Is There Hope of Preventing or Curing Addiction?

One of my graduate students says, “Please don’t ever set that assignment again.” I am surprised at the anger that my assignment has roused. The course was ‘Stress Management’ - aiming to give self-analysis, coping skills and particularly to acquaint and align students with stress models and encourage them to construct new stress models.

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Suggestible You

A fascinating perspective on how it might work is offered by Erik Vance in his absolutely essential, “Suggestible You - The Curious Science Of Your Brain’s Ability To Deceive, Transform, And Heal.” Mr. Vance was brought up in a Christian Science community. As far as I understand it, Christian Science practitioners use faith alone to heal; no doctors, no Xanax, no exceptions. Right.

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Penelope’s Story

This story began forty-five years ago, but to tell it, we need to begin at a more recent point in time in September 2020 when I attended the San Antonio, Mostly Agnostics, A.A., Zoom meeting. I have become a regular attendee because the San Antonians provides an atheist friendly space for the alcoholic.

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A Journal of the Plague Year

I take the title of this essay from the 1722 English work of Daniel Defoe which is a fictionalized account of the last great Bubonic Plague outbreak in London of 1665. I am writing this piece in September of 2020 when the entire world is in the midst of its own “Great Plague” caused by the COVID 19 pandemic and many of us older people, as well as some younger folks, find ourselves under dire threat.

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Why Did Sam Harris Stop Making Sense?

When astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson was asked why people who don’t know the answer to a question still claim they know the answer, he responded, “…It’s called ‘The Argument from Ignorance”…It’s a remarkable thing going on in the human brain. It’s, you don’t know what something is, therefore it’s something that you know it is.” 

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Sam Shoemaker

The basic principles which the Oxford Groupers had taught were ancient and universal ones, the common property of mankind… The early AA got its ideas of self-examination, acknowledgement of character defects, restitution for harm done, and working with others straight from the Oxford Groups and directly from Sam Shoemaker. (Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, p. 39)

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My Story Retold for the 32nd Time

It was 1981, and I was nineteen years old and in my sophomore year at the University of Kansas, where I was living in a fraternity house. I was responsible for stocking the fraternity’s beer machine, actually an old soda machine that I would load with bottles of Coors and Budweiser. It was fortunate for me, but not so much for my fraternity brothers, who trusted me with this task. I loved drinking beer, and with keys to the beer machine, I had a steady supply. I loved alcohol. I loved it too much, really, and I was beginning to pay the price. At that time, I paid for my drinking with poor grades, broken relationships, self-loathing, and fear. Such was the state of my life when one day I was browsing through the local newspaper, The Lawrence Journal-World, and I ran across an advertisement for Alcoholics Anonymous. “No,” I decided, “I can’t be an alcoholic.”

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