I won’t bite

My blog-o-world has gone eerily silent again.

So now I’m going to win back your hearts with a funny joke.

A neutron walks into a bar and orders a stiff drink. After drinking it down, he asks the bartender, “so, how much do I owe ya?” The bartender says, “for you, no charge.”

Listen, I’m sorry about the tequila-breath. You know you still love me. Come oooon! Turn that frown upside down, little sailor! It’s not that bad. It’s just a little alcoholism!

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12 responses to “I won’t bite

  1. Well, I’M still here. If I was afraid of alcoholics, I’d never leave the house.

    Here’s the thing, Blue — when we undertake a big change (whether it’s having a kid, becoming disabled, going into recovery, giving up the Republican Party), not everybody in our lives makes the change with us. You know this. It’s not about love, although absence does tend to be interpreted as withdrawal of love (and sometimes is, that’s the catch). It’s about how leading an examined life is a path that most people, even bloggers, really don’t make. I mean, Ripley kept winding up as the only survivor, right? Until Winona Ryder managed to hang on with her till the end.

    I got distracted there for a minute, thinking about what they did after the credits stopped rolling…

    Anyhow, if a blog posts in the cyberforest and no one replies, it doesn’t mean it isn’t landing on the ground. Or something to that effect.

  2. I had wondered if any of my drinkin’ friends (all social drinkers, I’m sure) would feel a little threatened. I have no intention of challenging people’s pasttimes, habits, addictions, or whatever they’re involved in. I just want to be truthful.

    Anyway, my friends aren’t going to drop away over it. It’s really not that big a deal, and I don’t have anybody in my life with whom partying is the only thing I have in common. They’re probably just on vacation.

  3. Hi Blue!

    Still here I am! I just don’t know anything about alcoholism being the teetotaler that I am. But I am still here, here with my fondness for you (and my tea, of course).

    I read a book once that changed my whole perception of addictions. I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone because it blows the conventional wisdom wide open. It’s called Addiction Is a Choice by Jeffrey A. Schaler. Look it up on amazon.com to see a little summary of it.

    Another thought I have: if you decide that you are an alcoholic, keep in mind that 12 step programs like AA aren’t the only option for healing. There are many other less hyped up programs. I can’t remember the names of the other programs off the top of my head, but I will research it for you if you are interested.

    In my very biased opinion, 12 step program rhetoric leaves a lot to be desired. A good friend of mine killed herself at least in part because of her “tough love” sponsor who was always telling her that if she was miserable it was because she didn’t “get down on her knees and pray enough.”

    I hope I’m not stepping on too many toes here. I know the program motto is, “It works if you work it,” but has there ever been any research done to ascertain whether 12 step programs really do keep addicts away from their substance of choice?

    Well-meaning and with love,
    TF

  4. “A good friend of mine killed herself at least in part because of her ‘tough love’ sponsor who was always telling her that if she was miserable it was because she didn’t ‘get down on her knees and pray enough.'”

    I just want to say for the record that what this sponsor said is not at all in the spirit of AA, or any other twelve step program.

    “I hope I’m not stepping on too many toes here. I know the program motto is, ‘It works if you work it,’ but has there ever been any research done to ascertain whether 12 step programs really do keep addicts away from their substance of choice?”

    I’m no expert, but I have this distant memory of reading that, yes, most of the research overwhelmingly shows that 12 step programs are the most effective remedy out there for addictions, whatever my distant memories are worth. Either way, I personally think that acupuncture is highly underrated treatment for addiction, but ultimately, you have to really want to quit, and you have to have a strong support system. For many people, the “magic” of AA is in the community of support, not the rhetoric.

  5. I did a little google to answer my own question, and here’s what I found:

    Review Sees No Advantage in 12-Step Programs
    The New York Times
    July 25, 2006

    “When Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs are examined in controlled studies, a new review reports, scientists find no proof that they are superior to any other intervention in reducing alcohol dependence or alcohol-related problems.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/25/health/
    25drin.html?ex=1311480000&en=d55366033539d953
    &ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

    The Drinking Dilemma
    US News & World Report
    September 8, 1997

    “In a comprehensive 1995 review of the effectiveness of treatment programs, New Mexico psychologists Reid Hester and William Miller concluded that, even for people with severe drinking problems, behavioral treatments (such as brief interventions, contracts governing drinkers’ conduct, and coping-skills training) worked significantly better than the fare routinely offered by 12-step programs: group psychotherapy, educational lectures, confrontational counseling, and referral to AA. The gap between those treatments shown to be effective and those that are widely used, they found, ‘could hardly be larger if one intentionally constructed treatment programs from those approaches with the least evidence of efficacy.'”

    http://www.usnews.com/usnews/culture/
    articles/970908/archive_007804.htm

    After Drug Treatment: Are 12-Step Programs Effective in Maintaining Abstinence?
    American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
    February 1999

    “The rise in the number of 12-step programs and members and the inclusion of 12-step philosophy in treatment programs are, of course, evidence only of its popularity, not of its effectiveness. In fact, there is some controversy regarding the efficacy of 12-step programs. AA contends that upward of 75% of its members maintain abstinence. The evidence used to make this claim, however, is typically testimonials of long-term, abstinent participants. Focusing on long-term participants ignores dropouts, who may be more likely to continue or resume drug and alcohol abuse, which would exaggerate the effectiveness of 12-step programs. Approximately 50% of AA participants will drop out within the first 3 months of attendance, and only about 13% of initial attendees will maintain a long-term relationship with AA.”

    TF

  6. I appreciate the search, and I’m not discounting it completely, but I have to say that, as a librarian-in-training, I wince every time someone uses Google for research. I could write a long post here about why Google is not a good research tool, and why/how it is that the majority of web info is inaccurate, but instead I’m just going to recommend that you, me, and anyone else interested in finding out about the relative effectiveness of 12-step programs give our local reference librarians a call.

  7. Well, I’m definitely open to the possibility that Google isn’t the same as the Harvard libraries, and I’d like to know more about what you’re referring to, Body Mascot.

    BUT, if you look at the links I provided, these articles quoted are directly from what I think are relatively reliable news sources: The New York Times and US News & World Report. (Sorry I forgot to link to the third article I quoted–I will comb through my browser history to find that one if you want.)

    Are you saying that no one should use the internet for researching anything? It’s just not practical to call the reference librarian for every question I might have. I think most people realize that you have to carefully sift through the information you find on the internet, but that doesn’t mean that none of it is true.

    With your access to superior search engines, can you find a source more reputable than The New York Times that explores the efficacy of 12 step programs?

  8. Okay, I’ll delve.

    Google is good for certain kinds of searches. It is designed to bring up the most popular sites that match your search terms, not the most authoritative ones or recent ones. Also, Google only searches a tiny portion of the web. Most online information is on what information scientists call “the deep web.” There are literally dozens of free search engines out there that we all have free access to all the time, and they’re all designed to search in slightly different ways. Some are metasearch engines, which search multiple single-search engines at the same time. Some emphasize authority over popularity, some search the deep web, some some organize results by clusters, etc., etc. Yes, your news sources are certainly more reliable than a random web page, but using Google to search for articles means you’re only going to find those articles that are popular, so that if there are articles giving another perspective which happens to not be the popular one, chances are you won’t see it. Instead, you’ll look at your Google results and think, “Oh, so since these articles are all saying basically the same thing, they must all be true.” Not, “Oh, since these articles are all saying basically the same thing, they must reflect popular opinion.” Probably these articles have ground-breaking information in them, but it’s important to consider that “scientific studies” are often biased. Three years ago, the same search might have revealed a dozen articles “proving” that 12-step programs are the most effective drug treatment programs out there.

    And no, we can’t always call the reference librarian when we have a question, but that’s why e-reference is so great.

    Incidentally, I probably have as many criticisms of the 12-steps way as you do, but I’m cautious of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I think the language of AA needs to be secular and ungendered, for one, but right now the books that emphasize the “addiction is a choice” theory of over the “addiction is a disease” theory just sound like an echo of the personal responsibility argument that conservatives make about everything from welfare to sexuality, so on those grounds, I remain intrigued yet skeptical.

    Oh, and by the way. I really hope you don’t find me annoying, whoever you are. 🙂

  9. Body Mascot, meet Tree Frog, my close friend from college. Tree Frog, meet Body Mascot, my close friend from high school. You’re both wonderful, big-hearted, smart, funny, and conscious. And cute. See? You have a lot in common. Keep the conversations coming. It’s not annoying, it’s intriguing (at least to me, and goddamn it, this is MY blog-world). Keep it nice and you can stay.
    love,
    Blue

  10. ohmigod body mascot, your explanation brought me to the brink of … you know. i am SO HOT for Women Who Can Explain Things, especially complicated things, especially pertaining to research. i’m an original source kinda girl, myself, where you can smell the garlic from their lunchtime sandwich left on the paper as they wrote. when available, of course.

    12 step programs work for the people they work for. no one solution fits all. the american quest for the ultimate truth (a christian bias) is not useful here. well, it’s not useful anywhere, but that’s another issue.

  11. ripleywannabe, you made me blush big time.

  12. wow, what an interesting discussion! i just stumbled on this blog (isn’t the internet a wonderful thing?), but i thought i’d jump in, anyway.

    TF, i’m so sorry to hear about your friend. that’s really sad. i’m sort of thinking about joining a 12 step program, but the whole god thing turns me off, so i’m not really sure what to do. i’m just trying to get all the information i can, and i know anecdotes aren’t exactly research, but i’ve been perusing a few 12-step related blogs and things. there are a lot of people on both sides of this issue.

    bodymascot, you seem to sort of dismiss the linked articles, but i can’t tell why. is it just because they were found by google? i mean, is there anything about the articles themselves that i should be skeptical of? i actually did talk to a reference librarian about a related subject, and he used google to help me! (it’s kind of a small town library, so i don’t know if he thought i wouldn’t know how to use google, or what ….) could you maybe suggest some specific other web tools that i could access myself, that might be better for this sort of thing than google?

    ripleywannabe, i don’t really understand your post about the ultimate truth ….? are you saying it isn’t useful to try to figure out if the 12 step program is likely to work for me before i give it a try? i’m confused! it sounds like you had something interesting to say, but i sort of missed it.

    well, sorry to barge in on your little party here (and sorry to do so late!) but i hope i can read more from all of you.

    -nh

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