Huff Post Hit Piece on Alcoholics Anonymous Misses the Mark


by Screedler on March 29, 2012

Huffington Post’s Addiction and Recovery Blog is doing itself no favors by running this article by self proclaimed addiction counselor, Laura Tompkins, a Hazelden Graduate School for Addiction Studies alumni.  The article “Is Alcoholics Anonymous Negativity-Based?” is at best disingenuous with it’s claims and at worst, point’s out either the author’s inability to write coherently or understand some of the most basic things about AA.  Here are some of her AA insights: 

Even if you are announcing that the cookies are running low and you need more money for the bad coffee everyone is swilling, you must announce that you are an alcoholic

Really – I want to know where that one AA meeting you ever went to was?  Ok, maybe it happened that one time.

One of the more positive mantras of AA is “Live and Let Live.” It does not diminish that AA worked for one if it did not work for another. If it worked for you, cheers! If it did not work for another, does that have any relevance on your success? Why the need to force your way onto another? Most of us know the famous quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” Methinks the devotees of AA doth protest too much. Perhaps Mr. Bishop has answered his own question as to the most sensitive of us being more prone to addictive behavior. (“Live and Let Live,” remember?)

Do you understand what she is saying here – I don’t.  Is it just me or does the paragraph above make any sense to you?  If there was a point to be made here, it was lost on me.

One of the most common phrases in AA is “Keep Coming Back.” This phrase can produce shame, inferring that they are somehow responsible for the program not working. Those struggling with addictive behaviors are consumed with guilt and shame already.

Wait…all this time I thought “Keep Coming Back” meant – please come back because we enjoyed having you here.  Never felt a tinge of shame when someone said that to me.  Maybe she meant the phrase “It works if you work it”.  But she did not say that.     

 Laura says she felt compelled to write this post after reading Russell Bishop’s article, “Soul-Talk: You Don’t Have to Be an Addict to Recover,”, another Huffposter who is not too keen on AA; she adds –

Mr. Bishop declares that he is not an expert in addiction in a clinical sense. I am an expert, and these are some of my educated and experienced thoughts. 

You would think that someone who was trained by the esteemed Hazelden Graduate School of Addiction Studies would be a little better informed on Alcoholic Anonymous.  If I look in my small recovery library alone , four out of the five 12 step books I have are published by Hazelden.

In closing, I would like to add that I am not the biggest AA supporter out there.  I know it works for some and does not for others, and that every AA group is different.  With that said, it’s free and worth looking at more than one group to see if it will help you.  It helped me and still helps when I go through a rough patch.  But hey, live and let live!

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