How to construct a great addiction story

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.


5 thoughts on “How to construct a great addiction story”

  1. I only read 1/4 of this long blog article. I found it to be very interesting and extremely similar to my own opinions regarding AA.
    For me, it is simple. AA is a place where addicts get together and reminisce about the “good old times” – the same “good old times” that resulted them in this miserable, loser-esque, low class life that they are presently living.
    “Addiction is a disease” is a poor excuse, it is a scapegoat! Coming from a former drug user myself (from age 20-22). The last time I ever did a drug was almost 2 years ago. I consider it a phase in my life. “Addictions” are only as great as the power you give them. I choose to give them NO power, therefore they possess absolutely no power. I am successful person who will continue to do well and be successful- why on earth would I ever move backwards? What is the point? There is absolutely no logic in that. Currently, I am a Law student and I plan on having an extremely successful career in law. For anyone stuggling, YOU made these choice, and you placed yourself in this shitty situation, so take responsibility, and MOVE ON. You do not want to look back in 10 years and reflect, “Damn it… why didn’t I better prepare myself for this moment?”.
    Life is what you make it, and you have control over what happens to you and where you end up. Make it count, do not sulk, and GET OVER IT. Think of it as a phase. Bullshit to all of those fakes who think that this is a disease that stays with you for the rest of your life. It stayed with me for 2 years (when I was using) and now I am over it.
    In case you are wondering, I struggled with Heroin.

  2. From what I’ve read and seen on Trainspotting, heroin gives an istannt high’ that several drinks would fail to achieve. You can’t have a shot equivalent to one drink, it’s all or nothing. That makes it extreme and yes, I’d be a lot more worried about someone using heroin whilst responsible for young children than if they were drinking a single glass of wine.But I’m focusing on this more from the use of data visualisation to present statistics than arguing the case for or against alcohol. The chart provided by The Lancet report is misleading because it suggests if you have the choice of a glass containing alcohol or a syringe containing heroin, the latter is a safer option. No context is provided. Is it a like-for-like comparison or based on total consumption? And if it is the latter, proportions should be included. If the ratio for alcohol vs heroin use is 100:1, it will take a lot more resources to lower the harm score for alcohol vs the harm score for heroin. And if the side effect of that effort drives just a small fraction of those alcohol users over to heroin, the net result will be greater harm overall. Comparing totals to calculate a scale can be a risky strategy for decision-making. Using that method, swimming would be considered more dangerous than riding motorbikes or horses based on annual deaths. Insurance premiums suggest otherwise.Assuming the chart isn’t a like-for-like comparison, the chart title should be amended to include based on total consumption’ and add a scale to show how many people are considered to be using each of the drugs listed to (in total and to harmful effect). That would present a more accurate picture and doesn’t reduce the argument for tackling what is clearly a big problem within society.

  3. I’m fairly condifent the hundreds of thousands figure is a UK one and to be honest I’m more surprised that the figure is so low. Alcoholic doesn’t just mean homeless tramp clutching a two-litre bottle of cider, it also means all those well-to-do middle class people who can’t contemplate getting through a day without at least one drink (ie they have developed a dependency), or who regularly and repeatedly binge to the point of making themselves sick or otherwise harming themselves and those around them (ie they are unable to control the impulse to drink despite being aware of the consequences).The societal effects ARE unique to alcohol because of the unique position of alcohol as a legally-available and socially acceptable (sometimes downright socially required!) psychoactive substance. This position means that the alcoholic demographic don’t need to have any criminal connections to begin, develop and pursue their habit how many of us were offered our first glass of wine by parents who wanted us to be able to drink it properly at social functions? and in the early stages, an alcoholic’s drug use is not seen as a problem. The freaks in our society are the ones who choose not to indulge, and in many circles it’s considered acceptable to berate, criticise and even spike the drinks of people who prefer to stay sober.Someone who shoots up heroin twice a week is a junkie. INTERVENTION! Someone who has a bottle of wine twice a week is a perfectly normal member of society who will be offered another glass. Even people who get completely blitzed twice a week no one’s quite sure where the line should be between I think you’ve got time for one more, and I think you’re drinking a bit too much these days. I feel that the most harmful part of alcohol is the way that it’s the one drug towards which we have a generally positive societal disposition.

  4. I’ve been to other rebabs pgoarrms never felt at ease and felt forced to go against me and I am proud of who I am and have experienced so much and have learnt many skills youst is open real dude who sees life for what it is. Its like I have all the puzzle pieces and he is a puzzle master but with everything be real and u will see real results. Matt .

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