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Alcoholics Anonymous And The Laws Of Attraction

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Alcoholics Anonymous And The Laws Of Attraction

The 11th tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous states as follows:

“Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.”

What does this mean in a nutshell? We in the program are asked not to speak or write in media of any form about the fact that we are in AA. We are asked to only talk about it with other members and those who approach us for help. While blogs and the internet were not around when the 11th tradition was conceived, I suspect that AA as an organization would take the position that they constitute “media”. What is the rationale behind this? The powers that be decided over 70 years ago that to “promote yourself” as an AA member and then fail in your sobriety, you are putting the sobriety of others at risk. The logic being that the knowledge of a failure in the program will discourage those who want help from seeking it. For example, I talk publicly about how great AA is on my blog. I then relapse, drive drunk and wipe out a family. Would knowledge that I had failed discourage others from seeking help? I don’t know. I don’t think anyone in AA really knows either. They are, in my opinion, regurgitating years of accepted dogma not founded in any accepted studies or statistical probabilities.

Alcoholics Anonymous is no stranger to celebrities and people of note “outing” themselves through the media.

Tatum O’Neal is a celebrity with a documented history of drug and alcohol struggles. On June 1, 2008, she was arrested for buying crack in Central Park. O’Neal was later photographed on her way to an AA Meeting. How do we know she was going there? When asked how she was doing she said, ” I am doing very well. I’m going to an AA meeting”

Lindsay Lohan is no stranger to insobriety. Who can forget her infamous alcohol detecting ankle monitor (see photo). In her case, Lindsay didn’t break the 11 tradition; her publicist did. She put out a press release that Lindsay was attending AA. It is a logical assumption this was at Lindsay’s direction.

Mel Gibson’s antisemitic drunken rant after a DUI stop will go down in the annals of “the stupid things drunks do.” His drinking issues have been long the subject of tabloid fodder. Mel must have read the 11th tradition. He has not publicly spoken of his attendance at his court ordered AA meetings. Mel suffered the Hollywood fate of being outed by every Hollywood rag and celebrity blog on the face of the earth. (I guess no one sent them copies of the 11th tradition.)

Fox News Anchor Mort Kondracke while not as well known as the above is very well known in the political Washington D.C Beltway. He is a well known newspaper columnist, Washington bureau chief, magazine editor. He was one of the original panelists on the syndicated McLaughlin Group and now co-host of Fox TV’s Beltway Boys. We also know that he was an attendee of Alcoholics Anonymous. We know this because he outed himself in his bestselling book Saving Milly. In the book he states:

“That night I attended my first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. I have not had a drink since” (Saving Milly, Love Politics and Parkinson’s Disease by Morton Kondracke, pg 65)

Actor Michael J. Fox in his autobiography Lucky Man, discusses his struggles with alcohol in a manner consistent with the 11th tradition, simply stating:

” I met my friend on that Monday and over the following days, months and years, she along with an ever widening circle of new friends, all of whom prefer to remain anonymous, showed me it was possible to live a life without alcohol” ( Lucky Man, Michael J. Fox, p. 162)

Britney Spears is no fan of the 11th tradition. Neither was her boyfriend at the time John Sundahl who, back in 2007, happily told the National Enquirer that he met Britney at an AA meeting in Los Angeles. You would think John was very up to speed on the 11th tradition since he allegedly was an “AA counselor”

Martin Sheen just recently “shredded” the 11th tradition when he gave an interview to AARP magazine discussing his own and his son Charlie Sheen’s struggles with drug and alcohol abuse. He talks openly and extensively about his involvement with AA. In the interview Martin states:

“……..and then he suggested that I join AA, and I did. I was astonished when I got into AA, because I didn’t know how spiritual the program was. I said, ‘You guys use the word God.’ ‘Oh, we do. If you believe it. If you don’t, then it’s a higher power”

Is it safe to say that AARP magazine has significantly higher readership than my blog? If you are to believe all the people touting the 11th tradition, Martin Sheen has single handedly doomed countless alcoholics to a life of drunkenness.

Then there is Brian Cuban. I am not on the same planet of notoriety as the above individuals. I am a simple “fame by last name” kind of guy. I’m not in movies or television. I don’t own a sports franchise. I write a blog. The only “A list” I am on is the list kept by my family, girlfriend, dog and cat. I have also made the personal choice to talk about to talk about my own Alcoholics Anonymous experiences on my blog. I am “breaking the rules” as many members of AA have told me. In reality the only “rule” in AA is that you have a desire to stop drinking if you attend a meeting. The rest of the rhetoric constitutes guidelines only. They are simple suggestions to be followed or not followed based on individual choice. Remaining anonymous is NOT a rule/requirement of membership in AA. While it is the exception rather than the rule, there are people who give their full names in AA meetings. In my personal experience, it drives the other members crazy who tend to view those people as having very large egos. They may or may not have large egos. I am not going to dissect a person’s motives and personality based on his (or her) giving a last name in a meeting. For all I know the act of that person giving his full name is the one thing that keeps him sober every day.

Many would argue that celebrities such as Tatum O’Neal and Lindsay Lohan are so new in sobriety as to not know any better than to talk about AA. As they learn the program they will learn to use restraint. This very well may be true based on whatever personal choice they make about their anonymity or lack thereof. We have not heard much from Lindsay since her initial proclamation about her involvement in the program. We do know that she relapsed after she made that announcement. We do not know what the statistics are on how many people decided not to seek help in AA because Lindsay Lohan relapsed.

For anyone who doubts this is a emotional and polarizing issue within the AA ranks, check out some of the comments I received in response to my blog, “My Year In Alcoholics Anonymous

“Brian Cuban, as far as your inclusion of statements about your involvement with AA goes, you should shut your GD mouth. Have you no sense of responsibility to people in recovery, or to people who might one day need recovery at all? Try reading the book. It’s anonymous for good reason, so that people like you are not able to damage AA’s value.”

“………I do not know if I commend your use of AA as fodder for blog posts. The 10th(sic) Tradition of AA states “Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.” You are breaking the traditions for your own gain. You are intelligent, articulate, and thought provoking – and I encourage you to be so, but not on the back of AA. Furthermore, as a member of AA who only has 1 year sobriety, do you feel that you should be the represented voice of AA? I think your sponsor would disagree.”

These are some of the gentler comments. I welcome them all. I read them all. I never assume that I can not learn something from someone know matter how emotional the comment is or whether I agree with it.

I do agree with one aspect of the 11th tradition. It is certainly not appropriate to “out” others in the program. I have not and would never do that. Why would I not do that? I would not do it for the same reason I put no credibility in others who pretend to know what is in my best interests. Anonymity is a personal choice that should be respected on a personal level. It is no ones business but the individual’s how they want to work their AA program including expressing themselves with regards to that program. I am not answerable to “AA” as an organization or anyone in it. I am answerable on a personal level to my own conscience, the loved ones in my life and my two pets. I know from personal experience that it riles some AA members to no end that AA does not have the “cult like” rule of kicking out people who do not endorse the AA philosophy word for word. Hypocrites at their absolute best. I have no problem with their “riling”. Whatever keeps them sober and improves the quality of their life is a good thing in my book. Trying to impose your will on others is a bad thing in my book.

Why did I choose to out myself? What were my motives? Was it selfishness, ego, the seven deadly sins? This is the only explanation I will ever give. People can take it or leave it. It goes against everything I am as a person to accept any “dogma” or philosophy that endorses a static, non learning point of view.

I decided to get an opinion from the substance abuse arena. Winthrop W. Gilman, chairman of The Mychal Institute, had this to say:

“The eleventh step I believe is a great step and was written for the people who wanted personal protection from the shame associated with addiction. I think this shame is the biggest barrier to entry to treatment for any addicted person or their family. The shame associated addiction, and the misinterpreting of this tradition has done more to interfere and hinder the treatment of addiction than could ever be realized.

Requiring anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films is a dark age component, scripted early on as the founders were afraid that a vocal spokes person might have a slip and publicly show that AA dose not work.

This anonymity is a personal choice, and as educational and awareness programs have developed the 11th tradition has been breached by the daring. The results of these breaches, such as magazine articles, though far and few, have spontaneously created great advancements in the acceptance of treatment options.

The cloud of darkness found in the 11th tradition is embraced by ardent followers and not progressive thinkers. I do not know who updates these ground rules or when they do. I know that revisions and amendments are needed if we plan to attack the addiction problem in broad daylight.

To solve a problem it must be properly identified. Once this happens solutions become evident. We have the privilege to talk openly and show the world that we are in remission. We have the privilege to organize supporters and get proper medical attention. We have the ability to reverse the huge costs of addiction to our health care systems. We literally have the ability to change the world as this is a universal problem. Activism through education works. This past week Andrew Weber, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Health stated, “In the past employers have led the way doing more for the people with chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. It is time for people to do the same for people with alcohol problems.”

Addiction related costs have destroyed our health care budgets, and we can with a grass roots approach do something about it. We have a politically hot potato in our hands. The 11th tradition has kept any effective effort to address these problems in the closet.”

Should I and others in AA keep our “GD” mouths shut? I will not but I understand the arguments of opinion, however outdated, for such a philosophy. It is a personal choice for me that will not be reversed unless someone shows me hard empirical evidence that people talking publicly about AA reduces its success rate or is instrumental in those with problems choosing not to enter the program. Many choose to simply take it all on faith. I think it is great if they want to do that and it helps them. I want to see the studies. If you can not produce this, then anything you have to say is only unsubstantiated opinion of which everyone is entitled including me.

©2008 Brian Cuban

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Over Paid and Overrated Celebrities……

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Over Paid and Overrated Celebrities……

This is all “tongue in cheek” I realize there are thousands of different celebs that could be on the list. I just took the people from the Parade Magazine list.

The annual Parade Magazine “What People Earn” issue is out today. After perusing the list, I decided to cast my own votes for the top ten overrated and overpaid celebs on the Parade List. The people here are only the ones listed on the Parade Magazine list. (other than ashley dupre)

10. Miley Cyrus at 18.2 Million. What can I say. I am not 15 and don’t have any kids…. After seeing the recent photo of her in her very disturbing “show it all” spandex outfit, I will be voting her as the most likely to either be in rehab, swinging from a pole or starring in a Girls Gone Wild Video by age 21.

9. 50 Cent at 33 Million.(rapper) He is apparently some rapper guy. Rapping in my book ended with Run DMC Regardless, anyone making millions talking fast to music is overrated….

8. Jeff Foxworthy (comedian) 10 million. I saw this guy last year at a charity benefit. You’re a red neck. We get it. Get over it…..

7. Mary Kate Olsen(actress-entrepreneur) 17 million. I always confuse her with Hillary Duff. When you are interchangeable you are overrated….

6. Jessica Alba (actress) 10 million, Everyone agrees you are hot…. and what else……..?

5. Chelsea Lynn, (Television reporter-Alaska) 28,900 With a name like that she would do a lot better making porn.

4. Any actor or actress on Desperate Housewives……

3. Ashley Alexandra Dupree , amounts unknown, the call girl extraordinaire of Eliot Spitzer fame will cash in somehow although her prospects are dwindling by the day….. She should have taken the million from Girls Gone Wild while she could. Unfortunately for her there is now nothing left to the imagination. When guys have seen it before they pay for it, the fantasy bubble is busted and you are condemned to the ranks of the overrated…. The hottest most highly rated women always have their clothes on…….

2. Trouble ( Leona Helmsleys dog), 12 million. Trouble the dog beats out Dr. Phil because unlike Dr. Phil at least there is documented theraputic value to holding her and you will probably see it coming if you are going to get bitten….



90 million

Dr. Phil is not only the most over-rated and overpaid talk show host(and thats all he is) in America. He is the most dangerous. He uses a facade of credibility he does not have to meddle in the lives of people already in a fragile state. He is not the first talk show host to do this but he is the most agressive about it. Everyone is familiar with his unwanted intrustion into the fragile life of Britney Spears. Most recently his show paid the bail for one of the girls charged with the now infamous” Youtube beating in an attempt to get her on the show. Who the hell does he think he is playing a life or death game with these young people. A degree on the wall does not qualify him to meddle and anyone who thinks his agenda is to help is delusional in the extreme….

Dr Phil beats out Paris Hilton here hands down. At least she is harmless…….

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You see it every day just about every mainstream and tabloid news site. Nothing stays a secret. Just ask Britney Spears……. A piece of information/data put into play will at first flow on its own inertia to its closest intended point, after that watch out! That piece of data is then enters “data pinball”. The flipper hits it and while the intent is to send it in a certain direction, you have no idea where it is going to end up. Each time it hits a “bumper” it is sent off in a whole new direction with new force and inertia. Theoretically this will go on as long as someone “bumpers” or “flips” it again in a whole different direction…….. 

What is ironic is that the data itself will never change form but what finally makes it into the mainstream depending on where it ‘bounces” is never conveys the original message………  Just ask George Karl’s attorney Brett Adams of the law firm of Adams Babner and Gitlitz who sent the owner of the web site FireGeorgeKarl.com (the coach of the Denver Nuggets) his infamous “I will sue you into bankruptcy” email.   When the email finally came to rest on that same website… the message was not that the website was posting anything improper but that Brett Adams was an arrogant jerk…..   I don’t know if he is or not. I have never met him. That is the danger of Data Pinball…..

 The “data pinball” is sent off to hit other bumpers, setting off all new bells and whistles, racking new “data pinball” points for its new owner…..So why do we keep doing such stupid things with our data!

Whether it is emails, photos, text messages etc…… A whole blog could be written about famous people and people who received unwanted “fame” as a direct result of not thinking about this before they hit send on their email, text message or voicemail rant or secret affair rendezvous….. From the highest level of technology down to the good old telephone. Just ask Alec Baldwin……  His data started on good old telephone lines and ended up pinballing all over the world…..     His voicemail visitation rant to his daughter will be on YouTube until YouTube is no more or hell freezes over….Who knows when it will stop if ever……. Embarrassment is just the least of the damage; careers and marriages are ended…. 

We have all done it. I am just as guilty. There have been many times where I sent that text, or email and just seconds after send wished to hell I hadn’t done it…… Too late I now have to assume those texts or emails are stored somewhere just waiting to be pinballed somewhere at some point in time for whatever reason and when least expect it…… Will there be an unknown and timeless price to pay for that instantaneous moment of adrenaline gratification I sought when I hit send and patted myself on the back for letting that person have it…..

Ah yes…… The game of data pinball……. Where’s my quarter……….

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