Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics anonymous, ….NOT FOR ME! I believe with all my heart that twelve step programs, while they help some people, have a host of negative unintended consequences that are not discussed often enough and are not common knowledge. There are many dangers in 12 step groups especially for young vulnerable individuals (both male and female). With that being said, I am grateful when anyone is able to make positive changes in their life, and I support peoples right to choose a method for self improvement and inner peace that works for them.
***** (So basically if you are working the 12 steps, and it is working for you horahhh!!!!…keep doing whatever works for you).******
Parents send their teens and families send their loved ones, husbands trust their wives and vice versa to the loving care of these groups. I believe if they knew half of the sickness that went on in these groups they might not be so cool with their loved one running off to meetings 3 times a day and ducking out to twelve step functions whenever….sometimes late into the night! But hey, Its all in a days recovery….After all ,any day you don’t drink or use is a success according to the 12 steppers. If you beat up your kid cause you had a bad day, but you did not drink or use, was it successful? I think a drink might be a better option! But hey that’s me!
The big book of AA chapter ,”to the wives” explains that the spouse of the “alcoholic” is most likely going to be resentful of AA and want their alcoholic back…the big book warns that the spouse or loved one might even set the “alcoholic or addict” up to relapse.. With a chapter like that how can a spouse ever have a concern about whats going on at meetings without being shut down.
Loved ones are forced to watch and listen to the condescending ramblings of their new very spiritual mates. Most are not able to even comment because they should be thrilled that their once drunk spouse is now praying on his knees in the morning and night, going to meetings every time things get tough, and acting like a spiritual guru for the most part -spouting ridiculous one liner psychobabbble bullshit.
EXAMPLE-” Don’t worry that I lost my job, I need to focus on my recovery right now, God did not bring me this far to drop me on my ass…..Plus I talked to my sponsor about it we are working on my steps right now. Give it to God…you really need to learn to turn it over…..you are so controlling. I need to go to a meeting and when you yell at me it makes me need to get high….I gotta get to a meeting see ya later…’.. oh by the way, I am meeting with my sponsor after the meeting and doing some service work it may be late before I get home.”
There are real and unspoken dangers lingering in the rooms….more than most people think about on any given day. Abusers, abuse victims, predators etc…Most people in the rooms probably mean well, but there are plenty that are very sick and pose great danger to some, especially fragile broken individuals who are desperately seeking solutions…
12 step groups are not held accountable for many of the harms associated with their groups. 12 step business rarely makes its way out of the “rooms”. The drug war has created a compassion-less culture when it comes to addiction. We have turned a huge portion of nonviolent people who are often highly functioning and awesome contributors to our society into worthless criminals and shut them out of mainstream society. People who struggle with substance use, licit or illicit, are seen as weak willed, no account, throwaways. “Blaming the victim” has become common place. Addict and Alcoholic are dirty words….(one of the reasons I believe it is not healthy to identify as an alcoholic or addict). Service providers, programs, hell anyone working with substance users/misusers need not worry about accountability or evaluation. Just blame the “addict, or alcoholic” !!!! When programs don’t work we don’t look at the programs, we just blame the “sorry junkies, or worthless drunks, that won’t “work
Shame and Blame that’s AA, NA, and drug treatment for the most part! The NA text reads…. “NEVER HAVE WE SEEN A PERSON FAIL THAT HAS THOROUGHLY FOLLOWED OUR PATH” (that’s total bullshit )” and “IT WORKS IF YOU WORK IT!” !! So if you can’t get sober its your fault for falling down the twelve shitty slippery steps!!!
Addiction professionals, judges, and people with authority are too often staunch supporters of 12 step programs without even truly understanding what they support! Many of them have never taken the time to read the text books that members read, re read and memorize. Members quote passages from these books in meetings and cite them as if they were written by GOD or some all knowing power. Counselors in training and other people learning about addiction are simply sent to a few meetings so they have an idea what the program is all about. But most of them never really figure it out because outsiders are not accepted into the group ,nor indoctrinated like members are. They are outsiders who can never understand– because AA and NA are like secret societies. You can’t learn or understand the magic nonsense unless you are “one of us”!!!
The sponsor/ sponsee relationship is encouraged and required if you want to be a true member! This quasi counselor, the sponsor” often turns into a controlling parent-like force in a persons life. The relationship can quickly turn from helpful to strange, sick, and possibly dangerous. There are no supervisors or oversight groups to watch for dangerous and sick situations that arise between sponsor and sponsee and these relationships are not even well defined by the textbooks of AA and NA. The language describing what a sponsor is supposed to be is shaky at best. Many people are hurt by their sponsors and harmed in immeasurable ways. The sponsor is supposed to be a guide through the steps but often they become counselors, doctors, religious counselors, parents and completely co-dependent. They are charged with the responsibility of hearing your most difficult issues and your most embarrassing and shame causing moments. Complete secrecy is what you are promised….but there are no contracts, no fear of losing a job if they tell the world you business…nothing stops these folks from turning your pain into tomorrows gossip…and it happens, all the time, it happens!!!
The AA book was written in the 30’s and it reads like it was. The book is dated, sexist ,and not updated in any way that makes it more relevant. The science of addiction is not considered important even though it is a program designed to cure addiction. No need for updated information because it is not scientific, so there is no need….its perfect in every way I guess….. AA claims not to be religious; however they act very similar to some of the most fundamentalist religious groups.
Similarities…HMMMMMMM you decided:
The devil made me do it…..My disease made me do it.
When you have doubt, that is a lack of faith in GOD/
If you question AA that is your disease talking
You don’t need to understand you just need to follow others who know the way…..
The only thing you know is how to mess up ….follow us we will show you the way….just be willing….don’t ask questions…just be willing to to whatever those of us with more time tell you to do.
These programs are very much all or nothing. You are either in or out, you either believe or you don’t. There is no middle ground, members are warned against hanging on the outskirts of the program. You need to be in the middle “all in”. This means you need to believe what they believe, not ask too many questions, because your disbelief in the program and your questions according to the believers is “your disease trying to kill you”!
So for starters you join a program that you are told not to think for yourself, not to ask too many questions, to trust people you have never met because they are not drinking or using and you can’t stop. This makes them better! In fact the longer you go with out drinking or using drugs the more “GODLIKE” you become. Time equals respect in these programs. The trusted Sages (members who have been sober for the longest) are looked up to and asked to share their experience and wisdom often. The problem is many of them are just horny old men taking advantage of poor broken women looking for answers or horny men looking for broken young men or vice versa. This happens so often it has a name- the 13th step. It is difficult to find a member of the program who has not had an experience with being thirteenth stepped. Members know more about step 13 than many of the other steps.
The program is all or nothing. All or nothing thinking in psychological terms is called cognitive distortion. This thinking pattern is known to reinforce negative thoughts and emotions according to psychology. Is it any surprise that two severely alcoholic men created a program based on distorted thinking. Does it not seem appropriate that their solution to excessive drinking is absolute abstinence ??….Very simplistic answer for a highly complicated problem. —-
While they claim Addiction and alcoholism are not moral dilemmas or lack of will, rather they claim these problems to be diseases for which the person has no control over. I have a hard time SEEING HOW. The person is powerless but its their fault when they relapse…..crazy and nonsensical really…..!!!
The solution that 12 step groups prescribes for this “disease” is in the “steps” which clearly state
1. admit your powerlessness and your life unmanageable, 2. come to believe in a power greater than yourself, 3. Turn your will and your life over to the care of GOD.
IF MY FINDING GOD IS THE SOLUTION then I can only assume that the problem was a lack of GOD. RIGHT?
CALM DOWN 12 steppers….I know, I know, the second and third step don’t have to be about GOD. GOD can be Good Orderly Direction, or “the group….
So it is okay to to turn your will and life over to the care of the group…(or anything greater than yourself), your sponsor (another recovering person with more time in the program than you!….No matter how you read this it is not drug treatment period. This has morality written all over it. I have never heard of a disease that can be cured with a 12 step program…..
AA NA GA….etc.etc. They may well be a plan for spiritual living but they are in NO
WAY DRUG TREATMENT.
Courts have no authority to require people to go to these 12 step programs yet they do it all the time. AA and NA are religious groups (even if people claim they are not) the courts have already decided they are. Case law supports what I am saying…if you don’t believe me…look it up!
Next, in what world and what science has proven that if you use one drug in excess you will use them all in excess…. so you have to quit everything forever or your disease will be reawakened and you will go back to your old ways!!!!
All these guys sit in meetings drinking coffee and smoking the hell out of cigarettes, according to their own theory they should be be using their drug of choice by morning! Don’t ask any of them these questions though or you will just be told your disease is trying to kill you…..Sound like some sort of crazy religious zealot??? Yup….But for those who this program works for ….. COOL….just stop trying to make the rest of us believe we are not able to be okay because we won’t surrender to the program. I am so glad I am done with AA and NA….FREE AT LAST…FREE AT LAST.
A movie about 12 step horror!