|I appreciate the various perspectives presented in this discussion. My only significant chemical addiction is to caffeine, and since coffee has a tendency to tear up my stomach these days (I'm 57), I tend to drink much less coffee than even 2-3 years ago (down from 8-10 cups/day to 2-3 cups/day). But I was married for 13 years to a woman with various addictive/compulsive/habitual (whatever!) behaviors, including what got her to treatment: addiction to prescription tranquilizers. After a year of being "clean" from chemicals, she was still shoplifting (and lord knows what else), and we parted ways not long after that. But while we were still together, she went to 4 Twelve Step meetings (2 AA, one Narcotics Anonymous, one Adult Children of Alcoholics), and I attended 2 Al-Anon meetings per week. Al-Anon is for friends, colleagues, and loved ones of those with alcohol (and other) problems, and they often have some of the same attitude and life problems that the alcoholics/addicts have, so the same Twelve Step principles are used/adapted for them, too. And since I am convinced that I benefited greatly from those meetings, I do have some comments in reply to what others have said about those kinds of meetings.|
Michael E. Marotta wrote:
The failures of whatever therapies to cure all addicts only reflects the failures of the theories of therapy. Different people respond differently. Trashing out AA is fine if you are an Objectivist. It is no surprise that they find a lot of success among Irish Catholics who accept the religious framework. For an Objectivist, some other model would work better.I agree with this, in general, especially if you are at all fastidious about the kind of "God talk" that goes on while you are trying to concentrate on straightening out your life (from the devastation caused by harmful use of chemicals or dysfunctional relating to those who harmfully use chemicals). Me -- I just set it all aside and concentrated on what I took to be the focal point of the Twelve Step program: the Serenity Prayer. Reinhold Neihbur's "serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference" was endorsed by Ayn Rand in "The Metaphysical and the Man-Made," because it is the correct way to look at the world and the correct attitude about the actions you should or should not try to carry out. When I stopped trying to control/change/fix "my alcoholic" (i.e., my drug-addicted &c. wife), and instead put my focus on doing what was healthy and rational for myself, guess what? My life got a lot better! In particular, I lost 180 pounds of ugly fat -- 50 from my body and 130 from my apartment. :-) More importantly, I realized that my wife's refusal to go to marriage counseling with me was one of those things I wasn't going to be able to change, and that I had better stop putting all my romantic apples in one basket (or that one basket, anyway!). Instead, I became a better, healthier person, improved my existing friendships (and abandoned the toxic ones), and made new friendships, both male and female, including the woman I eventually married (and to whom, 15 years later, I am still happily married).
I think that, had I been a, shall we say, rigorous Objectivist at the time, I probably would not have been able to make appropriate and effective use of the Twelve Step program of Al-Anon. I would have instead made the sign of the dollar and retreated into "rational," righteous monitoring and condemnation of my wife and continued to watch my own personal life shrink and wither. (I'm not saying that good Objectivists would necessarily have done this, just that my own understanding and tendency toward moral judgment would have taken that form at that time -- the late 80s.) Yes, I could have just walked away and left her with the kids. I could have tried to fight a horrendously expensive and devastating court battle with lawyers and psychological testing. But I chose not to. Instead, we had mediation and a more or less amicable settlement, and I think everyone is better off for it. My now adult children and I are still on very good terms, and I don't have to witness or think about my ex's abominable behavior any more. And those are all good things. :-)
Ethan Dawe wrote:
This is why I have such disdain for 12-step-programs. They require that you admit that you have no power over your addiction. I'm convinced that this is the reason the recidivism rate is so high. If they focused on the fact that ONLY the addict has power to CHOOSE to act or not act they would have more success.My understanding is that this Twelve Step admission is for the purpose of getting addicts to realize that "nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed." If alcohol abuse sabotages your mind and behavior, then you have to acknowledge that fact, rather than puffing yourself up with the notion that it doesn't have to affect you adversely if you don't want it to. I do agree that controlled drinking is possible for some -- while apparently not for others. But the attitude that you are stronger than alcohol is a very dangerous one, because for some it is a very destructive delusion.
As for the current flap about Linz, I really don't know or much care whether he has an alcohol problem. What's clear is that his "passion" gets out of hand at times, and he has trouble managing and constructively channeling his anger. Some would label this "rage-aholism." I don't know Linz well enough to guess where he is on the continuum. I do think it would be good for him to see a counselor; couldn't hurt, and might help a lot. There are times when we all need help, and being ganged up on by friends and acquaintances is not necessarily the best way to get it.
Best to all,