Dotty’s minor is in breathing
Too bad she’s not prepared to major in drinking.
Pfffh, light weight (chugs apple juice)
So Billie is into Firewhisky.
The Doctor totally called it.
You think Dorothy’s a lightweight, try Daniel the Human! Can’t even hang around alcohol FUMES without his head spinning! Wine is the worst tho, bongo-slaps him right into next week… XD
I can’t stand being near alcohol either – although it’s actually because the smell makes me feel ill.
We did a chemistry experiment at school once, to make ethanol; the stuff was over 95% ethanol by volume. One boy took a strong sniff from his test tube, he was still drunk by the time we went home (and spent most of the day sleeping it off in the nurse’s office! xD)
Okay, so Dorothy’s never had a drink before.
She drank at the party, but that was just some booze in her drink. Presumably, this is straight-up liquor.
She literally has before in comic. Billie supplied it then too. This stuff is likely just stronger.
At the room party? Wasn’t that diluted in soda?
Stronger, and probably a whole lot cheaper.
Another reason not to casually drink with an alcoholic – the alcohol they need to get drunk will be SIGNIFICANTLY stronger than you’re used to.
A mixed drink, like a spiked soda, is much, much gentler and tastier than cheap whiskey straight from the bottle (or whatever this particular liquor is).
At the party, Billy pulled out the FANCY stuff. In the murder cave anything goes.
She did, Joyce had a party in her some time ago and most of the guests got tipsy, including Dorothy, thanks to one of Billie’s drinks.
She can drink. Her family was in Paris last year. She had some wine.
Now she can add “industry grade solvent” to the list.
Y’know, having half a glass counts as “having some wine”.
Come on, Billie, at least she’s trying
I honestly think she is a bit impressed in the last panel.
I mean. She’s reacting about the same way I did when I first drank vodka, but I was like eight, sooo…
She’s been impressed since Dorothy offered. I even wonder if the idea of seeing Dorothy drink broke through the depression a bit. She knew it would be funny.
I really think so. Dorothy stepping so far out of her comfort zone is a powerful signal that is not lost on Billie.
Awww, she has slipped into therapist mode again. Cute Dorothy is cute. And this interaction is so important.
So, I take it she didn’t drink paint thinner when her parents took her to France. I love how Billie doesn’t even break stride (or neglect to retrieve the bottle) when Dorothy’s nostrils start melting.
Poor Billie. She really loved her Ruth. The good people of Clark have called Ruth many things, but Nice is not one of them, other than in the context of “It would be nice if I could keep my femurs.”
“Do… do you have any more?”
Oh no! She’s already become an alcoholic! Send for help.
The alcohol version of brainfreeze?
not ready for this level of alcohol consumption Dotty. Go back to bronze.
She was drunk before, though probably not on something as strong as what Billie has in her bottle.
Aw, poor Billie, describing Ruth in past tense.
Or, to put a more positive spin on it, describing their relationship in the past tense.
OK, so I obviously suck at positive spin.
Yeah, it hasn’t quite solidified for me til now that Ruth getting help may end their relationship. (At the very least, the sexy lesbian suicide pact aspect of it, which was predicated on them both being toxic, and which was kind of the whole relationship.) I sorta imagined that Ruth would return to Billie, but depressed-Billie seems to think she doesn’t deserve a nontoxic person.
Which is why, among all the other reasons, Billie needs to be in therapy as well.
Yeah, that was the vibe I was getting from Billie’s reactions to Ruth getting help and slowly improving.
I think she still fully believes that she is poison and that if Ruth gets out of toxicity, then Billie will burn and break her and shouldn’t touch her, because her touch will just ruin the good thing Ruth seems to be getting on.
But who is the antidote for Billie?
Makes it extra admirable of Billie, too, that despite her grief, she carefully showed nothing but support for Ruth’s improvement.
How strong is that alcohol? Maybe she should stick to lighter stuff for now.
Which would requires going out and buy it, looks like.
poll: is this whiskey, rum, vodka or brandy?
All of the above.
With some Everclear besides.
Vodka doesn’t usually come in that sort of bottle. I’m leaning whiskey.
Bourbon!…or nondescript xxx brand…..or straight up moonshine!….or just a bottle filled with listerine, the brown flavorless one.
I seem to recall Billie buying whiskey in the past, and drinking it on multiple occasions, while her bottles have generally been consistent with it.
Rum is good, though.
Ah, cheap college liquor. Basically paint thinner in a fancy bottle
Paint thinner usually comes in fancier bottles than bottom shelf booze.
Panel 5 is some relatable stuff.
And Dotty in 6 while I’m at it.
I’m kind of concerned that Billie’s talking about Ruth in the past tense.
*Plays “I Had Too Much To Think Last Night” on the hacked Muzak *
I have since learnt that the actual title is “I Had Too Much To DREAM (Last Night)”. My apologies.
Dreams are thoughts, no?
But I always thought it was, “I had too much to DRINK (last night), until you prompted me o look it up.
Beards of a feather, wasn’t that the appeal ?
…Beards of a feather? Friend, Joyce and Ethan split up ages ago
Her sinuses on fire
We don’t need no water just throw on more booze!!
Don’t throw more alcohol on the fire. Stuff’s flammable yo.
It’s a parody-esque reference to a song. The actual words being:
The roof is on fire
We don’t need no water let the motherfucker burn
You know your relationship is complicated when you can’t compliment your girlfriend without rolling your eyes.
…or that you’re just not comfortable being all mushy
Now I’m wondering what kind of booze did Billie pulled out of hammerspace. Must be pretty strong stuff.
Hammerspace reverses time, so this is retroactively unaged booze straight from the still.
Sounds like something bought in a back ally in Questionable Content.
Midnight Hobo: http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=93
Wow, was Midnight Hobo really that long ago? 93. That was back when QC looked like it was drawn by an entirely different artist.
“They” always replace webcomic artists with shapeshifting duplicates if they get too successful.
You noticed that too?
The kind that gets you hammered.
They are getting hammered.
From now on, Dorothy needs to pour a little in a drink to dilute it or hold her nose and swallow one swallow fast like medicine (without going overboard). Billy needs to detox ASAP and will either have to avoid it a long time or never drink again depending on how it goes. But I can approve this now just to get Billy to open up and release some of those emotions so she will be in a better head space so she can handle detoxing.
I am guessing this cheap alcohol and an american equivalent of “Viva Villa” and generously “Tonayan” (a tequila knockoff that cannot call itself tequila legally) girl you can afford better, love yourself a little more.
She can AFFORD better.
She doesn’t love herself enough for it.
She’s not drinking it for the flavor. She’s drinking it to get drunk.
Pfft. This isn’t enough to get Billie drunk. This is just enough for her to maintain. Dorothy won’t be sober until next week.
To paraphrase/slightly alter an exchange from Cerberus (the comic, before it all went completely insane in the bad way):
“You don’t expect me to go to a party sober, do you?”
“You haven’t been sober for years!”
Wow, um, the lighting in the murder cave through me off, so I kinda assumed it was night, but it is still morning, right? On a Tuesday? And not-school-misser Keener is drinking Jet Fuel in the dorms instead of going to class.
She doesn’t half-ass not being perfect, does she?
Serious respect to Dorothy. She KNOWS what she is doing. She does it anyway, because she sees the chance to help Billie.
*threw me off
I love Dotty, I think what she is doing here is all awesome, I recognise it as something very serious, very dangerous and a huge moment of personal development for her. She deserves my respect and my support.
So I’m a terrible person for looking forward to a hung over Dorothy freaking out about missed classes.
She couldn’t be drinking jet fuel, silly. It’s melting her sinuses, and we all know how that works.
Jet fuel can’t melt Dot Keens.
Dude, that’s a stretch, and you know it.
Do we know that Dorothy has classes Tuesday mornings? Looking at the wiki class schedule, I don’t see anything known on Tuesdays for Dorothy (though that may be because it hasn’t come up)
I don’t think she has classes on Tuesdays, but she mentioned in a comic that that’s because she has a million and a half volunteering duties on Tuesdays and Thursdays instead, so she either happened to have a free day today or is blowing off some of them because being there for Billie feels more important.
And this happens occasionally. She took off a whole volunteering and extracurricular day before in support of Joyce after her near-assault.
Let’s look at Dorothy’s Tuesday appearances!
http://www.dumbingofage.com/2010/comic/book-1/03-men-are-from-beck-women-are-from-clark/divert/ Here she is on a Tuesday morning going somewhere with books in hand. Could be a class, or could be off to the library to study or work on a project
http://www.dumbingofage.com/2013/comic/book-3/02-guess-whos-coming-to-galassos/warming/ Tuesday afternoon/evening; she’s heading out to meet Walky, Joyce, and Ethan (and Dina) at Galasso’s after writing some e-mails. Not particularly useful, nor are other appearances this day.
http://www.dumbingofage.com/2014/comic/book-4/03-up-all-night-to-get-vengeance/shoop/ and the following two strips. Brushing her teeth Tuesday morning, fairly bright & early. Presumably getting ready to head out for the day. To do what? Class? Could be a class, could be some other Tuesday routine.
http://www.dumbingofage.com/2014/comic/book-4/03-up-all-night-to-get-vengeance/kitchen/ Same day later in the afternoon, she specifically points out that she doesn’t have Tuesday classes (though that MIGHT only refer to a lack of Tuesday afternoon classes) and she tries to do volunteer work Tuesdays or Thursdays instead. (well that might be a little bit on-the-nose…)
http://www.dumbingofage.com/2014/comic/book-4/03-up-all-night-to-get-vengeance/scurry/ Her volunteer work goes long enough that it’s dark by the time she gets back.
Aaaand that’s the last Tuesday we have before today.
That’s a darn impressive compilation.
Dorothy would be proud.
I think in the first one she’s carrying towels – she’s coming out of the shower.
And in the third one, I don’t think she’s going to class – she looks like she’s still in her pyjamas, and brushing your teeth when you get up is just something you do.
I think we can believe for now she’s got no classes on Tuesdays and prefers to use them for volunteering/socializing/studying.
I double-checked that and I remain convinced that they’re books that she’s carrying. Note that the cover of the top of the two books is an entirely different color from the pages. Also that’s not the showers she’s exiting. It appears to be the elevator, actually. So actually I take back my original assessment: she is RETURNING from somewhere with books in hand, not going somewhere. Perhaps a 7am class? That could put her returning to the dorms at a time Walky might be just getting up for the day, and we know from Robin’s lock screen a couple strips ago that it’s currently 9:30 or so, so if she does have a single super-early class for the day she could already be back from it. Or it might not have been a class at all and she just took some books with her to breakfast or something.
Either way, my conclusion is that she is not skipping class currently, and she definitely doesn’t have afternoon classes to worry about.
Okay, yeah, looking again, you’re right. That is the elevator. I thought it was the girl’s shower, because it was right beside what I thought was the guy’s shower. So those probably are books then and now towels like I was thinking. So yeah, either a hideously early morning class or she took books to breakfast, the library, or something. I can see her doing her readings at breakfast or something like that. My bad!
But yeah, the important part is she does not have class right now (or possibly period on Tuesday).
Ooooh, they’re drinking peppermint extract, suspended in 98% pure alcohol! Just inhaling the fumes from it is guaranteed to clear your nasal passages, sinuses, and all other major cranial cavities!
…. yeah, okay, they’re probably drinking something else. But still.
Honestly doesn’t seem like a bad way to get alcohol for a minor.
Nah, Rumpleminz comes in a nicer bottle.
Basically the same effect though.
My taste in alcohol is, um, limiting. Chocolate stouts and sake-tinis.
“She fulfilled my oddly specific fetish for getting dominated by a redhead while also allowing me the space to dominate her back in a constant sexual power struggle based on bad decisions and codependency?”
See, Billie? That wasn’t hard to put in words at all.
Now that’s a perfect avatar/comment combo.
Snarky!Dorothy is THE BEST.
(Actually FudgingScientist!Becky is the best, but I think I’ll stick with this gravatar for a while)
Not sure the redhead part was necessary. Her last GF wasn’t a redhead.
Honestly does one even need sinuses really?
Panel One: Good start for Dorothy, asking about Ruth in a way that doesn’t put all the focus on her depression or suicide does. Asking about Billie’s feelings also will hopefully get her to open up some and help her get some things out.
Panel Two: Ahhh, describing things like that are hard. How do you even start with something like that? And it’s tricky to put into words when you do start. Billie’s not especially good at discussing her feelings unless they’re angry or self-berating ones. Plus, over in Slipshine, she DID give a short description of what Ruth meant to her, but Dorothy didn’t know it was about Ruth. So where do you expand on that? Poor Billie, this is a tricky spot.
Panel Three: Dorothy continues to do a good! Don’t push her, and let Billie steer the conversation.
Panel Four: And yeah, Billie is lost on how to start here. It’s tricky to say things that don’t sound trite and cliche.
Panel Five: And yeah, a lot of the time vulnerability comes with embarrassment. This is tricky to spit out. Love’s hard to sum up in words – I’ve been with the boyfriend for over a year now and I’d be hard pressed to describe it. Billie’s been with Ruth far shorter, so I can understand why it’s hard to describe deep feelings that came very quickly. But she’s starting to look more vulnerable and open up a little so yay, progress!
Panel Six: …so this is different stuff from the party then. And definitely not wine. Yeah, booze will do that, Dorothy, you nerd.
I like Billie poking fun at her for that. This feels more lighthearted and almost but not quite affectionate. It’s cute! So, yeah, yay for bonding and hopefully Billie can figure out what she needs to say. And then Dorothy can convince her to see her therapist COME ON BILLIE I DON’T ASK MUCH.
Dorothy is a good little friend!therapist. And Billie is awesome who allows herself to open up, if only inch by inch.
Right now it’s less important WHAT she’s saying than THAT she’s saying something. That she’s starting to process some of all that horribleness she’s feeling – and also some of the positive things.
As long as Dotty doesn’t pass out on her.
Yeah, providing the space and listening without judgment is key, especially as Billie’s feelings are complicated, because there are elements that are very positive for Billie and are very important, but there’s also elements of the abusive origins, Ruth’s daily life as an at-risk person struggling with depression and alcoholism, and the co-dependence.
And at the very least, learning to open up to people is going to be key for being able to get the most out of her therapist.
What were Dorothy and Billie doing in a slipshine together?
Talking about alone time with partners.
Which was naturally illustrated, because porn.
Nah. Could be the same stuff from the party. They watered it down heavily at the party, mixing it with other drinks. And she said she gave them very little. That flask was pretty small, and yet was enough to get everyone drunk or at least rather buzzed.
me drinking alcohol
When I started drinking, I was told that the burn means it’s low quality stuff. Oddly enough, I really like that feeling. And it’s never burned me so much that I had to choke.
The good stuff still burns, but it’s a more complicated burn as it dances on the tongue.
Hmm, what’s that Dorothy’s got on her wrist? Is it a Fitbit or something?
(Or, I dunno, maybe they’re Fibrirs in the Dumbiverse…)
I wonder if it’s a Toradora kind of thing? They’re both just the right level of spiky to get along.
This shall end with Dotty realizing she’s not a zero on the Kinsey Scale.
Pffft, yeah, right. As if two ladies drinking wood liquor in a dark murder cave in front of the Leafs poster could ever lead to sexy lesbian shenanigans with destructive undertones…. wait…
Honestly, I think they will have a preciously small time window between Dotty wobbling on the Kinsey Scale and Dotty passing out.
And that window should then be closed due to amount of excessive intoxication anyway.
I honestly hope not. I like seeing that there can be a good, kind liberal LGBT ally. It’s why I don’t like the idea of Joyce winding up biromantic.
(Lots of straight girls like boobs. Doesn’t make them biromantic. Boobs are not a gender.)
Guys, it’s BILLIE. The stuff in that bottle is probably moonshine’s older, stronger brother. She’s impressed that Dorothy still LIVES.
Dorothy will be preserved in formalin for posterity in the Clark wing common room.
The plaque will read “Perfect cinnamon roll, too pure, but she aint no Ruthless”
Brewed in the back of a moving pick-up truck on I-35.
Or to steal from MASH – Five minutes ago was a very good year.
I am in bed with a cold and a bit of whiskey right next to me; don’t even tempt me, Willis.
Bourbon is my go-to for a sore throat, even though I know it doesn’t really do anything good.
This is uncomfortable because I could be the Billie in this situation and I don’t really let anyone in. As a way to protect both them and me.
I’ve never related to Dorothy so much. I’m am sooooooooooooo bad at drinking
I don’t think I’ve ever experienced the burning sensation from alcohol. I just know I hate the smell and taste of it…
I’m a drunk these days, but I remember the first time I had a drink, red wine, I was shocked by the taste – I found the taste after that chemical. I don’t remember it affecting my sinuses, but I’m of Irish stock, so eh.
Whiskey can be like that. Or cheap vodka. Or warm vodka. Really any vodka that isn’t expensive and very cold or flavoured with mountains of sugar. I’m a hardened alcoholic and I still mix my spirits with sugary stuff to reduce the burny sensation.
Unless gin has tonic, it’s a bastard even with the expensive ones.
Stick to the best vodka and whiskey (e.g. single malt islay) and you’ll be fine:)
I wonder if Billie will open up about just how she and Ruth started dating. Their unhealthy co-dependence aside, Ruth did pretty much coerce Billie into dating her in the first. My sympathies for both of them notwithstanding, theirs is the very picture of an unhealthy relationship.
Yeah, and it can be hard trying to tell people why you stayed and why you miss times that had abusive elements in it.
Like, how do you say, yeah, there was this abusive origin or these abusive elements, but at the time, the person was my whole world, I loved them, and there were enough elements that made me happy that part of me will always think fondly of them.
Can confirm, brilliant best friend lived with an abusive and very ill boyfriend who constantly belittled, strictly controlled, and shoved her violently. It exacerbated her depression, and while she is uncomfortable calling it an abusive relationship, you and I would definitely classify his actions as escalating abuse.
But, she loves aspects of him, and probably always will.
She needs to be able to express their relationship in its full complexity, good and bad, and in concert with her own self-image, before she can make her own choices about him as a whole. It’s really difficult, and goes back and forth.
Personally, I cheered when she moved out. I wish this toxic boy had never been born, or that he’d go get help far far away from my friend… but I recognize that she doesn’t share my sentiment in that regard.
Anyway the point was I really hope that, like Cerberus, my pal may someday think back on this relationship fondly, in all its complexity. (From my vantage point, that is the best outcome ever.) It’s up to my friend, but still, thank you for the hopeful possibility.
Ah so that’s what westerns feel like when they come to Poland and Russia and try to drink our stuff…
Dorothy’s walk back to her own room is gonna be fuuuun.
As it came up in yesterday’s comments again: can anyone point me to a source comparing success rates of treatments for alcoholism?
Considering my mother stayed sober with AA for more than 30 years now and they are the only place she opens up to people which keeps her sane in other ways, I can’t say I like unsupported claims of the concept not working.
That said, given the strong emphasis on a spiritual concept they have, it’s open to misuse by people with an agenda (of fundamentalism) and will also hit all trigger points for people who’ve been hurt by fundamentalism. So I’m sure there a places where it does not work (because the groups have been subverted for other causes) and people for whom it does not work (because the wording of some things give them the creeps for reasons). But that is not the same as the concept not working any better then drying out on your own. So please, sources?
I can’t remember the sources but I do remember reading about a program similar to AA but without all the “higher power” spiritual stuff. What’s effective about it is the same thing as slimming clubs, it’s the support group. The God bothering or quasi God bothering may work for some people but (and again I’m really sorry I can’t remember where this article was) it actively puts some people off and makes them less successful.
Depends what you mean by “the concept not working”. If the concept is “a non-judgemental support group” then yeah, that’s almost always going to be helpful. If the concept is “a support group founded on religion”, then that, as a concept, is going to actively stop people from feeling willing to go, or welcome or comfortable, or make them feel judged- all of which are wrapped up in that core aspect. (I say that as a recovering alcoholic- for one is never truly “cured”- who felt that AA was simply not a place for me due not only to the founding aspects but the fact that those are still used today, online if not in practice.)
In my personal opinion something like AA should be devoid of both religion and judgement. Both are going to negatively impact recovery for many- and as I pointed out, the reputation alone will stop some from even trying it.
I don’t know the study offhand, but it was shown that AA doesn’t really have a better track record than other techniques. That’s not to say it doesn’t work, just that it’s not the only way.
A lot of it is probably that a lot of court ordered people get sent there, and thus are less motivated to actually pursue it. Otherwise, you’d expect rates to be higher just because the people who would voluntarily go to AA would be more dedicated than average.
You could search for aa effectiveness, lots of results. One such: https://www.thefix.com/content/the-real-statistics-of-aa7301
AA is about the same as other therapies, and any decision to try to get better may be the key ingredient.
To me, the concept is “non-judgemental self-help group”. That is was founded by Christians is incidental to my mind, though the traditional wording of stuff can be rather jarring. The fights we had when translating literature about translation words like “higher power”, or if we wanted to keep the word God in or not, omg.🙄
Hm, the link says they don’t know if anything but the decision works anyway.
And yes, in my experience the people who get involved are those who stay and get better, those who only come and cannot be bothered with even simple service like putting the chairs away don’t stay.
And yes, if spirituality is not your cup of tea or the word God invokes negative feelings and there is an alternative resource to keep you sober or out of other addictive behaviors, by all means use it.
If there is no alternative, a 12-Step group that follows its own rules might still help, so go there, grab the usefulness concepts and start your own.
A 12-Step group that never talks about traditions and their meaning and insists you must fill the spiritual part with an image of a Christian God is not following its rules and should be avoided.
Because it’s a self-help-group framework, 12-Step groups are much cheaper than therapy.
If you can afford it, find a good therapist. I’d recommend one doing bodywork, to my mind, this is much more efficient. You cannot heal by thinking alone.
I have no direct experience with AA, but these are some of the reasons I would feel very hesitant to recommend it.
More than just the “higher power” thing, starting by insisting the participant is wholely and entirely powerless seems a very counter-intuitive way to empower someone to make changes in their life.
The insistance that any single tiny misstep is just as catastrophically bad as the worst possible scenario sounds like another particularly hazardous combination with anxiety or depression, which are probably overrepresented among those trying to stop drinking.
And when it doesn’t work the person is treated like a failure.
It looks like ischemgeek already linked the Atlantic article I’d read. If you’re still curious about alternatives, I was particularly interested in the method neuroscientist Sinclair developed.
Anyone who goes to AA and is helped well, I am very glad they found it. But I think the most useful parts could probably be recreated elsewhere in a way much less likely to worsen the issues that often are the causes. At least, in places where AA isn’t already a big enough portion of the industry that it’s hard to find anything else.
I worry about the people whose problems are exacerbated by AA, and don’t want to send more people into that kind of hazard.
No, I ‘m not curios about alternative, I’m trying to find out why a concept and structure that kept my alive for some of the worst years of my life is being bashed as harmful with no corrobating evidence given.
Huh, what you describe there sounds like anything but a 12-Step group following its rules to me. What you are describing is totally judgemental and far far away from any one day at a time, one minute at a time approach.
I’d also consider it harmful. It sounds like rather middle-aged religion, not like a self-help group.
Where the concept of “you need the higher power because you are powerless is concerned” this is a differ t cup of tea. If you have an addiction problem, you cannot change the fact that it exists. You cannot change your past that lead to the current situation. If you are busy fighting with this, you are expending your energy at the wrong place. And most people who seek the help of a self-help-group have had the experience that their decision to not do x alone didn’t suffice to keep them to it when the going gets though.
So, if you actually read the text about “what does powerless mean” you’d find that they try to make you see were your responsibilities are and were there are not. And to give you something to hold on to when you need something to hold. If you decide your Teddy Bear is your higher power, and you think of him instead of making a stupid decision that’s much better than making a stupid decision. If you can not make the stupid decision without thinking of it, great. The important thing is that you do not make the stupid decision!
If 12-Step groups in the US have mostly degenerated into judgemental places that have been taken over by the general shift to middle-age fundamentalist thinking, then by all means avoid them. If they are not and its just your prejudices than don’t keep people from resources that may keep them alive just because of them.
How do you know if a 12-Step group is not ok?
– They insist the higher power is the Christian God
– the stress guild and blame instead of responsibility
– they do not work with the approved literature (bearing the group logo) but other stuff
– they do not regularly talk about the meaning of traditions
– they allow proselytizing for religions, companies or whatever
– group services like money responsibility, group speaker, … do not change regularly
I cited two sources – one a review article that questions AA’s reported success rate (the success rate they found was in the single digits – which they said was consistent with other studies on it), and the other is the Atlantic article which itself reviews existing evidence and alternatives.
But my thesis is that AA is not and cannot be the only approach, not that AA is a pile of garbage. Big difference there.
I also think AA does not approach addiction in a scientific manner to establish best practices, it’s not well-suited to complicated cases of addiction (such as whose where people are addicts because they’re self-medicating for other disorders) and the organization as a whole tends to be dishonest about success rates and blame addicts for relapse and program failure rather than looking to why the program didn’t work for those people.
Which is not “bashing” AA. It’s constructive criticism, and there’s a big and important difference. I’d like to see AA integrate itself with addiction science and become the first line treatment – but also be willing to refer people to other programs if it becomes apparent that the AA model doesn’t work, kind of like how psychologists will refer a patient to the specialized care of OT or psychiatry as needed when needed.
What others said. The seeking of therapy is the key part and elements like having a sponsor who understands addiction and who can help in crisis points can help.
And there’s purely secular groups like the Seeking Safety model of therapy that are generally positive for people struggling with addiction issues of all kinds and work mostly on a model of building alternative coping strategies or building methods for recognizing the way your mind is working when you have an addictive personality (and the way it can jump from thing to thing to be addicted to) that are less dangerous than the ones you are on now.
AA has benefits for some people, but also has a very religious ideology and that exists in a lot of general narcotics anonymous structures.
And its not the only thing out there for people who are bothered by that. Hell, the clinic I use has a quitting alcohol group therapy session that is entirely queer women focused and very secular.
IIRC from (basic level, very generalist) class on evidence-based social work practice: there are many ways to address addiction, of which Motivational Interviewing is probably the most effective for the most people.
In MI, the person is able to express their ambivalence, including saying why they want to keep using substances and why they want to quit, and they make their own plan, all supported by a pro and their questions, but coming from within themselves.
Twelve-step and 21-day group programs are pretty good, too!
It’s not something one can expect to address in a single session; 21 days seems to be the minimum length for a helpful program, and relapses are very common, the goal is that relapses taper off in length and severity.
In MI, they’d ask what caused you to relapse, but also, what strengths helped you end the bender and come back in. How can we buff those strengths so that the next relapse is shorter, less severe, or doesn’t happen at all?
In a group setting like AA, people might share their own experiences and what worked for them, encourage each other, etc.
Anecdotally: In AA, the God stuff helps some people tremendously; I’ve met folks who found that aspect indispensable to their recovery. However, it also alienates the heck out of other people, just as several folks have mentioned above!
Lately many AA groups are optionally shifting “higher power” to mean the power of the group itself, the fact we’re all in it together and are stronger than our individual parts, style of thing. Still, AA is so famously Christian in origin that non-Christians and nonbelievers can feel discouraged from seeking any help at all, as they figure all addiction programs are like that. (They’re not all like that, and you can check before you enroll.)
Back to research: The approaches aren’t thaaat different in effectiveness from each other, for people in general, there’s no magic bullet, it’s probably just a rightness of fit.
Bottom line is, whatever works for that person is a-ok. 🙂
Many atheists I know who’ve had alcoholism problems find that AA doesn’t work for them. AA nominally says you can acknowledge “anything” as your higher power, but in practice, the Protestant Christian bias is lathered on very thick, and if you’re not at least some flavor of Christian, you run into a lot of religious discrimination.
Actual, good quality data on AA is hard to come by, in part because it is a model that does not lend itself well to rigorous study. In those studies, its success rate is somewhere in the realm of 5-10%, and from everything I’ve read is at best no better than the other alternatives and at worst actively harmful to some people.
For a less technical read, The Atlantic had a good investigative journalism piece (the title, The Irrationality of AA is a bit click-baity but it offers a good deconstruction of the cultural myth of AA’s overwhelming effectiveness – AA claims a success rate of 75% which is supported by nothing other than AA itself – and looking into the alternatives to AA).
Here in Canada, the general understanding for a while has been that AA is great for those it helps, and those it doesn’t need another approach. One thing that we’ve been doing for a few years is setting up harm reduction clinics (similar to methadone clinics) where addicts get a set portion of wine or other alcohol according to their treatment plan, in addition to in-depth counselling and other help.
AA treats addiction as a single disease with a single presentation and trajectory – which was a valid hypothesis in the 30s when it arose but science has moved on since then and AA has not. In reality, addiction is a spectrum disorder with many presentations and trajectories – and in fact, it is not necessary for an addict to reach “rock bottom” before recovery begins. In fact, early intervention and moderation training is highly successful at reducing the risk of heavy alcoholism. AA cannot admit that because the notion of “rock bottom” is core to its model.
AA also treats alcohol as the problem and is not able to look for other issues — thus failing the large portion of alchoholics who are alcoholics because they’re self-medicating for some mental health issue or other. It’s well-known that if you treat underlying mental health issues, alcoholism improves as a consequence – but AA not only refuses to admit that (see above about treating alcoholism as a disease with a single presentation and progression rather than the complex spectrum it is), but even if it did admit that, it’s not equipped to spot when that might be the case or provide the necessary mental health treatment as it’s staffed by volunteers who in most cases have no training or certification in mental health treatment.
Add to the fact that AA refuses to admit there are people it can’t help. People who are still alcoholics at the end of treatment didn’t experience treatment failure, they “failed the program” because they’re “unable to be fully honest” with themselves and others (the quotes come from AA’s own literature), which is more like how a MLM scheme blames its dupes for losing money on it and less like how a legitimate treatment system approaches its patients.
Long story short: I’m not saying AA doesn’t work – but it’s nowhere near as effective as it claims or as people tend to believe, and it is responsible for a cultural tendency to treat alcoholism as a moral failure and to treat alcoholics for whom first-line treatment (which in many cases is AA) has failed with scorn rather than compassion. Finally, AA itself has a flat refusal to admit there’s any other way in which the issue of addiction could be approached – which delays patients finding alternative methods in the case where AA doesn’t work for them (and the best available data suggests it’s not going to work for somewhere around 18 or 19 out of 20 people).
Note also: For me personally, I had an issue with self-injury in my teens and they tried a 12-step program, and it not only did not work but was actively harmful.
Tell a kid who engages in something because it gives them a sense of control that they need to accept not having control over anything at all ever*? Recipe for worsening the underlying mental health issue that was being caused by not having control over anything in an unsafe environment. Therapy focused on my mental health issue and giving me control is what helped.
* Almost certainly worsened by going through the wrong puberty I should add
The model of aa is designed to be very unsuitable for tracking success rates unless the group members are being tracked elsewhere, and the nature of the addiction (often concealed, likely to have relapses occasionally) and the substance (cheaply available almost everywhere) would make me very uncomfortable with any success rates based on asking people for self reported data.
If you’re curious about reliable success rates, I’d look at treatment approaches used in countries with central healthcare systems. Treatment centers in Europe don’t need to operate in the dark. Both their short and long term success rate is traceable, so they can experiment with treatment length, therapy methods, medication, diet, etc, and can tell what is and isn’t effective. Self reporting is also less of an issue if the healthcare system is tracking whether the person is physically more healthy after treatment.
“She’s a depressive and abusive percussion instrument. I mean, what more could you want from life?”
To destroy your enemies and hear the lamentations of their women?
Bare headed dinosaurs?
Your mom for a nickel?
I mean, it depends.
To create an AI clone of myself by recreating my brainwaves with electrical synapses, this ensuring that either a) a part of me lives on forever or b) that I am always remembered by someone even if that someone is my computer and electrical based brother?
‘She was a train wreck. I’m a train wreck. It was bound to happen.’
“We were both trains looking for something to crash into. Might as well be each other.”
TURN DOWN FOR WHAT?!
I don’t really get why Dorothy is here, is it because she’s trying to win Billie over about taking over the RA position? Idk the whole her trying to act buddybuddy all of a sudden and ask why what made Ruth special to her just seems weird. As well as the suddeness of asking to drink with her. I didn’t think her and Billie were all too close.
Maybe Roz has got to her a bit and is now doubling down on being ‘approachable’ but this whole scenario feels a little bit odd. I would get it if Walky came in and wanted to see how she’s doing, but Dorothy? hmm
You could explain it by saying Dorothy seems to be a genuinely caring person even if she’s a bit robotic going about it at times (going down a list, making physical notes, so on and so forth) and she’s worried about Billie. Walky has expressed concerns about Billie so that could explain why Dorothy She could be worried about Billie because Walky is worried about her.
Also, Dorothy is drinking with Billie because that’s how Billie is willing to open up about it. May not be the best approach but it’s a successful approach.
I don’t think this has anything to do with the RA position.
I think she’s here because Billie is on the same bad road Ruth was on before she was hospitalized and is getting worse and few people seem to be noticing. And because Billie is important to a lot of people she is close to (Walky, Becky…).
She wants to understand and support and listen. Because that’s the type of person she is and that is the underlying drive behind all her political ambitions. She wants to be there for people and help them.
And in that way, she’s like the part of Hillary Clinton that never got much press. The one who was warm and responsive to constituents in need, even when they were ideologically opposed to her otherwise.
She also feels like she failed by dismissing Walky’s concerns about Billie and is trying to make up for that.
And because even without that she does care and want to help.
And because she sees it as the kind of thing an RA would do (maybe without the booze).
Dorothy is complicated and can have more than one motivation.
As others have said, this is part of who Dorothy is. If I may, I’d like to suggest the following strip and the next few after it, to see how Dorothy can act towards people when she’s not running for RA: http://www.dumbingofage.com/2013/comic/book-3/02-guess-whos-coming-to-galassos/first/
Panel 1: This is why I’ve been noting that Roz and Dorothy haven’t been showing their best RA qualities in their “campaigns”, because Dorothy’s real strengths come in how good she is in making people feel listened to and mattering and like more than a note in a checklist. And really reaching out even if it’s out of her comfort zone to do so.
And her question is one that would normally be a good neutral question. Focusing on the positive rather than the scary present. Focusing on why Ruth is special and important to Billie.
Panel 2: But it’s not that easy for Billie. And you see that on her face. Hell, this is probably one of the first times she’s really had to sit and analyze the relationship and her feelings. Like, that is genuine distress at the thought of crap, why is Ruth feel so all-consumingly important to me. This might actually be her first time questioning the co-dependent aspect to the relationship and opening the door to a more aware and healthy style of relationship either with Ruth or with someone else in the future.
Panel 3: Dorothy is so good at listening. If politics don’t work out for her, she’d be a great therapist or teacher.
Panel 4: Oof, I worry about this.
Though I do note how interesting it is that she’s chosen to interpret the question almost in a “how did we start dating” way rather than “why is she important to me” way.
Cause, yes, Billie needs to process the fucked up origins of their relationship, because yeah, they were abusive and that’s always been something that’s left a dark pall on the relationship, but it seems she is mostly judging it on not fitting a more romantic script rather than its abusive elements.
Like she’s going, what, I didn’t get with her because she was nice and pretty, so what’s there to brag about? And that’s not much healthier than co-dependent goggles where the other person is your entire world. Largely because it compares real relationships to a fantasy rather than focus on what the relationship actually is and where it does and doesn’t work.
Dorothy is awesome. And you are right that this is miles and miles away from her spreadsheeting. This is genuine concern and an invitation to talk.
And it’s miles away from her gently nudging Walky who is her boyfriend, or her comforting Joyce who is her best friend. Dorothy has left her comfort zone to spend her Tuseday skipping out on all her Big Important Things to sit in the murder cave with a self destructive aggressive alcoholic who has very few reasons to like her a bit.
And she still does it.
That’s a really powerful message to Billie about how much Dorothy care.
And Billie is awesome because just as you note, Dorothy’s question opens very painful doors. And still she tries to process what’s on the other side.
Panel 5: I can’t not interpret this as her really looking hard at those origins and those less than savory elements in their relationship. The abusive bits, especially in the origin that made part of it so toxic.
And I empathize cause I’ve been there. Hell, I’m still there. I was with my ex for 8 and a half years and part of me will always miss the times we had, even though they had what I’m realizing more and more were frequent abusive elements.
And it’s embarrassing trying to explain how despite that, this person still gave you comfort and a home instead of just a place to live at a time you really needed it. It feels weak, like you’re opening yourself up to judgment on why you stayed and why you put up with such negative treatment.
For Billie, the origins of her and Ruth were appalling. Ruth was abusive both emotionally and physically and the origin of their time together was marked by mutual suicidal ideation and self-destruction.
And in the relationship, Billie quickly tried to settle into a toxic dynamic where it was on her to try to save Ruth while trying to ignore her own depression and alcoholism and self-destruction. Not to mention she’s probably still blaming herself partly for Ruth being in the hospital. Like, her self-esteem and outlook being what it is, I don’t doubt for a second that Billie is thinking “but, she was the one I was supposed to be able to touch without her life being destroyed”.
There’s good, but I think she might be seeing some of the bad with a clearer head and trying to explain that complex mixture is hard for her, even harder than just saying anything about this kind of stuff (as she is also working with the handicap of having an abuse survival trait of bottling all her emotions up and drowning them in the bottle) in the first place.
And describing any of it feels incredibly vulnerable.
But I’m also heartened by it, because this is the sort of analysis Billie needs to heal, whether she decides to try a more healthy relationship with Ruth or break it off entirely.
And practicing it in a non-judgmental space will make it easier to trust the therapist she’s scheduled to see is on her side and not an enemy to be battled.
Panel 6: Looking at Panel 3, I think Dorothy hasn’t realized that pure whiskey isn’t really drank in the same way as say a rum and coke or a vodka and sprite or other mixed drink.
And I like Billie’s joke here, because, I think that needs to happen. The crying, breaking down. She’s always trying to bottle everything in and show a brave or neutral face. And she really needs to just break down sobbing at some point just for the catharsis of it.
Billie has A LOT to process and she is in a horrible place to do so. I just hope she gets enough energy from Dorothy to take a step or two away from where she is now, at her lowest in the murder cave.
Heh, that joke is wonderful. That is, just as the nerd joke yesterday, Billie finally accepting Dorothy’s company.
Honestly, I understand why it can be embarrassing to admit things like that about a relationship. I personally don’t think it should be embarrassing, but I understand why it can be. I’ve had friends who had to deal with abusive relationships, and I always said the same thing, “If you ever need to talk, if you ever need help, call me. I will drop whatever it is I am doing and I will be there.” I lost jobs over this, but not friends. Of course, I feel like I can say these things because I’m the result of what ended up being an abusive relationship. While never physically abusive, my father was emotionally abusive and just plain scary at times. But at the same time I do have good memories of him, as do my two younger brothers and my mom. So I really applaud what Dorothy is doing here. Because it’s helpful. And the fact that I have experience with seeing and feeling what an abusive relationship is like, it actually leaves me empathizing a lot with both Billie and Amber. And it’s why I haven’t persued and don’t plan on persuing an intimate relationship, because when I let myself feel angry in private, all I hear is my father. And I swore a long time ago I would never be him. So yeah, emotions are complicated, which is why I understand the embarrassment. But I still don’t think anyone should be judged for having complex emotions about an unhealthy relationship.
Fun (only not) fact: “Sinuses on fire” is the reason one of the creationist leaders (I think Comfort, but not sure) gives for the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Because there’s nothing so stupid that a creationist won’t say.
Bonus points for getting a Dina avatar while saying this.
Special Brew is an actual drink – 9% ABV. A better one is Kestrel Super (9% ABV), which tastes a bit more … interesting.
One can is about my limit.
Last panel is my new favorite Dorothy expression.
Dorothy might need a chaser.
That drink was strong enough to change the shape of Dorothy’s glasses.
no san diego comic-con, the sorries
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