Addiction in Society

Addiction—the thematic malady for our society—entails every type of psychological and societal problem

Is Bode Miller an Alcoholic?

Bode Miller is a fabulous skier and former partier. He failed to medal in the 2006 Olympics after taking two silvers in 2002. He changed his approach to drinking and re-emerged in Vancouver in 2010 to win three medals. In 2014, he had his most remarkable Olympic triumph ever. He is also now a family man. Alcoholic?  Who ever thought that? Read More

probably early stage

Alcoholism is a progressive disease. In the early stages, which one displays ego-inflating behaviors, it is very possible to stop on one's own. As alcoholism progresses, there is diminished willpower, and alcohol becomes more central to the alcoholics life, at first very subtlety.

He saw the consequences of his acts and connected the dots early. Unfortunately many don't and continue drinking until the consequences are severe.

Congratulations to Bode on focusing on his passion and career and not letting alcohol take over. Time will tell.

Arthur M. Jackson, author
Raise the Bottom: How to Keep Secret Alcoholics from Damaging your Business

meaningless bullshit

Your rote comment defies (a) this case, (b) the data, (c) the NIAAA's coming to grips with (b) in rejecting your useless formulation.

Shape up.

There is something eerily

There is something eerily recognizable in your pattern of overreacting to people's comments and making irrational attacks. It shows up in all of your threads.

Are you perchance a recovered alcoholic? Your behavior suggests so much.

Yes - you have discovered my true secret

and the secret of all psychology! Really,
this is the last comment I'll have from you -
you MUST stop stalking me.

You'd love "Stinkin-Thinkin"

The blog Web site has as a lead entry right now the following:

“It has been my experience that those who bash the proven success of AA, have at some time or another tried the program and failed due to lack of honesty about themselves and failed to follow the suggestions of the program. This leaves them bitter and provoked to bash the program itself. Since the early 1930′s hundreds of thousands of people all over the world have succeeded in being delivered from their drinking problem.”

Sound familiar, Suzanne? Now I can't direct you to Web sites where people who think like you and this guy congregate; you can tune into stinkin-thinkin, but then you'd be categorized with the following tags!

AA, assholes,

Meaningless BILLshit

All steppers have is meaningless BILLshit. They must protect their cult religion at all costs ... especially the costs of their independent thinking. Keep on keeping on Stanton!

Nice, someone representing Psychology Today

responds to a readers comment by saying "Meaningless Bullshit". You not only distort the findings of the NIAAA but you take an isolated case, of which you admittedly do not know the underlying facts, and then draw generalized conclusions from your speculation about one individual based on a statement his girlfriend allegedly asserted and your chosen interpretation.

Please never call yourself a scientist. Your irresponsible ramblings have cost countless lives. You make your living telling addicts what they want to hear.

Why don't you spend some time telling your readers what happened to the author of the book, for which you so nicely penned the forward, also pushing your moderation drinking cure meme. She died on the road----didn't she?. Oops, I guess she was a real alcoholic. So go ahead gamble with the lives of others so more--and if someone in desperation tries to save the lives of others--just swear at them.

If you have an alcohol problem, please research on your own and see a counselor. There is no easier softer way. Alcohol kills.


I am so tired of the AA crowd declaring that they are the only ones who know how to deal with alcoholism! I was a "serious alcoholic" (daily, epic drinking) and now, after therapy and getting rid of a terrible husband, can have one or two drinks every 3-6 months, with NO craving, no accidents, no embarrassments. I've read, extensively, the studies from NIAA, Valiant, and so much other data, which all point out the fallacious nature of AAs theories. I went to "meetings" for 10 years and never felt comfortable with the groups of raging personality-disordered people congregating "in the rooms." I believe it did me MORE damage to think I somehow could not control myself and my life, and the AA adherents are doing themselves and others a great disservice with their dishonesty. If only 5% or less of alcoholics use their system, how successful can it be?

How can we let the AA doctrine dominate "recovery" to such an extent when it is a barely-hidden religious cult? Why does the "state" (by legal mandate to attend AA after DUIs etc.) sanction this?

Who said anything about AA

Neither of the response posts even mentioned AA. I advised research and seeing a counselor. You speak of your recovery and the fact your attended AA for 10 years as though the two have no correlation.

I understand that AA maintains if you feel you can control your drinking, then you should go out and try that. If it doesn't work AA will always be there. I am sure you know that AA has nothing to do with state sentencing requiring AA attendance.

My point remains that Mr Peele holds himself out as a medical authority and is advising people with active alcohol problems that they alone can control the issue. He tells them what they want to hear. The sad fact is that those most at risk are also the most likely to heed his advice. Mr. Peele knowingly blurs the line between problem drinker and alcoholic and then provides generic unfounded advice.

Please consider, AA is just a bunch of alcoholics, in each community, that meet and try to stay sober. There are no professionals, they do not make money. As you very well know, the $1.00 per meeting donation at meetings is completely voluntary.

Mr Peele makes his living pushing his moderation mantra. If you look at his other web sites you will see he is pushing his own recovery program for people to pay him.

If it sounds too good to be true. It is.

Hey, kookie person

Your comment is all about AA all over, so the previous commenter got you pitch perfect.

My treatment program is abstinence-only.

AA is religious based

The big issue with AA is the god content of it, I would suggest to see a D&A counsellor and stick with one that you get on with. AA may work for those whoare belivers of god concept but it is kind of hard for those whio don't and this may be the root cause of the problem at first place, the quilt that has brought upon so maney people by religion and god concept

My hope is that if someone's

My hope is that if someone's life is being taken over by alcohol, they recognize it and seek a solution. I do NOT think AA is the only solution. While it works for me, I think the overall statistics are dismal.

I have an open mind and enjoy learning about others have gained freedom from the grip of alcoholism, however one defines it. I do know that when we stop enabling and enforce consequences on damaging behaviors, people seek to change.

Arthur M. Jackson, author
Raise the Bottom: How to Keep Secret Alcoholics from Damaging your Business

Dear Arthur M. Jackson,

You seem like a nice man. You are a poorly informed one - which is no sin. It isn't even a sin for people who write books about alcoholism - since they can claim, "I am basing this on my own experience."

Fair enough. But when you barge in on my blog with you inanities - e.g., "early stage" alcoholism - then you draw my attention. The problem in the United States is not another book by a person steeped in his AA experience - why stop a multimillion dollar industry? But these tomes (which really repeat, without their authors realizing it temperance memoirs) have been around now for centuries in America - with, let's say, ambiguous results.

If you don't have enough respect for yourself, your advice, your audience and for me to know what NLAES and NESARC refer to, you might at least take a peak at the link in my original post - don't you think? It reviews the reassessment the NIAAA is undergoing after taking seriously the results of their own research, showing that people with substantial ties to this earth - as a rule - overcome their alcoholism without treatment, and without quitting drinking - in other words, for most people, alcoholism is a situational and life stage response.

Arthur: It's okay for you to sing the Hallelujah Chorus - but you need to understand that not everyone follows your religion, thank you, and that most succeed and prosper nonetheless.

Query for Mr. Peele

You are obviously very angry and have nasty ad hominem responses to folks who respond on your blog. What did AA do to you? Did it try to help you get and stay sober? Did it try to help you have a better life? Or are you so offended because it has helped many others have better lives? Why do you feel a need to be so nasty to anyone who does not share your (apparently minority) world view?

Multiple response answer

Pick the one you like best!

1. I'm an angry alcoholic who resents AA's success in getting everyone else sober (except for a few recalcitrants - like Charlie Sheen and his wife);

2. I want to get people to go to my treatment center or to try different approaches from one that has had miserable results for so long;

3. I dislike know-it-all holy-rollers who make confident pronouncements with nothing to back them up, as though God is their guide;

4. I really get aggravated by irrationality posing as sound therapy and science - despite all evidence to the contrary (or is the same answer as 3?);

5. Have you ever noticed how AA and 12-step advocates - despite having totally dominated substance treatment for so long - are so damn sensitive!

Be sure to let me know which answer you prefer!

Mr. Peele

I am sorry that you are so angry and mean spirited. I hope that you find some peace and love in your life, sooner rather than later.

I'm familiar with much of the research and I do not agree with your assessment of it. Indeed, I believe your assessment is not only wrong; it's intentionally wrong in order for you to foster your agenda. However, given your rancor and anger, I know that it would not be worthwhile to debate with you the relative merits of AA or other modalities.

For others, I offer the observation that AA has helped very many people abstain from alcohol for long periods of time and thereby attain better lives. It might work for you, as it has worked for so many others. While there are miscreants everywhere, the primary purpose of those in AA is to "stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety."
Because Mr. Peele will spin and dance and misrepresent the actual material, you can see for yourself what the science shows. For example, George Vaillant has compiled a remarkable study on alcoholism and recovery, which you can find in online bookstores.

To be clear, the science shows that AA works for many, but not for everyone--at least not at first.

Because AA has a spiritual -- not religious -- component, some folks who are constitutionally opposed to considering spiritual matters react adversely, even though AA speaks only in terms of a "higher power" or "God as you understand him" and has been used successfully by Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, atheists, agnostics and God knows who else. Overall, you will find in AA only support and comfort from those who have been through the same ringer as you from alcohol (or drugs), and who want no more than to help you achieve sobriety. There are a**holes everywhere, but it takes a lot of rancor to suggest that the defeated and beaten souls that find their way to AA are "know-it-all holy rollers." Indeed, AA is where you may find the largest number of people actually willing to admit publicly that, not only do they Not "know it all", they actually know very little.

And, while the science is difficult to get one's arms around because of the nature of the beast, the best evidence-based science shows that AA works well --not perfectly, but well. Indeed, there is science showing that those who attend traditonal rehab treatment (ala Mr. Peele's holy grail) have a significantly higher success rate if they attend AA meetings and, indeed, have higher success rates the more they attend.

The best news may be that Mr. Peele is correct that AA is not the only way some alcoholics have gotten better. God bless you and Godspeed if you find a path that works for you. That is surely all anyone in AA would ever wish for you.

That said, the experience of many alcoholics is that they cannot drink moderately safely. Indeed, that may define being a "true alcoholic." Mr. Peele's reccomendation that you try to teach yourself how to drink safely is a path that many have pursued with truly tragic consequences. Indeed, I'd bet that most drunk driving accidents, and cirrhosis deaths were suffered by folks who had been trying to "drink safely" for years.

Mr. Peele, may you find joy and happiness and heal your rancor.
May your journey be well....

stop being aggressive

I don't know Mr. Pelee but you are an A grade passive aggressive. However I agree with you about not drinking at all, as any other method is too risky and ambiguous. There is no higher power, on one hand you criticize Mr. pelee for his ambiguous and risky suggestion and you come up with spiritual world of your own that is also risky and ambiguous.
Please make your mind and stick to rationality. Bottom line is No drinking what so ever and believe in yourself and nothing else has done that for you but you are the one that brings upon yourself and can correct it. In this way there will be a well balanced judgment and empowerment of 1st degree.
My kindest Regards
Hamid reza dadgostar

I have an open mind about

I have an open mind about whether an alcoholic can recover and then transition into a moderate responsible drinker. I'd like to see it for myself before I form any concrete opinion.

I have seen people with alcohol dts--so it seems there is a physical addiction. Can you become unaddicted and then start from scratch?

That's my question.

that is really good news and

that is really good news and certainly under the radar.

Which leads to my next question...I've observed a lot of so-called recovered alcoholics (not necessarily those who recovered in AA) who are still the same nasty a-holes they were when drunk. So are they just a-holes to begin with and everyone blames it on the drink?

For the record, I'm a moderate drinker. I like my wine with dinner and I like the art & science of pairing food with wine. I'm even making homemade Baileys Irish Cream for Christmas. :-)

I abhor drunks, however. I think they ruin everyone's lives.

2014 correction

re. "Disasterous 2014 Olympics?" Bode Miller just won a bronze medal in the Super-G, at 36 years old becoming the oldest Alpine Skier to win a medal. He'll contend in Wednesdays Giant Slalom as well you nitwit.

2014 correction

re. "Disasterous 2014 Olympics?" Bode Miller just won a bronze medal in the Super-G, at 36 years old becoming the oldest Alpine Skier to win a medal. He'll contend in Wednesdays Giant Slalom as well you nitwit.


I enjoyed your article, as someone in the addiction field I found it very interesting. I just wanted to let you know it's PS, PPs, PPPS.


But, damn -- I've got a ton of corrections to make!

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Stanton Peele, PhD, JD, is the author of Recover! He has been a pioneer in the addiction field since publication of Love and Addiction in 1975.


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