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New
04-07-2009, 20:57
I'm going to attempt to make the 12 Steps accessible through my own viewpoint on the matter. Maybe I'll help someone.

---

Step One:We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable

Ok, I hated this step. And the ones after it, but we're on this one. I hated this one. I wasn't POWERLESS over alcohol, I was drinking whenever I pleased. It wasn't making me drink it. When I finally approached this step, I translated it a bit, so that it went something like this.

We admitted we were using alcohol self-destructively in a seemingly powerless manner, and as a result of that, our lives had become unmanageable.

Noticed I kept the "we admitted". Important part. You see, the way twelve step programs work is that there are a bunch of people that have had the same issues that you have, and they're willing to help you get over them and listen to your bullshit, as long as you're willing to do the same.

You'll also notice "were" and "had". This is the VITAL section of Step One that most people ignore. Step one is a step of recognition, not resignation. We "WERE using in a seemingly powerless manner" and our lives "HAD become unmanageable", because now we're taking a path to recover. Remember, were, not are.

"Powerless" is a little dicey. I prefer to see this as looking back as to how our live had become unmanageable, which is probably where some of you are if you're even considering AA, because you won't shut up about how much you hate it. It also refers to a certain compulsion to use despite your better judgment, as well as an obsession over thoughts of doing so. Not a reason to recover alone.

"Unmanageable" is a term you best define yourself. If you're powerless over using, but your life isn't breaking down around you, then there's no need to recover, is there?

Step One, have fun.:)

lasthurrah19
05-07-2009, 04:53
The fact that you have to translate the step to make it make some sense to you - because the original makes no sense whatsoever - is just the first of many flaws in the twelve steps in my opinion... how many times people said to me, oh yeah it doesn't make sense but this is what it really means... that's called rationalization.

Steppers are very good at rationalizing their 'program' that actually is something they wouldn't want if they took the words in the steps literally.

This is just my opinion and I'm not trying to fight anyone who finds AA or NA helpful. I was just in that world and woke up one day, and now that I use other resources instead of trusting the all knowing wisdom of something written decades ago, that's not even psychologically or rationally sound, I'm doing much better. If it works for you, great, that's awesome... I encourage you to see how YOU have done this work, not AA or NA or your sponsor or the steps. YOU

If I am out of line in expressing this opinion I'm sure you guys will delete it, I'm not trying to start a debate

New
05-07-2009, 05:53
No, debate is good. There's nothing wrong with debate.

I just find what you said a rather naive thing to say. "If it doesn't originally make sense, there's a problem with it." That's called bullheadedness. I've been studying it for a while. Read as written, it look bad. And I didn't actually change any meaning at all. Read both again.

3,4 methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, diacetylmorphine, Delta-9-tetrahydracannabinol. Perfect English, yet it doesn't make any sense whatsoever unless studied.


Edit:It seems I missed something. This IS how I did my work. I didn't trust in the program. I trusted one person to help me with these steps. The rest is commentary.

Enki
05-07-2009, 06:22
lasthurrah19, I have seen Samael's posts for years. I can assure you that I have a super strong assumption of good faith on his part that is based on his posts, not his being on staff or any other factor.

I can accept paradoxical truth of accepting powerlessness to gain power. Truth is often paradoxical.

I have some reservations about--powerless now OR powerless for all time. Humility of step one proportions comes to us all if we live long enough. Especially in TDS everyone ought feel very comfortable in expressing their sincere opinions provided they aren't expressed in a coercive or derisive way. If anyone gets derisive I'm duly authorized to issue bare bottom spankings.

An analysis of the twelve steps that is in depth and insightful will benefit everyone in TDS.

Dopamine_Cowboy
05-07-2009, 07:20
I'm basically with lasthurrah19 on the 12-step issue.

I like my methylbenzoylecgonine and diacetylmorphine and I believe it is possible to enjoy the pleasures they provide without becoming (or remaining) a full-blown addict.

The whole 12-step philosophy is too rigid and dogmatic in my opinion. It's either total abstinence or "disease"...there is no middle ground.

New
05-07-2009, 07:35
For some people, there is no middle ground.

Let me iterate another point I gleaned from someone who had done research into Alcoholics Anonymous:The Twelve Steps were designed as a last resort, not a first defense. The people who wrote the book WANTED to drink, but couldn't. When the Big Book mentions that there may be a cure one day, they weren't kidding. The original writers wanted to drink and had tried absolutely everything in their power. And these were White, middle-aged protestant businessman. They could get a good deal of shit. They could not. The Twelve steps are not for people who can "get over it", and even then there are other ways now. I'm presenting to you mine. Not the bullshit you hear in meetings, not the crazies who stare at you funny because they're old as hell and have got nothing better to do, and certainly not what treatment centers have distorted it into.

AfterGlow
05-07-2009, 14:44
Samael... you've got that exactly right. AA was started by 2 very low bottom drunks who had made an absolute mess of their lives, tried countless number of times and ways to curtail their drinking, and eventually came to the conclusion that they were unable to moderate or stop their drinking. For those unfortunates, abstinence is the only real solution. They discovered that by becoming honest with themselves, facing their alcoholism and past misdeeds, making amends and getting on with recovery, and supporting each other they had a much better chance of staying sober. Bill Wilson had a "spiritual experience" while suffering DT's, and that gave him the emotional and motivational strength to try and help other alcoholics. To some AA may seem like a cult, but when you're drinking gets so bad as to ruin your entire life, it takes extraordinary drastic measure to turn things around. Thanks to AA I no longer want to drink. And I understand the reasoning for the steps even though I do not believe in the God of the christian bible. But when you've lost all hope and your desire to live, you need to something to believe in. For many, god serves that purpose well. Once you achive long term sobriety, then you can rethink the whole god thing and what it really means to you.

Enki
05-07-2009, 17:15
The twelve steps were not a new innovation of alcoholics anonymous or Bill W. They are a reworking of the six tenets of the Oxford Group. I think this is pretty much admitted in AA comes of Age though it has been a long time since I've read that book and I've read so much other material since, I might be mistaken.


The Twelve Steps were designed as a last resort, not a first defense. The people who wrote the book WANTED to drink, but couldn't. That is a good point but AA as practiced and utilized in my region doesn't get to use this qualification for much because AA and ancillary organizations are pushed on people who are not low bottoms. People with court cards to be signed at meetings can as easily be a 15 year old with one incident of minor in possession as someone who has lost it all. I do think AA could renounce the practice of court cards. Some may say that it is taking a position on an outside issue, therefore contrary to the traditions. AA doesn't follow its traditions anymore anyways. AA runs TV and other advertisements which is not "relying on attraction rather than promotion" In fact, I argue that by accepting the practice of people sentenced to meetings they are "relying on coercion rather than promotion"

The Big Book says several places that science may some day find a better way. When I mentioned medications (not in a meetings but in the social stuff after) I was told to shut up about that stuff as it could delude people into thinking they didn't need meetings and cost lives. I know the dozens of meetings I went to do not represent the whole of AA, but I don't think they are non-representative either.

AfterGlow
05-07-2009, 18:49
AA does not endorse court sentencing that mandates attendance of AA meetings. That is a matter between the court and the defendant. Each individual AA group decides for itself whether or not they are willing to sign court slips. Some groups do and some do not.


I do think AA could renounce the practice of court cards. Some may say that it is taking a position on an outside issue, therefore contrary to the traditions.

New
05-07-2009, 21:43
The twelve steps were not a new innovation of alcoholics anonymous or Bill W. They are a reworking of the six tenets of the Oxford Group. I think this is pretty much admitted in AA comes of Age though it has been a long time since I've read that book and I've read so much other material since, I might be mistaken.

That is a good point but AA as practiced and utilized in my region doesn't get to use this qualification for much because AA and ancillary organizations are pushed on people who are not low bottoms. People with court cards to be signed at meetings can as easily be a 15 year old with one incident of minor in possession as someone who has lost it all. I do think AA could renounce the practice of court cards. Some may say that it is taking a position on an outside issue, therefore contrary to the traditions. AA doesn't follow its traditions anymore anyways. AA runs TV and other advertisements which is not "relying on attraction rather than promotion" In fact, I argue that by accepting the practice of people sentenced to meetings they are "relying on coercion rather than promotion"



The Big Book says several places that science may some day find a better way. When I mentioned medications (not in a meetings but in the social stuff after) I was told to shut up about that stuff as it could delude people into thinking they didn't need meetings and cost lives. I know the dozens of meetings I went to do not represent the whole of AA, but I don't think they are non-representative either.

You do bring up some good points. It's just that, like all things meant to help, it's been distorted over time into something it wasn't supposed to represent. And yes, they are nothing new, but the six tenets helps Bill, and I'm guessing he wanted to do his own thing with them to make them more accessible.

And there's something I keep hearing from the people in my sober supports..."99 percent of what you hear in meetings is bullshit"

Z Y G G Y
05-07-2009, 21:56
I think that whatever can help someone stop using is great.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion of course but people who have already done the AA/NA steps shouldn't be so negative about them. It might turn new people off w/o even giving it a try. And who knows maybe it was AA/NA that helped u w/o u even realizing it. Maybe it helped u open up some doors to recovery and u don't feel it was AA/NA that did that. Since u did the program u can't say that it was totally useless if u see some improvement in your life now.

I've never done AA/NA but I feel that most people here that did it don't like it very much. Is it really that useless? Has anyone here ever recover with the help of the program? Does anyone here feel that the program has been a great tool for their recovery?

lasthurrah19
06-07-2009, 05:59
I've never seen any study that didn't show AA/NA has the same recovery rate as spontaneous remission - about 5% every year the end up quitting for a year or more. And that's the important thing. There's also happens to be some cultish things about it, especially since most people view The Oxford Group as a cult or at least a religion, so basically Bill W. stole the cult/religion model from TOG when he made AA, he changed some minor things about it and at first it was just for alcoholics (before Al-Anon and _A's...), whereas TOG was for everyone. His 'spiritual awakening' was while on a crapload of psychedelic drugs and suggestions (while he was on these drugs) that he have one by other members of TOG.

Bottom line, in my experience, I just felt like none of it made sense when I went in there, not because the people that go to AA/NA are bad people, but because the steps them selves seemed very religious to me, and open for a lot of very different interpretations, many of which are very drastic - but that's not in step one.. I did a tiny bit of looking around and stumbled on this site: www.orange-papers.org It is very well written, granted the writer can be a big shithead sometimes but many of his points seem very valid to me with a lot of proof with bibliographies etc. And it's a lot of material, days of reading if you went through the whole site.

By all means, if it seems to help you than go for it. I don't think it's necessarily doing people harm to go, and if it somehow gives someone strength to quit, great. It just doesn't make sense to me.

New
06-07-2009, 06:24
That's true. I have read all of that, from Michigan State's study, to the Orange Papers to Rational Recovery.

Yet there seems to be something that works for those 5%. Maybe, if instead of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, we try to find the psychological underpinnings of the Twelve Steps. I'm starting this series on that precept, not on any religious undertones and not on anything else people may have tried to shove down your throat. So just take a breath and read it from that perspective before you shove everything you hate about AA down my throat.

lasthurrah19
08-07-2009, 02:19
I'm sorry, personally I've actually lost people to the 12 steps, as in they follow it dogmatically and won't talk to me anymore because I don't. Although I do like your take on it, I realize I'm taking it a bit personally. Sorry again.

New
08-07-2009, 02:21
No worries.:)

Not all of us are like that. But more on that later.;)

kzorro
08-07-2009, 03:10
I'm sorry, personally I've actually lost people to the 12 steps, as in they follow it dogmatically and won't talk to me anymore because I don't. Although I do like your take on it, I realize I'm taking it a bit personally. Sorry again.

Do you still use/drink?

lasthurrah19
08-07-2009, 06:42
not usually

I did smoke a little pot not long ago (few weeks), and I am on suboxone.

But I'm not using.

CokeMonger
11-07-2009, 06:02
Are you taking Suboxone as maintenance or to detox? I've used it to detox before, doc is suggesting I go on maintenance.... love to hear from someone whose done it....

lasthurrah19
11-07-2009, 06:32
maintenance. It keeps withdrawals away and I don't use on it because it would be a waste. I've done just detoxing a few times but I can't keep my shit together for more than about 6weeks. Now I have around 12 weeks or so... not much I know, but it's a good fallback, if I take it like I should I really have no reason to use (other) opiates. Of course, I've tried before, lol

mymindisgoo
10-11-2010, 20:02
this is fun to read. i currently just started my 1st step about 5m inutes ago and figured there has to be something on this site. bottom line people have been using these steps, as written for over 40 years for NA, and 80 for AA. changing the wording to me makes me feel like 'you' are not truly admitting that there's a problem. this doesn't have to be a last resort. it's not for me, i didn't hit no where near a 'bottom' as other people have, but i want to stay clean and saying i wont use tomorrow simply does not cut it for me.

op, i don't know yur story. were yu drinking everyday, if you didn't drink would you start getting shakes and what not? sounds pretty powerless if the only way to relive yourself was to drink again.. i know this thread is kind of relatively old, but oh well. should bring it back!

calmAnimal
11-11-2010, 16:34
^yup

i finished writing on my first step about 3 weeks ago. and i must admit, it was awesome. i knew my life was very unmanageable. 6 arrests from age 19 -21. and the powerless thing is lke this for me: once i start i might be able to control it the ONE time but more than likely it will get out of hand and i wont stop untill i get really fucked up. and once i use i will obsess over it for months and have to fight the all consuming urges. its just easier to keep the door closed.

the thing that shocked me the most was how self centered i was. i thought i was a decent guy but i was just the opposite. all i cared about was getting the next one and i didnt care who i hurt along the way. it disgusts me.

the obsession to use has been lifted. i dont need drugs anymore. i can be social w/o them and enjoy life w/o them. theres no point anymore, and its a waste of money on top of all that.

lasthurrah19
11-11-2010, 18:07
Awesome that you guys are doing so well using NA.

For the record, I don't have really have any problem with AA/NA... my views have not necessarily changed but fuck if I can fault anyone for doing what works for them. I don't feel as negatively towards the whole concept anymore, I suppose. I'm off sub maintenance and had been using like 30-60mg oxy once a week for about 7-8mo (after I got off sub), which honestly may sound good but I still obsessed a lot about it, and it still pretty much ran my life. It's only been about 20 days though altogether since I used. I've got to get on with my life already.

Anyway, it's odd reading these posts I wrote. Things change, I guess ;)

Keep it up with the clean times :)

K12
11-11-2010, 18:24
IMO there is an inherent problem with 12 steps when it is designed to create an idea of lifelong powerlessness over a substance when the idividual does not remain in a constant state. Then it imposes that the only cure is to essentially become addicted to the 12 steps -- Bill W. should have learned to teach users discipline and MODERATION and "empower" them, not cause them to give up and take whatever power they had.

Legerity
11-11-2010, 18:29
The 12-steps and AA/NA...my favorite topic of discussion :)

I think you make an important distinction with using "a seemingly powerless manner". In the middle of heavy substance use, we seem to be powerless. We don't see another choice, we don't think we can face whatever pain we will have to experience in order to not get high or drink again. I can much more agree with the idea of a perceived powerlessness.

Drink...pass out...hangover...drink...pass out...hangover....drink...pass out hangover. Somewhere in this chain a person in AA has made the decision to stop. At that point a person is taking their power of choice back and actively changing their behavior. If a person were truly powerless then this would not be possible and the cycle would continue forever.

So I do not think the problem is that we are powerless, but that we THINK we are powerless over our choices. Which is why I don't like this step in the first place, because it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy if we are told over and over again that we do not have the ability to make different choices than we are currently making. It's easier to say that we simply don't have control over something, rather than exploring the underlying reasons why we continue to make decisions that are harmful for ourselves.

But I also acknowledge the benefit of surrender in our life. We cannot control everything that happens to us, we can't avoid unpleasant experiences, we can't live without feeling some emotional pain. To continue to struggle against things we can't change is pointless.

I just think the steps apply the principle of powerlessness in the wrong place. Yes we are powerless over our past, the things people have done to us, our shitty families. We can't change that. But right now, in this moment, we have the choice of how to act based on our current set of circumstances. And this includes our substance use. Taking this power of choice away, in my mind, can have negative repercussions. Maybe not for everybody, but I'm speaking for myself.

Telling a person that he can't stop drinking after alcohol enters his body makes it that much more likely that he won't be able to.

mymindisgoo
11-11-2010, 18:36
it's a better addiction than one that can kill you/

K12
11-11-2010, 22:54
exploring the underlying reasons why we continue to make decisions that are harmful for ourselves.

Word. This is what is most effective. Problem is, everyone out there uses for a different reason. It is much easier for The State Body Politic to just say that these pathetic wretches are "powerless" and lump 'em all together in one big, stinky smelly package and try to treat 'em -- the goal is not to get them to think -- but rather just to submit.

calmAnimal
12-11-2010, 01:54
lol^

step one does not say we are powerless over (drugs)

it says : we admitted that we were powerless over our addiction and our lives had become unmanageable.

so if you think u can control ( use succesfully)/ manage your life, its simple : DONT GO!!!

about getting the paper signed, i go to a bunch of groups that dont allow papers to be signed and i whole hearted believe in this . it goes against traditions.


im going to a meeting now so ill get back to this later. :)

mymindisgoo
12-11-2010, 02:28
are there good meetings out in jersey?

oliphill
12-11-2010, 02:36
I always wonder why people would want to pick holes in something that helps so many people. If you don't like it or can't relate to it, don't go, simple.

New
12-11-2010, 02:38
Because only though constant analysis can we make something better. If you're not interested in helping more people than you already claim to be, you're doing a disservice to your cause.

NotQuiteAnonymous
12-11-2010, 02:45
Am i allowed to post either a link or just the URL to a great site with awesome free 12 step materials?

mymindisgoo
12-11-2010, 02:50
go fer it

Legerity
12-11-2010, 06:49
lol^

step one does not say we are powerless over (drugs)

it says : we admitted that we were powerless over our addiction and our lives had become unmanageable.

so if you think u can control ( use succesfully)/ manage your life, its simple : DONT GO!!!

about getting the paper signed, i go to a bunch of groups that dont allow papers to be signed and i whole hearted believe in this . it goes against traditions.


im going to a meeting now so ill get back to this later. :)

I believe you are referring to the 12 steps of NA. The 12 steps of AA do in fact refer to powerless over alcohol specifically. CA does the same.

chompy
12-11-2010, 16:01
IMO there is only 3 steps.

1. Identify the problem
2. Create a plan to quit
3. Stick with solution/quitting.

that's it.

calmAnimal
12-11-2010, 21:24
ok well im talking about the one that i go too. if u dont like the fellowship your going to and dont think it can help, go to a different one.

i dont like substance specific programs because i didnt just like one substance. my drug of choice truly was MORE. more of anything that gives me instant gratification no matter the consequences later on. does that make sense?



Originally Posted by Legerity
exploring the underlying reasons why we continue to make decisions that are harmful for ourselves.

Word. This is what is most effective. Problem is, everyone out there uses for a different reason. It is much easier for The State Body Politic to just say that these pathetic wretches are "powerless" and lump 'em all together in one big, stinky smelly package and try to treat 'em -- the goal is not to get them to think -- but rather just to submit.

umm we are talking about the first step. and if u actually ever did a first step you would see that it is very specific towards your own personal situation. but you choose to sit with your fingers in your ears and just say no no no im different. and dont even wanna give it a shot.

like samael said: i constantly used and did enough research and analysis to see that i cannot use succesfully. so i want to try a new way. i am going to go at it as hard as i went at trying to get fucked up.

i personally only want for myself to get better. its selfish but if im the only one who is recovering from addiction with NA, then im cool with it. i have no problem sharing with how i am recovering. but i dont appreciate you telling me that i can be doing it better with your way.


Mymindisgoo: every meeting is different but in this area we usually carry a good message. there is alot of recovery in my area. Union county NJ

Georgie25
13-11-2010, 00:03
Went to my first NA meeting last night. There was a speaker who talked about his use and shit at first then he let people raise there hands and tell their stories or problems they're having now or how they're dealing with recovery. I could relate to a lot of it and am hoping to gain some knowledge from listening. At the end they gathered around in a circle and put arms around every one and said some chant I didnt know...after that random people came up and hugged me since they noticed I was new and I told them it was my first meeting I've been too. They gave me the NA handbook with meeting locations and the 12 steps. Still not sure how the whole 12 step thing works, guess I'll ask at the meeting Im going to tonight. Other than that, about 8 people wrote down their phone numbers in the book, are they sponsors? I don't blieve in god, but think being around clean people may help me anyway. Im just not sure how these meetings are suppose to keep you clean though? What do you guys get out of being at a meeting?

Legerity
13-11-2010, 00:39
ok well im talking about the one that i go too. if u dont like the fellowship your going to and dont think it can help, go to a different one.

i dont like substance specific programs because i didnt just like one substance. my drug of choice truly was MORE. more of anything that gives me instant gratification no matter the consequences later on. does that make sense?



umm we are talking about the first step. and if u actually ever did a first step you would see that it is very specific towards your own personal situation. but you choose to sit with your fingers in your ears and just say no no no im different. and dont even wanna give it a shot.

like samael said: i constantly used and did enough research and analysis to see that i cannot use succesfully. so i want to try a new way. i am going to go at it as hard as i went at trying to get fucked up.

i personally only want for myself to get better. its selfish but if im the only one who is recovering from addiction with NA, then im cool with it. i have no problem sharing with how i am recovering. but i dont appreciate you telling me that i can be doing it better with your way.


Mymindisgoo: every meeting is different but in this area we usually carry a good message. there is alot of recovery in my area. Union county NJ


It's great if you have found something that works for you. I would never try to discourage somebody from 12-step meetings if they feel they are benefiting from it, just because I personally disagree with the philosophy. We are all different and can find an individual approach that works.

And I agree with you about NA, when I was going to meetings I much preferred the idea of dealing with "addiction" in general rather than a specific substance.

mymindisgoo
13-11-2010, 02:37
IMO there is only 3 steps.

1. Identify the problem
2. Create a plan to quit
3. Stick with solution/quitting.

that's it.

if only it were that easy..


Went to my first NA meeting last night. There was a speaker who talked about his use and shit at first then he let people raise there hands and tell their stories or problems they're having now or how they're dealing with recovery. I could relate to a lot of it and am hoping to gain some knowledge from listening. At the end they gathered around in a circle and put arms around every one and said some chant I didnt know...after that random people came up and hugged me since they noticed I was new and I told them it was my first meeting I've been too. They gave me the NA handbook with meeting locations and the 12 steps. Still not sure how the whole 12 step thing works, guess I'll ask at the meeting Im going to tonight. Other than that, about 8 people wrote down their phone numbers in the book, are they sponsors? I don't blieve in god, but think being around clean people may help me anyway. Im just not sure how these meetings are suppose to keep you clean though? What do you guys get out of being at a meeting?

some chant, lol. normally at meetings at the end they recite the 'serenity prayer,' "god, grant me/us the serenity to accept the things i/we cannot change, the courage to change the things i/we can, and the wisdom to know the difference," or the lords prayer, which i don't know because i'm jewish and N/AA is supposed to be non-denominational.

those people aren't yer sponsors, they're just people yu can call if you need a ride, or to talk to someone whenever need be. they wouldn't give yu their numbers if they didn't want to hear from yu. a sponsor is one person (someone of the same sex as you) who has worked the steps (or the majority of them) and has a good amount of clean time (at least a year or two i figure).

the program isn't about god per-se. when they say god, they refer to their higher power, what ever they want to believe in (nature, jesus, a rock, a coffee pot, na as a whole, the group as a whole, etc.) i personally believe in a higher power, something out there thats a force behind everything else. or it could just mean "good orderly direction."

one of the points of n/aa is the "therapeutic value of one addict/alcoholic helping another." someone who's not an addict doesn't understand what we go through, how ever someone who has been where we have can understand us a lot better. the meeting can help you stay clean by 1) giving you sober people to surround yerself with inside and outside meetings, 2) giving you an hour + of clean time and not using during the day, 3) hearing other stories that you can relate to and learning from others mistakes.

i enjoy going to meetings because it really helps with the urge to use, and realize that i'm not alone. hope that all helped!

panic in paradise
14-11-2010, 00:47
^
if it was so easy,, the cartels, cooks, and breweries would be out of business, or a pint of Guinness would be near ~15.95 per!

there are many, infinite ideas out there, especially when it comes to drug use.
being privy to hear some one who struggled for most true life, and finally got away from that life, may be worth listening to, and a massive heads up on how to spare a trail of destruction.
also, its as valuable to listen/hear someone who has been trying to fight their addiction most their life,,, and it isnt working.

in either scenario, there is a lot to learn, at the cost of years of struggle on their part, and ones willingness to sit, listen, and learn for an hour or so.


i dont do the AA thing, but did off and on through out my teens, and yeah i learned a lot, i doubt id be here now, honestly, if i didnt go and grab a bunch of tools that became very useful so many years(10+) later.

magic only works if you believe-
AA only works if you work it-
an addiction only rules,
as long as we feed it.

there are other aa/na threads that are intended for debate, or asks questions of validity.
this could go over well, and be very helpful, if it stays OT.

i have reservations with the program, but im not going to dare challenge it. unless maybe i published another book that saved millions of lives; as long as the reader really reads it.

panic in paradise
14-11-2010, 00:47
^
if it was so easy,, the cartels, cooks, and breweries would be out of business, or a pint of Guinness would be near ~15.95 per!

there are many, infinite ideas out there, especially when it comes to drug use.
being privy to hear some one who struggled for most their life, and finally got away from that life, may be worth listening to, and a massive heads up on how to spare a trail of destruction.
also, its as valuable to listen/hear someone who has been trying to fight their addiction most their life,,, and it isnt working.

in either scenario, there is a lot to learn, at the cost of years of struggle on their part, and ones willingness to sit, listen, and learn for an hour or so.


i dont do the AA thing, but did off and on through out my teens, and yeah i learned a lot, i doubt id be here now, honestly, if i didnt go and grab a bunch of tools that became very useful so many years(10+) later.

magic only works if you believe-
AA only works if you work it-
an addiction only rules,
as long as we feed it.

there are other aa/na threads that are intended for debate, or asks questions of validity.
this could go over well, and be very helpful, if it stays OT.

i have reservations with the program, but im not going to dare challenge it. unless maybe i published another book that saved millions of lives; as long as the reader really reads it.

Jamshyd
14-11-2010, 01:01
Sorry, I didn't read the whole thread yet.

But step 1 is actually the main reason I have always viewed these programs as being absolutely worthless.

In Social Work theory, one word that keeps popping up over and over again is empowerment. It is maintained that the most detrimental aspect of any social problem is the patient's learned helplessness, and that it is the facilitator's job to help people help themselves.

No wonder, then, that starting a healing process by making the patient admit powerlessness is the absolute antithesis of everything that has ever worked to solve problems. I plainly disagree with this approach, and I'm not even a social worker!

No offense here to anyone who found these programs helpful, I am happy for you. But I'd never admit myself nor anyone I care about to such a russian-roulette approach to healing.

panic in paradise
14-11-2010, 02:07
if you aren't an addict, or one admittedly, its hard to get, or seems a shame to admit...

i am powerless with alcohol and cocaine,,, and useless.
once i realized, accepted, understood, and grew away from; mostly out of shock, shame, and a round of horrific moments of clarity... i didnt have to fight anymore, fight that anyways ;) :\

this made further growth, more strong, and more true.

i wrote on my last oxy bottle, "this is power, you are strength."

being humble, accepting what we cant change, develops our inner strength. using our minds clearly, knowing what we can not change brings strength, and wisdom.
admitting our weaknesses is acknowledging our strengths.


i hate for people to hand over the credit of their achievements to, someone or something else. i really do, its a very disturbing, far reaching part of life to me.
AA IS about a higher power, i chose a snow-flake to draw once as an image of my higher-power, to me it represented infinite uniqueness/changes and perfection in a pure most fragile form.

for me GOD, is our (sub)con/science, spirituality is our natural making, what makes us, us, our personal feel and view of the world.

giving credit to someone, or something else may be due, but, it seems not knowing you actually made the choices, steps, and right decisions, did the actual work to create a better life, is the actual fact of the matter, and with this confidence/integrity gained,,, there are many many incredible, awful, endlessly rewarding challenges that YOU can take on with this new knowledge of strength.
if all the credit is given else-where, these beautiful/awful lifes challenges/rewards/soul-food will be avoided with prayers, wishes, and wants.

these steps can help you realize your strengths and weaknesses, and help you understand others more deeply.
from there, the point should be to start living and growing, not fearing, staying consumed with drugs, believing we are only capable with others/gods will.


ohhh, ill stop now...
;)

Jamshyd
14-11-2010, 05:28
I see what you're saying.

My views on higher power are largely implicit and so I rarely talk about them. But the point is that you can be empowered by being humbled by something bigger than yourself - agreed.

However, I do not see how admitting powerlessness over a drug - over something inanimate and absolutely neutral, is empowering or conductive to humility in any way.

Yes, belief in higher-power is the best medicine against addiction IME (I've been addicted to at least five different substances in the past, and am still entangled with one), and spirituality has always been central to my quitting them. But by this same opinion and experience, I maintain that AA/NA are notdoinitrite.

But, like I said, if it works for decreasing your pain, then I'll do anything to support your involvement in it (that has always been my moral axis), or at the very least I won't stand in your way.

Just wanted to add my 2C, I think I'll stop now...

phactor
14-11-2010, 05:29
First off I want to make this clear: I believe AA/NA/CA/MA whatever are not the only way to get clean or sober. I have seen plenty of people get sober on there own. However, I would argue that they may not be addicts.

But for me they help tremendously. There is something to be said about group healing/group conciseness. Just a simple nod of the head from a person helps, because you realize that you are not alone.

My addiction has lasted over 10 years, I come from a long line of addicts and alcoholics. My life was unmanageable, my addiction was causing me tremendous problems. I was functioning but I was unhappy and tearing myself, my family and my loved ones apart.

Meetings and the 12 steps combined with medication, counseling and additional small group therapy give the addict a fighting chance. I have tons of shit going on with me and my addiction is a major problem.

I spent years trying to convince myself I had control over my use, I did not. I almost died because of this. I wanted to stop and knew I had a problem. I cannot quit alone. People are out there to help me and I am seeking that help. Getting clean for 6 months does not mean you have control over a substance. I had a few periods of this. However looking at the overall whole of my use, it got progressively worse and heavier as time went on.

When it all comes down to it, you have little control over much of anything. You do have control over yourself though. Problem is when you are an addict you are a slave to that addiction. Once I stopped using I felt better immediately. I now literally feel like I have been given my life back. I am comfortable in my own skin for the first time in over a decade (possibly ever). My life has improved tremendously in only 29 days. Meetings play a huge role in this.

I spent and wasted alot of energy on trying to convince myself that AA didn't work and was too rigid. When I finally went into it with an open mind I found it was very flexible and that it is up to the individual to make it work for them. I used to try to rationalize not going by saying it is rigid and dogmatic, when in all actuality it is the exact opposite. I mean look at how many different types of meetings exist. Every meeting has its own flavor. Everyone is on there own journey and AA/NA is now part of mine.

The first step has nothing to do with my/your interpretation of a higher power so I will not comment on it.

Great thread, I am working on my first step right now. I have a great sponsor who serves as a guide. He does not tell me what to do, but helps me realize what I should do. I want to get sober and am putting in the work needed to get me and keep me sober.




In Social Work theory, one word that keeps popping up over and over again is empowerment. It is maintained that the most detrimental aspect of any social problem is the patient's learned helplessness, and that it is the facilitator's job to help people help themselves.


I have a Sociology degree and am a Social Worker. In my opinion you are reading the step completely wrong. AA/NA teach the individual that they can actually overcome something that they did not ever think they could. I know I never believed that I could get sober. In fact this was bringing me to some very bad places and I was starting to feel like life was useless.

anyways, we learn in AA/NA that with the help of others and a true desire to want to quit (The only thing needed for membership) that addiction can be overcome. Not only that, but that a person can restore there life so that it is worth living. Finally the last step teaches the individual that he and she can help others. If that isn't empowerment then I do not know what is. To top it off, the organization is a non-profit and funded via donations. This allows it to not be reliant on local/state/federal budgets (which we know there are not much of right now).







And I agree with you about NA, when I was going to meetings I much preferred the idea of dealing with "addiction" in general rather than a specific substance.

Most AA groups accept addicts of every type. Some NA meetings do not allow alcoholics to attend. Again, it is all up to the individual group. I know that when I share I either say "I am an alcoholic and addict" or "I am powerless over drugs and alcohol" to introduce myself. I have done this at both NA and AA and have never had a problem. Most groups focus on addiction rather then one substance. Shit, most of us know how often drugs and alcohol are mixed.

phactor
14-11-2010, 05:31
Am i allowed to post either a link or just the URL to a great site with awesome free 12 step materials?

Please Do!

panic in paradise
14-11-2010, 05:46
it was empowering, because its an impossible battle.

conserving strength and not struggling, i gained control and power over parts of my life, that i didnt before this instills strength and confidence, which reciprocates into further strength and confidence to not struggle, or force will power to get through each day with out drugs or alcohol.

that power initially cane from inside, and is there still, not in the hands of an entity. this is important, incase a prayer fails, and you dont have the faith in yourself to take the "challenge" on,,, alone with your own means.

Enki
14-11-2010, 05:58
First off I want to make this clear: I believe AA/NA/CA/MA whatever are not the only way to get clean or sober. However, I would argue that they may not be addicts. Why? I have an assumption as to why. Its to create a category of people for whom 12 step solutions are the only solution. Their may be people for whom 12 steps are the only practical and readily available solution. Is it useful or accurate to call the group that 12 steps work for for true addicts? Is this something that you would propose be used by addiction specialists in medicine and counseling? I think it is a distinction popular with some 12 steppers as a part of group identity but I'm open to arguments, evidence, or ideas about the nature of this distinction for other purposes.

It does get used by people telling themselves they "can't leave these rooms" or telling others that they can not either. There being no other way of life for "true" addicts is really important to some people both as something they put at themselves and aim at others. Even if you think I don't have the dynamics quite right I'm betting you have seen the very sorts of pep talks people give to self and others including exhortations that there is no other way.

Anyways that is what I think a great deal of the dedication to true addicts vs pseudo-addicts is about as far as group dynamics and many individuals dedication to the principles involved.

phactor
14-11-2010, 06:44
I am tired and am about to work on my meditation but I will do a quick write up Enki, I will have more tomorrow.

Because if you can stop something by just thinking "well I just don't want to do this anymore" and then do not use anymore then I would argue that you are not an addict. One of the major parts of addiction is compulsive use even in the face of known consequences. Many times I know that using would harm me greatly but I will/would still do it.

Do I think that some true addicts can quit without the 12 steps... yes of course. The 12 steps do not work for everyone.

Addiction Specialists often suggest 12 step meetings in conjuction with medication and counseling. This is because it gives the addict a better chance of getting sober and staying sober.

All I know is that right now, in this moment the 12 steps are helping me. I know this because I am sober right now and did not believe I could be. I wanted to stop on my own for years and totally recognized that I was an addict. I tried many different ways (which are chronicled on this site via my posts) and could not stay sober. I would be off of drugs for different lengths of time but was miserable and would relapse.

As for someone telling others that they cannot get sober with meetings... well I guess just don't listen to them. They are obviously being closed minded, which also does not translate well with AA/NA.

New
14-11-2010, 15:06
I couldn't stay sober with meetings. I was lying to myself for months thinking that I could. I know that you have the best of intentions, but just because someone can't tolerate a meeting doesn't necessarily make them closed minded. In my case, at least, I had given it a good year of benefit of the doubt. I even started threads like this that were all about the steps and immersed myself completely into the whole culture. I've found people(including myself) to be far more closed minded as an active participant of a 12-step program than out of one. My personal experience showing that the friends I used to have only understand 12-step related solutions and I've had countless people who have been exposed to AA/NA/?A for a fraction of the time that I have acting like I have no idea what I'm talking about concerning the program.

Because, apparently, one cannot understand the program and hate the program at the same time. One can not be angry about how 12-step institutions flat-out lie to people to siphon money out of people's pockets. I somehow am unable to decide for myself I don't want to become like the people who have 10 years sober, whose heads are in the clouds and hearts frozen over because they've seen so many people relapse in this "simple program" that they've been relegated to a leperous status in their mind. Not wanting to be like that makes me unspiritual. Apparently criticizing the program as vehemently as I feel towards it at this point in my life invalidates what I say.

I don't understand how you can claim that people in the program are open-minded when the very act of questioning it opens you up for ridicule. When separating from meetings turns you into an untouchable. I mean, fuck, there are probably thousands of people who went to meetings right up to the point of death by overdose who believed in their very hearts that the 12-step philosophy was the only thing keeping them alive. And then when the people who were going to the same meetings as those who died, they curse the disease and warn people that if they don't believe enough they could relapse and die, disrespecting the dead in the process.

And 12 steps or not, the individual has to make the decision to quit, so I don't know what difference you were trying to highlight. What you've written basically says that the difference between an addict and a "pseudo-addict" is that being a true addict guarantees death. Why would you label yourself as hopeless and helpless and expect to maintain any length of sobriety or self-esteem?

And someone will probably come along and tell me that somehow doing the 12 steps twice over wasn't enough to understand the "principles", someone will accuse me of being angry(which doesn't actually invalidate my point, but whatever), someone will accuse me of being an active addict which still doesn't invalidate my point, because the way a significant minority of people go on about the program(including myself, as evidenced by this thread), the program is as infallibe as God and Jesus Christ and the person who dare question the 12 steps is an enemy of life.

All I saw were some good people doing what their friends were doing(going to meetings), some people using AA/NA/?A as a way to artificially inflate their arrogance, and some people who just don't know any better. I'm guessing the overarching theme of this post is that I have found my 12-step involvement to be the most abusive, invalidating and patronizing experience of my life and to suggest that anybody who doesn't like the program didn't give it a fair shot is anywhere from ignorant to offensive. I would personally recommend that people stay far away from any 12-step meeting because they're simply a waste of time after the first, say ten.

phactor
14-11-2010, 19:20
As for someone telling others that they cannot get sober with meetings... well I guess just don't listen to them. They are obviously being closed minded, which also does not translate well with AA/NA.

Whoops, I meant as for someone telling others that cannot get sober without meetings... don't listen to them. It is not a perfect program at all. I have plenty of reservations and question many things about the process. Right now though I am just working on keeping myself sober on the day to day.

Kinda embarrassed, hope you didn't write that whole reply because of that statement.

But anyways, I do not believe that a person addicted to drugs can just stop whenever they want to without some form of help. Wether it be from family, friends, meetings etc.

Fuck, if it was that easy (I could just stop) then I would have along time ago. I know many people that continued to use well aware that they had a problem. That was me. I was trying all the fucking time to quit and I could not. I

Finally, when I did quit I honestly had no fucking idea how bad I was. Thats how deep my denial and rationality was. I was in literal shock for days with what had gone on over the past 8 years (when my use started to get bad). Then I had a fucking seizure.

I am not hopeless by any means, in fact I believe that I will be sober for the rest of my life. I feel like this is it for me and even if I slip up that I will quickly come back. However, I have enough evidence that I personally cannot do it by myself and that I need help. Right now, the help that is available to me is my program and meetings. That is what I am using to keep me sober. I am a very strong person. Shit, I admitted that I needed help, which is something that many cannot do. That is the true measure of courage IMO.

Thats me though, its different for everyone. However there does appear to be commonality in people that are addicts and the experiences they go through. That is a major part of what makes meetings work.

I have seen plenty of people stop using without meetings as I stated in the beginning of that statement.

In my personal experience though, I was close minded until I had my seizure. Why? Because I kept telling myself that I could do it one my own. I tried and tried and tried and would have kept trying I'm sure. In fact I had a ton of xanax when I had my seizure because I was trying to "ween" myself off of alcohol. But I was also using coke which makes me want to drink, its fucking crazy but whatever.

Anyways after I had my seizure, I decided at the hospital that I had to do anything possible to not use. Simple as that. For me that includes going to meetings and getting a sponsor. Who is to say that I will finish working the steps or will be even attending meetings in six months? Shit who is to say that I will not be using in six months (I hope I won't be). All I know that meetings are helping me right now.

I personally was close minded before because I would not give them a chance. Look backing on meetings I went to years ago, they would have helped. However I convinced myself that they would not work, were a cult, too rigid whatever. Later when I personally went in with an open mind and received the message I found them helpful.

I share at almost every meeting I go to, I stay after and talk to people, I try to help others. These are things I would not do before. These are the things that are helping me the most.

Essentially, its me at the meetings, but I am a completely different person then I was at the meetings I went to years ago. I am 27 years old now, not some idiot 23 year old coming off a dope habit convinced he can drink responsibly.

I don't know if that makes sense, but I apologize about the mistake I made in my wording. Great thread though

By the way my sponsor said: "The only thing good about rehab is you learn is all it takes is a dollar in the basket". I disagree because the program I am at is unbelievably helpful. But it is very different from the cookie cutter rehab facilities. I totally agree that most of them are not worth two shits. I do not agree with court ordered meetings either.


Finally, and I put this at the bottom because I want you to notice it. Find different meetings or programs that allow you to question if you can. I know that I and the other people in my program question everything. Why? Because it allows you to learn. That is even why I am participating in this thread. It allows me to learn. My sponsor urges me to question everything.

I have been to places like you describe. More of a "Don't question, just do place". This is most likely because the facility has many patients and just wants to pump people in and out. The program I am in now never has anymore the 15 patients at a time. We have three small groups, so you get alot of personalize attention.

This is working for me, where nothing else has. It is a perfect fit for me. This same program operates on honesty, no slips needed to be signed. I am allowed to go to whatever meetings I want to. This allows me to find ones that fit me.

So it appears that I am having a very different experience then you have/are having. I know for me that this time around feels completely different then any other length of sobriety I have had.