|(art by Irena Shklover)|
on the bandwagon like everyone else and put my
two cents in on the whole Charlie Sheen debacle.
But I do have a different take, for what it's worth.
Yes, Charlie is a mess, and it's sad. But he isn't
unique--he's just famous. He's just like
millions of other addicts--active and otherwise--
who are being ignored by NBC and other media
outlets all the time. In fact, let's address the
beloved NBC for just a sec!
It annoys the shit out of me that Dateline NBC
is still having some half-hearted masquerade that
they are a news program with journalistic intentions.
Newsflash, bitches; you are the National Enquirer
of nighttime 'news' programs. Yours is a rabid,
yellow journalism fraud of a show, with sensationalism
and hubris fronting as content.
You exploited Charlie Sheen's current state and
made a crapload of dough off the man's pain and
insanity, and had the audactity to show open dis-
regard him. Shame on you, and the smiling buffoon
that 'interviewed' him complete with mock superiority.
Charlie is sick, and using him as a target for your
jollies and slams was unprofessional to the Nth
Please don't let's pretend that the halls of NBC
are not filled with active drug abusers. Please don't
pretend that Charlie Sheen is the only deluded
cornball on the planet. I don't recall seeing any
of this hard biting scrutiny for our former President,
who was guilty of hurting and killing millions, but
I guess this is the nature of the biz; you softball
where you have to, you attack where it's safe.
Where were the rational people interviewed who
dispute the AA stranglehold on recovery? Not
everything Charlie said was incorrect. He had a
lot of valid points, but all you were concerned with
was running him down. Where were the interviews
with the people from Rational Recovery, or Smart
Recovery, or simply people who found AA not to
work? Oh, right; you're just pretending to be a news
And by the way, you gave out misinformation in
an attempt to brazenly smite Sheen; your narration
said that AA doesn't give out numbers as to its
success rates. That's absolutely incorrect. They do
produce statistics for their so-called success rate, and
Sheen gave the right numbers! Imagine that! (Actually,
he stated it as a 5 % success rate, and they state it as
"less than 5%", and that's the numbers they've
ballooned to try and convince you how great they are!)
Hmmmnnnn...a point in all the madness!
No worry...we'll just focus on the 'crazy' and avoiding
getting an intelligent debate regarding the health and
welfare of millions of Americans with a serious
addiction problem. "Milk that crazy bastard dry
before he clams up!"
Sheen also mentioned how AA is promoted as a
"one size fits all" fix, and countered that it clearly
isn't. Right again. And actually a popular--but seldom
heard or promoted--point of view.
When someone is alone in their attempts to right their
pain, they do some pretty crazy stuff. Sheen had some
nutty ideas, but obviously some of it was just bravado
and shit-stirring...just like every ego-bound sports
person or media star or high-ranking official talks.
The interviewer didn't bother telling that a lot of AA
members talk crazy shit; that AA members think
alcoholism is a blessing. Or that Bill Wilson (one of
the founders) is a chosen messenger of God, exhalted
and praised as if God himself. Or that it very much
is a religious cult. Or that AA members consider
themselves the Chosen people who were spared by
God, whereas those that die are not among the
privileged blessed bestowed with grace and mercy.
Too bad! No, none of that crazyness got brought
up at all. In fact, they seemed pretty slanted against
Sheen (without any facts) in favor of AA.
Anyway...here's the rub. I know people who are
in active recovery who look at least as bad as
Sheen (some worse) and sound at least as crazy
(or worse.) But because they're following the
prescribed path and doing what they're 'supposed
to,' nobody says a word. Because recovery in a
program is more about maintaining the illusion of
being well than actually being well. It's a giant social
club, and placement and standing matters.
Emphasis is put on giving lip service to being
open, honest, and willing over the actuality of
achieving it, as if one thing is the same as the other.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Going through the motions and following the official
playbook does not make someone well. Feeling
compelled to play the game to impress people and
get their affection does not purge the demons in the
mind of an addict. But AA has become like any
other group; dedicated to pretense, with style
(and self-promotion) garnering more attention than
Lies still kill, even in AA or other 12 Steps. It isn't
magic. It isn't for everyone. And sometimes, the
promotion that it 'works' even as it is clearly not
working for some, is a dangerous proposition. As
dangerous as AA's (and NBC's) suggestion that
outside of AA there is no alternative to substance
Please, for the well-being of current, former, and
future attendees, set the record straight. There's more
than one take. All addicts are prone to wearing two
faces, and pretending there are no problems
inherent in AA is being duplicitous, too.