Alcoholism-Recovery-Radio-Podcasts
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Podcast

I decided to do a podcast on alcoholism-recovery-radio.com to look at the good and bad things that I have covered on the www.recoveringfromrecovery.com blog and talk to Jon Stewart about what he has been up to. Generally I feel that it has been a good year and that people are getting the message out about modern methods that can help people recover. There have been several articles in the mainstream press that have questioned the effectiveness of AA. One was the recent article about Jon Stewart in the Observer, which we talked about in other Podcasts and another was in the Atlantic by Gabrielle Glasser who I met in the summer. I think it is great that people are saying that AA is not the only way and that there are modern approaches such as the Sinclair Method that can help so many people.

Deaths in 2015

We mention the sad passing of Dr David Sinclair who has done so much research to help those of us who have been affected by alcoholism, and who has managed to find a solution that can help about 80 % of people who use the method correctly. I hope more treatment centres make use of his ideas. We also talk about the sad suicide of Audrey Kishline, who again helped many in the recovery community by setting up moderation management. She is missed by many people and her death shows how we all need to be on our guard when depression strikes.

Talks and Films:

We also talk about the talks that Jon has given at various venues which are well worth watching, and he also said that a recording should be put up on the web soon on YouTube. Another good thing that has happened in the last year are some films which show the dangers of addiction such as the documentary about Amy Winehouse and also the film that Monica Richardson made called the 13th Step which has won awards in America and was well received in London. We discuss some of the issues brought up in the film, and also where we feel it should be shown in the future.

I hope everyone has a great Christmas and New Year and a successful 2016.

This week  on www.alcoholism-recovery-radio.com we have decided to reflect on the piece in the Observer about Jon Stewart and his experiences in recovery from alcohol issues. The piece got over 650 comments and was one of the most popular pieces of the week in the paper. It is quite long, but we go through a lot of comments both for and against Jon’s views and discuss them. We start with the newest and then work backwards. Many of the comments are intelligent and put forward some good points. Some people give quite lengthy replies and there are quite a few discussion threads throughout the section. You can read the piece here http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/nov/29/alcoholics-anonymous-saved-my-life-but-i-lost-my-faith. Jon has his own blog at https://jonsleeper.wordpress.com

Many comments sections on sites such as the fix are often taken over by the same handful of morons posting under different names and just using a comments section as a venue to argue and attack others. I am pleased that does not happen here too much although there are a few “orange papers forums” types spouting their usual mantra and a few of the rather crazy pro AA types as well. Some of the AA people are passive aggressive and I have sometimes found that members of AA can behave in this way when anyone questions the 12 step solution.

Thankfully most of the comments are worth reading and there seem to be a lot of people commenting who have moved on from AA and done well without relapse. They are not aggressive towards AA, like some of the Anti types, but are grateful for the help they got when they needed some support. That is how I feel about AA, although I would like to see it modernised a bit. It does prove that those in AA who feel that it is impossible to recover without AA and the steps are wrong. Many do move on, but they do not have much of a voice. Many AA members only see the people who have not done well and who come back after a relapse. I have been told that people in AA have discussed me in the past and have said that I went back to drinking and one person said he had heard that I was dead! I think it is important that people read that you can leave AA if you want and live life the way you want.

 

 

 

Today the Observer newspaper published a piece about Jon Stewart and his 14 years in AA. You can now read it here http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/nov/29/alcoholics-anonymous-saved-my-life-but-i-lost-my-faith . I feel it is a well balanced piece about Alcoholics Anonymous and some of the more modern alternatives such as Smart Recovery or the Sinclair Method. I know Jon well and have recently done some podcasts on the steps of AA which you can find on this site. We decided to have a quick chat about what he had said in the interview that was done a few months ago, and also mention some of the comments that the online version of the piece received.

As you can see from many of the comments, opinion is very divided about AA and if the piece is good or not. This does not surprise me at all and I feel it shows that not everyone is going to do well in AA despite the claims and that people do need to be helped to find a solution that is going to motivate them, rather than a solution that somebody who now works in a treatment center has been through. There are many ways to recover but AA does tend to be resistant to change and will not acknowledge problems. There is resistance from some in AA to any criticism such as the film, The 13th Step Film which was made by Monica Richardson, which is mentioned in the piece. There is also resistance to discuss any other solution such as The Sinclair Method or Smart recovery, which means newcomers do not find out about solutions that could save their lives.

The comments are interesting as there are many people who are like myself, who have made use of AA and then moved on. You tend not to hear from these people as they do not have a voice, and many members of AA believe that you cannot stay sober without meetings. They only meet the people who come back to meetings after relapsing rather than those who are living good, sober lives. AA does help those who enjoy being part of it, but it is not for everyone and it can cause problems and Jon talks about his experience in later recovery where things get tough for him until he leaves and learns about CBT. Jon has his own blog https://jonsleeper.wordpress.com and does many talks on the subject.

observer_AA_Piece

TSM,Counselling and Blogging for Alcoholism Recovery!

Here is another podcast done over Skype, for my site www.recoveringfromrecovery.com which features Gary who was also part of the Podcast about “The Sinclair Method” with Dr Roy Eskapa. Gary was the person who introduced me to Dr Eskapa and has also helped me with posts about the Sinclair Method such as the one I wrote for www.Addiction.com . Gary has just started a new blog here http://freepigeonpress.com which will contain pieces about his recovery as well as other things that interest him such as his cartoons.

Blogging in Alcoholism Recovery

Gary like myself, has taken part in online discussions about recovery and has experienced good and bad sides to blogging. I feel that many who frequent message boards such as “The Fix” or in the past on “The Orange Papers forum”  (which has now more or less died, after the site owner finally banned most of his users), are out to troll others and are not interested in helping people recover. They simply want a venue to argue. We have both spent time looking at “Anti AA sites” which many people do when they decide to leave “alcoholics Anonymous”, and although these sites do make some valid points we have both decided that it is best to move on. They are not a healthy online environment to stay in for long, and I feel that books such as The Sober Truth give a much more rational opinion about the pros and cons of the 12 step world.

The Sinclair Method

Not all information on the web is worth reading and we also discuss some of the incorrect information that has been posted online about The Sinclair Method, and Gary talks about sites such as the C Three Foundation. We also talk about the pros and cons of counselling. We are not professionals, just two people who have changed our lives by beating alcoholism. We have  a lot in common but have taken vastly different approaches to achieve sobriety, which I feel makes for an interesting discussion. Often people are just shunted towards 12 step groups, but as our experiences prove, there are other ways that can help and that we feel are better.

This is the latest podcast on www.alcoholism-recovery-radio.com,  featuring myself and Jon who runs his own blog at https://jonsleeper.wordpress.com which is well worth a look. I was in AA for about 18 months and left before completing the steps and have made use of other  solutions.

The steps do vary slightly depending on what 12 step group you go to but the ones I read out were:

Step 10

Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Step 11

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out

Step 12

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs

During the podcast,  Jon plays a section of a talk by Russel Brand and mentions a rebuttal to it which can be found here.

The Armoured Skeptic responds to Russell Brand’s refutation of Stephen Fry:
 We do broaden the discussion at times, and talk about meditation which is something that I feel is worthwhile, but is not something that appeals much to Jon. We talk about the spiritual/ religious side of AA and  why we feel the program could be much more effective if it was updated.
Doing these Podcasts have helped me. I have found it very interesting going through the steps with Jon, because I only got as far as step 5 when I was member. This has made look at them again as I have been away from AA for about 7 years.  I do see that they can help some people but also feel that many are put off by them and realise that it is important to make sure people who do struggle with the 12 step solution are made aware of more modern alternatives. I certainly don’t see the 12 steps as treatment, and feel that the rehab industry should be more flexible and try to match support groups and solutions to the values of the person trying to recover. If you want to find out about some alternatives to AA and the steps you can look at my main site which is called www.recovering-from-recovery.com

 

Here is another podcast about AA from myself and Jon who writes his own blog at https://jonsleeper.wordpress.com . In this episode we are discussing step 8 and step 9 of Alcoholics Anonymous, which are about making amends to people we have harmed. We feel there are many good things about these steps.

Step 8

“Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all”

Step 9

“Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others”

I think these two steps should really be common sense and are part of a good lifestyle. However they can fill some people full of dread so there is a trade-off. Like most things that are suggested in recovery, you sometimes need to take a step back and see if it is a good idea to approach somebody to do an amend, in light of possible consequences.

 

This is the new podcast from www.alcoholism-recovery-radio.com and www.recoveringfromrecovery.com  about recovering from alcoholism. This one talks about the good and bad side of Step Six and Seven of AA, and is the fifth of a series of discussions with Jon who has his blog at https://jonsleeper.wordpress.com about the 12 steps which make up the core of the AA programme and are described in chapter 5 of the Big Book. Jon was an AA member for many years but has also done some CBT type therapy and read a lot on other solutions. He has helped take people through the steps and has many years of continued abstinence from alcohol. At one time he thought that AA was correct in all its ideas, but has modified his views.

I was always cynical of the religious side of AA and just accepted it was from the mid west of America in the 1930’s and really made use of the fellowship rather than “the Steps”. I always used to dislike chapter 5 being read out in meetings and always felt the need to take personal responsibility for my recovery. I can certainly see the need for change to stay sober but am not sure asking God to remove defects of character is the best approach to do this.

 

Steps 6 and 7 of AA are as follows.

Step 6

Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character

Step 7

Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings

Here the latest podcast about recovering from alcoholism and is again about the steps of AA. This one talks about the good and bad side of Step Four and Five of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), and is the third of a series of discussions with Jon who has his blog at https://jonsleeper.wordpress.com about the 12 steps which make up the core of the AA programme and are described in chapter 5 of the Big Book. Jon was an AA member for many years but has also done CBT type therapy and read a lot on other solutions. He has helped take people through the steps and has many years of continued abstinence from alcohol. At one time he thought that AA was correct in all its ideas, but has modified his views over time. I was always cynical of the religious side of AA and just accepted it was from the mid west of America in the 1930’s and really made use of the fellowship rather than “the Steps”.

Here we talk about the pros and cons from our points of view about step 4 and step 5 of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Step 4 of AA

“Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”

Step 5 of AA

“Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”

I think some people who have not been through AA are suprised by the steps and the fact that they make addiction a moral issue. There is also a view that step 4 can actually damage sensitive people and that these issues should be dealt with by a therapist. Quite a few people seem to struggle with these steps and sometimes relapse as a result. Other people find it useful and say it is the most important part of the programme.

Here is another podcast about recovering from alcoholism on www.alcoholism-recovery-radio.com. This one discusses the good and bad side of Step 2 and 3 of AA and is the second of a series of discussions with Jon who has his blog at https://jonsleeper.wordpress.com about the 12 steps which make up the core of the AA programme and are described in chapter 5 of the Big Book. Jon was an AA member for many years but has also done CBT type therapy and read a lot on other solutions. He has helped take people through the steps and has many years of continued abstinence from alcohol and drugs and is very knowledgable about AA history. At one time he thought that AA was correct in all its ideas, but has modified his views over time. I only attended AA for 18 months and was always cynical of the religious side of AA and just accepted it was from the mid west of America in the 1930’s, and really made use of the fellowship rather than the steps. I always used to dislike chapter 5 being read out in meetings and always felt the need to take personal responsibility for my recovery. We talk about the concept of a “Higher Power” and the fact that more and more people are turned off the idea of recovery when they see these steps that talk about God. Like most of the AA steps there are good and bad things about them and they are open to interpretation.

Step 2 of the 12 steps of AA

“Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

Step 3 of the 12 steps of AA

“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”

Jon describes how he would help a sponcee with these two steps and we discuss some of the reasons they do help some people but not other people. When you are working step 2 and 3 you are starting to take on the beliefs of the AA group, and conform to the 12 step way of thinking. Members who do not do this are generally not fully accepted by the group, and I was one of these!

Asking for Help in AA – Finding a Higher Power!

Here is Jon’s “Higher Power” asking for help!

The Beatles Help

Here is my more self empowered “Higher Power” Harry!

Harry Cripps

 

Step one of Alcoholics Anonymous – are you powerless? Has your life become unmanageable?

Here is another podcast featuring Jon who has his own blog at https://jonsleeper.wordpress.com . We discuss the pros and cons of step one of alcoholics anonymous and why we both ended up using solutions which involve self empowerment rather than simply going to AA and working the 12 steps. I certainly felt step one was true when I joined AA, and my life was certainly unmanageable and it was so hard to stay stopped from drinking, that the idea of powerlessness also seemed to be accurate. As time went on, I questioned if it was still a good idea to view myself as powerless over alcohol and if I was better off regarding myself as somebody who had beaten alcoholism.

I left AA after about 18 months and made use of a variety of solutions to stay sober, but Jon stayed a member for over a decade and helped many others in the fellowship and has good knowledge of the steps. We can both see good and bad things with this idea. Critics of AA always make a big point about this idea of powerless being wrong, but I personally think it depends on where you are with your recovery. People can take the powerless idea too far. I think the idea of seeing my unmanageability actually helped me stop. This step is very much a gateway into the 12 step programme, and does require a shift in thinking, which for some is the first stage in beating alcoholism in the longterm.