Believed to Be Seen: A Starter Kit for Sobriety, Synopsis
After dealing for years with a toxic mixture of depression and heavy drinking, compiled with a none-too-satisfying post-graduate introduction to the corporate business world, in 2008 I attempted to end my life. This isn’t merely a how-I-survived suicide story, however. Following my hospitalization, an extended psych ward stay, and in-patient and out-patient therapy, I was about as lost as I had been before my “recovery” began. Maybe more so. Believed to Be Seen follows this path, also focusing on my introduction to Alcoholics Anonymous, and my subsequent struggles with the organization’s system of “spiritual” conversion, while also digging deeper into the federal legislation that helped strengthen 12 step recovery’s place at the heart of the American treatment system.
The book explores how the disease-concept of alcoholism has been historically warped to create and strengthen new organizational bodies founded on personal religious ideals, ultimately aiding the alcohol and drug industrial complex, and the launch of a multi-billion dollar “treatment” industry. Along the way, a lack of unified treatment standards has not only aided the creation of some 13,000 treatment centers in the country (where there were only a couple hundred in the 1960s), but promoted ambiguity surrounding which processes can be used to treat those with substance addictions, and who is qualified to administer such treatment; ultimately resulting in an industry littered with inconsistent and faulty processes, all maintaining success rates that would otherwise suggest statistical irrelevance if not for their continued governmental support.
The purpose of Believed to Be Seen isn’t to merely uncover why the American treatment industry has evolved as it has though. At its core, it is about learning to recognize the system for what it is in determining how to best attain legitimate personal healing. Through my own journey I had to recognize that if “recovery” was to actually exist, it had to come through a path of understanding and compassion rather than fear and stubborn resistance. A lack of identity led me through years of misguided attempts at moderation before I eventually confronted the anxiety of a future without drinking and allowed my goals to evolve in the pursuit of a life I actually wanted. This is where I put learned philosophical, psychological, and emotional ideology into action in finally escaping both the grasp of addiction, and the convoluted maze of the treatment industry.
Prologue: Letting Go
Chapter One: Surrender
Chapter Two: One Nation Under the Influence
Chapter Three: Untreatable
Chapter Four: A Crisis of Identity
Chapter Five: All or Nothing
Chapter Six: Reconsidering A.A.
Chapter Seven: Adaptation
Chapter Eight: Clarity