Like almost every other writer on the topic of addiction, you write as if we are living in a free country as far as scientific research is concerned and that we can therefore draw adequate generalizations from the status quo. To the contrary, we live under a drug-war sharia that strictly outlaws almost all research of psychoactive drugs, many of which could work wonders with alcoholics and other addicts. Although you don't mention this, Bill Wilson himself had great initial success in treating alcoholics with LSD. It was not science that stopped such treatment, but rather politics, when Richard Nixon decided to launch a war on Timothy Leary and hippies by outlawing their drugs of choice, namely psychedelics. And US-inspired drug law remains as anti-patient as ever, as therapist Gabor Mate was recently forced to stop his promising treatment of Canadian alcoholics with the entheogenic concoction known as ayahuasca.
So if AA is ineffective -- as I would definitely agree - it is as much the Drug War's fault as it is that of Bill Wilson and his theories.
Given the existence of the unscientifically motivated Drug War, it may well be true that Naltrexone is a relative godsend for alcoholics. That said, this is a huge "given." We should remember that we are choosing from a starkly limited pharmacopeia when we make that choice. There are thousands of potential psychoactive godsends out there that we are forbidden from studying, notwithstanding our pretensions at being a scientific country. By failing to acknowledge this outrage, we may be giving far more kudos to Naltrexone than it deserves. How good is it, you ask? How can we know until we compare it to the thousands of other potential therapies that we have chosen to ignore? It may well be the best thing currently "going" for alcoholics, and for that I yield to the experts - while yet pointing out that there really are no experts on addiction treatment per se since the Drug War has essentially placed all the potentially valuable therapeutic substances off-limits, not merely to individuals but to addiction researchers as well. No surprise there. We'd have just as few aviation experts today if the only legally available planes were gliders.
Also there is a real irony in the use of Naltrexone to block the action of opiates, at least when used in a Drug Warrior country such as the USA. By waging drug-war colonialism, we have sent our military abroad to destroy opium crops that have been used in moderation in the east for millennia, forcing other countries to turn to the western drug called alcohol to achieve, in general, a far uglier form of self-transcendence and relaxation than that supplied by the judicious poppy user. Not content to destroy the poppy in the East (always against the will of the local people, who have no say in the matter), we now seek out a drug that will obviate the poppy's effects, thus ensuring the prosperity of American Big Liquor for centuries to come. This is fundamentally a racist and anti-scientific war on the poppy, one which dogmatically recognizes only evil in the plant, failing to acknowledge its role in providing human transcendence over the ages - a viewpoint that keeps Anheuser Busch heirs smiling on their way to the bank (just as they were no doubt smiling when the DEA stomped onto Monticello in 1987 to steal Thomas Jefferson's poppy plants).
This brings me to the other problem with the Naltrexone approach, namely that is all stick and no carrot. Yes, the substance helps to destroy the addiction but it also gets rid of the transcendence which the addict was seeking in the first place. Psychedelics, on the other hand, work by actually providing the sought-after transcendent experience and it is that very transcendent experience from which the psychedelic user often emerges with new insights into their earthly condition and a new mental flexibility in dealing with their drinking problem.
One other bone to pick: I would ask you to question your apparently strong faith in science, at least as practiced in the States.
It is the alleged "scientific" approach to psychiatry that has led to the great but unacknowledged addiction of the American people, in which 1 in 8 Americans are now chemically dependent on antidepressants, all under the discredited theory (promulgated by a full-court media press by academic talking heads under the pay of Big Pharma) that these substances fix a chemical imbalance. As Robert Whitaker demonstrates, however (in "Anatomy of an Epidemic"), this is pseudoscience, not science. These antidepressants (SSRIs and SNRIs) have been shown to CAUSE the imbalances that they purport to fix. They certainly don't work for me after decades of use, and I am now forced to take Effexor the rest of my life against my will - Effexor, a drug that has a relapse rate just as high as heroin.
But I've yet to hear of one single addiction "specialist" wringing their hands on my behalf, or on behalf of the tens of thousands of unacknowledged antidepressant addicts actively cursing modern psychiatry online even as I speak - cursing it for one's loss of empowerment, one's unsought-for life-time role as an "eternal patient," having to apply to a doctor for their monthly fixes. (Part of the professional silence is based on the convenient myth that there's a meaningful difference between addiction and chemical dependency. Tell that to an Effexor addict after he or she has gone cold turkey for three days.)
Since psychiatry has no problem with thus addicting users like myself -- and to ineffective medicines at that - they have no leg to stand on in warning me that I might become chemically dependent upon, say, opium, should I be given the same legal access to that drug that I would have had in 1913, and they have even less standing in remonstrating against my use of totally non-addictive psychedelics. If such drugs are not even considered for treating alcoholism it is thus merely for political reasons, not scientific ones. So let's not write so as to imply that these therapies have somehow been tried and found wanting, when in reality such therapies remain unthinkable to Western researchers under the thrall of Drug War propaganda.
CONCLUSION: I believe we have no right to opine on the relative insolubility of addiction problems until we have re-legalized Mother Nature's medicines. Until then, any conclusions we reach on this topic should be followed by a huge footnote, both for the patient's benefit and by way of protest, stating that the addiction problem, for aught we know, could turn out to be far more soluble than we currently suppose, once the United States finally renounces its anti-patient Drug War, along with its efforts to enforce that war worldwide by way of the financial blackmail of its friends and foes alike.
Why 12 Step Groups are Religions
August 15, 2022
12-step groups tell their members to confess to their powerlessness. But why are the group members powerless? Answer: Because the government has outlawed all the psychoactive substances that could help them. Of course the members are powerless -- just as the sufferers of back injuries or kidney disease would be powerless if all physically operative drugs were banned.
Like any religion, the 12-step group also has its own clear idea of what constitutes the good life as well. For them, the first and highest goal in life is always "sobriety" (a hypocritically defined sobriety that countenances the use of addictive Big Pharma pills), with the self-actualization of the group member coming in a distant second at best. For the ambitions of the 12-step group are always stinting, as can be seen in their cramped slogans: "One day at a time," "This too shall pass."
In other words, the 12-step groups always look askance on those of the Jack Kerouac school of thought: "The ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn burn like fabulous yellow roman candles."
No, no, says the government empowered counselors of the 12-step religion: "Sobriety and safety first." For the rest, slug through life the best you can -- and if you're lucky the government will your state government will legalize euthanasia -- anything at all being preferable in their eyes to legalize medicines that improve mood and mental performance.
The 12-step program is a way to force Christian Science heretics to become religious. How? By denying them all psychoactive assistance and then saying, "See, you're powerless. You need a higher power!" Wrong. Most of us just need a government that will stop unjustly running interference between Earthlings and the plant medicines that grow at out very feet.
Let us know what you think. Send your comments to me, Brian Quass, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks! Please be sure to mention the title of the essay to which you are responding.
*"Without the War on Drugs, the level of gun violence that plagues so many poor inner-city neighborhoods today simply would not exist." -- Heather Ann Thompson, The Atlantic, 2014.
The above numbers may represent undercounts since some of these totals were compiled in late 2021.
The news media just doesn't get it -- or doesn't want to get it. Most stories about the deaths of blacks in inner cities never mention the drug war, as if the fact that prohibition led to armed gangs had nothing to do with the skyrocketing gun deaths that they're reporting on today. For a case in point, check out the article by Micaela A Watts in CommercialAppeal with the headline: "Following 346 homicides in Memphis in 2021, officials consider what's driving the violence."
Yes, that's a real poser, Micaela. The city fathers must really be scratching their heads!
The author notes three major theories for the violence, all of which have nothing to do with the drug war: "Lack of conflict resolution skills," a lack of "fair wages," and (get this) poor mental health.
Looks like the city officials failed to ask themselves why city residents were armed to the teeth in the first place. Hello? That was due to the drugs warriors' substance prohibition which incentivized the poor and poorly educated young people to get into the fantastically profitable business of selling drugs!!!
Substance prohibition created drug gangs and cartels just as surely as liquor prohibition created the Mafia.
Yes, drug warrior, YOU are responsible for these deaths. You! It's a natural result of your ban on medical godsends, some of which have inspired entire religions and have the potential for treating (if not curing) such diverse conditions as Alzheimer's, autism, and depression.
Drug War Victim of the Day
killed in Prince Georges County, Maryland on August 15, 2022
Southeast Washington DC remains a no-go zone, even for UPS drivers, as this latest shooting incident points out, which is 1 in 6 shootings that have taken place in the last week, two of them fatal. If this were happening in Hollywood, California, it would be a scandal. But movie stars are people, and victims of the drug war, especially when poor and black, are what Noam Chomsky calls 'unpeople.'
Yes, even the director of "Bamboozled" is bamboozled about drugs. He agrees with the drug warrior lie that there are psychoactive substances in nature that have no positive uses whatsoever, in any place, any time, any context. This superstitious way of thinking has forced me to go without godsend medicine my entire life. Thanks, Spike. Why do you want people to become drug-hating Christian Scientists, exactly? These things that you call "drugs" have inspired entire religions. The conservatives are laughing as they rush to the polls to elect fascists, because they have bamboozled Spike Lee himself to sign off on the drug war which brings death and incarceration to inner city blacks. Throw away that "just say no" teddy bear with which you were bribed in childhood, Spike, and open your eyes.
Mangual is the author of 'Cities got deadlier in 2020: What's behind the spike in homicides?' in which he never once mentioned the drug war!
Here's my letter to his website:
Hi, Rafael. Just wanted to suggest that you start holding the drug war responsible for inner-city violence -- since substance prohibition incentivized 'dealing' in poor neighborhoods and the guns soon followed. Because no one mentions this 64,000-pound Gorilla, Trump is able to blame the deaths on Democrats, so that, rather than ending the violence-causing drug war, he can begin executing the blacks that drug warriors were previously happy with merely incarcerating.
The Secret World: A History of Intelligence.
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2019.
All warfare is based on deception, said Sun Tzu. Yes, but what is all deception based on? A mistrust of one's fellows. And how do you combat that, Chris? With empathogens like MDMA and psilocybin.
London: East India Publishing Company, 2021.
Pious drug warriors have usually thought of Marcus Aurelius as the perfect replacement for bad evil drugs -- but Marcus had his cake and ate it too. He philosophized under the influence of opium (but don't tell the kids!)
Alice in Wonderland: The Original 1865 Edition With Complete Illustrations By Sir John Tenniel.
New York: Amazon, 2021.
Alice's shroom-powered adventures are a standing reproach to glum-faced drug warriors, who closely resemble the Queen of Hearts, shouting: "Off with their heads, for using godsend medicines of which I disapprove!"
De Quincey, Thomas.
Confessions of an English Opium Eater.
New York: Dover, 1995.
During De Quincey's informed opium use, he "partook" only weekly in order to better enjoy the opera, making his weekday life happier as well, however, thanks to anticipation of use, a benefit of which materialist science takes no account.
The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner .
New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018.
A stark reminder that the world is living under a nuclear sword of Damocles. And why? Because it demonizes all the godsend medicines (like MDMA and shrooms) that could bring humanity together in universal harmony.
The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys .
New York: Park Street Press, 2011.
First-hand accounts of psychological breakthroughs achieved with the guided use of entheogens, suggesting that one-time givens like "character" and "human nature" are far more susceptible to improvement than we thought.
A Disease in the Public Mind: Why We Fought the Civil War.
New York: Da Capo Press, 2014.
The late historian Fleming cites the popular mob-led public "diseases" of Witch-Hunting, Liquor Prohibition, and Communism -- yet says nothing about the Drug War, which was the great disease in the public mind of his own time!!!
Liberalism and Its Discontents.
New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2022.
Great bipartisan insights, BUT... Francis reckons without the drug war, so, like a good drug warrior, he blames all the ills caused by prohibition on the politically created boogieman called "drugs."
The Dream of Enlightenment: the Rise of Modern Philosophy.
New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2016.
The author seems unaware of the increasingly clear ability of empathogens like MDMA and shrooms to improve the very human nature which grumps like Hobbes portray as being so irrevocably fixed.
Good Chemistry: The Science of Connection, from Soul to Psychedelics.
New York: HarperWave, 2020.
Julie claims that Nixon criminalized psychedelics for health reasons. What? That's not the Nixon I know. He said himself that Leary was enemy #1. He was removing "users" from the voting rolls, not protecting them.
The Doors of Perception / Heaven and Hell.
New York: Penguin Books, 1970.
Huxley's speculations about perception jibe with modern science, which finds that human beings see what is presumably useful to them, not necessarily what is "really there" in the sensory-rich physical world.
The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead .
New York: University Books, 1964.
Americans have been primed by the drug-war zeitgeist to consider everything Leary writes as nonsense. But he was the first one to announce loudly and clearly that what's really nonsensical is to outlaw plant medicine.
The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.
New York: Del Rey Books, 1970.
Lovecraft's work is full of opiate imagery that drug warriors want to render impossible for artists to feel: "I would often drift in opiate peace through the valley and the shadowy groves..." (Ex-Oblivione)
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction.
Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2009.
Gabriel moralizes "addiction." Addiction, however, is a political term. One can use psychoactive Big Pharma meds every day and be a good patient -- use heroin every day, however, and you're just escaping "inner pain." What?
Maupassant, Guy de.
Le Horla et autres contes fantastiques - Guy de Maupassant: Les classiques du fantastique .
Paris: , 2019.
In "La Horla," Maupassant anticipates Huxley by speculating that our perceptual habits blind us to a world of wonders. Many of today's demonized drugs, it appears, can at least partially open our eyes to that world.
Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution .
New York: Bantam, 1992.
This was the book that reminded me of what I already vaguely knew: that it is tyrannical insanity for a government to outlaw plants. McKenna's philosophical speculations on why we criminalize inspired me to create abolishthedea.com.
Miller, Richard Louis.
Psychedelic Medicine: The Healing Powers of LSD, MDMA, Psilocybin, and Ayahuasca Kindle .
New York: Park Street Press, 2017.
Informative interviews with movers-and-shakers in the field, including Rick Doblin, Stanislav Grof, James Fadiman, David Nichols and Robert Whitaker. Packed with eye-opening one-liners about godsend meds.
Out of our Heads.
New York: HiII&Wang,, 2010.
Noe reveals how patients with "locked-in" syndrome have reported being supremely aware of their surroundings during their supposedly brain-dead coma, a fact that puts in question our materialist assumptions about consciousness.
When Plants Dream.
New York: Watkins Publishing, 2019.
I find philosophical problems with most of the books that I read on the subject of psychoactive medicine, but Daniel Pinchbeck is one of the few authors who could teach me a few things on this topic.
Poe, Edgar Allan.
The Essential Poe.
New York: Warbler Classics, 2020.
Because drug warriors never mention the good side of "drugs," we must turn to Poe to learn, for instance, that morphine can bring a surreal appreciation of Mother Nature (see "A Tale of the Ragged Mountains").
How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence .
New York: Penguin Books, 2018.
Pollan has yet to realize that the very term "drugs" is just a modern pejorative epithet for "plant medicine of which botanically clueless politicians disapprove. "
Reynolds, David S..
Beneath the American Renaissance: The Subversive Imagination in the Age of Emerson and Melville .
New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.
Exhaustively researched account of the 19th-century zeitgeist, and yet the word "drugs" (as defined, or rather derided, by today's drug warrior) is never even used. Last century's boogieman was liquor, it seems, not "drugs."
Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences Hardcover.
New York: Columbia University Press, 2015.
The psychedelic experience was once characterized as pharmacologically induced madness. Richards shows how the properly guided experience can lead to sanity instead -- and a way of life that is not self-destructive.
Diary of a Dirty Little War: The Spanish-American War of 1898 .
Connecticut: Praeger, 2000.
The war took place 16 years before anti-Chinese Drug Warriors criminalized the poppy plant, and yet opium is only mentioned with regard to a group of unimaginative volunteers who smoked some and "couldn't see the point."
Edmund Burke: A Genius Reconsidered.
New York: Arlington House, 1967.
Burke was a conservative in a sense, but he would not recognize America's Republican party of today. He would surely have seen that prohibition causes all the problems we ascribe to "drugs," and then some.
Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety.
New York: Penguin, 2014.
In 1980, the Air Force nearly blew up Arkansas and irradiated half the country. When Reagan took office the next year, what was his priority? Outlawing plant medicine that could make our species less warlike.
Red Star Rogue: The Untold Story of a Soviet Submarine's Nuclear Strike Attempt on the U.S. .
New York: Pocket Star, 2006.
On March 7, 1968, a rogue Soviet submarine nearly blew up Pearl Harbor with a thermonuclear bomb. Instead of launching a war on nukes, then-President Nixon launched a war on medicines that could inspire peace, love and understanding.
The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler.
New York: RosettaBooks, 2011.
Paraphrase from book: "No one who has not lived for years in a DRUG WAR SOCIETY can possibly conceive how difficult it is to escape the dread consequences of a regime's calculated and incessant propaganda."
Blue Dreams: The Science and the Story of the Drugs that Changed Our Minds.
Back Bay Books: Boston, 2019.
Despite griping about the weight she's put on from taking her daily 'meds,' Slater gives Big Pharma a big fat mulligan for consigning 1 in 4 American women like herself to a lifetime of chemical dependency on SSRI antidepressants.
DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences .
New York: Park Street Press, 2001.
Rick doubts DMT's therapeutic usefulness, but common sense psychology suggests that any break from full-on introspection would be a treat, notwithstanding materialists who aren't even sure that laughing gas could help the depressed!!!
Ceremonial Chemistry: the ritual persecution of drugs, addicts, and pushers.
New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1974.
Filled with inconvenient truths that critics ignore rather than refute, including how politicized science tells us a la God: "Eat of the fruit and you shall die," ignoring the fact that education tells us how to eat of that fruit safely.
Our Right to Drugs: The case for a free market.
New York: Praeger, 1992.
Chock-a-block with all-too-rare common sense: "Doctors, lawyers and politicians started the War on Drugs and continue to wage it, and they are its real beneficiaries -- the drug war's ostensible beneficiaries... are its victims."
Tyler, George R..
Billionaire Democracy: The Hijacking of the American Political System.
Michigan: Pegasus Books, 2016.
Doesn't mention drugs, but illustrates how drug reform can be stymied by just 3% of the public: namely, those holding stock in Big Pharma, etc., especially when these elites can bribe politicians to retain the status quo.
Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America .
New York: Crown, 2010.
Prohibition has facilitated the creation of a psychiatric pill mill upon which 1 in 4 American women are dependent for life. Moreover, these pills cause the chemical imbalances that they purport to fix.
Zuboff , Shoshana.
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power.
New York: Public Affairs, 2019.
Surveillance capitalists and drug warriors share the same goal: to keep human beings predictable: one by rendering us more robot-like and the other by denying us the mind-improving blessings of psychoactive medicine
There are an absolute LEGION of online articles and newspaper stories that get it wrong about so-called drugs. Even those in favor of drug law reform have been subject to drug war propaganda from childhood (and they probably have a DARE teddy bear to prove it!) so speak truth to nonsense and comment on the articles that get it wrong.
Bloody disgusting fact: The Drug War brought almost 800 deaths to Chicago in 2021 by incentivizing the hugely profitable sale of psychoactive medicine in poor communities. And now Trump and his fellow fascist drug warriors want to use that violence as an excuse to KILL drug dealers via execution! Any community leaders supporting the drug war are complicit in this genocide. For as Heather Ann Thompson wrote in The Atlantic in 2014: "Without the War on Drugs, the level of gun violence that plagues so many poor inner-city neighborhoods today simply would not exist."
How America can end inner-city homicides overnight in three easy steps:
Re-legalize Mother Nature's plant medicines
Treat substance abuse as a health problem
Buy back inner-city guns at double their purchase price (even triple the price would be a huge bargain in the long run)
This will, of course, be a huge sacrifice for everyday Americans, who do love their drug war, bless them.