I don’t know about you, but if drinking panther piss was among the conditions for me to get felony drug charges dropped, I would slam it down without batting an eyelash. I would also eat bugs, dance naked, sleep with Roseanne Barr, sky dive or walk on glass – if that happens to be what it takes to stay out of the slammer. Threatening a person with prison time is a sure fire way to get them to do just about anything. Alcoholics Anonymous has a policy of “attraction, not promotion”, and one way of attracting new members is to offer up a single, unpalatable alternative: prison. This is what the good folks in Fremont, Nebraska are doing. It is part of their court’s new drug program:

“Participants in the drug court program must attend three Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings a week, maintain a sponsor and work at least 25 hours a week or perform community service, among other requirements….”

Of course AA is cooperating with court by signing attendance cards, force feeding meetings and dogma down the throats of these court ordered participants, and assigning a one-on-one sponsor, who no doubt offer up an even worse alternative than prison if a person decides to leave AA once their mandate is fulfilled: death. Make someone a captive – any dogma – and there is a great chance they will swallow whatever dogma is put in from of them, eventually believing whatever they were told. After all, this is the same technique that convinced Patricia Hearst to rob a bank.

Of course, this belief in the dogma won’t help these addicts get off of the sauce, and what we’ll have left are addicts and alkies who believed they failed the program because of their lack of character, or because they didn’t fully work the program, or some of the many other ridiculous AA excuses which point the finger of shame directly toward the individual. If these guys believe meth addiction is hell, wait until they tack on the mental mind fuck of a few months inside of a 12-step program.

As the years progress, a small minority of graduates of this program will go on to sober up, and will be held up as a shining example of what this court ordered 12-step program can do to a person who “truly follows the path”. The chances are good there will be a follow-up puff piece focusing on one of these individuals who recovered from the brink of death, and the ninety-percent plus who fail at sobriety are ignored – all with the cooperation of the local AA group who have convinced themselves that none of this is promotion.