.  And before anyone says differently, go through the AA literature and tell me which to Religion it "belongs".  It certainly is a spiritually based program, but you do NOT need to believe in anyone's god to belong or to succeed.  This has been my biggest fear of this post.  Stating otherwise is potentially harming others.

2 -- I agree that people need to find the help that will work best for them.  If AA is not it, I don't care -- I want people to find the help they need where ever it may be.  I know the horrors of alcoholism and only wish people success in treating it.

Hugs,
Mike
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Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #106 on: February 28, 2007, 07:01:09 AM »
1 -- AA is not a religious based organization.  And before anyone says differently, go through the AA literature and tell me which to Religion it "belongs".  It certainly is a spiritually based program, but you do NOT need to believe in anyone's god to belong or to succeed.  This has been my biggest fear of this post.  Stating otherwise is potentially harming others.

It belongs to the religions which believe in "god" dear. You've heard of them? If not Velez or Ann can point you in the right direction. As Donny and Marie Osmond were a little bit country, they're a little bit spiritual. It explains the similarities, don't ya think? ;)

Atheists and agnostics (damn their oily hides) would indeed have a problem with this and considering that 30 million Americans are unbelievers (ie they reject the spiritual) it fucks the whole 12 step thing right up.

MtD

Offline bravebuddharich

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #107 on: February 28, 2007, 07:55:25 AM »
Many of these posts have made me so sad, even a bit depressed! All the clinging, attachment, meanness of spirit, yikes!!! But especially the defensiveness - a total inability to acknowledge in any way collective responsibility! When I hear that folks with my opinion are moralizing I know this is defensiveness. It's not about morality, it's about how this whole belief system of everything being a personal choice does not acknowledge the consequences for larger communities! And this matters enormously!!

I have mixed feelings about all of the AA groups. They do help many people; other people need other resources, and I'm glad they exist, too. As long as people get the help. But it all leaves in place the underlying issues, esp. for gay men, who very often have a high sense of entitlement without much responsibility.

I hate the stabs at humor in these threads! I understand it is defensive, but it is also a problem!

May all human beings be free from addictions and suffering!

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #108 on: February 28, 2007, 08:25:56 AM »
Many of these posts have made me so sad, even a bit depressed! All the clinging, attachment, meanness of spirit, yikes!!! But especially the defensiveness - a total inability to acknowledge in any way collective responsibility! When I hear that folks with my opinion are moralizing I know this is defensiveness. It's not about morality, it's about how this whole belief system of everything being a personal choice does not acknowledge the consequences for larger communities! And this matters enormously!!

I have mixed feelings about all of the AA groups. They do help many people; other people need other resources, and I'm glad they exist, too. As long as people get the help. But it all leaves in place the underlying issues, esp. for gay men, who very often have a high sense of entitlement without much responsibility.

I hate the stabs at humor in these threads! I understand it is defensive, but it is also a problem!

May all human beings be free from addictions and suffering!


And!! Brave!! May!! you!! soon!! be!! free!! from!! your!! addiction!! to!! exclamation!! points!!

M!!t!!D!!

Offline BB

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #109 on: February 28, 2007, 09:06:17 AM »
Hi all, long time no see. But first off, best of luck in finding a place to live Ann. Having your life turned upside down is gut wrenching.

I must wonder if AA, SA, SAA or any of the many other programs simply offer a way, like a beginning, to another direction in life. I attended some SA and SAA meetings and realized several personal truisms. First, these meetings were a great place to meet other people who loved sex and who were very good in bed/the couch/the back seat of a car/bent over a fallen tree, etc. etc. Also, I very much enjoyed sex with many other members  :o of the various groups I was lucky enough to attend. Is this the 13th step some of you referred to? I also realized that lusting after the Great Orgasm was OK and that I held within me this oft referred to higher power. The higher power was me and I was and still am ok with being me. All the rest of the steps were meaningless and a waste of time at this point in my life.

Life experiences such as the 12 step meetings along with the many other events in my life offered a different idea or direction that I could choose to explore. I am ok with being myself regardless of what others think I should be. My identity, my "self" continues to grow and develop in the direction I choose.

So, do meetings like AA, SA, SAA work? I guess that concept depends upon who you are and what information is deemed worthy of interest and use to any specific individual.

Best wishes to everyone,
Bill


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Offline sweetasmeli

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #110 on: February 28, 2007, 01:36:41 PM »
1 -- AA is not a religious based organization.  And before anyone says differently, go through the AA literature and tell me which to Religion it "belongs".  It certainly is a spiritually based program, but you do NOT need to believe in anyone's god to belong or to succeed.  This has been my biggest fear of this post.  Stating otherwise is potentially harming others.

Mike, I didn’t say it belongs to any one religion. When taken at face value, however, organisations such as AA, GA et al appear to belong – to borrow Matty’s words – to the religions that believe in “God”.

Perhaps I phrased is inaccurately when I used the term "religious based". But AA organisations and the like seem to have very strong links with religious thinking. Spiritual thinking, from what I understand, is to be open to anything – ie any god, gods, goddesses etc – or simply to be open to the power of the universe as a force. Granted, somewhere along the way, the words ‘religious’ and ‘spiritual’ do appear to have claimed synonymy; I’m not sure I entirely agree with that concept though. But whatever, I don’t wish to digress…

I was merely going from what I read in GA's 12 steps:

http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/recovery.html

The 12 step program claims to be based on ancient spiritual principles yet chooses to use the terms 'God' 'Him' and 'His will'. The very wording of those steps rules out any possibilities anything other than a singular (and male) ‘God’ being the spiritual focus (despite the bracketed afterthought suggesting “of our understanding”). However, my understanding of “ancient spiritual principles” is that based on the concept of multiple deities.

Thinking it could just be me misinterpreting what was written, I decided to have a quick look at an AA website link instead:

http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk/geninfo/05steps.shtml

Hmm… “God”, “Him” and “His will” again. This time “as we understood him” being the afterthought.

I notice that AA includes the footnote:

“Newcomers are not asked to accept or follow these Twelve Steps in their entirety if they feel unwilling or unable to do so.”

Fair enough. But still. I’m curious and, admittedly somewhat dubious. Couldn't the fact that AA uses the 12 Step program as a foundation for the recovery of its members be interpreted as being tantamount to planting a religion-based seed in the vulnerable minds of addicts, who are desperately seeking anything that will help them stop their addiction? Note, I am not stating that as a fact, but merely pointing that out as a possibility, to be perceived and questioned as seen fit by one and all here.

Also, ‘God’ references aside, the 12 Step Program seems (to me) also to be based on the principle that we hand over "our will” and “our lives” (their words not mine) – in other words, our control (my words) – to Whatever Greater Power we choose to believe in. I’m sorry, but what??? If that is indeed the case, then that just doesn’t sit comfy with me at all. It’s one thing accepting and admitting that your addiction has taken control over you. It’s completely another thing to relinquish all control in taking control over your habit. I can just about see where personal responsibility comes into these 12 Step Programs, but what about self-reliance and self-trust?

Mike, these organisations may not blatantly state that faith in a god/goddess/higher power is necessary in order to succeed but they certainly insinuate it, and repeatedly so.

Admittedly, having never attended an addicts meeting, I don’t know exactly what they entail, so undoubtedly I must be missing a point somewhere. But as someone who does not believe in god or gods or the like, and as someone looking for help for an atheist friend with an addiction, the 12 Step program – the way AA, GA et al portray it on their websites, anyway – would not be the pathway I would choose for myself. Nor would I suggest to my friend, as I know that, aside from looking at me like I don’t know him but at all, he would laugh in my face at the mere suggestion, simply due to the strong religious/spiritual leaning in the 12 Step Program wording.

As you recognise already, I stand alongside you on your second point though, that people need to find the help that works best for them, whatever that may be. Like I said before, as long as you're not harming others, do as you please.

However, I think people also need to go into situations with their eyes wide open, at least partly aware of what they are entering into – including an awareness of possible hidden agendas and/or ambiguous messages – something that not all addicts have the luxury or capacity of doing whilst in the throws of their addiction(s).

With respect
Melia
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(,,,_ ,,,)/   (,,,_ ,,,)/ Cats rule!

The difference between cats and dogs is that dogs come when called, whereas cats take a message and get back to you.

Yeia kai hara (health and happiness) to everyone!

Offline Jnm594

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Re: Ann's link "Addicted?": a place gays may wish to avoid
« Reply #111 on: March 01, 2007, 03:55:01 PM »
Ok I am thoroughly confused.....If you are not an alcoholic then why would you give a shit about AA? Don't we all have enough problems in our own day to day lives dealing with the Big A then to waste energy on something that doesn't even impact our personal lives?

Grow Up.

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I am now waiting for the self righteous and blatently hostile smug and pompous emails that I will just delete after a good self satisfied chuckle........
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