I didn’t go into therapy thinking there was anything wrong with AA. I spent a full year trying to understand what was wrong with me instead. When I decided for sure that AA wasn’t for me, that’s when I really started to realize that that was not an acceptable conclusion for Samaritan Counseling. By the way, my ‘treatment’ was all voluntary, until it wasn’t. Here is a letter I wrote for a friend who has given up her nursing license because of the EAP program that repeatedly demanded 12-step participation.
This is the film I’ve been posting about for almost a year now available on DVD. It was Monica Richardson’s three year effort, and in that process we’ve all learned a lot about the real AA. It’s far from the ideal program the public knows. It’s more like a destructive cult business that has little or nothing to do with alcohol treatment.
After she saw people get murdered by violent people repeatedly sentenced to AA as plea deals who had learned how to speak the AA language and appear to be wise old-timers, she (a member for 35 years) tried to get AA to provide safety guidelines to its members letting them know that members do not have to ‘maintain the anonymity’ of another person if they see a problem.
This was a simple request. AA world headquarters chose to ignore it as if it was an irrational resentment that disturbed their serenity.
Actually, it’s becoming clear that they ignored that simple request because it would open a huge can of worms. Since then she’s interviewed hundreds of people who were harassed or financially scammed or abused by people or professionals in AA who had learned through AA how to ‘blame the victim’, and uncovered the fraud inherent in the 12-step rehab industry.
Now AA is getting sued, and they are getting exposed here, just like the Boy Scouts and the Catholic Church and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The film contains some disturbing material, but it is all true, and important to watch because it is enlightening. I hope everybody buys a copy.
The 13th Step available on DVD!
We have over 140 complaint notes, petition signatures, and letters asking health workers to acknowledge the problems with 12-step coercion in therapy, the rehab industry, and Alcoholics Anonymous itself as the ‘preferred mode of treatment’. It has proven all too often to cause psychological damage. Samaritan Counseling Center of the Capital Region has not acknowledged any of this. The worst part is that there is seemingly no way to complain about it, which reinforces a sense of powerlessness and is actually part of the 12-step so-called treatment. The tactic of ‘professionals who are also members of Alcoholics Anonymous’, also known as ‘two-hatters‘ is to go silent and refuse to respond, much like AA itself tried to do in response to requests for safety guidelines and transparency about third-level sex offenders being plea-dealed to the meetings, the same meetings where honest people are unknowingly sent after paying big money to rehabs for ‘treatment’. A recent lawsuit brings the problems into legal focus.
Petition to Health Workers and Academics About Alcoholics Anonymous (148 current signatures and comments)
Here are the letters we sent, and we will send these, and more, to more and more government agencies, law firms, and health workers until this is resolved completely.
Here’s a very brief description of the case this blog is based on (by me):
Here is a letter explaining the legal issues with Samaritan Counseling coercing AA attendance:
Here is a letter from a Pilot whose license been terminated because he voluntarily entered into the HIMS program and found no real help, but a lot of bills:
Here is a letter from a woman who has pinpointed AA as a retraumatizing influence:
Here is a letter from a nurse being extorted into AA to keep her medical license:
Here is a letter from someone who found AA completely incompatible with his religion and it took him 13 years to escape the AA ‘treatment’ system.
Here is a letter by a woman who found 12-step rehab unhelpful and made her suicidal, and like me, she feels compelled to tell about it:
“Didn’t have the right God”
Here is a letter from an Operation Iraqi Freedom combat veteran who found AA worsened her PTSD:
Here is a letter from someone who, like me, found it impossible to complain about the abusive treatment he was getting (ARISE Intervention):
Here is another example of the AA extortion contracts that have been revealed in the HIMS program, Physicians Health Programs, and in therapeutic contexts (this last link is to a book about the emotional extortionist method devised and promoted by my own ARISE interventionist and related to one letter above).
Here is a letter that Silver Damsen sent to Samaritan Counseling requesting to have a discussion, including my signature. It was completely ignored.
Here is a letter from someone who grew up with the 12-steps and saw disaster all around him, and started connecting the dots:
Growing Up In a 12-step home (PDF)
140 petition signatures and letters like this should not be ignored. There are more, and the complaints will continue to be collected, sent, and documented.
Here is the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights’ response.
The first wave of lawsuits was against mandated AA. This continues.
The next wave is coercion within the professions, as seen started here, and with the Physician’s Health Programs, and EAPs.
And that will prepare for the third wave of lawsuits for coerced AA by two-hatters in state-licensed therapy and health services.
And it will happen. Many hospitals have already changed their ways based on science.
But so-called ‘faith-based’ places like Samaritan Counseling are the ones who will get sued eventually.
Does the Delmar Reformed Church in Delmar NY really not want me on their property just because I complained about 12-step coercion in therapy (which they provide an office to as a ‘sponsor church’)? If so, that doesn’t seem like such an open minded church at all. I wonder if they know that their sponsee counseling center is banning people from the property for writing a letter about 12-step alternatives. I find it hard to believe that they would approve of that, but you never know.
Here’s my own letter which will go on top of the packet I’m sending to the New York State Department of Education, Samaritan Counseling Center, NASW, Samaritan Institute, and the US Department of Health and Human Services.
I don’t think I’m ‘personality disordered or mentally retarded’ (Axis 2) for being concerned about Alcoholics Anonymous coercion in mental health care.
Here is a letter from an RN who wishes she never turned her will and her life over the the EAP-type program PNAP.
It’s no longer about solving an alcohol dependence, it’s all about AA’s deep-seated need to be ‘the one’.
12-step treatment not only induces PTSD in some people, it is absolutely the wrong treatment for people traumatized by combat nursing, who were seeing people get shot, burned, or bombed, and then decided to shake it off, have a few drinks and get right back to work.
What the hell is wrong with these state licensing boards being run by blame and shame steppers? Licensed professionals are being forced to accept utter stupidity, extortion and abuse by their superiors in the State.
I’m also wondering what real PTSD treatment involves (which thankfully she’s now getting more of, after advocating for her rights, from the VA hospital).
I would really like Samaritan Counseling Center to tell me that they will not coerce people into the 12-step programs which landed me in psychiatric wards twice and nearly killed me, but the last I heard was from David Olsen on the phone saying it’s their right to a ‘preferred mode of treatment’, right before he and Jenness Clairmont wrote me a letter saying that ‘under no circumstances’ was I to have any further personal contact with anyone at Samaritan or its affiliates.
Samaritan Counseling Center of the Capital Region‘s official position on 12-step coercion is that it is their right to do it. Unfortunately I was not informed about this until about a year into the therapy after I had developed an attachment to the therapist, which was then used as ‘leverage’. This is why I think their licenses should be reviewed and possibly revoked by the state of New York.
After deciding that I did not want to do AA, I was told I could speak to my therapist if I went to a $17,000 30-day rehab, which I could not afford and then went to an outpatient 12-step rehab where I found more AA at $265/1.5 hrs (group session and drug test). They told me not to worry about the money. Since I thought this was medical treatment, I paid for $700/month for health insurance, which 6 months later I found covered NOTHING of this. The rehab was kind enough to give me a 60% discount for self-pay, but that discount was discontinued during the year of 2014.
After requesting to speak with my therapist at $40/hr about 12-step coercion (I was willing to pay the $80/hr but was suddenly subsidized by a mysterious fund at Samaritan), I received a letter referring me to 12-step meetings and a 12-step interventionist at $110/hr (also self-pay only), saying that I may be able to speak with her if I complied.
After filing a thorough complaint about being more and more forcefully referred to 12-step meetings and a 12-step interventionist, they (David Olsen and Jenness Clairmont who is on the state licensing board) simply terminate-referred me back to the 12-step interventionist. I checked myself into Capital District Psychiatric Center where I was told by a doctor that I’m “fucked” and need AA. I told them I didn’t understand why I couldn’t discuss this, and they prescribed me anti-psychotics (I tried Geodon, Risperidone, Haldol, and Zyprexa) and $170/mo worth of Neurontin. But none of these medications helped me ‘get over’ what I thought was more of a systemic problem with the way I was being treated. If AA hadn’t depressed and confused the heck out of me, I would not have gone to therapy in the first place.
Both my therapist and the Clinical Director had expressed to me privately that they were not fond of the 12-step programs, but neither of them would explain to me why or why they then kept recommending it. Although, in my records, it is mentioned these things were done ‘under the direction of David Olsen’.
Yet, my records and correspondences show zero acknowledgement of my concerns or my complaint. In fact, they did not consider my complaints to be part of my records, which also makes no sense and eliminates the paper trail of my experiences.
James Garrett’s official position on 12-step coercion is in this book, which basically said coercion into treatment is the only thing that works. If you’re self-motivated when seeking treatment, you’re going to fail, according to James Garrett and Judith Landau. Now, to give him a little credit, after I got extremely mad at this he did say to me “Since you’ve been so honest with me, I’m going to be honest with you. AA doesn’t work for everybody”. I thought, well that would have been nice to have known about two years ago, thank you for letting me in on this ‘little secret’, because here I am thinking my only other options are jails, institutions and death, or complete abandonment by a therapist I trusted. I told him I wanted to tell my therapist about this, but she’d probably just keep referring people to AA. And he nodded. Then he told her to mark me down as Axis II (personality disorder).