I published this website with a very specific purpose in mind: Keep it short and to the point. I did this so people could easily read the information multiple times and (in doing so) remind themselves of and really absorb the main ideas.
That said, I also wanted to provide another 25 - 50 pages of information (in the form of letters and "cutting room floor" material) for those who wanted it. This page will hopefully answer most questions.
Note: Unless a person has given me specific permission to use their name, I have omitted or changed it to protect their identity in the correspondence below.
Click the "Continue Reading" link after each entry to read the full text / reply.
1. "I heard about this site on the radio and hoped it might be a solution for my 22 year old son whose story sounds very much like yours except he hasn't yet ended up with serious jail time.I will have him read all that I have copied and see what he says. Do you have any suggestions on how to proceed?" --Continue Reading
2. "My best friend finally asked for help last night and meant it. She's been drinking heavily for over three years. I've got us lined up for an AA and Al-Anon meeting tonight, but in speaking with people and going over web information, I'm worried this won't be a good fit for her. She's not "diseased" or "powerless," more like depressed and, FUNCTIONING while drunk. It's progressed from a weekend thing to an everyday, two and three bottles of wine (she stocks up on Saturdays because our state doesn't sell liquor on Sundays). I know that it's her decision, if the AA process helps or not, but knowing her this doesn't seem like a great approach. I've been looking for alternatives for her, I don't want her to get spooked the first time she reaches out. If you have any information to offer to me, I'd greatly appreciate it." --Continue Reading
3. "Things you have written make so much sense. I, being an alcoholic associate with all that you say. I have a beautiful loving wife and son, but (here is my blame, my excuse!) my wife is a constant nag! I rarely go out,l have sold my beloved motor cycles, watch a limited amount of TV. My wife compiles lists of things for me to do around the house each day. I’m never left alone. I used to have a very active social life but wanted to settle down, drink was never a problem as it is now. I do love my wife, I do not want us to split. This is so easy. Drink is my “buzz” as you say and I do enjoy it. Unfortunately this is driving us apart. I go too far too often. What advice could you give??" --Continue Reading
4. "Thanks again for your insight, I think the hardest thing to do is to admit you do have a drinking problem. Once one feels better after a few days you think, why not I been good only to find that rut you really never came out of. Thanks for sharing these stories with me and to know that I am not alone in this. Your words of wisdom I hope will help many, I sure look forward to reviewing your website when I am feeling that little DEMON saying it's ok. And thank you again for responding, The rewards that come from something like this are real rewards, not false as you stated." --Continue Reading
5. (Recommended) "--I used to be able to stop for a month at a time and periodically go a week without for health sakes.I'm a 50yr old male and I live alone which makes it easy to drink as I wish.I don't drink during the day or at work or keep a bottle in my car. I don't keep alcohol in my house or only a bottle of wine with dinner priodically.Yet my social drinking is my problem.I've developed friends that drink and that's what we do after work as a social gathering.I've already figured out that I have to change my weakest time (after work) with a structured activity that with wean me of the habit. Also help me make some new friends that don't drink or not as a daily activity.I thought of getting back to the gym and or taking a yoga class or something in that line to help me re-stimulate my interest in life in general.--I want to stop this before it really gets too big for me.I feel I still have a chance to work this out before I get myself in trouble. I'd appreciate it. -Tom" --Continue Reading
6. "I really liked your web page and the insight you had. I have been a drinker since I was 17 ( now 42). I knew my drinking was a major problem about 3 years ago. As a successfull businessman we often "celebrated" the victories- new contracts ect. With the downturn in the economy now we "agonized" with a beer or 10. Becomes a selffullfilling proficy as things go down in flames. I looked at AA and just some of it I couldnt handle. This "making amends to everyone you hurt???? There are people I dont like and I dont like them for a reason....but it is time to have the courage to IMPROVE my life....Thanks" --Continue Reading
7. "Dear Joe,
I read with great interest your article and must say that it resonated very deeply with my own thoughts on the popular notions of "addiction" and "powerlessness". I am at a crossroads in my life, quite recently, where my drinking has become an issue and I genuinely want to do something about it. I'm told I have to go to AA, but do not like what I'm reading about it. I feel by the very fact that I WANT to do something about my problem implies a concrete autonomy. I do not and cannot accept the popular notion that I do not have any ability to do this myself. And no, I am not IN DENIAL. I am simply choosing to do it my way. I accept I have issues with alcohol, but definitely more in the terms in which you describe them. Incidently, I recently gave up cigarettes. There are many similarities between the two, but I still did it because I felt my life would be better off without it. Simple as that. But I thank for verbalising my own thoughts in such an erudite way and good luck to you sir." --Continue Reading
8. (This letter is highly recommended for anyone who is facing "friend problems" because they've stopped drinking.) "I have been sober for 4 years now and I have lost most of my friends because they say that I think I like I am better than them. It is far from it. I am having a real problem with feeling like I am an outcast. I am never invited to any parties any more, Most never stop by just to say hi. When I do go to a party because my husband has been invited I am known as the DD, which is ok. I can be around the drinking ,I am not going to give in. But it hurts to be treated like there is something wrong with me. I was a very heavy drinker for many years and became very sick and had to stop because of the meds I was on. I found that I could think better and feel better about myself. So I never started again. I lost 78 lb. and have never been in such good shape.I even stopped smoking. I have been told that I look 10 years younger, which makes me feel good.I know some are a little jealous, but It still hurts to be treated like I am the one with a problem. They even laugh at me at my face and treat me like I am not around." --Continue Reading
9. (An "unhappy" visitor wrote) "Dear Joe, After reading your entire offering, I am convinced that you haven't suffered enough; haven't looked up, become humbled, and be willing to do ANYTHING NOT drink again.
Yours is a great approach for someone willing to "play around" with his/her sobriety, without commitment, without depth. I have been sober now for 26 years thanks to AA and its teachings. After reading your approach, all I can say is I've met Bill Wilson, and you, (and your program,) are no Bill Wilson, responsible for millionS of people turning their lives around since 1935. AA must be doing something right! Thanks for "listening." --Continue Reading
10. "Joe, I came across your site online, and just wanted to say how much I related to the vast majority of what you had to say. I started drinking when I was 14, and have been doing it off and on for almost twenty years. I've quit for a couple of months at a time, but have never stopped completely for whatever reason (my own choice, of course...). In the meantime, I've managed to build a pretty good life with a wonderful fiance, but the several nights a week of drinking excessively (anywhere from a six-pack on weeknight to 15+ beers on weekends) I believe has kept me in a fog and prevents me from truly enjoying it as much as a sober me would. I'm getting married in November and would really like the person that stands up there next to my future wife to be the person she deserves to have..." --Continue Reading
11. "Hey Joe was kinda interested in how this really works… been off drugs since 6-6-03…. Put just cant kick the drinking….do a couple meetings a week but still drink." --Continue Reading
12. (A visitor wrote with questions about "finding their place" in the world. He also asked about my take on the term "higher power" and God. This is a slightly expanded version of the original reply) --Continue Reading
13. " i like the approach you seem to have taken to this using problem.I am 36 and have been in and out of A.A. for three years.I never really dug in to the A.A. philosophy .I do have friends who make great strides in the program but everytime I talk to them its 12 step,BLAH BLAH,BLAH.I was also mis -diagnosed as Bi-polar,making the pharmacy companys stock continue to rise.I am sure Mr PAXIL is sitting on the aft deck of his yacht.I find that there comes a point where i am just so sick of my own bullshit ,that it makes sense to just STOP DRINKING." --Continue Reading
14. "I am a 38 year old married female who has a mom in "recovery". My drinking and smoking began to get quite excessive. I'd go in the back yard (never smoked in the house) smoke, drink beer or wine for 2 hours every night after work. I have a hectic professional job that I love and I just starting feeling like crap every day.
I have a problem with the cigarettes and booze. They go together. I have quit smoking several times. I always go back to smoking when I drink. So after many years of this torture to my body. I just put them both down 2 weeks ago.
Because mom is Mrs AA, I went to one meeting. I felt exactly the way you described. I am not powerless over anything that I have the ability to change." --Continue Reading
15. "Somehow I got to your website, mainly because I was feed up with drinking.I have read it all and think you hit on the one thing I had been missing in my quest to quit, the need to and the want to aspect. I know I need to but have not wanted to. Thank you for the insight, I now know what it is going to take to start my new life with out the poison, Just hope I get there soon. Thank you and take care." --Continue Reading
16. "that's it. you are not an alcoholic. you just smoked alittle to much weed ? if you were an alcoholic you would be able to identify with the big book and aa , i'm not trying to critisize, just i've got relative's like you who say just quit ? the main problem with the alcoholic centres in his mind ,yes! but the alergy is physical ,progressive ? i like what you said about our habits , and just changing our thoughts will change our habit, but what about the fact that we have no power of choice as the disease progresses. the real alcoholic has no power over that bottle of vodka. we remember the ease an comfort . you offer no solution other then my will power which is none existant at this point, plus what program of recovery do you offer?" --Continue Reading
17. "My name is Mary. And I just said the words out of my mouth. I have issues with drinking. I need help and I don't know how to start it. I loged on to your site and started printing a few things to look at. I'm in the music and fashion world and there are drinks all over all the time. I need help to be able to say "NO" to myself at any club, dinner. I would like to go cold
turkey.................Thanks, Mary" --Continue Reading
18. "Alright man, just had to write and let you know that it's great to see this web page up there. I think your view on the whole sobriety thing is probably the truest of them all........smart, rational recovery, aa, etc. Thanks for the inspiration to go at it alone....Just dropped out of aa. Had 21 months and then partied and am now experiencing the wrath of its members to the fact that I am drinking. I have been given the death sentence unless I get my ass to a meeting and get a sponsor! It all makes me sick and I definitely need out so I think my drinking is a passport to freedom once and for all. I have had the steps shoved down my throat for 15 years and you know I still don't get it and do not want to spend the rest of my days going to meetings and dwelling on alcohol" --Continue Reading
19. "Joe, I like your thoughts and reflections, but having been sober for just 18 months, I can't claim to be a guru. Do you have any thoughts on AA's insistence on including a 'higher power' ? I'm doing some state mandated DUI classes, and I am required to attend 8 AA classes. In my area of suburban Philadelphia, the bible bangers have blown it up to 'God' and they won't let go of it. It's a shame agnostics like me are doomed to be outcast as drunk heathens and hopeless (smirk)." --Continue Reading