For those who don’t know, the kind of talk you’ll see in the video below is the exact kind of self-defeating nonsense taught around the rooms of AA meetings and rehabs:
Jane Velez Mitchell is a “recovering alcoholic” who claims to be “addicted to consumption. She hosts a show on HLN, has authored books on recovery, and appears on several television shows as a recovery guru. She has said she used the 12 steps to get into “recovery.” The things she says about recovery in the video clip above come straight out of twelve step ideology.
She really believes that if she used hand sanitizer containing alcohol, that it would cause her to relapse! This is certainly comical, but not when it’s taught to your loved one, and causes them to feel fragile, afraid, and to ultimately “relapse” from the “disease” that’s “doing push-ups in the parking lot.”
Click here for more on the “allergy model of addiction”: http://www.thecleanslate.org/myths/addiction-as-an-allergy-loss-of-control/
Click here for more on the effects of this kind of thinking: http://www.thecleanslate.org/alcoholics-anonymous-increases-binge-drinking-brandsma-study/
She’s not alone (added 8/18/14)
Elsewhere on this site, AA members have pretended as if the kinds of things Jane Velez-Mitchell said above are unheard of. They are not. Those of us who’ve spent any considerable amount of time in 12-step meetings have heard such things countless times. I have heard personally at meetings of “relapses” “triggered” by using mouthwash, colognes & perfumes, and other alcohol containing products. These tales are of course absurd, but to the person experiencing that as their truth, it feels quite real that the whole thing was set into motion and beyond their control because of contact with a product that contained alcohol.
Today, I stumbled onto a written example of a story I’ve heard countless times – relapse by dessert containing alcohol. Usually, it’s tiramisu at a wedding. Here’s an account of a nondescript trifle as the culprit, from the article “Ten Freaky Freelapses” at Substance.com:
I had been going through a rough time in my sobriety when I went away on a ski trip with my husband’s family, none of whom are in recovery. After dinner one night, we had a layered trifle-type dessert made by my father-in-law. I dug in. The top layers were alcohol-free, but when I shoveled the last spoonful in my mouth, I realized I had swallowed a surprise shot of liquor that was part of the sauce at the bottom of the dish.
My sobriety had already been on the brink, so I just thought fuck it. That one mouthful of booze kicked off a year of actual relapsing. It wasn’t until I received diagnoses and treatment for my mental health issues that I was able to regain a hold of my sobriety again. I now have six years sober.
See how it works? “I just thought fuck it. That one mouthful of booze kicked off a year of actual relapsing. “ No it didn’t. The part where you thought “fuck it” did, and that itself was simply a product of your infatuation with alcohol combined with your ingrained belief that you’d lose control, providing both an expectancy response and a convenient excuse to do what you’ve been wanting to do.
If any readers have links to other documented cases like this, please send me links/leave them in the comments. I’d love to make this article a database of this nonsense, so I have somewhere to point the deniers.