Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Giving Excuses To Alcoholics As They Destroy Themselves

One of my brothers drank himself to death last year,  he'd had a long and horrible history of alcoholism and he was under treatment for almost the entire time.   His was the second disastrous experience my immediate family had with the mental health industry,  he had sought what he believed was the scientific route of treatment, psychiatry, psychology.    Obviously, it was entirely ineffective as he died.   Being a good atheist he rejected AA as being religious.   In the last several months of his life, as he sank farther into chronic drunkenness and his life was falling apart, I looked in vain for one of the alleged non-religious alternatives to AA only to find that, as so many of the "Humanist" anti-religious help groups, it was a Potemkin false front.    I found a grand total of one "contact person" listed in my state with no contact information given.   That was in contrast to well over a dozen AA groups, some of them reportedly quite secular, within easy driving distance of his home.  But, as I said, being a good atheist he rejected each and every attempt we made to help him find a group compatible with his credo.

Alcoholism, being a topic of pressing interest to me and having, by then, had quite a bit of experience with how horrible and encompassing a disease it was,  I got involved in several arguments about it on some leftish political blogs.   I heard all the same lines about AA that I heard coming out of my brother's mouth and more.  That it was "statistically" no better than doing nothing, that it was a religious cult, that it blah, blah, blah.    The greatest accomplishment of the "Humanist" -atheist  party line on AA seems to be to have provided people with a horrible, self-destructive addiction which is extremely difficult to recover from a series of excuses to not try to stop.   Oh, and there were assertions about the alleged atheist alternatives.   I think I might have asked for some evidence that those really existed at one point,  I don't recall any evidence given.    Last year also being the year when Ken Burn's "Prohibition" was shown on PBS,  I outraged a number of people by saying that the worst thing about prohibition was that it didn't work.   Just in passing, it's so funny to find out how easy it is to say the forbidden among the self-appointed "free thinkers".

I have to confess that my experience of last year has influenced my thinking that pop-atheism is anything but a force for good in the culture.  There is a reason that in 2012 you find atheists congratulating themselves on beginning to form charitable groups of the kind that religious people have organized for thousands of years.   I won't, though, be holding my breath to find out if they develop into anything more than the phony shell that the atheist alternative to AA has been.   I doubt it.

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