Alcoholism and drug addiction is one of the most serious problems facing the offices of NFFHC today. What follows is a guest post by renowned drug expert and addiction survivor Herbert Lumberdale. Born to a crack-addicted mother, then immediately stabbed and thrown in Lake Erie during the ‘70s, Mr. Lumberdale survived 3rd degree chemical burns only to be enslaved by one of America’s most prestigious meth labs in Little Rock, Arkansas. He has since overcome dozens of different dependencies, chemical and otherwise, in many cases on multiple occasions. With a combined 16 ½* years of sobriety**, he is one of the soberest people living in the state of Colorado today. His book, Addiction Cures They Don’t Want You to Know About, is available now as a self-published Amazon e-book and a popular chain letter.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE 12 STEPS?
Of all the bullshit ever purveyed by the world’s only unprofitable pyramid scheme, Alcoholic’s Anonymous, perhaps the most pernicious and fundamental is the notion that there need to be 12 steps in order to free yourself from addiction. Haven’t you already wasted enough of your life getting loaded, sleeping it off and trying to figure out where you left your credit card?
But what’s a drunk to do? After all, many people seem to have gotten sober with AA, so some of these steps must work, right? Sure. The question is: which ones are doing the work? I contend that there are really only three necessary steps, and the rest may be discarded. In fact, experienced habit breakers may actually need only two or even one. The choice is up to you. But, as with any ideology, I suggest you educate yourself before you hop on the bandwagon. Submitted for the approval of the midnight society:
WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE 12 STEPS:
- “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.”
Analysis: If you have no power over booze, how the fuck do you expect to overcome it? Certainly your life is manageable enough if you’re reading literature on how to stop drinking, right? Trust me. Rock bottom is deeper than you think. I know. I grew up in a meth lab/opium poppy greenhouse that sold counterfeit souvenir mugs on the side. Unmanageable isn’t getting wasted every night after work. It’s drinking half a can of gasoline before you realize it’s not whiskey. If you can show up at meetings on a regular basis, you don’t have a serious problem.
- “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”
Analysis: No, they’re not talking about a gun to their heads. They’re talking about the most influential being in pro-sports, God, aka the big man upstairs. They have a real hard on for this guy. Didn’t some scientists in the ‘60s actually prove once and for all that God doesn’t exist? In any case, if you’re praying to God for help you’re basically taking your directions from the ceiling, and if you’re talking to your ceiling you have bigger problems than booze. Any success you achieve in this step would be entirely coincidental.
- “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”
Analysis: This is basically the same damn thing as the last one. I like that they add in that little part about “as we understand Him,” a statement which makes a lot of unwarranted assumptions, the first of which is that if such a deity did exist that it must be a dude. In any case, it’s a meaningless step.
- “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”
Analysis: You can keep this one if you want, but I prefer having what goes under the rug stay under the rug. There is no such thing as a truly fearless moral inventory. Our delusions, our instincts, our obsessions, our opinions, they are impossibly intertwined with our conscious minds and will never allow us to be completely honest with ourselves, nor to fully scrape clean the tar and muck from the grimy, Dickensian streets of our subconscious. Sure, it’s easy enough to remember when you stole $20 from the collection plate to go buy a couple handles of Skoal, but that’s not facing yourself. That’s the classic deceptive technique of hiding a big lie by admitting to a smaller one, except in this case you’re deceiving yourself. There are about 100 of these gatekeepers running around any person’s head before you get to the truth. In other words, it’s hopeless. You’re never going to truly face yourself, so why the fuck bother? Not to mention, if you’re an all star drunk, the kind who really needs help, you’re literally not going to remember the worst shit you did because you were blotto and probably a couple other things at the time.
- “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”
Analysis: My primary problem with all these steps is the repetition. Once again, this is essentially the same thing as the last step. I guess admitting the wrongs you can identify to your ceiling and then to another human being are slightly different, but not really. Trash it.
- “Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.”
Analysis: I’m still under the impression that the enduring popularity of Christianity isn’t in the moral foundation people think it provides but in the legal loophole. How wonderful if there was a service that would come in and take all the months-old vomit and miscellaneous feces from under my ethical rug, wipe it up with a smile, and require nothing besides convincing myself I believe as payment? I also don’t like what’s implicit in the statement. Namely, that your alcoholism is caused by defects of character. Don’t they also teach that alcoholism is a disease? Diseases are caused by real life problems with your body, not some cockamamie, moralist’s hogwash like “defects of character.” Does a schizophrenic just need to admit that he’s a lying sonuvabitch and magically his brain will function normally?
- “Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”
Analysis: First of all, there’s nothing humble about thinking you have a direct line to the Creator of the Universe and that He cares enough to listen to you. Second, if He’s God, He’ll see what’s coming next when you become ready to have God remove all these defects. No need to ask this repetitive question. Trash it.
- “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.”
Analysis: What? They hate you and probably for good reason. No need to go open up old wounds. I’m sure Mom has gotten over the $2,058.26 I stole from her purse by now and my ex Melissa has stopped cringing every time she hears the word “beer-battered.”
- “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”
Analysis: Ah, okay. Step 1: Become willing to make amends. Step 2: Stand up and get in a car or other suitable mode of transportation (or should that be two steps?). Step 3: Make amends. Please. This is just more repetitive, unnecessarily detailed garbage. Sounds to me like they thought their Big Book wasn’t quite big enough, so they added some extra shit you had to do. I know I’m starting to sound repetitive myself, but that’s just because it’s the same problem over and over again. You guys know what you need to do. Just do it. In any case, I think I can make a case that making amends to anyone I know could potentially injure them emotionally and perhaps even physically.
- “Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.”
Analysis: This kills me. I think it’s the step most responsible for all the smugness AA people have—like they’re fucking enlightened because they put down the bottle and started praying, and so now they can see all their wrongs. The answer to this one is the same as the fearless moral inventory one. Most of people’s biggest defects are cause by a lack of honesty with themselves. True honesty is virtually impossible. Taking a personal inventory is irrelevant if you’re blind. Don’t bother.
- “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”
Analysis: Total filler. More of the same. Skip it.
- “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”
Analysis: This is the pyramid scheme part of AA. Stay sober by trying to help others get sober and ride the wave of good feelings that come with it. Trust me. You won’t be awakened. You’ll just be more sanctimonious, which admittedly is almost as good a feeling as booze. Good enough that you might be tempted to replace booze with it.
THE THREE STEP PROGRAM
So what are we left with then? Well, really all the steps as written need to be removed or rewritten. Here’s what I say the steps can be whittled down to:
- Admit you have a problem.
- Stop drinking so damn much. How much is entirely up to you. For me that means no more than a sixer a day. I don’t get drunk off beer, so it’s okay. Plus, it’s rich in antioxidants and let’s say vitamins. I limit it to that more just to save money, and so I can keep sporting my trim figure.
- Learn to love the feeling of being better than other people, which you are now that you’ve defeated the demon of alcohol addiction. Lecture people every chance you get.
So there you have it. Easy-peasey, mac and beer-cheesy. Stay as sober as you want my friends. It’s only a “problem” by the definitions of our culturally biased dictionaries. You don’t need some pipe-smoking, tweed-blazer-wearing, university fruitcake telling you how to live. You can define words how you want.
Here are my abridged programs for the experienced or particularly strong of will:
- Admit you have a problem.
- Stop drinking so damn much.
- Stop drinking damn much. Technically you don’t need to admit you have a problem to stop.
*Combined through multiple periods.
**Sobriety as defined by his copyrighted three step program