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(Some Blogger)   Last request of AA founder, dying of emphysema: A few shots of whiskey   ( ) divider line
    More: Interesting  
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27468 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 May 2004 at 4:08 AM (12 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2004-05-10 10:56:57 AM  
why not give it to him... the arguments for giving him the drink seem to be: he's going to die, so who is it going to hurt. It's the same argument as victimless crimes. Tough call...

But I do think it would hurt someone: maybe him and maybe his family. An alcoholic doesn't 'respond' to alcohol the same way as most people. One or two drinks and most people are fine. One or two drinks for an alcoholic and their not there anymore. And best of luck getting an alcoholic to stop at three. I would hate to be the person that gave him the drink and then had to hear him curse at his family because they wouldn't get him another drink.

/Devil's advocate...
2004-05-10 10:57:16 AM  
You people who say he made himself a public figure by not having his last drinks are dead wrong. The people who refused him are the ones who made him a public figure. He wanted a damn drink, and nobody had the right to refuse him. He had fought off the urge for 30 years, and for a measly three shots was all he asked. I would've bent over backwards to give that man what he wanted. My father was an alcoholic but has been sober for a few years. After reading this story, I'm going to make it a point to keep a bottle of Canadian Club (his choice) handy if he ever finds himself on his deathbed. In fact, if he's ever on his deathbed (and I hope that he goes some other way), I look forward to having the opportunity to give him a drink.
2004-05-10 10:58:06 AM  
I am currently struggling with a drinking problem. Drinking has become associated with just about everyone of my activities and there are and have been many drinkers in my family. I don't know if it is a disease, I have called it a disease only because that is the way it feels sometimes. I do know that alcohol has caused many unecessary problems in my life and has weakend the bonds between my family and friends. I am going home to get help and hopefully I can begin to lead a productive life. There are questions I need to answer, drinking has become my behavioral norm and it is in my family - whatever alcoholism is, doesn't seem to be as important as getting help. That applies to any problem.
2004-05-10 10:59:13 AM  

I assume by your post that you're a religious person, I was just wondering whether or not you think AA could help a "devout" atheist who could not accept or follow the 12 steps or if it could possibly help someone who was forced to attend meetings.

On a side note, there is a bar down the road that gives out drinks for AA chips. I find that hilariousm, in a sick way.
2004-05-10 11:04:30 AM  
This has been inspirational - Im going to get the donkey drunk.
2004-05-10 11:04:55 AM  
me in the night: I know how you feel. A friend of mine was cut off cold turkey from morphine after a heart attack. The strain of withdrawl killed him.

But in more enlightened locales, they do step you down and/or provide a substitute.
2004-05-10 11:20:10 AM  
WTF? I am surprised people on this board wouldn't give alchol to a dieing person who requested it, addict or not. Hell, if someone is dieing and asks for strippers, booze and a baseball hat full of olives I am going to do my damnest to get then whatever they want. Anyone who has watched as a friend or relative suffers and dies would agree with me on that, you do ANYTHING that will make that person more comfortable.
2004-05-10 11:24:01 AM  
As far as the story is concerned - Let the man have a drink.

I'm reminded of a friend in college that said he couldn't wait until he turned 70. That way he could begin his crack cocaine habit.
2004-05-10 11:28:43 AM  
2004-05-10 05:51:41 AM Tin Foil Hat

I know it's been a few hours since you said the thing about 'shrooms. A guy I know told me the other day that he felt 'shrooms were great because they helped him kick his cocaine addiction. We thought that was hilarious, (kinda like getting addicted to methadone or nicotine gum) but hearing you say that it makes me wonder if he really was full of it.
2004-05-10 11:28:45 AM  
Yellow Number Five:

Heck no! I'm not religious in any sense. I believe in God, the truth be told, but a person can do that without the trappings of religion. Religion IMHO is a man-made institution for the purposes of conformity and control.

As far as a person being a devout athiest and going to AA it depends on what higher power you are going to call on to help you. It might be peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for one person and Big Juju for another. Some claim the group that they go to meetings with is their higher power. I just know for sure that I asked God's help with my addiction, because I could not control myself any longer.

Being forced to go to AA is the wrong approach, IMHO; someone else is making you go. If you don't want to stop drinking that's cool; I don't think it's anyone else's concern unless you are driving drunk, not feeding your kids or hurting someone else. We have a guy in my group who has to go to meetings because of a court order and I would be the first one to tell you that although he might be getting a little out of these meetings he isn't doing this by choice and he will most likely drink again. Perhaps next time he drinks he'll be a bit wiser and not get a sixth DUI...

If you get serious enough about an addiction problem you will go to any length to get help; I did. AA helped me and I am thankful. If you don't have a problem that's great; I'm certainly envious because I enjoy drinking but know that I have no control after the first drink. So I'll just stay away from it one day at a time.

Now that I've been sober for a while I've lost 25 pounds, gotten back into good enough shape to consider training for triathlons again and will get that Black Belt I've been half-assed working for the last 12 years. Not to mention I'm no longer hungover all the time and my attitude has gotten better. I'm starting to enjoy myself again.

I'm not advertising anything here; I'm just sharing my experience. If I thought there was an easier way or some pill I could have taken my drinking problem would have gone away I would have done it. I'm just thankful I found something that helped.
2004-05-10 11:34:10 AM  
Poetic Justice I think, considering the hordes of self-righteous morally superior 12 Steppers this dude unleashed on the world.

AA is a CULT!

And a cult which enjoys the benefit of the courts sending them new "members". I got a DUI and had to go to their crazy little meetings. There were these people in there who had made AA their whole life and seemed to very much love the idea of leading people around by the nose with horseshiat poetry and tales of the stupid things they did while they were drunks. I used to say "My name is `kiss my ass' and I am not an alcoholic"

The folks who really get off on AA DO have serious problems, but they have simply replaced one addiction with another by getting hooked on the AA Cult.

You silly drunks who can't get through the day without a drink need to try a One Step Program: don't drink. Go masturbate, watch TV, do anything except inflict your stupid selves on others.

2004-05-10 11:34:45 AM  
God Damn, The man should have been given the alcohol. He fought his life against the monkey, and now that his life was over he embraced the monkey (anyone have a picture of a man embracing a money?) Anyway, my disgust was with the hospital for not honoring the mans last wishes.
2004-05-10 11:35:21 AM  
A friend was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. He was assured that this form of cancer was very aggressive and invariably fatal.

He chose to undergo some essentially useless chemotherapy with the hope of getting a few more days to spend with his wife and young children.

He was told smoking marijuana could ease some of the side effects of this so-called treatment and asked me to get some for him. I did, going so far as to demonstrate proper inhalation technique.

He had smoked cigarettes when younger but quit years before. He took to smoking a few, mostly at night while alone and pondering the fate of his young family.

He had stopped drinking when his first child was born but now he would go so far as to have a few cold beers or a shot or two while he and I discussed his fears and concerns about the future.

His wife and mother laid into me for encouraging him to give himself whatever he wanted or needed. They were in denial of the gravity of the situation, maintaining the fantasy of a recovery.

I figure dying is a miserable enough experience without having others decide what you can and cannot do. Have a cigarette, smoke a joint, get drunk, whatever. It's your death to manage as you see fit. To deny a man a harmless request in a situation like that is shameful.

Ron was given six months to live and that's what he got, to the day. I encouraged and assisted him in his ordeal and am thankful to have been able to be there for him.
2004-05-10 11:38:32 AM  
2004-05-10 11:34:10 AM majorhopper

Gosh, how could anyone argue with such a well-conceived position?
2004-05-10 11:47:18 AM  

That's cool, I'm glad you found something that works for you. You're right that the guy in your group with 5 DUIs isn't getting anything out of it. It took only one to scare the shiat out of me, but then again I like my freedom and driver's license. In DE they send drunk drivers and underagers to bullshiat treatment programs, part of which includes mandatory AA meetings. The councilors didn't seem to understand me when I told them that the program was worthless to anyone who didn't have the desire to change thier behavior.
2004-05-10 11:50:51 AM  
I knew a smoker once who was in the hospital for an unrelated illness. He really wanted a cigarette, but the hospital wouldn't allow smoking. However, the did allow him to make tobacco tea so he used that to get his fix. I don't see much of a difference between tobacco tea and a shot of whiskey. I say, give him the shots. I'm suprised that one of his friends and/or relatives didn't hook him up. I know I would.

I also think that if somebody on death row wants a 6-pack of tall boys with his/her last meal then the state should give it to him.
2004-05-10 11:52:12 AM  
This was handled wrong; Come now. Dying man, Mister AA-Holier-Than-Thou, with days to live, asks for three shots.

You don't tell him "no" and write it in your notes for some biographer to find. You line up three shots and leave with your mouth shut and pencil down.

It's his demon to deal with, not yours. If he wants to drink em, fine. If he wants to contemplate them, probably even better for him considering how he led the last three decades of his life. Mabye he wanted to face the demon that had been his driving force for thirty years one last time and get some perspective. It's not anyones place to judge someone else, especially on their death-bed.
2004-05-10 11:55:29 AM  
rye = wry.

Pretty funny.
2004-05-10 11:56:00 AM  
"emphysema's last request" ?
Is that like Montezuma's Revenge?
2004-05-10 11:57:07 AM  

My dad died of cancer; he smoked for some 50 years and it was sad indeed to look upon a once-strapping man reduced to a skeleton of his former self. He was a hell of a guy!

The last time we ever talked to each other we shared some cigarettes together, over the objections of the rest of my family. Being a recovering alchoholic he told me to stop drinking; words I finally took to heart years later. But since he was dying anyways and there wasn't a damn thing anyone could do for him I figured that he should enjoy his last days as he saw fit. So I wheeled him outside the hospital and we talked and shared a few smokes. I count that as one of the fondest memories I have.

After we were done we said goodbye to each other, because we knew that was the last time we'd ever be together. Two men, father and son, saying their goodbyes to each other. I didn't look back as I walked out of the hospital, got into my car and commenced driving back home to my family halfway across the country.

He died two days later.

While everyone in my family was biatching to the doctors about his smoking forays outside of the hospital and the impending malpractice suits my dad went to sleep and never woke up. The saddest part about it was that they didn't enjoy the time they had with him and instead tried selfishly to put off the inevitable.

I would have given Bill those drinks if he'd asked me. Just like I gave my father a pack of smokes to enjoy in the last moments of his life. Who is of the authority to deny a man their last wish?
2004-05-10 12:04:29 PM  
ON the subject of dying wishes --

"I have no intention of uttering my last words on the stage... No thank you. Room service and a couple of depraved young women will do me quite nicely for an exit"

--Peter O'Toole
2004-05-10 12:09:16 PM  
X-drunk, no alcohol for 10 years, 9 months, 22 days, but who's counting?

I did AA for about a year and a half. Something I'd say to the zealots who'd insist that I absolutely HAD to get a sponsor, work the steps, etc: "The only qualification for membership is a desire to stop drinking."

AA was absolutely invaluable for me, the first year or so. Wouldn't have made it without it. The idea of self-examination, making amends, beautiful. Very healing. I still recommend it highly for people who genuinely want to quit.

After that, though, it seemed like kind of a circle-jerk with lots of "soberer-than-thou" people who replaced an alcohol addiction with an AA addiction. People like my ex-wife, who still goes 6-7 times a week. No thanks, I'd rather have a life than obsess over a past that I can't change. You can't unscramble an egg!

And AA IS a religious program. It sprang from the Buchmanite church that Dr. Bob and Bill were associated with, which gave them the framework for the 12 Steps. Saying it's NOT a religious program is intellectually dishonest.

My opinion: Alcoholism is a symptom, not a disease. There were a number of things that caused me to drink, and once I dealt with these underlying problems, the desire to drink just wasn't here for me anymore. I was lucky in that respect, I guess.

Interesting that Bill W. died of emphesema, but that's okay, right? Smoke all you want, even to the extent it kills you, as long as you don't drink!
2004-05-10 12:09:30 PM  
"Gosh, how could anyone argue with such a well-conceived position?"

Yeah, it sparks my ass. People have no sense of self-responsibility so we end up with groups like AA. The courts now mandate that you attend these meetings for any number of offenses. It is a religion - If you believe in a higher power then yourself, then you are religious.

I also think they do a great disservice by making the "problem" seem so big, which convinces weaker minds that there is little hope of beating the grape alone, without the help of the cultist pontificators.

Screw AA
2004-05-10 12:13:26 PM  
[image from too old to be available]

Just take it one day at a time and know that I love you.
2004-05-10 12:17:11 PM  
"emphysema's"? Wow. That headline was written horribly.
2004-05-10 12:18:05 PM  
When I am on my deathbed I am asking for anal sex from the nearest hot female nurse.

Couldn't hurt to try? Well, it wont hurt me anyways.
2004-05-10 12:19:36 PM  
If I ask for Heroin on my deathbed, I'd better get it pronto.
2004-05-10 12:21:51 PM  
Here in the UK, alcoholism is treated pretty much as a mental illness. Two weeks in a mental hospital to detox, then turfed out to fend for yourself - possibly with some contact with a (seriously over-worked and under-paid) community psychiatric nurse. This was my experience, anyway. I first detoxed when I was 22, and not surprisingly relapsed almost immediately. However, after my second detox, when I was 24, I was prescribed
this and I stayed sober for 6 months. But quitting drinking in your twenties is tough, so the best solution I've found is controlled drinking, with the support of a really good therapist. I still drink too much, but I have enough control now to get myself out of the pub and home if I think I might go off on one.

Back on topic, I think they should have given the guy his booze. Kudos to him for staying sober for 30 years, why not give him a little reward at the end of his days?
2004-05-10 12:22:26 PM  
alright you fools.
AA is generally religious. thats the fact jack. take it or leave it.

i got arrested for underage drinking and had to attend a bunch of AA sessions (which really is terrible in itself, what alcoholic wants a bunch of teenage kids who are gonna go get drunk that nite attending his AA meetings? its supposed to be anonymous after all..), and i went to a variety of different sessions, all of them held at churches.
They were very religious. very.


that seems like preying on the weak to me. and that makes baby jebus cry.
2004-05-10 12:24:18 PM  
Great story. Too bad you could not have stayed a little longer.

You wrote about what seems to me to be a very common theme. At least it is common among the people I have known that get addicted to one thing or another. There always seems to be loved-ones or relatives who help themselves by imposing seriously selfish demands. The addiction seems to be his/her escape. It almost seems that they know they are being self-destructive and do so, in part, for that reason.
2004-05-10 12:27:43 PM  

What would you expect from a guy named, heh heh, Peter O'Toole?
2004-05-10 12:28:14 PM  
Okay, this may be obvious but...

It's not like the guy asked for a cigarette.

The guy had like hours left on earth. If he wants to snort Powdered Courage off the ass of a nubile young Mexican whore, let him. It's not like one drink is gonna kill him. And, if it did, then he gets some relief.

/this kinda crap pisses me off.
2004-05-10 12:29:10 PM  

That's something I've noticed myself. There is definitely the "Soberer-Than-Thou" portion of the particular group I attend that I don't see eye to eye with. This would be the religious aspect that people rail against.

While going to AA has definitely been a help my goal is to deal with my shortcomings in such a way to where I can be sober on my own without having to go to meetings. Of course I'll still ask God's help to deal with things in my life but I'll do it on my own terms, not on anyone else's.

There's nothing wrong with using training wheels; I'm certainly doing it now. Someday however I'll take the training wheels off so that way I can really be free...
2004-05-10 12:31:36 PM  
As far as AA being a cult.

It is.

That doesn't make it bad.
Do a little research on conversion techniques, brainwashing, or whatever they call it these days, then go to a few meetings.
That's what they do there.

Alcoholics go into treatment centers, AA meetings, halfway houses, etc. to be brainwashed.

Think about it--An alcoholic gets to the point where booze is the only answer: I'm happy: "Let's Party!". I'm nervous "A little drink will relax me." I'm frustrated: "Screw it; let's go get drunk." I'm scared "Time to forget my troubles". You get the idea.
Once a person's life is about drinking and nothing else, a casual discussion is not going to cause a change.

When a person says "I need a whole new way of dealing with everything." they're asking for someone else to tell them what to be.

That's a conversion. That's what most people in AA are there to get. (Yes, I know some are court-ordered. Go to a different meeting sponsor one of them.)

You see the same thing when someone is saved, converted, sees the light, gets born again--religions are very good at brainwashing people. (That's their job.)

Once a person has gotten what he needs, he doesn't need the cult anymore.

To continue the analogy--once a person has found G-d, he doesn't need religion anymore.

Some realize this and leave to live a happy sober life. (Say *that* in an AA meeting and see what happens--hee hee).

/18 years last Saturday
2004-05-10 12:32:38 PM  
I would rather be a constant drunk than be a programmed mindless religious fanatic that AA requires of it's sheep.
I despise religion and it's weak followers despite how it's disguised. If you are too weak to limit your drinking then why replace one weakness with another?

/A drunk and very happy atheist
2004-05-10 12:41:29 PM  
"they say that alcoholics are always alcoholics, even when they're dry as my lips for years, even when stranded on a small desert island with no place in 3000 miles to buy beer, and i wonder is he differnt, is he different, has he changed what he's about, or is he just a lier... with nothing to lie about"

not a big fan of lesbian folk but thats a damn good ani line

i'd have given him the shots... but i can't stand people hating me... especially not for the rest of there lives.
2004-05-10 12:42:33 PM  
Dukefluke - I know you probably won't see this since I'm late to chime in, but -- that was maybe the most awesome thing I've ever read on Fark.
2004-05-10 12:44:46 PM  
oh, and as for AA, ya its kinda cult like... but thats the idea. You trade a hurtful compulsion for a helpful one... at least thats the idea, i never though it was that good a trade off, and the heavy religious overtones further make me stay away.

I just gave up burbon for single malt scotch... which i can't afford to drink in dangeous amounts
2004-05-10 12:46:54 PM  
HoChi: Ah, Ani. A favorite. "They say goldfish have no memory, I guess their lives are just like mine...and the little plastic castle is a surprise everytime."

bObbO: Training wheels is a good analogy. Some never take 'em off, they're so afraid of falling over.

Karlandtanya: "Some realize this and leave to live a happy sober life. (Say *that* in an AA meeting and see what happens--hee hee)." Maybe that's why I've never been invited to speak at one of their conferences!
2004-05-10 12:51:21 PM  
Dang, tough call. On the one hand, his reasons for taking alcohol are probably reasons I wouldn't condone; to avoid facing and accepting the reality of his situation, and to drown out his painful emotions. I'd probably need to be face to face with him to get a sense of where he was coming from about that; because it's possible, but doubtful, that he just wanted to drink it for the taste or liked the buzz for its own sake, not as an escape.

But, on the other hand, it seems really patronizing not to give it to him. I think I'd probably give him the alcohol, but I think I'd have to actually be in that situation myself to know for sure.
2004-05-10 12:52:40 PM  
Actually to those who are forced to go to AA by courts: Most people in AA do not want you there. You are not there because you want to be. People in AA help those who ask for help, they do not try to help those who do not want it. The courts are to blame, not AA.

As far as AA being a cult? No they are not. If you do not want to be there, they encourage you to leave. If you think you can drink responsibly, they let you go drink,a nd many times encourage it. I have never seen anybody tackled leaving an AA meeting.

While some people in AA may be religious, AA is not. The only thing you need to know about God in AA is that you are not him. Other than that, you are on your own. If you find an AA meeting where they encourage you towards religion, leave and find another one.

Some people need 6 meetings a week to stay sober. Some people need six meetings a year. You take what you need and don't worry about the rest.

I have met whckos in AA, sure. But for the most part they were sober whackos. I have also met some of the most well repsected people I know, including well known television producers, Vice Presidents of major banks, elected officials, and celebrities. I have also met a homeless thief. If you really want an idea of what AA is like, go hang out is various meetings. Go to some downtown and go to some in church basements in the suburbs. No two are alike. One piece of advice however: Don't spill your coffee. SOmebody will assume you are a newcomer and come over to ask if they can help you.
2004-05-10 12:54:18 PM  
Religion IMHO is a man-made institution for the purposes of conformity and control.

That sounds a lot like these meetings I used to go to.
2004-05-10 12:55:04 PM  
Anyone familiar with "SOS" = Secular Organization for Sobriety? I wonder if that's an avenue for those who find AA oppressively religious.

A chapter of it meets at a community center near me--just never found out much else about it.
2004-05-10 12:58:01 PM  
On my 33rd birthday I drank 33 Rolling Rocks. One case and 3/4 of a twelve pack. Did this in twenty four hours. When my mission was complete, I left the other three in the fridge and went to sleep. See, I don't have a drinking problem...

/true story
2004-05-10 12:58:02 PM  
Having been sober for nearly 18 years now I can only say, if he wanted a drink give him one. I take no stand on recovery other than whatever works for you do it. I have no need to convince anyone of anything, I know what works for me, and I do it. I would counsell anyone with this problem to look at A.A., or any other means to help themselves out of what for me was a living hell from age 13. Oh yeah, no coke for almost 23 years, it's a helluva drug ain't it.
2004-05-10 01:00:15 PM  
The same day I read two books I bought just for the drink-a-thon:

"Drinking, A Love Story" by Caroline Knapp. Not a good read ... preachy, self-involved.

"A Drinkers Life" - Pete Hamill. Great book. Fun read for anyone. Doesn't preach. He just decided to quit "because I'm not good at it". Read this book.
2004-05-10 01:01:42 PM  

SOS and Rational Recovery (RR) are two well known and well respected organizations - they do work for some people, especially those who are turned off by AA. They teach self reliance rather than powerlessness and faith(as AA does). The only problem is that they are spread kind of thin, and sometimes you cannot find a local chapter. They do however host on-line chat rooms regularly.
2004-05-10 01:02:05 PM  
Sober since '88.
life before AA (and other 12 step) = wanted to die
life after AA = much more palatable
not a big book banger; not religious for me, in the way that i know religion. i don't go to very many meetings these days, but i apply the principals to my life and it still works. i knew a few of the big book bangers and AA nazis. most went back into the world of drunkenness and if they came back, they came back with a greater understanding of the program; that it is a lifestyle, not a religion to preach.

occasionally i want to go get blasted, but when i think of the consequences i choose otherwise. alcoholism and other addictions, and recovery from them, are not a black and white thing. AA did not "cure" me of all my problems, but it helped me bunches. as far as booze on Bill's deathbed? whatever. not up to me. as far as booze on my deathbed? i don't know. i have not experienced that yet. i think the hospitals have far better drugs for pain. generally booze does not really taste good, so i think i would rather have some thai food on my deathbed.
2004-05-10 01:03:12 PM  
gttim :
"Actually to those who are forced to go to AA by courts: Most people in AA do not want you there. You are not there because you want to be. People in AA help those who ask for help, they do not try to help those who do not want it. The courts are to blame, not AA.

As far as AA being a cult? No they are not. If you do not want to be there, they encourage you to leave. If you think you can drink responsibly, they let you go drink,a nd many times encourage it. I have never seen anybody tackled leaving an AA meeting."

So if you don't want to be there, you leave? And what do you tell the judge who ordered you to go sit through all of these pathetic stories about how people can't keep from drinking?

You say that AA is not religous, you lie. I am not even going to give you the benefit of the doubt there, you seem too intelligent to actually believe that. The first step is the one that calls for you to believe in a power higher than yourself, not the tenth or the eleventh, but the first. There is a reason for that, it lays the groundwork for all of the cultlike ritualistic crap that follows. The act of saying that stupid mantra is right out of Jim Jones' playbook.

Face it, the reason you don't want court-ordered attendees in your meetings is that you know that they knwo how stupid and pathetic you are. Those who need AA are losers who can't control what container they put to their lips. Stupid cultist self-pitiers who get together and wallow in their martydom.

And to anyone who is court ordered to go to this nonsense, pay someone to go for you, it's not like they ID you after all. Or if you do go yourself, talk about nothing but how good an ice-cold beer tastes just to watch the morons squirm.
2004-05-10 01:04:27 PM  
If you abstain your soul is in constant torment. People go sober because of the shiat that happens when they are drunk. Not much harm would occur on the deathbed.
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