Saturday, October 27, 2012

Attending Alcoholics Anonymous as Court Ordered Punishment

The Chicago Tribune, to steal a line from the great TV host, John McLaughlin, accidentally stumbled into the truth when describing a Michigan court's recent DUI disposition in the case of University of Michigan running back, Fitzgerald Toussaint.

Sentenced to AA as punishment

According to the Tribune on page 7 of its sports section last Thursday 11/25:

"Michigan Tailback Fitzgerald Toussaint received 10 months probation after a guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of operating a vehicle while impaired. Toussaint, the Wolverines leading rusher in 2011, must attend 10 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in the next three months as punishment, according to the Detroit News."

Well, you certainly have to hand it to the Detroit sports scribes because, however inadvertently, they sure got that straight: mandatory attendance at AA is nothing other than punishment.

What else can you call being forced at the point of a gun to join a bunch of self-debasing, morbid mopes in dreary church basements and listen to them drone on and on about how fucked up their pathetic lives are?

That, in a nutshell is what the 1935 religious conversion therapy of Alcoholics Anonymous is: self flagellating bull sessions heavily interlaced with Bible-belt Christian mysticism.

And AA doesn't work -- never has -- and almost certainly never will.

According to Charles Bufe's landmark work, AA: Cult or Cure? AA works for 2.6% to 3.5% of the people who try it.

Imagine that -- 2.6% to 3.5% of those who try AA treatment are sober after 5 years -- AA's own baseline for measuring success.

For no other disease would the public stand still for a treatment that has such a paltry efficacy rate -- they would be demanding major government funding to find a serious medical cure -- such as that currently being undertaken by the governments of France and Canada.

In fact the French equivalent of the FDA has now cleared an alcohol abuse curative drug for public use there.
After attending AA punishment
you'll need a good stiff belt

But in the US, courts and the highly lucrative addiction treatment industry (how many times have Charley Sheen and Lindsay Lohan been thru  very expensive, AA-based rehab now? 5X a piece?) are content to just herd the drunken miserable wretches off to the idiotic 1930s-styled prayer meetings, called AA.

Some years back I went into an office building in Washington D.C. to use its pay phone. One of the building's tenants was an AA club.

I put my groceries on the staircase and went up to make my call. In the interim, an AA meeting let out and the inmates passed my groceries on the stairs and when I returned all the food items were still there -- except one of them had pinched my six-pack of beer.

But I really couldn't blame him or her too much. After sitting thru an hour of AA punishment, anybody would need a drink -- and actually something much stiffer than beer.


  1. An excellent article, except for one glaring error. There is no disease. The disease concept was cooked up in a basement at Yale between Marty Mann & EM Jellinek, a man of questionably character.

    See Stanton Peel and Jack Trimpey fro discussion on the "disease concept".

  2. In New Orleans, LA I had a dui recently and they are making me do 3 years of AA. Have not even been to trial yet. Also making me do IOP. Hit a parked car. No one was hurt. Have blow device. Case was dismissed but DA is retrying it.

    1. I don't know about the federal district court in your area, the appeals to such in Los Angeles brought forth a ruling that AA is, in fact, a religious organization and as such, the government can't require attendance. Consequently, the courts in Calif (and now in Chicago too) refrain from specifying AA attendance as punishment. They are agreeable to attendance at non-religious self-help groups like Rational Recovery (RR) which are areligious and less onerous. You might check with your lawyer on that.

      What that court did to you seems unconscionable.


Comments invited, however anonymous commentors had better deal directly with the issues raised and avoid ad hominem drivel. As for Teachers' Union seminar writers -- forget about it.