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657809 Posts in 9259 Topics by 3396 Members Latest Member: - vlozan86 Most online today: 57 - most online ever: 494 (Jul 01, 2007, 02:59:53 PM)
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Author Topic: The latest article made me laugh and laugh!  (Read 17724 times)
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jebreject
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Posts: 27071


« Reply #25 on: Sep 14, 2004, 05:22:20 PM »

"live and let god"
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Maaik
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Posts: 15119


« Reply #26 on: Sep 14, 2004, 06:00:48 PM »

Quote from: "John"
Quote from: "Maaik"
Quote
attempting to quit drinking without any help from anybody
shut up, fuck you, I can do it myself


Made me double over, laughing.  I think its cos I just saw the AA episode of Penn & Teller's Bullshit! last night.


Are Penn & Teller anti-AA? That's a pity, AA have really helped a lot of people.


Well, you know those guys.  It's all about deconstructing myths.  And yeah, their beef was primarily with the 12 step's "submit to a higher power" thing.
The argument went something like--AA claims no official religious stance, their tenets promoting "a higher power," calling itself a spiritual rather than religious organization.  However, most official meetings open with a prayer to God and close with the Lord's Prayer.  The 12 Steps themselves name God repeatedly.

This is really no big deal to me--AA is an organization founded in America right after Prohibition, it's going to be a little (or a lot) Christ-centric.

The issue becomes more dire when AA attendance is made compulsory, as it has been as terms of court sentencings, threats of job loss, license revocations etc.  It's a Separation of Church and State issue.

P&T also took issue with AA not publishing stats on their success rate, which is admittedly suspect.  I'm not going to argue here that AA does or doesn't work--it's obviously worked for some people, still others have left the program and headed back into the bottle.  And still others have found alternative methods for kicking the sauce that don't involve admitting that you are powerless.  It's not for everyone, its backbone, the 12 steps, doesn't jibe with everyone.  Yet in court, it is the primary organization they toss you into for gettin' clean.

It's a messy issue.
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jebreject
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Posts: 27071


« Reply #27 on: Sep 14, 2004, 07:53:40 PM »

I had to take an AODA class for twelve weeks and that was the thing that really got under my skin, the whole idea that I'm "powerless" over my cravings for drugs/alcohol/sex with midgets/whatever.  I mean, the "once an addict always an addict" tenet is true to an extent, but I think it's really kinda bullshit to tell people that they're powerless over their addictions and that belief in a higher power is the only way to move away from that.  It's replacing one addiction with another, in a way, but that's not even what bothers me.  It just bugs me that they can't give people more credit than that.  Addicts or not, we all have the power to overcome that which drags us down, provided we have the proper support.  For some people religion/spirituality is what it takes to do that, and that's fine, but it's not God that's keeping them on the wagon, it's the people themselves.
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Andrew_TSKS
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« Reply #28 on: Sep 14, 2004, 08:07:40 PM »

jeb, i'd take issue with your contention that "we all" have that power.

i think a lot of what i'm just realizing now is an irrational and stubborn refusal to take meds for my psychological disorders comes from the fact that my dad has been drilling that exact message into my head all my life.

the older i get, the more i realize that some of us need more outside help than others.
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I just want to be myself and I want you to love me for who I am.
jebreject
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Posts: 27071


« Reply #29 on: Sep 14, 2004, 09:34:05 PM »

we all have the power, it's just that for some of us it's easier than others.  believe me, i've had my share of problems that i've had a very hard time getting over--i still do--but i can't believe that there are things that i'm completely powerless over.  sure, it's felt that way, but with the help of others (and meds) i've found the perspective and strength required to fix at least some of the things in my life.  other things have been harder to deal with and some things i don't think i'm ready to deal with at all, but that doesn't mean that i'm powerless over them, does it?
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jaimoe0
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Posts: 106


« Reply #30 on: Sep 14, 2004, 10:08:16 PM »

I thought one of the most interesting things mentioned in that episode of "Bullshit!" was the study done on success rates.  Although AA doesn't release official statistics, Penn and Teller's program referred to a study that said the success rate for people in 12 steps (the "surrender to a higher power model") and the success rate for people in other treatments, including all-by-your-lonesome-cold-turkey, was 5%.  5%!!!  That means 95% of all people who seek treatment for substance abuse or try to quit by themselves fail.  No wonder I can't quit smoking pot!  Seriously, though, that is a scary number.  Addiction is one beast I'm glad I haven't had to deal with.
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Tsahkratis
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Posts: 61


« Reply #31 on: Sep 15, 2004, 12:22:06 AM »

Who the fuck is Interpol?
I thought this article was just ok.
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Tsahkratis
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Posts: 61


« Reply #32 on: Sep 15, 2004, 12:23:41 AM »

Can I stop recycling now since Penn and Teller have identified the hogwash?
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Scott CE
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Posts: 499


« Reply #33 on: Sep 15, 2004, 12:42:16 AM »

You have hogwash in your recycling?
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jebreject
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Posts: 27071


« Reply #34 on: Sep 15, 2004, 01:49:07 AM »

i do in mine.
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John
edit0r
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Posts: 10925


« Reply #35 on: Sep 15, 2004, 10:40:00 AM »

I don't know - to me, Penn & Teller used to be interesting comics, now they're blowhard right-wing killjoys. Take the 5% rate: if some people prefer to be in that 5% by joining a group that makes it easier for them - and if some people need state interference to get them there - what the fuck is it to you guys (P & T, I mean)? I'd guess that only quasi-militia types would prefer jail time to attending "religious groups" by govt order.
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Keith from TTIKTDA
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Posts: 865


« Reply #36 on: Sep 15, 2004, 10:54:16 AM »

Yer logic is flawed John. The choice isn't between a night in jail, and a quasi religous group, or rather, it shouldn't be.

The choice should be between jail, and treatment -  and the fact that if one is going to go the treatment route that it include a mandated religous component is, to my mind, wrong.

Yes, you could argue that in th epresent state of things, no atheist, save the most militant, is going to choose jail over putting up with that, and you're probably right.

The point is, they shouldn't have to.
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--Keith

http://www.indiekids.org
(YES! I got a domain!)
Andrew_TSKS
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Posts: 39426


« Reply #37 on: Sep 15, 2004, 11:12:35 AM »

you know, i've had this conversation recently, so i want to try and explain something about the whole "surrendering to a higher power" thing. for my girlfriend this is an easy enough step, as she is catholic (believe me, that's spawned some interesting discussions all on its own). but for me, with my complete non-belief in any sort of god or conventional "higher power", i definitely needed a more detailed explanation. and here's what i got.

it's not about a god at all. apparently a lot of aa people are agnostic/atheist, and they pick all sorts of different things, like music or love or whatever. it's more like... "ok, obviously addiction kicks my ass. it's stronger than me, and it's a bad thing. i need to find something to focus on that's stronger than me and a GOOD thing--something to counterbalance the effect addiction has on me."

does that make sense to anyone?
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furnhusch
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Posts: 135


« Reply #38 on: Sep 15, 2004, 11:20:20 AM »

Quote from: "Keith from TTIKTDA"
Yer logic is flawed John. The choice isn't between a night in jail, and a quasi religous group, or rather, it shouldn't be.

The choice should be between jail, and treatment -  and the fact that if one is going to go the treatment route that it include a mandated religous component is, to my mind, wrong.

Yes, you could argue that in th epresent state of things, no atheist, save the most militant, is going to choose jail over putting up with that, and you're probably right.

The point is, they shouldn't have to.

If I am to understand this correctly, there is an argument over whether the courts should be able to mandate attendence in AA...right? The answer is "yes", the courts can and should be able to do this for several reasons:
1. AA is free and thus a pretty good option for both a cash-strapped legal system and those who would rather not pay money for treatment
2. The "95% fail rate" is misleading when applied to AA because the empirical research to guage success is (usually) based on 6-month, 1-year, 5-year sobriety rates of the ENTIRE sample that started a program. It is quite likely that the 5% sober group is STILL ATTENDING AA.
3. The religious component of AA is anything you want it to be because:
    a) even if you're in a room with a bunch of Christians, it does not make you a Christian
    b) if you need to get sober because your life has turned to shit, you've got bigger things to worry about than somebody else's religious beliefs
    c) you, as an adult who has decision-making capacity, can choose what you do and what you do not take from the meetings...the goal is to quit the booze. If sitting in a room with a bunch of people you disagree with for two or three hours a week assists you in that goal...well, there you go
4. Most people who've been stuck at the bottom of a bottle for any length of time can relate to the staggering degree of self-hatred that exists there. I take this to mean that since I have the power to eliminate myself I am, therefore, a greater power than my self.
5. More white wine, honey!
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Keith from TTIKTDA
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Posts: 865


« Reply #39 on: Sep 15, 2004, 11:34:04 AM »

I'm not denying the many upsides of AA.

I'm saying that court mandated AA does raise issues because, regardless of the rationality of parties involved, and the fact that most people are capable of being non-religous, even if surrounded by christians, AA does contain religious elements, and seperation of church and state is critical, and, the courts have said time and agian, this is especially so when in an environment in which individuals are placed under duress, whether that be a schoolhouse or a prison.
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--Keith

http://www.indiekids.org
(YES! I got a domain!)
John
edit0r
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Posts: 10925


« Reply #40 on: Sep 15, 2004, 11:35:00 AM »

Quote from: "Keith from TTIKTDA"
Yer logic is flawed John. The choice isn't between a night in jail, and a quasi religous group, or rather, it shouldn't be.
The choice should be between jail, and treatment -  and the fact that if one is going to go the treatment route that it include a mandated religous component is, to my mind, wrong.
Yes, you could argue that in th epresent state of things, no atheist, save the most militant, is going to choose jail over putting up with that, and you're probably right.
The point is, they shouldn't have to.


Keith, I gotta say, you're wrong. If you know of any treatment for alcoholism or addiction that has any success rate to speak of AT ALL besides 12-step programs, say so. There's one renegade anti-AA group that has 1) zero visibility and 2) miniscule reach. And then there's AA. That is treatment. To call it "the religious route" is to be even more juvenile about religion than I - which is really saying something, given that all my friends are always telling me to quit ranting about how Christianity has destroyed the world, etc.

See also Joel's points above. To call AA's religious component anything more than "a minor hassle" is to exaggerate severely and begs the question of whether P&T (for example) don't have greater social evils to combat. Life is long. If you're an alcoholic & you hate the religious component of AA, give it five years, and if you want your Great Freedom From God!!! back, it'll always be there for you.
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John
edit0r
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Posts: 10925


« Reply #41 on: Sep 15, 2004, 11:37:20 AM »

I don't mean any insult by using the word "juvenile," by the way - I include myself in the epithet - but really: are public nativity scenes "a slippery slope" on the way to state-mandated religion? Of course not - and I say this as an open hater of Christianity. "The separation of church and state" would fare better if those pushing for it recognized that religion's gradual weakening has to do with its inherent flaws, not with our having injured it in any way.
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Lalitree
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« Reply #42 on: Sep 15, 2004, 01:15:57 PM »

I dunno, I gotta say that I agree a bit with Keith that the state/AA is a little odd. I do see that it helps people better than anything else does, and that for lack of a better treatment alternative it should stay that way, but it would be ideal if there were a successful treatment program for the state to mandate that didn't invoke God. Until then, we have to take what's not exactly ideal.

Just because AA is the only choice doesn't mean the state-religion thing shouldn't be questioned. I don't think anyone's advocating for the state to drop AA instantly w/o other working alternatives, but it would be nice if someone somewhere came up with a better alternative, and that's what people here seem to be asking for.
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woejilli
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Posts: 457


« Reply #43 on: Sep 15, 2004, 01:46:17 PM »

having never known anyone while they were in AA and not having a drinking problem myself i can only speculate. that said i feel like that although AA may have a religious base to it in my mind the need for something like religion is often what is supplanted by a person with alcohol issues. i am not saying making someone find god is the answer, simply that having something larger then yourself to use as an imputus for change can be critical for a lot of people. those of us that are atheists often use things like music and art as our rock. maybe the answer isn't decomissioning AA, but rather making sure the right people get into the right programs.

still i'd be curious to see how a situation where say, a muslim or hindi were forced to attend by a court. and if there are alternatives.
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John
edit0r
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Posts: 10925


« Reply #44 on: Sep 15, 2004, 01:52:18 PM »

Well, yes - let those who want a programmatic non-faith-related route to sobriety come up with something! Until they do, though, AA will have to do, and I don't have any difficulty with compulsory meeting attendance for people who, say, have been convicted of driving drunk. My right to not get killed by their driving outweighs their right to not sit in room where people are referencing "a higher power." If they're so fragile that the phrase "a higher power" gives them conniptions, that's more their problem than a constitutional issue.
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Andrew_TSKS
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Posts: 39426


« Reply #45 on: Sep 15, 2004, 02:00:57 PM »

this has turned into the best thread we've had on here in a long time.

just felt like pointing that out.
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I just want to be myself and I want you to love me for who I am.
woejilli
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Posts: 457


« Reply #46 on: Sep 15, 2004, 02:10:00 PM »

Quote from: "John"
If they're so fragile that the phrase "a higher power" gives them conniptions, that's more their problem than a constitutional issue.


then it's time to medicate baby! chemical labotomy.
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Nickosaurus
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Posts: 1795


« Reply #47 on: Sep 15, 2004, 02:35:00 PM »

Quote from: "John"
I don't know - to me, Penn & Teller used to be interesting comics, now they're blowhard right-wing killjoys. Take the 5% rate: if some people prefer to be in that 5% by joining a group that makes it easier for them - and if some people need state interference to get them there - what the fuck is it to you guys (P & T, I mean)? I'd guess that only quasi-militia types would prefer jail time to attending "religious groups" by govt order.


Yeah, they're surprisingly right-wing. I was watching a show of theirs and they made a joke about how horrible a president Clinton was, and that don't you all wish that you voted for Dole like the rest of us, and it totally caught me off guard. I've seen several other not so subtle right-wing refrences since then, also.
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jebreject
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Posts: 27071


« Reply #48 on: Sep 15, 2004, 02:36:35 PM »

They're members of the oh-so-fucking-wonderful Libertarian Party.  *Shudders*
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I'm not racist, I've got lots of black Facebook friends.
John
edit0r
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Posts: 10925


« Reply #49 on: Sep 15, 2004, 02:41:08 PM »

Quote from: "jebreject"
They're members of the oh-so-fucking-wonderful Libertarian Party.  *Shudders*


Hahahahaha. Hahahahahahahaha. Oh man. Excuse me. Sorry 'bout that. The Libertarians are just the funniest: "If it comes down to civil liberties vs. human lives, CIVIL LIBERTIES MUST PREVAIL! THE INDIVIDUAL IS ALL-IMPORTANT!" etc

Meaning no disrespect to any Libs on board here, of course, except to say that I think the Libertarian Party is bonkers
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