Further Reading

Why isn't Audrey responsible for her behavior?

Stanton,

I have a quick, basic question about the Kishline stuff. Why did no one blame her for her behavior? For some reason, she CHOSE to drink and then later, she CHOSE to get behind the wheel. I've been through an AA/NA based addiction treatment program and attended NA for about a year and a half before I realized, on my own (though I later read your book and many other books and studies on addiction), that the group was doing more to harm my self-esteem than to help it. I did manage to abstain for a while, but what good did that do, considering I had never really looked at the reasons for my behavior? Basically, what I am trying to say is that I have been there. There are things I did while under the influence of drugs or alcohol that I wish I could take back or blame on something other than myself, such as a "disease," but I know that I did those things. I am responsible for my own behavior. It frustrates me to see people pointing fingers and blaming everything and everyone but the person who is really responsible. I know it is probably a question that can not be completely answered, but why do we refuse to hold people responsible for their behavior?

David


Dear David:

MM says absolutely no driving while drinking: "MM has a zero tolerance policy towards drinking and driving." It sets limits: the first limit is "Never drive while impaired by the effects of alcohol." So, obviously, Audrey endorsed an approach that held people responsible for (a) not drinking and driving, (b) not driving while drunk. Yet she entered a car, talked on a cell phone, and had a liquor bottle next to her in the car. AA tends to use terms like "blackout" as an explanation for this kind of behavior. But both sides want to protect her — for AA people, she's a victim, MMers want to protect her as the founder of MM. Unfortunately, people have a hard time calling a spade a spade — Audrey Kishline, a woman long experienced with the effects of alcohol and the need to avoid letting alcohol control one's actions, particularly in relation to an automobile, killed two people. If we tell the story long enough, we take the sting from it — like watching a videotape of cops kicking the shit out of someone long enough somehow seems to desensitize us to what is actually taking place.

Stanton