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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Alcohol research


"Definition of Addiction

Public Policy Statement: Definition of Addiction

Short Definition of Addiction:

Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviours.

Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioural control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviours and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.”

Genetic factors account for about half of the likelihood that an individual will develop addiction. Environmental factors interact with the person’s biology and affect the extent to which genetic factors exert their influence. Resiliencies the individual acquires (through parenting or later life experiences) can affect the extent to which genetic predispositions lead to the behavioural and other manifestations of addiction. Culture also plays a role in how addiction becomes actualized in persons with biological vulnerabilities to the development of addiction.

Other factors that can contribute to the appearance of addiction, leading to its characteristic bio-psycho-socio-spiritual manifestations, include:
  1. The presence of an underlying biological deficit in the function of reward circuits, such that drugs and behaviours which enhance reward function are preferred and sought as reinforcers;
  2. The repeated engagement in drug use or other addictive behaviours, causing neuroadaptation in motivational circuitry leading to impaired control over further drug use or engagement in addictive behaviours;
  3. Cognitive and affective distortions, which impair perceptions and compromise the ability to deal with feelings, resulting in significant self-deception;
  4. Disruption of healthy social supports and problems in interpersonal relationships which impact the development or impact of resiliencies;
  5. Exposure to trauma or stressors that overwhelm an individual’s coping abilities;
  6. Distortion in meaning, purpose and values that guide attitudes, thinking and behaviour;
  7. Distortions in a person’s connection with self, with others and with the transcendent (referred to as God by many, the Higher Power by 12-steps groups, or higher consciousness by others); and
  8. The presence of co-occurring psychiatric disorders in persons who engage in substance use or other addictive behaviours.
Addiction is characterized by:
  1. Inability to consistently Abstain;
  2. Impairment in Behavioural control;
  3. Craving; or increased “hunger” for drugs or rewarding experiences;
  4. Diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviours and interpersonal relationships; and
  5. A dysfunctional Emotional response.”


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

PS For AA Minority Report 2013 click here

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Bill and Bob's Excellent Adventure! (contd)

A wildly imaginative dianoetic rambling concerning the the “basic text” of Alcoholics Anonymous (viz. the Big Book) (our comments in red print)

The Doctor's Opinion (pp. xxv-xxvii)

"THE DOCTOR’S OPINION [note: apparently 'opinions' are permissible in AA, contrary to orthodoxy!]

We of Alcoholics Anonymous believe that the reader will be interested in the medical estimate [ie. an opinion] of the plan of recovery described in this book. Convincing testimony must surely come from medical men who have had experience with the sufferings of our members and have witnessed our return to health. A well-known doctor, chief physician at a nationally prominent hospital specializing in alcoholic and drug addiction, gave Alcoholics Anonymous this letter:

To Whom It May Concern:
I have specialized in the treatment of alcoholism for many years.

In late 1934 I attended a patient [Bill Wilson] who, though he had been a competent businessman of good earning capacity, was an alcoholic of a type I had come to regard as hopeless. [which implies there are 'other' types]

In the course of his third treatment he acquired certain ideas concerning a possible means [ie. not the sole means] of recovery. As part of his rehabilitation he commenced to present his conceptions to other alcoholics, impressing upon them that they must do likewise with still others. This has become the basis of a rapidly growing fellowship of these men and their families. This man and over one hundred others appear to have recovered. [a properly cautious assessment]

I personally know scores of cases who were of the type [see above] with whom other methods had failed completely.

These facts appear to be of extreme medical importance; because of the extraordinary possibilities of rapid growth inherent in this group they may mark a new epoch in the annals of alcoholism. These men may well have a remedy for thousands of such situations.

You may rely absolutely on anything they say about themselves.

Very truly yours,

The physician who, at our request, gave us this letter, has been kind enough to enlarge upon his views in another statement which follows. In this statement he confirms what we who have suffered alcoholic torture must believe—that the body of the alcoholic is quite as abnormal as his mind. It did not satisfy us to be told that we could not control our drinking just because we were maladjusted to life, that we were in full flight from reality, or were outright mental defectives. These things were true to some extent, in fact, to a considerable extent with some of us. But we are sure that our bodies were sickened as well. In our belief, any picture of the alcoholic which leaves out this physical factor is incomplete.

The doctor’s theory that we have an allergy to alcohol interests us. As laymen, our opinion as to its soundness may, of course, mean little. But as ex-problem drinkers, we can say that his explanation makes good sense. It explains many things for which we cannot otherwise account.

Though we work out our solution on the spiritual as well as an altruistic plane, we favour hospitalization [ie. medical care should be left to the professionals] for the alcoholic who is very jittery or befogged. More often than not, it is imperative that a man’s brain be cleared before he is approached, as he has then a better chance of understanding and accepting what we have to offer.[which would suggest that newcomers should not be introduced to the programme before they are ready to grasp at least some its implications]

(our emphases)

Coming next – The Doctor's Opinion (contd)


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

Caution: This curse (sorry!!) COURSE is not to be taken as AUTHORITATIVE nor is it to be regarded as DEFINITIVE in any way. Anyone found to be according it any undue status will be reported to the appropriate authorities (ie. GSO York or whoever) who will then do …. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! (quite rightly too we say!). Moreover any person discovered to be quoting from the aforementioned course will be TERMINATED with extreme prejudice!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Where Will Power Comes In, May, 1962, Bill W


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

PS For AA Minority Report 2013 click here

Monday, 20 October 2014

A little bit of extra dosh always comes in handy.....

Extracts from the aacultwatch forum (old)

To illustrate that non-profit organizations are businesses (and not always as non -profit as they appear), here’s an example of a family run non-profit drug rehab called The Ark which was busted for exploiting clients by the Human Services Department in Utah USA.

A violation notice issued in January by the Department of Human Services specifically cites Boberg, in at least one instance, for "improper use of clients for manual labor for personal gain to Boberg Family,” ….."Clients shamed, embarrassed and verbally abused due to actions of Gloria Boberg,’ the violation notice stated.”…… “It also said that staff members used methods ‘designed to humiliate or frighten a consumer,’ according to information gathered by the state.

Clients pay $13,000 to $15,000 each month, depending on insurance.”  The salaries of non-profit directors are interesting: Gloria Boberg (Founder and executive director) received $161,000 in 2008, Jeremy Boberg, (Director of admissions)and Darron Boberg (Director of operations) each received $132,000 in 2008. “IRS documents show the three also collect $11,000 to $21,000 each, per year, in "other compensation." They say that's Ark-related car and travel expenses.”

This rehab appears to have no connection with AA, but back to the subject of Step’nahead Wayne B, it would be interesting to know how much he is earning off the back of A.A. as executive director of his non-profit organization. Does anyone know? If the Last Mile Foundation is compared to a non-profit the size of The Ark rehab, “According to surveys by the Utah Nonprofits Association, $80,000 was the average salary in 2006 for an executive director of a comparably-sized nonprofit agency. It was $117,000 in 2011.” If comparable, then that would'n't be a bad income for Wayne B for copying a few bits and pieces from the Big Book and AA Grapevine, writing a rehash of the Twelve Steps, then travelling the world to talk about it to a gullible audience that loves him.

Sources: KSL TV/ News Radio: “Nonprofit rehab center's business practices raise ethical concerns” By John Hollenhors  http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=148&sid=19881737 “Controversial drug treatment center was cited for exploiting clients” By John Hollenhorst http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=19929490


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

PS To use “comment” system simply click on the relevant tab below this article and sign in. All comments go through a moderation stage

PPS For new aacultwatch forum see here. Have your say!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Alcohol research

Research Society on Alcoholism Lecture Series (2006 and 2008)

The Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA) sponsored a series of educational lectures, on a range of topics within the field of alcohol research. This website features all 32 lectures -- 16 lectures presented in 2006 and 16 lectures in 2008. These lectures are available for viewing in quicktime movie format. The presenters powerpoint slides and lecture notes are available to download as well.“


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

PS For AA Minority Report 2013 click here

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (contd)

aacultwatch's perspective on:

(an almost as wildly discursive commentary as our 'take' on the Big Book)

This tome is much reviled in cult circles (especially amongst the Big Book nutters who regard it as almost heretical! (A point of interest – if you're looking for meetings largely free of the aforementioned 'fruitcakes' – and for that matter sundry other screwballs – then a Twelve Step meeting following the format of the above text is usually a safe bet). The text we will be using is as indicated above. And now we come to the:


Alcoholics Anonymous is a worldwide fellowship of more than one hundred thousand* alcoholic men and women who are banded together to solve their common problems and to help fellow sufferers in recovery from that age-old, baffling malady, alcoholism.

This book deals with the “Twelve Steps” and the “Twelve Traditions” of Alcoholics Anonymous. It presents an explicit view [ie. “fully and clearly expressed; leaving nothing implied”] of the principles by which A.A. members recover and by which their Society functions.

A.A.’s Twelve Steps are a group of principles, spiritual in their nature, which, if practised as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole.

A.A.’s Twelve Traditions apply to the life of the Fellowship itself. They outline the means by which A.A. maintains its unity and relates itself to the world about it, the way it lives and grows.

Though the essays which follow were written mainly for members, it is thought by many of A.A.’s friends that these pieces might arouse interest and find application outside A.A. itself.

Many people, nonalcoholics, report that as a result of the practice of A.A.’s Twelve Steps, they have been able to meet other difficulties of life. They think
* In 2012, it is estimated that over two million have recovered through A.A.

that the Twelve Steps can mean more than sobriety for problem drinkers. They see in them a way to happy and effective living for many, alcoholic or not.

There is, too, a rising interest in the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. Students of human relations are beginning to wonder how and why A.A. functions as a society. Why is it, they ask, that in A.A. no member can be set in personal authority over another [but see here], that nothing like a central government can anywhere be seen? How can a set of traditional principles, having no legal force at all, hold the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous in unity and effectiveness? The second section of this volume, though designed for A.A.’s membership, will give such inquirers an inside view of A.A. never before possible.

Alcoholics Anonymous began in 1935 at Akron, Ohio, as the outcome of a meeting between a well-known surgeon [Dr Bob – a proctologist] and a New York broker [Bill W]. Both were severe cases of alcoholism and were destined to become co-founders of the A.A. Fellowship.

The basic principles of A.A., as they are known today, were borrowed mainly from the fields of religion and medicine, though some ideas upon which success finally depended were the result of noting the behaviour and needs of the Fellowship itself. [eg. parting company with the Oxford Groups]

After three years of trial and error in selecting the most workable [not dogma driven] tenets upon which the Society could be based, and after a large amount of failure in getting alcoholics to recover, three successful groups emerged—the first at Akron, the second at New York, and the third at Cleveland. Even then it was hard to find two score of sure recoveries in all three groups.

Nevertheless, the infant Society determined to set down its experience in a book which finally reached the public in April 1939. At this time the recoveries numbered about one hundred. The book was called “Alcoholics Anonymous,” and from it the Fellowship took its name. In it alcoholism was described from the alcoholic’s point of view [ie. this perspective is NOT claiming to present any kind of medical diagnosis], the spiritual ideas of the Society were codified for the first time in the Twelve Steps, and the application of these Steps to the alcoholic’s dilemma was made clear. The remainder of the book was devoted to thirty stories or case histories in which the alcoholics described their drinking experiences and recoveries [it would seem that talking about drink in AA meetings is OK after all contrary to cult orthodoxy!]. This established identification with alcoholic readers and proved to them that the virtually impossible had now become possible. The book “Alcoholics Anonymous” became the basic text of the Fellowship, and it still is. This present volume proposes to broaden and deepen the understanding of the Twelve Steps as first written in the earlier work [which implies that the Big Book is to be regarded as an introductory text – not the last word!]

With the publication of the book “Alcoholics Anonymous” in 1939, the pioneering period ended and a prodigious chain reaction set in as the recovered alcoholics carried their message to still others. In the next years alcoholics flocked to A.A. by tens of thousands, largely as the result of excellent and continuous publicity freely given by magazines and newspapers throughout the world. Clergymen and doctors alike rallied to the new movement, giving it unstinted support and endorsement.

This startling expansion brought with it very severe growing pains. Proof that alcoholics could recover had been made. But it was by no means sure that such great numbers of yet erratic people could live and work together with harmony and good effect.

Everywhere there arose threatening questions of membership, money, personal relations, public relations, management [or mismanagement] of groups, clubs, and scores of other perplexities. It was out of this vast welter of explosive experience that A.A.’s Twelve Traditions took form and were first published in 1946 and later confirmed at A.A.’s First International Convention, held at Cleveland in 1950. The Tradition section of this volume portrays in some detail the experience which finally produced the Twelve Traditions and so gave A.A. its present form, substance, and unity.

As A.A. now enters maturity, it has begun to reach into forty foreign lands.* In the view of its friends, this is but the beginning of its unique and valuable service.

It is hoped that this volume will afford all who read it a close-up view of the principles and forces which have made Alcoholics Anonymous what it is.

(A.A.’s General Service Office may be reached by writing:
Alcoholics Anonymous, P.O. Box 459, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163. U.S.A.)


* In 2012, A.A. is established in approximately 170 countries.”

(our emphases)(our observations in red print)

Coming next - Step One


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

Friday, 17 October 2014

After Twenty-Five Years, March, 1960, Bill W


The Fellas (Friends of Alcoholics Anonymous)

PS For AA Minority Report 2013 click here