From the MM
Board of Directors:
Recent news stories have informed us all of the horrible tragedy that has occurred
in Audrey Kishlines life. Driving while severely intoxicated, Audrey was in the
wrong lane and caused a collision in which two other people were killed and she, herself,
severely injured. She has recently pled guilty to vehicular homicide, and faces a
substantial prison sentence. We all in MM are deeply shocked by these events, and our
sympathy goes out to both Audrey and the family of the two people who were killed. We also
fully support Audreys continuing efforts to address her drinking problem via
Following those news stories there has been much discussion on our own listservs as
well as others, in our chat rooms and in face to face meetings about what these tragic
events mean to MM. Some organizations, most specifically, the National Council on
Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) have taken this opportunity to attack MM and
moderation approaches generally in a cynical attempt to use this tragedy to advance their
own particular agenda with respect to dealing with alcohol problems. Jack Trimpey, founder
of Rational Recovery has also weighed in on the web with invective against moderation
approaches and MM. Couple this with inaccurate, sloppy and irresponsible journalism on the
part of ABC News and the Associated Press (other news organizations, notably the Seattle
Times, have attempted to be good journalistic citizens and have reported the story
accurately and fairly), and you have a vocal array of forces apparently aimed at MMs
organizations, particularly our sister (brother?) organization S.M.A.R.T. Recovery, and
individuals in the scientific and clinical communities have been extremely supportive of
MM. For this we should all be deeply grateful. The message that alternatives to the
traditional disease concept approaches offered or imposed upon problem drinkers in the
U.S. need to be encouraged and supported is truly heartening for all who have been
reluctant to seek help for problem drinking within the traditional system.
What do these events mean for MM?
Was Audreys Accident a
"Failure" of MM?
Lets first look at what the
facts are, as we know them (and our knowledge of the full story is woefully incomplete!).
In January, Audrey emailed the various MM listservs to indicate that she had decided to
shift her drinking goal to abstinence, and planned to attend AA, S.M.A.R.T., and WFS. She
also withdrew from administrative activities with respect to MM, activities (such as
maintaining the website, answering the national contact telephone, etc.) that were
undertaken by various members to whom we are all grateful for going the extra mile for MM.
In March, the tragic accident occurred, and only in the last few weeks have stories
appeared in the media detailing what is known.
For reasons best known to himself,
Audreys lawyer has chosen to publicly distance her from MM, and others have picked
up on this and other aspects of the story to assert that MM failed Audrey
Kishline. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Audreys involvement in
MM, and her adherence to one of its basic notionsthat of providing a supportive
environment in which individuals can make the decision whether to cut down or quit
drinkingsurely played some role in her decision to shift her drinking goal to
abstinence more than two months before the accident.
The more cynical among us might point
to the accident, using the logic of NCADD, as a failure of AAas that was
the support group Audrey was attending at the time, to the best of our knowledge. Cynical
people might also point to the accident as a failure of an abstinence-focused
approach as abstinence was Audreys publicly stated goal at the time of the
accident, to the best of our knowledge.
The cynics are dead wrong.
Audreys tragedy is unrelated to
MM, AA, S.M.A.R.T. or any other support group. It is her own personal tragedy, and
one she must live with for the rest of her life. No one blames AA when, as is
more common than not, persons attending AA relapse. Why should MM be to blame when one of
its members relapses? Audrey was struggling with a drinking problem, and her struggle,
like the struggle of all MM, AA.,S.M.A.R.T. and other support group members, was her own
personal struggle. In fact, to the extent that Audrey was able to move toward a healthier
place with respect to drinking during her time in both MM and AA, both
support groups did their job!
What Will Happen to MM Now?
MM will continue. An active group of
members in New York City and around the US are in the process of organizing a movement to
reincorporate, revitalize and revise MM as it now stands. MM continues to provide
assistance to many people, and will continue to do so, we hope on an even larger scale.
The MM Board of Directors fully
support the efforts of this group of MM members to insure the survival and continued
health and vitality of MM. While there are several apparent obstacles to the plans as they
currently stand, these members and the MM Board are confident that we will succeed. Keep
an eye on this website and on the various MM listservs for developments as they unfold.
Finally, we want to thank all of you
who have contributed time, effort and sometimes money to MM. We will do our utmost to
retain the trust and confidence you have shown in us, and to insure that your efforts will
not be wasted. As one of our most respected members, Ana, says:
"The work continues."
Marc Kern Ph.D.
Members of the Board of Directors