An Interview with Philosopher/Author/Alcoholic Clancy Martin

Clancy Martin is the Chair of the Philosophy Department at University of Missouri.  He is an expert in Nietzsche.  His PhD dissertation was on the philosophy of lying.  He is also a best selling author of How to Sell (2009), a semi-autobiographical account of a young man in the jewelry business who engages in various unethical methods to make money.   “First lie to yourself about what grade the diamond is; then you can sincerely tell your customer ‘the truth’ about what it’s worth.”  He drinks to quash the feelings of guilt caused by his peccadilloes.  And he (the author) is also an alcoholic.

He is the father of 3 girls, and also has 3 wives (though not all at the same time, as far as we know).

AddictionMyth sat down with the modern day Renaissance man to find out more about his alcoholism.

AM:  Do you know that addiction is a Lie? Are you a liar or brainwashed? Or both??

CM: I don’t know who you are, but I enjoyed the blog post (School for Scoundrels), and agree with much of what you say.

AM: In The Drunk’s Club (A.A., the Cult that Cures), Harpers Jan 2011, you say that your father and step-father were both alcoholics (your mother left your father for his sponsor).  You were raised in the AA religion, which is a moralistic Christian sect in which alcohol represents the devil.  However, in AA you can choose any god you wish.  Is AA Christian or Pagan?

CM:

AM: You now claim to be Buddhist.  Who/what is your higher power?

CM:

AM: Is drinking a sin?  What did you do when drunk?  Why did it feel like sin?

CM:

AM: Were you powerless under alcohol, or was that just a lie to conceal your ‘sins’?

CM:

AM: You described several occasions of hitting rock bottom: peeing on the floor in front of daughter, hitting your wife, and hanging yourself.  How many times did you hit rock bottom and were these just for drama?

CM:

AM: Relapse is part of recovery – ultimately what ends the relapsing – 12 steps, or growing up?

CM:

AM: Scientific examination of self-professed alcoholics shows that cravings were infrequently reported, and when they existed, had little impact on recovery on way or the other.  Please describe your compulsion to drink – how strong was it?  To what lengths would you go to get a drink?  And then what did you do when drunk?

CM:

AM: What would happen to you if you started drinking again?

CM:

AM: How do other men deal with getting older?

CM:

AM: If AA is exposed as a cult, can lonely people still go there to seek companionship?

CM:

AM: I thoroughly enjoyed your book, How to Sell. It is really well written and fascinating and entertaining from beginning to end, and I’m not just saying that.  But I don’t believe that the girl (I forget her name) became a prostitute.  She was too smart, self-confident, and pretty for that.  Thoughts?

CM:

AM: In your Harper’s post On Suicide (June 25, 2013), you claim that you thought about suicide since you were 5 years old, and the main reason against suicide is that it sets a bad example for your children.  But what does it say to your own children that you couldn’t be bothered to stick around to see them grow up and start their own families?  And what does it say about your decision to have children in the first place?

CM:

AM: Despite the common myth, people don’t kill themselves just because they are “tired of living”.  Instead, they generally are very angry or resentful or ashamed about something and kill themselves in self-destructive revenge.  The same is true for alcoholics — when first diagnosed, their anger score is off-the-charts.  Could there be a connection between suicide and alcoholism?  Is alcoholism a form of slow suicide caused by anger/resentment/shame?

CM:

One thought on “An Interview with Philosopher/Author/Alcoholic Clancy Martin”

  1. This is Clancy Martin. I was not aware that the email I was sent was a proposed interview–it appeared to be an email from a stranger. If you’d like me to answer the above questions in an interview, I’d be more than happy to do so. Please just give me a heads-up that you’re interviewing me!

    Best wishes,
    Clancy Martin

    ps. Please do note that I no longer drink alcohol, though yes, I am a recovering alcoholic. AA, Buddhism, and the work of people like Stanton Peele and Grace Ketterman have helped me in my recovery. Thanks for your kind words.

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