Column insulted self-help programs

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In his July 27th scribbling, in my view, Bob Wakeham insulted members of self-help programs.

After egotistically assuming readers missed him from the week before, he launched into what he called “my own personal drinking song,” a line of which contained the f-word.

Typical of a vendor of words who knows no bounds when it comes to crassness.

He was saluting readers whom he boldly suggested were driven to their favourite watering hole (tavern) to “drown their sorrows” in his absence.

He then launched into another two paragraphs that can only be viewed by anyone with a grain of sense as a baseless insult to members of self-help groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), for example, and others.

He wrote: “But, I hope my non-appearance last Saturday did not prompt serious withdrawal, and did not spawn still another of those 12-step programs, one of those self-help dogmas that kept cropping up everywhere for a generation that apparently feels that sitting in a church basement drinking coffee out of a Styrofoam cup for an hour can immediately solve everything from acne pimples to addiction to Jiggs’ dinner.”

That, in my estimation, is a shameful insult to credible and successful programs such as AA, Narcotics Anonymous and Eaters Anonymous, to name a few.

A seasoned journalist, Wakeham knows without a doubt that the AA program, for one, is “the most successful and revered program of self-help in the world.”

It’s been around since 1935 and has sobered up millions of problem drinkers and is still doing that as I write.

Wakeham also knows, without a doubt, that AA began with two men in desperate need (Dr.Bob and Bill W, a stockbroker). And they started out in a dingy church basement where coffee most likely was drunk from Styrofoam cups.

Wakeham is shrewd enough to know that this kind of subtle sarcasm is wrong and obvious.

Making flippant remarks about what he calls “self-help dogmas,” meetings in church basements, and about coffee drunk from Styrofoam cups and about piety is doing nothing but hurting his credibility and hurting people who are suffering from personal and debilitating emotional conflicts due to vices with a firm hold on them — alcohol and drugs the most common. Most likely some of them are his readers.

 I suggest that if Wakeham finds his old damons are again knocking at his door and he needs help, he will be damned glad to drag his frame to a nearby church basement where coffee is passed around in Styrofoam cups seven days a week, 365 days a year.

And where men and women powerless over alcohol or drugs are being helped, and are helping one another.

I suggest, too, as he is well aware, that there he will feel no animosity or sarcasm or ignorance such as he is guilty of in his July 27 column.

There will be just one proviso — that he must be a team player, and remain anonymous.

A large order for a man with a large ego and a columnist who at times has only tunnel vision and no fear.

Bill Westcott

Clarke’s Beach

Organizations: Alcoholics Anonymous

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  • Cashin Delaney
    August 03, 2013 - 00:33

    Shame on his scribbles, insults and sarcasm, inplied profanity, crassness and ego, sarcastic animosity, baseless ignorance and fear. Shame Shame Shame Get powerless Bob Wakeham, come touch rock-bottom, wallow in shame in the basement. Be ashamed. Bill said, "The subjects for a movement inventory are legion. The important thing is that the process has begun. I hope that every considerable gathering of A.A.'s will give thought to sessions on taking inventory of A.A. and to inviting critics, even hostile ones, to participate because you sometimes find that people animated by what may appear to be the worst possible motives speak truth in large portions." Sobriety in itself is not a way of life. It is simply the absence of intoxication. It is what one does with his sobriety and his life that is important. There is not a flaw in AA, only in our society the anonymous are called trolls and once "liquor triage" is administered, the survivors are nursed into perpetuity.

  • George
    August 02, 2013 - 18:22

    I usually don't agree with Bob Wakeham but I think he is right on here. Why do they call them self-help programs if you have to meet in large groups and consume endless cups of caffeine? The trouble is with most of these so called addictions, they are not addictions at all, just bad habits. Once you tell someone they are addicted then they have a reason to continue with that behaviour..