If you want to construct a believable story about how you became an addict, and the overpowering force of addiction, and how it destroyed your life before you put the pieces back together, it’s not hard to do. Just follow the formula:
- Start with a self-deprecating line like “Let me start by saying that I was a liar and manipulator”. People think that if you start a story this way, your intentions are good, you have seen the error of your ways, and you’re now an honest person. As an alcoholic your credibility is questioned, but this will disarm the skeptics.
- Tell a story about another addict that you knew a long time ago, and the depths to which they descended just to get a drop of alcohol, shot of heroin, etc. For example, your mother drank perfume in desperation when she was denied alcohol; your father accidentally dropped his bottle on the floor and you saw him lick the alcohol off the broken shards.
- Tell your story of how you became an addict. At this point you have everyone’s rapt attention, so you can be vague about it. Just say that you don’t know how it happened, but after a certain point you were drinking way too much and in over your head and you had no idea. It’s also helpful to blame an authority figure, like for example your doctor gave you vicodin for your pain and soon enough you were discovering more powerful drugs. Don’t mention any of the details in your life, except to say that things were going really well for you. For example, “I had everything going for me at the time.” Play the innocent victim, who has little insight into their own psyche, even though you’re an otherwise very intelligent and insightful person, and you had even seen it play out in your own home as a child. We’ll believe it because we like to think that alcoholics/addicts are naive — this couldn’t happen to us because we’d recognize it before it got out of control.
- Tell how you hit rock bottom and some degrading thing you did (e.g. slept under a bridge, fellatio in exchange for a six-pack). This can be completely fabricated, and people won’t dare to question it because it would be tremendously insulting and hurtful especially after you made yourself so vulnerable.
- End with the story of your redemption: you’ve seen the error of your ways, and you’ve apologized to everyone you hurt (you don’t need to say what exactly you did to hurt them — you can leave that up to our imagination — no one will dare ask so don’t worry).
- End the story with: “AA has kept me sober and it’s the only thing that ever worked for me.” You can say this even if you relapsed several times since starting AA. Again, people won’t dare to find fault.
If you follow these simple steps, you will have etched the power of addiction — and the healing power of AA — into the impressionable minds of your listeners. Congratulations, you have perpetuated the Myth of Addiction!
A good example:
Here is a great story about how someone became an alcoholic. By the time you get to the end, you understand that alcohol is the devil’s drink with the power to possess the soul of the unwary, even those who should probably know better.
Active Alcoholics and Addicts Are All Liars: Believe It!!
This story meets all the criteria above, plus it’s well written. It starts the self-deprecating line (“I’m a liar”), and continues with a great story of a well-respected physician who gets addicted to a drug available at the hospital (unspecified). This story must be true because: this guy has already called alcoholics liars (and he can’t be a hypocrite), we’ve heard of doctors getting hooked on drugs before (it’s a common plot line in tv dramas), and it’s interspersed with quotes from other authority figures. No way someone could make that up.
I later became an alcoholic. I don’t know when I crossed that line, but I did cross it.
So little self-awareness from a man who seems to have it together. He’s implying that drinking took over his psyche and he became powerless under its spell. The truth is, this man has spent many hours in AA talking about his addiction, and talking about it with his sponsors and sponsees, and in private he’ll tell a different story. He knows exactly why he got drunk. I don’t know this guy, but it could have been anything: He was unhappy with his marriage. He didn’t like to be home with the crazy kids. His job sucked. He was jealous of others.
You can be sure that in AA meetings he brags endlessly about his exploits during this time in his life. He’s proud of it, but he doesn’t want you to know that. He wants you to assume that he’s ashamed. Believe me he’s not, and you only need attend a few AA meetings to see that. (They try to out-do one another. In one meeting I was at, it was like a contest of who had the youngest boyfriend.)
Of course, if he showed anything other than contrition, we’d immediately discount the story and think that he drank to avoid reality. This is a better and simpler explanation for drinking too much. But if alcohol is evil-juice, and caused a ‘drinking problem’, then he has a good excuse to avoid dealing with his issues. Certainly, it’s better to say, “I stayed out late nights because I had a drinking problem”, than “I didn’t want to be with my wife anymore, so I stayed out late nights to drink with my buddies. (Or alone.)”
He also says nothing about his own behavior as a child or young adult. Was he a trouble maker? Did he have a history of lying? We are to assume that he was an angel before this happened, and it was the powerful force of alcohol that corrupted him. This is an important bit of information, but about it he says nothing, because probably he had a history of lying that preceded his drug and alcohol use (as most addicts do), and if he said this he’d lose credibility. He acknowledges that alcoholism and lying go together: “If you are an active alcoholic/addict, you are a liar and not to be trusted.” This implies that the lying starts and ends with the drinking, but it’s a well accepted fact that a history of lying frequently precedes substance abuse. As for post-addiction, psychopaths of all types naturally become less aggressive as they age, addicts or not. But the frequency of relapse in most addicts during their prime time proves that simply saying you’re not going to lie is no guarantee.
I hang around lots of alcoholics and addicts. The clean and sober ones have learned to tell the truth.
If you have to “learn” to tell the truth, then you must have spent your life telling lies. Like a true psychopath, he is blind to the same fault in himself that he finds in others.
It’s funny how addicts say they lie about everything, and yet we are supposed to believe them about their addiction. This is silly. They are lying about their addiction too! Find me one person, the sweet boy with no issues growing up, no history of aggression or lying or bullying, who later becomes an alcoholic. There aren’t any. Even if you see and hear stories about them, you will never meet one in person. They all showed psychopathic tendencies and often admit to them.
[Among gay men and women, this rule is somewhat different. Often these alcoholics have serious (and well justified) self-image issues. They drink as much to hurt themselves (and gain sympathy and attention that way) as to have a convenient excuse to hurt others.]
Alcoholics Anonymous – perpetuating the lie
As I explain elsewhere on this site, when someone joins AA, they are required to say, “I’m an alcoholic.” Whether this is true or not, they must say this in order to be accepted into the group. This social pressure is a form of brain washing, and it can account to some extent for the addiction lie. In addition, the AA Big Book is full of passages that reinforce the disease model of alcoholism and its addictive power. It stresses that as an alcoholic you are different from everyone else:
Then he fell victim to a belief which practically every alcoholic has — that his long period of sobriety and self-discipline had qualified him to drink as other men…. Out came his carpet slippers and a bottle. In two months he was in a hospital, puzzled and humiliated. (Big Book p. 32)
So, the alcoholic is aware of the danger of alcohol, but at the same time is unable to recognize when he is getting into trouble and to stop it. He is “puzzled and humiliated” as if he had been under the spell of an evil spirit. The Big Book is chock full of these stories, and the psychopath absorbs them, to be recycled later to his own advantage.
In fact, I think the Big Book was designed to protect alcoholics and allow them to continue to relapse freely. For example, the chapter “To Wives” says that they can expect their husband to relapse, but they should stand beside him anyway. (This is fodder for another post.) And of course, its author, Bill W., was an inveterate womanizer later in life, taking advantage of the young inductees.
AA is brilliantly evil. You gotta respect that.