A Conversation with Lisa O’Neil Guerci: SMART facilitator extraordinaire

SMART Recovery stands for “Self-Management and Recovery Training” and was created by Marc Kern as another front group for AA.  The strategy is to provide a softer, less religious indoctrination into ‘addiction’: “one drink probably won’t kill you”, and then later suggest that you might be a real alcoholic after all (“one drink will surely kill you”) and you need complete abstinence as available only at AA.

Marc Kern also founded “Addiction Alternatives” in Beverly Hills with Dr Adi Jaffe.  Dr Jaffe is a UCLA addictions expert and self-proclaimed “master liar“.

It’s easy to spot a SMART agent because they use the same suicide bullying techniques employed by AA.  They start by saying, “I would never bully someone to suicide and if I ever saw that happen I would say something.  In fact that’s why I left AA in the first place.”  And then when you challenge their sacred dogma (for example: “Addiction isn’t a real disease” or “People don’t commit crimes because of ‘addiction'”), they gang up on you and try to bully you into suicide with variations of “You are ignorant, insane, in denial, crazy, lying, and stupid” and if that doesn’t work they try to implicate you in the suicides of others: “Your ignorant words could result in the deaths of still suffering alcoholics” and if that still doesn’t work they say: “Wait until someone gets drunk and goes driving the wrong way on the highway and kills your family and then you’ll be singing a different tune.”

Some members do the direct suicide threats: “Are you drinking again?” and “You have resentments”.  (These are mortal threats in AA doctrine because: “To drink is to die” and “Resentments are deathly business for the true alcoholic”.)   Meanwhile others distract you with discussions of public policy and epidemiology and neuroscience so that you think you might be safe from the bullies.  They may try to commiserate with you: “I used to think everyone was lying too.  That’s why I was so miserable.”  Or, “I was a religious extremist once too, I can see echoes of my thought processes in yours.”  They pretend to be interested in your opinion for about a minute and then they start right up again, piling on, each trying to outdo one another with the insults.  Today’s winner was: “You come across as brain-damaged.”


AddictionMyth recently sat down with Lisa O’Neil Guerci (LOG), SMART facilitator extraordinaire, for an online discussion illustrating these tactics.



AddictionMyth: I am a drug addict and alcoholic. Still, I know that no one robs a drug store for meth or has anonymous sex for a hit of smack. Those are blatant lies to justify mischief. I also know that no one ‘suffers’ from an addiction. We use drugs because we want to and we stop when we want to. Any claim to the contrary is a lie: the Craving Lie.

Lisa O’Neil Guerci: I have suffered MIGHTILY by being born with a brain hard wired for addictive tendencies. It is not easy or fun. It is a great burden that I DO have to choose to be responsible every day to control. Yes. That IS where choice and responsibility come in. But I certainly didn’t choose to be an addict. Never would I have chosen this. I left AA ages ago. I was never a sponsor and I never attacked a soul. *I* was a victim of the cult of AA for 12 years. You are preaching to the choir. BUT…I still don’t agree with you across the board. You’re an idiot. I’m a very vocal and well respected anti AA member. Take your head out of your ass and you’d see. You are a ranting lunatic. You have far more problems than anything having to do with addiction. My mistake for thinking you were a credible ally. Have fun playing with yourself in your own sandbox. Everyone knows I completely reject AA. But fortunately, there are FAR more sane people among the anti-12 step ranks. Think what you like. I am done with you. I lost my friends huh? If you say so. Moron. I’m embarrassed for you. I’m talking to YOU, you arrogant twat! Lunatic. You’re the worst kind of socially inept and irresponsible coward and narcissistic bully. I say worst because you claim to be representing those of us who legitimately want to see change come about in the landscape of addiction options and non 12 step recovery. You are PAINFULLY ignorant and I feel very bad if you are ignorantly doling out the wrong information for those seeking help outside of AA. I wouldn’t bother trying to reason with this bitter individual. He already was rude to ME and thinks I am a “secret stepper”. Amazing he and I have so many friends  in common.  You are the one talking about steps and quoting AA, my troubled friend. You are expending all this energy attacking someone who left AA, passionately speaks out against it, is a member of SMART and a facilitator. You really should stop it because you sound truly like a fool. But. I will let you have the last word. Go ahead. I’m out. I have no time for teenaged keyboard warriors.

Nicholas Schoonbeck: No one robs for meth? What addicts do you know? I committed plenty of crimes for drug money. Dude, you’re rambling about your experiences while not hearing anything anybody said to you. I’m willing to bet you aren’t sober either. Its human certainty hard at work. I think I’m right because my thoughts make sense & I’ve considered them carefully so what’s true for me is true for everyone. That and a touch of arrogance that the whole world needs to follow my lead & anyone can make a FB page.  (LOG responds: Clearly.) You also can’t learn what his point of view is from his website. Its just blogging. Anybody can shout their beliefs at the world & any moderately intelligent person can turn every statement around but when you spend your time berating people I’m not gonna listen.

LOG: Nicholas Schoonbeck, this one is a piece of work eh? He actually thinks you and I are in AA. He has ‘lost the plot’ in a major way. VERY surprised my friends Tom Gleason, Timothy Kendrick, and the others find this page credible at all… He complete and utterly misunderstood, miscontrued, and inexplicably twisted my reply to a VERY sweeping and generalized statement he made. Apparently there is to be no dialog or give and take of ANY kind on his page. Unfortunate. But luckily, you have YOUR lucid page..and I am a member of many other leaving AA groups. Take care now. Good luck with your issues. You’re actually insane. Take care and good luck. May your page get shut down and exposed because you are not only patently obnoxious, but you are borderline dangerous in your level of ignorance. You have NPD. Look it up. You are clearly certifiable and, though I’m agnostic, I PRAY that no one takes your advice. You are not only NOT an expert on addiction, you come across as brain damaged. I pity you.

James Brown: You end up in jail that way. I’m not an alcoholic never have been.

Dave Lowery: You are full of shit. Period. You have no clue about addiction. Thank u for your own ignorance. People who have no clue pass on false info. Good by.

James Aitken: To say that tweakers don’t rob or steal to support their addiction is an ignorant statement. I’ve been ripped off by tweakers.

Chelsea Morningstar: Lisa O’Neil Guerci, my opinion of Mr. Myth here is that he’s like one of those hardline atheists that instead of going their own way have taken the polar opposite view of whatever religion they were damaged by.  Unfortunately, the extremism of their approach overshadows the validity (and worse, the reach) of their points.

Mark Johnston: If you had half a brain you would walk in circles…you are just a shit stirrer who had his head up his ass for you enjoy the view…idiot

LOG: You truly have a LOT of problems. your deranged words and uncalled for attacks. You come across like an angry 14 year old. I’m not in AA and am at a loss as to why you have the need to insist upon that. Is that the only weapon in your limited arsenal? Amazing. Truly. You are a strange man and spewing your weird venom at the wrong person. Bye. Mature too.

And that is what you can expect to receive if you dare challenge the great Lisa O’Neil Guerci & friends at your next SMART meeting.  If you like listening to admitted criminals enumerate the defects in your thinking processes and then tell you to shut the fuck up then you’re in the right place.  Also remember go easy on them. They suffer and struggle MIGHTILY every day because of their ‘Chronic Progressive Relapsing Brain Disease’ and your words could threaten their hard-won ‘Peace and Serenity’.

Smart Recovery is funded by generous donations from:  NIH, NIDA, SAMHSA, Center for Motivation and Change (CMC), and Cliffside Malibu.

12 thoughts on “A Conversation with Lisa O’Neil Guerci: SMART facilitator extraordinaire”

  1. Committing crimes for “drug money”? Really? Do criminals really keep strict little budgets where their minimum wage job at the convenience store pays for rent, food and clothing, and crimes pay for their illegal recreational drugs?

    Here’s an example of why I call bullshit on this: There was a case in Oregon a couple of years ago where this pair of criminals made friends with this woman and ended up moving into her mobile home with her. She paid all the expenses on the house, bought all the food, paid the utilities, and was the source of money they used to buy illegal drugs. The local paper of course called this behavior “using the woman for drug money”. And while this may be part of the truth, it mischaracterizes the situation, which was “Couple Uses Woman For All Living Expenses, including but not limited to recreational drugs”.

    Seriously, criminals use money obtained via crime to pay for all sorts of things: food, rent, travel, restaurant meals, clothing, cars, boats, planes, gas, concert tickets, cigars, etc., etc., etc.

  2. Nicely put , I drank a 12 pack everyday for 40 years and quit 8 months ago , I still have 26 of the last 30 pack I bought 8 months ago . I also quit smoking cigarettes , when they were 50 cents , 1972 , 20 years old , just got out of the Army after Vietnam 69-70 , and 70-72 in Bamberg Germany. I was never a member of the AA , but my wife was . Michelle passed away 15 years ago of Alcohol and Darvocet ‘ s , two months short of 40 years old and she left me with are daughter Lindsay that was only 20 months old , because she couldn’t quit the vodka , I retired from the government at 49 to raise my daughter because my wife would drink with are daughter being a baby , and she would pass out , so my baby comes first , I retired in Jan 2001 and Michelle died 8 months later, July 2001 . Lindsay was born 12-31-1999 last baby of the century. I was 50 when Michelle passed . Michelle had been in rehab at the Harris House in STL. for 76 days and tend then fell off the wagon , 7 days later dead . I have been full time Mom and Dad for 15 years know , Lindsay’s in a Catholic High School, she is in the Advanced Studies, She get all A’s .
    Bottom line it’s a choice .

  3. Have none of these people ever heard of the phenomenon of “retrofitting”? That is when what one recalls of an event (events) of one’s past is influenced by the mood the person is in at the moment that the recall is attempted. This means that if you are depressed, you are likely to remember sad events from your past, and to view them as even sadder than if you were to call the same event to mind when in a comfortable or happy state.

    Also, every time an event from the past is recalled, it’s not a replay of a set recording of that event, but a mashup of parts of that event and other similar events or things your family told you about your past, plus things one has learned or decided to believe since. This is why sin-and-redemption conversion stories are so easy to come by: events and actions that may have been happy or neutral are re-cast as sins or unhappy to make the post-conversion life of the person telling their “life story” seem even more shining and wonderful by comparison. Some people may polish their life stories consciously and purposely, but it is also a process that happens automatically, since our memories are not HD recording devices, but sections of neural tissue that have evolved to make humans better able to survive in a hunter/gatherer existence full of immediate dangers (where it’s better to run from something you mistake to be a predator’s face than die taking a moment to get a better look)

    The fact that memories are naturally fungible, plus the “addiction” (“alcoholism” “alcohol abuse” “substance abuse”) method of “polishing” one’s story to make it more useful as a recruiting tool/example illustrating the “addiction”/recovery archetype means that using people’s self-reporting of experiencing “addiction” (or life events consistent with the archetype) is nothing but a tautology that proves nothing except that people will buy ridiculous claims if the claim is presented as particular to the individual that is being targeted for recruitment.

  4. ‘Chronic relapsing progressive brain disease?’ . Who calls it this? And these comments..wtf???

    1. That’s what they call it at the SMART secret meetings as you’ll discover as you rise up the ranks. You will be expected to adopt ATM (Adolph Thomas McLellan) as your HP and invoke his dead son using the CRPBD incantation. SMART is truly sick, worse than AA in some ways.

      1. What an interesting parallel to Scientology – the initial emphasis is what can be done *for* you, and only after someone has been reeled in do they get to hear the “theology”.

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