Happy Birthday, Alcoholics Anonymous (a month late)

I will neither confirm nor deny here that I am a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. I can confirm that I have not gotten loaded  in 18 years and that I am a certified alcohol and drug counselor II in Oregon.

I have made the assertion that the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12 Steps was one of the most important social revolutions of the 20th century.  This movement started with two people (formally) on June 10, 1935 and grew exponentially over 83 years. It started all by itself. It had and has no opinion on outside issues according to its Traditions and thus is not a political movement because it eschews politics. Most other social revolutions took on a political dimension. It also eschews money from outside resources, according its Seventh Tradition. It is self-supporting through [its members’] own contributions.

In today’s fractured and bizarre political world, it’s worth reflecting on these people who were Presidents of the United States or candidates for that office since 1973. George McGovern (daughter died of alcoholism); Michael Dukakis (wife is alcoholic); Gerald Ford (wife was alcoholic/addict who founded Betty Ford Center); Jimmy Carter (brother was alcoholic); Bill Clinton (half brother is alcoholic/addict); George H.W. Bush (son President George W. Bush is alcoholic by his own admission, so “double winner”); Donald Trump (brother died of alcoholism). Imagine if we could get them in a room together and talk about the personal impact of addiction. I think they would all feel differently about one another.  The “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous says, “We are people who would normally not mix.” It’s pure democratic socialism very much aligned with the Marxist ideal of from each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need. To belong in a 12 Step program, all you have to do is join. No wonder social scientists in capitalistic societies don’t understand it.

Speaking of handwringing social scientists, much of the recovery literature is full these days of all the reasons that AA/12 Steps doesn’t work, and almost none of it focuses on the millions of people for whom it does work.  The literature also does not talk about the fact that, very conservatively, every active addict* has a direct negative impact on at least 10 other people. So if four million people around the world are walking around in 12 step recovery today, then they have either eliminated that negative effect or are creating a positive effect on 40 million people. If all those people moved to the same place at once, they would form the largest city in the world. Treatment these days is all  full of the need for “evidence-based treatment” which, in my opinion,  is often not so much about getting people clean and sober as it is about getting paid by insurance companies. Well, my evidence is those 44 million people.

12 Step programs have miles to go to align with the opiate crisis, but the fact remains that alcohol kills twice as many people in the U.S. each year that opiates do. It’s the number one killer, and people in its sights banded together 83 years ago to do something about it, knowing that no one else would. It’s also worth noting that if crack cocaine were around NYC in the 1930s the way it was in the 1980s, all those ” singleness of purpose, I’m just an alcoholic” people would have been far more than that.

* I prefer the generic term “addict” because someone we call “alcoholic” is addicted to a drug called ethanol. They don’t drink the gin for the juniper berries.

© 2018 Joseph Galligan

Sports that Aren’t

Joey ‘Jaws’ Chestnut gobbles 74 hotdogs, setting new world record at Nathan’s contest

How did competitive gluttony become a “sport?” I can see how this may have originated as one of those ironic events that hipsters and certain bro types are fond of. I guess it caught hold as one of those “competitive hot dog eating, ha ha, but I am amazed by that Joey Chestnut guy” things. Much like the character Donald Trump played on “The Apprentice” became the same guy running for President in many people’s minds. They knew it wasn’t exactly real, but close enough. Competitive hot dog eating isn’t exactly a sport, but close enough. When you get paid a lot of money to eat 74 hot dogs and people are starving to death, well …

© 2018 Joseph Galligan

Thoughts About Thoughts and Prayers

In response to the recent murders at the newspaper in Annapolis, Donnie reverted to the reflexive, trite, automatic and by now meaningless phrase “our thoughts and prayers are with the victims …”

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau was marginally better, saying “our hearts go out to …”

Maybe people don’t realize that when everyone says “thoughts and prayers” it’s the same thing as no one saying “thoughts and prayers.”  For a long time it was a handy thing to say because a.) you didn’t have to confront unpleasant feelings in response to some tragedy and actually think about how to express yourself and  b.) it sounds kind of religious, but not in some kind of pin-you-down way.  In other words, it’s better to say nothing at all than to say “thoughts and prayers” because even if you actually do mean it, it doesn’t come across that way.

So as a service to everyone who finds themselves using this phrase in response to something horrific, I am providing some words you can use, free of charge. They will be fake if you use them because you still can’t think of anything original to say when confronted by tragedy, but at least it won’t sound so abysmally fake as “thoughts and prayers.”

  • How awful!
  • I am heartbroken.
  • I can’t imagine how the people involved in this feel.
  • If there is something I can do for you, don’t hesitate to ask.
  • It is sickening when evil like this pops up in the world again.
  • We all need to hug the people we love right now (This one not so good for Donnie because he doesn’t seem to love anyone but himself.) 
  • I wish I had an answer for why people do things like this but we need to keep trying to know.
  • I hope those affected by this tragedy can find a way to heal.
  • And how about good old: May God be with you (Vaya con Dios, etc etc etc)

© 2018 Joseph Galligan

Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva Are Really Pissed Off and Buddha is Seriously Unhappy



Some time ago I had a conversation about what if American foreign policy were based  on esthetics? U.S Marines would be deployed to protect elephants and rhinos in Africa, for instance.  Here is another example of how that would work. We would form an international coalition to declare Everest closed for 10 years due to the disgusting conditions that exist there and then allow extremely limited access to it after that. A fund would be created  to pay everyone for their lost revenue, especially the Sherpas and other native Nepalese and Tibetans.  The fund would also pay locals to go up there and bring down all the crap (a lot of it actually human crap, not to mention dead bodies).  This would be very respectful to the place on earth closest to what some people call God. It can’t hurt, and it might change the way things are going.

On another subject, the same idea domestically would be to pay coal miners to put the earth back together with the same equipment and knowledge they used to tear it apart with the idea of creating recreation areas that bring tourists and vacationers in.

Update 8/7/18: From the Washington Post

Mount Everest is a ‘fecal time bomb.’ Here’s one man’s idea for handling 14 tons of poop

Build a toilet! Quit shitting all over a holy place.

© 1918 Joseph Galligan

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

The sins of commission (Ryan, McConnell) sit down with the sins of omission (Schumer, Pelosi). In their own ways, these four are equally responsible for a man who despises all four of them ending up the President of the United States. A majority of Americans, the British, the French, the Germans, the Japanese and, yes, the Canadians say fuck you very much.

© 2018 Joseph Galligan

ryan pelosi

Shake Your Money Maker

blazers dancers

The title of this post does not come from me. It comes from a song by blues legend Elmore James covered by Paul Butterfield and George Thorogood, both of whom made far more money off the song than Elmore James ever did, but that’s a different old story.

This story is about the “[Portland] Blazer Dancers,” five of whom from an unknown year are pictured above. Every NBA franchise has an exact clone of the Blazer Dancers … well except for one beginning next year. That one franchise is the San Antonio Spurs. From USA Today: “the NBA team is replacing the all-female squad with a “family-friendly” co-ed ‘hype team.’ The move comes as a number of pro sports teams have been embroiled in controversy surrounding their cheerleading squads, some resulting in official complaints or even lawsuits.”

The Spurs have a coach, Greg Popovich, who speaks eloquently of the degradation of American culture and speaks up for black people, who make up the vast majority of NBA rosters. He has not commented on the demise of the Silver Spurs (who actually had a camp for young girls aspiring to shake their money makers some day!) but if he does, it will be right on.

spurs dancers

If what’s going on in the photo above is the only way to fire you up about what’s going on in the photo below then you don’t really appreciate basketball at its finest and you are actually enabling the exploitation of women, especially pretty young ones who find out that shaking their money makers doesn’t actually get them very much money, which is another old story.


Update 7/26/18:

© 2018 Joseph Galligan