Social networking for people in “recovery” — or the 2nd A in AA stands for what?

From an organizational standpoint, Alcoholics Anonymous has many admirable qualities. First, it doesn’t accept money from anyone but members of AA. Second it has a long and cherished tradition of anonymity.

The principle of anonymity is a basic tenet of our fellowship. Those who are reluctant to seek our help may overcome their fear if they are confident that their anonymity will be respected. In addition, and perhaps less understood, our tradition of anonymity acts as a restraint on our members, reminding us that we are a program of principles, not personalities, and that no individual A.A. member may presume to act as a spokesman or leader of our fellowship. If an A.A member is identified in the media, we ask that you please use first names only (e.g. Bob S. or Alice F.) and that you not use photographs or electronic images in which member’s faces may be recognized.

pillsThese two policies may have something to do with the fact that AA has survived so much longer than other groups which have tried to help alcoholics.

Sadly neither policy is in evidence at the Recovery Media Network’s new social networking site, 12StepSpace.com. There you are free to post a picture & profile of yourself and tell the world of your struggle to recover from alcoholism/gambling/overwork/internet addiction/stuffed animals/men& women who love too much, et al. Once you have added your profile sleep soundly in the knowledge that your effort is putting money in the pockets of the site’s owners & sponsors. The featured sponsor? A drug company hawking its drugs to help you overcome your dependence on drugs. That’s some catch that Catch-22. While it is disgusting, it isn’t novel: Another drug company already started a MySpace page under the guise of helping others.

Mashable pretty much nails everything that’s wrong with this attempt.

While 12stepSpace celebrates things like a user’s Recovery Birthday, and offers a buddy to chat with if you need someone to talk to on an immediate basis, there’s no distinct emphasis on recovery or the 12 step process. Having a dedicated section for online and offline resources, as well as inspirational stories or a physician or clinic finder (that’s not an advertiser) would make the community feel more like a place for sharing stories and finding help, and less like a MySpace clone.

Yeah, but that suggests there’s anything besides cynicism at work here.

(UPDATE: My apologies for attributing cynical motives to the organizers of 12StepSpace. It’s the drug company that’s cynical. Judging by their complaints I’d say the site’s organizers are just amazingly naive.)

Alabama cops limited to a mere two dozen free Krispy Kreme donuts

The Mobile Press-Register reports that a local Krispy Kreme posted a memo on Mardi Gras with the following: “Uniformed personnel are given 2 dozen glazed doughnuts and coffee or a fountain drink free of charge.” Should that not be enough additional doughnuts were available at a reduced rate, and discounts were also given to uniformed military personnel.

While it was a very sweet (ouch) gesture on the part of the local Krispy, isn’t that a little akin to offering free drinks at an AA meeting?

(Kudos to reporter Dan Murtaugh for a brilliant lede: “How many free doughnuts could a policeman eat if a policeman could eat free doughnuts?”)

Over in the comments section, TotalTransformation suggests that this is part of a brilliant plan to aid criminals by making sure the police stay out of shape. I disagree as these were probably Kripy’s new “100% whole wheat doughnut — with only 180 calories.” Not only are these healthier but the mere thought of a whole wheat donut makes me think they would have to give them away.

Fastest growing UK demographic: Women alcoholics

Women drinking at home make up the biggest growth opportunity in the UK’s alcoholic beverages market, according to the latest Datamonitor forecast.

This means a major new source of customers for both the distillers and AA. Speaking of AA, a new study has scientifically proved the efficacy of their method of recovering from the effects of alcoholism:

In a study of more than 125,000 people, one cup of coffee per day cut the risk of alcoholic cirrhosis by 20 percent. Four cups per day reduced the risk by 80 percent. The coffee effect held true for women and men of various ethnic backgrounds.

Researchers offered no indication on whether the quality of the coffee effected the recovery. (A friend told me once that there is no such thing as coffee that is too bad for a member of AA to drink. I’ll take his word for it.)

Ironically being an actual tea-totaller doesn’t help.

The researchers found no reduced risk of cirrhosis for tea drinkers.

Which would, of course, be bad news for AA in the UK.