the orange papers

If you are in recovery, avoid looking at this guy/gal’s / organization’s ideas about AA on : Better to go to get helpful information that doesn’t demean or dehumanize the addict.

He/she/they go on and on for days about AA and its inefficacy and the lunatics who “believe” in its program. What I have to say to “the orange papers” is this:

Why all the energy spent on telling alcoholics that AA doesn’t work? Why the fervent argument on how and why AA doesn’t keep anyone sober (or such a small percentage of addicts that why even bother going to a meeting?). Although the mysterious orange papers author says that what worked for him was 1. absolute determination and 2. realistic thinking and the adage that “failure is not an option.” He really must be sitting on his hands and white-knuckling his way thru recovery. Yet he emphasizes “Don’t take the first drink. Ever.” Hmmmmm. Sound familiar? That’s because it’s AA. The problem with orange is that alcoholics and addicts do not know how to use absolute determination and “realistic” thinking. The problem with orange papers is that it refuses to see addiction as disease. It remains a taboo in our culture to view addictions to alcohol and drugs as disease, thus making its treatment extremely difficult. If people would simply accept addiction and other mental illness as real illness and treat it accordingly, and as tough as we, for example, “fight” breast cancer…many lives could and would be saved. Addiction of course doesn’t resemble diseases that easily come to mind such as cancer but it is a disease nonetheless. the only effective recovery and way out of addiction and into healthy, sober living is thru, I believe, a combination of sound medical treatment and spiritual guidance that gives the addict a reason, a purpose to get sober. Belief that our lives are worth more, that we deserve to be “saved” from addiction, requires this exhaustive spiritual journey and it begins with acceptance of a Higher Power. I believe my alcoholism is a disease, much like my depression, but I also believe in a purpose to my life. Any addict who has made a career out of using and abusing, with a long history of DUI, jail, reckless behavior leading to nearly fatal consequence, MUST surrender to a notion of force greater than the individual. Who kept you alive thru your careless, selfish pursuit to feed and sustain your addictions? Oh, it was chance. It was luck. No my friend I believe we have a soul and life is a gift. No one on this earth knows this better than a person in recovery. Get honest with yourself and humble. You will find this to be true. And I hate religious fanaticism. I abhor Jesus freaks and Bible -thumpers. Trust me, evangelical tent revivals are nothing but comedy and farce to me. Jesus doesn’t have to be your Higher Power. The Bible does not have to enter into recovery. Yes many in AA use it right alongside the Big Book. That’s their choice. I like quantum physics and Eastern philosophy better. Just grab onto something that speaks to your soul: art, music, poetry, film, love, nature, animals, writing, children, fucking baking apple pies. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. But I’m tired of the anti-AA groups emerging. I think AA is invaluable because it helps a lost soul remember she has one. 12 steps work hard to do this. AA works for its fellowship, service acts. Helping an addict out of his own head and into his heart. Even those dying of cancer must have a will to live that seeks any form of treatment. Addicts have a will to die.

So to you Orange Papers, I say, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” Shakespeare. Either this guy is a raging alcoholic satisfied to drink and doesn’t want to be sober or recover or has tried and failed, and tried and failed. Or this orange paper thinks anyone with a brain needs to reevaluate the principles and dogma behind AA. I agree to search for your own way. But as an addict and alcoholic, many of us can’t think in our best interests…we think in our alcoholic mind and addict’s interest. Therefore, why dispose of all the benefits of a program used throughout the world, in communities, any sound treatment and rehab facilities with a goal of keeping addicts clean? What’s the alternative? I do agree that if you want to be sober, you will find a way to do it. You will surrender to a Higher Power, for lack of a better description. AA has its faults. Any program does. But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Take what works, what helps you, what gives you strength, support and encouragement. Use the tools that aid in your recovery. Discard the rest. If you have not the courage to try, or the will to change…than no program, no treatment, no 12 step process, no amount of prayer, no medication, nothing will work. Maya Angelou said, “Nothing will work, unless you do.” Sober is a choice, but an alcoholic can’t make that choice unless he has a mind, body, soul to do it. AA helps to restore that missing part of the brain. Even if medical treatment cured an addict from using, he would still be without a sense of purpose. And without that, what’s the point of living a clean life?


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