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Author Topic:   The philosophy behind The Twelve Steps
mick
Member (Idle past 2336 days)
Posts: 913
Joined: 02-17-2005


Message 16 of 104 (399788)
05-08-2007 3:34 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Nuggin
05-07-2007 3:06 PM


Re: Sinking the ship while it's in the dock
nuggin writes:

I don't understand the reasoning behind starting a program of self correction which begins with the admission that you are unable to achieve self correction.

By starting from the view point of - I am broken and only someone else can fix me, you've already given up the entire game.

In the case of AA, the point of the game is not to aid recovery but to maintain a big church of life-long AA members. I see it as a nice case of natural selection operating on culture. If your addiction cult is able to cure people and let them leave the group, then you will never be as successful (numerically) as an addiction cult which makes life-long members.

Consider what would happen to Catholicism if you only had to go to Church once, at the very end of your life, and simply carry out a full confession. That's no good! So they have to invent a load of bullshit (different celebrations throughout the year, different Saint's days, etc) to keep you an active member your whole life.

You get exactly the same in the AA - you have to accept your complete powerlessness and the fact that you will ALWAYS be an alcoholic, as the very first step in the process. And they will wheel out poor old members of fifty-years standing, who have attended AA meetings twice a week for decades, to show what you should be aiming for.

Mick


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Nuggin, posted 05-07-2007 3:06 PM Nuggin has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by Nuggin, posted 05-08-2007 3:47 AM mick has responded

  
Nuggin
Member (Idle past 1661 days)
Posts: 2962
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 17 of 104 (399789)
05-08-2007 3:47 AM
Reply to: Message 16 by mick
05-08-2007 3:34 AM


Re: Sinking the ship while it's in the dock
Not having been a member or known a member, is there a profit scheme here?

Do people pay to be members? Do they ask for donations? Do the founders sell books?

Or is this just a created culture overwhich I extend some power sort of thing


This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by mick, posted 05-08-2007 3:34 AM mick has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 18 by mick, posted 05-08-2007 3:58 AM Nuggin has not yet responded

    
mick
Member (Idle past 2336 days)
Posts: 913
Joined: 02-17-2005


Message 18 of 104 (399793)
05-08-2007 3:58 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by Nuggin
05-08-2007 3:47 AM


Re: Sinking the ship while it's in the dock
nuggin writes:

Not having been a member or known a member, is there a profit scheme here?

Do people pay to be members? Do they ask for donations? Do the founders sell books?

Or is this just a created culture overwhich I extend some power sort of thing

I doubt they make a financial profit - they sell books but at a relatively cheap price (15 dollars for their bible, "the big book", which is hardback and has about 350 pages).

I don't think AA has much of a "purpose" other than replicating itself (just like me!)


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 2687
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 19 of 104 (399831)
05-08-2007 10:29 AM
Reply to: Message 15 by Phat
05-08-2007 2:47 AM


Re: My Perspective On The Twelve Steps
The main alternative I am aware of to the faith-based 12-step approach is Rational Recovery, which is described on Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rational_Recovery.

In your OP, you refer to 12-step being used by secular programs. Could you please point out some of those secular programs?


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New Cat's Eye
Member
Posts: 11176
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 20 of 104 (399847)
05-08-2007 12:31 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phat
05-07-2007 12:24 PM


I wanted to start a topic which discusses the philosophical validity of the well known 12 steps used in both secular and faith based recovery programs.

You can get sentenced to AA, right? Like, for DUI's n'stuff.

I'll assume you can.

Anyone who participates in this thread please limit your comments to the philosophy behind each of the twelve steps in relation to recovery from a given addictive process.

Okalie-dokalie.

quote:
1.) We admitted we were powerless over alcohol--that our lives had become unmanageable.

I have a problem with this one already. Must you be powerless over alcohol to be an addict? Can't you be addicted to alcohol but not be powerless over it? <--- no semantic play here, I mean what it means.

Now, if I get sentanced to AA because of a DUI and am not willing to admit that I am powerless over alcohol, I fail the first step?

If so, then getting sentenced to AA is bullshit.

Whats the other option to AA classes? Jail?

If jail is the other option, then I would just fake it and tell them what they wanted to hear to stay out of jail. Then it is still bullshit.

But, if someone was seriouly powerless over alcohol, ie an addict, then the steps look alright, albeit a little humiliating.

Although, if the addict doesn't believe in any "higher powers", then what? They fail step 2? That turns the whole proram into bullshit again. I think the 12 steps have some problems...


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Phat
Member
Posts: 9260
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 21 of 104 (399848)
05-08-2007 12:44 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by dwise1
05-07-2007 3:16 PM


crashfrog writes:

Addiction is a complex phenomenon with both biochemical and behavioral causes, but one thing that I think we can be adamantly certain about is that addiction is not caused when people feel insufficiently powerless over their own lives and behavior, which is why I think the whole focus on surrender to a higher power is ridiculous.

Addiction is addiction when a person is powerless to stop it. I suppose that a Nicotine addict is not powerless in the sense that they could quit smoking...but who really wants to?

Addiction is not caused when a person feels powerless, but the bottom line is that many addictions are caused when a person consciously chooses to be addicted.

Nuggin writes:

I don't understand the reasoning behind starting a program of self correction which begins with the admission that you are unable to achieve self correction.

Well, the whole reason for even going to such a program is the idea that you have a problem. Until you face that fact, you may as well not even be there.

Nuggin writes:

By starting from the view point of - I am broken and only someone else can fix me, you've already given up the entire game.

If the addict has admitted that they are, in fact addicted...and they cannot fix themselves then a support group is a viable next step. If you can stop drinking, gambling, playing video games, or spending five hours a day on the computer by yourself then more power to you! :)

Maybe we can start an EvC addiction support group! (Oh wait, we would have to meet here which would then mean we were feeding our addiction which would then mean....oh never mind!):rolleyes:

Nuggin writes:

A lot of the steps go one to put the power outside of the individuals hands.

It is an individual choice to attend a support group to begin with. True helplessness is if you were forced to attend such a group.

Nuggin writes:

If we are "asking" for God to fix this problem and the problem doesn't get fixed, it's God's fault that we are still alcoholics.

Well..from a Christian view, I would say that it is your own fault for not listening to God. The alcohol is an idol. Smash it and move on! (or whatever the hangup you have is.)

berberry writes:

I believe there is a certain type of person who responds better to something that involves God. Call it God-as-placebo, which is exactly the way it looks to me, but for some people I think the 12-step approach is probably the best.

In a nutshell, Berberry, the Christian view that I have seen involves an acknowledgment that an addiction, by definition, is itself a substitute for dealing with reality and for most Christians, communion with others is reality as it should be and not yet another addiction. Some could argue that organized religion is an addiction also, I suppose. :)

dwise1 writes:

I did go through the DivorceCare program, which borrows from the 12-step program. The presentations kept emphasizing that we have no hope of recovering except through Jesus. As an atheist, all a 12-step program would do would be to constantly drum in my head that there's no hope for me, that I could never recover. There is nothing positive nor constructive in that approach.

I wonder if it would be possible to construct a 12 step model for atheists. Any ideas?
This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by dwise1, posted 05-07-2007 3:16 PM dwise1 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 23 by crashfrog, posted 05-08-2007 2:19 PM Phat has responded
 Message 27 by dwise1, posted 05-08-2007 2:51 PM Phat has not yet responded
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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 22 of 104 (399863)
05-08-2007 2:06 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by New Cat's Eye
05-08-2007 12:31 PM


You can get sentenced to AA, right? Like, for DUI's n'stuff.

Not constitutionally.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 20 by New Cat's Eye, posted 05-08-2007 12:31 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 24 by New Cat's Eye, posted 05-08-2007 2:24 PM crashfrog has responded

  
crashfrog
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 23 of 104 (399865)
05-08-2007 2:19 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by Phat
05-08-2007 12:44 PM


Addiction is addiction when a person is powerless to stop it.

If people are powerless to stop, how do you explain all the addicts who stop?

I really don't see powerlessness as a useful way to discuss the problem of addiction. There's a reason that drug addiction is a very real problem, but things like "video game addiction" are just made-up excuses to justify expensive treatment at boutique clinics. Drug addiction causes real physical changes in the brain and body. It's a disease.

You don't send a cancer patient to "Cancerholics Anonymous", you start treatment with surgeries or chemotherapy. Because they have a problem that isn't just in their head (jokes about brain cancer notwithstanding.) It's the same with drug and alcohol abuse. A system of counseling is required, as well, to deal with the behavioral issues that led to the abuse in the first place, but it's a physical problem too that must be addressed. Talking about "God" doesn't do that.

I wonder if it would be possible to construct a 12 step model for atheists.

I don't think it would be anything so glib as a bunch of steps, but why don't you look up Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, as mentioned in my link, and we can discuss it as an alternative to woo?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by Phat, posted 05-08-2007 12:44 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 71 by Phat, posted 12-31-2007 7:58 AM crashfrog has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Member
Posts: 11176
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 1.7


Message 24 of 104 (399866)
05-08-2007 2:24 PM
Reply to: Message 22 by crashfrog
05-08-2007 2:06 PM


You can get sentenced to AA, right? Like, for DUI's n'stuff.

Not constitutionally.

Yeah, I think its just an option instead of jail or something...

I'll have to ask my cousin :o


This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by crashfrog, posted 05-08-2007 2:06 PM crashfrog has responded

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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 25 of 104 (399867)
05-08-2007 2:34 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by New Cat's Eye
05-08-2007 2:24 PM


IANAL, but my understanding is that you can be given the option of either jail or approved treatments, and one of those treatments can include AA as long as there's a secular alternative; but given only the choice between jail or AA is unconstitutional.

So, you're right.


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Equinox
Member (Idle past 2491 days)
Posts: 329
From: Michigan
Joined: 08-18-2006


Message 26 of 104 (399868)
05-08-2007 2:43 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phat
05-07-2007 12:24 PM


Is this a Secular version?
Just a note that may play in one way or the other, there is a book coming out in October "Thank God for Evolution" by Michael Dowd, which specifically uses these tweleve steps in a way that is consistent with a naturalistic worldview (no supernatural, magic, gods, etc). You may be interested in checking it out.

Take care-

Equinox


-Equinox

_ _ _ ___ _ _ _
You know, it's probably already answered at http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/...
(Equinox is a Naturalistic Pagan - www.naturalpagan.org)


This message is a reply to:
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dwise1
Member
Posts: 2687
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 27 of 104 (399869)
05-08-2007 2:51 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by Phat
05-08-2007 12:44 PM


Phat writes:

dwise1 writes:

I did go through the DivorceCare program, which borrows from the 12-step program. The presentations kept emphasizing that we have no hope of recovering except through Jesus. As an atheist, all a 12-step program would do would be to constantly drum in my head that there's no hope for me, that I could never recover. There is nothing positive nor constructive in that approach.

I wonder if it would be possible to construct a 12 step model for atheists. Any ideas?

It would need to be something very different from the 12-step as it exists. And, contrary to the 12-step as it exists, it would need to be something constructive.

Again, what about Rational Recovery? As I recall (from what I had heard of it 1.5 decades ago), it involves realizing that you need to take responsibility for yourself and that you need to work to solve your own problems. Of course you can get advice and guidance and peer support from others, but you are responsible for yourself and nobody's going to do it for you. That is the atheist way. And the fundamental structure of 12-step is contrary to that way.


This message is a reply to:
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Stile
Member
Posts: 2848
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 28 of 104 (399985)
05-09-2007 1:20 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by Phat
05-08-2007 12:44 PM


Phat writes:

Well, the whole reason for even going to such a program is the idea that you have a problem. Until you face that fact, you may as well not even be there.

I think the issue is a level of needing help.

"We admitted we were powerless over alcohol--that our lives had become unmanageable."

...is a bit over-dramatic. And can be self-destructive as well. A better re-wording would be something like:

"We admited we were unable to discover the strength needed to overcome alcohol--that our lives had become unmanageable"

That is, more of an "I don't know how to overcome this problem" admission rather than "I know I'm useless".

If the addict has admitted that they are, in fact addicted...and they cannot fix themselves then a support group is a viable next step.

Not so much that they "cannot" fix themselves, but more so that they don't understand how. That is, they do have the power to help themselves, but just do not know how to tap into that power.
In both cases, a support group is a viable next step. In my suggested case, the person isn't left feeling powerless. This should help any future dependence on others for support and help them understand that they can learn to depend on themselves, eventually.

Or, well, at least that's what I think. I'm no psychological or addiction expert by any means.

Phat writes:

Nuggin writes:

A lot of the steps go one to put the power outside of the individuals hands.


It is an individual choice to attend a support group to begin with...

I don't think that's the point, though. Choosing to attend a support group doesn't have to be "to put the power outside of the individual's hands". Why can't a support group help each other to learn how to overcome an addiction through their own power?

It would seem to me that if someone learnt they could personally overcome an addiction, then they'ed have an easier time maintaining a healthy distance away from the addiction. Especially when they are alone or away from or possibly even finished the group program. If someone learnt that they can't depend on themselves to stay away from an addiction, it would seem rather trivial that they'll be very likely to become addicted again once they are on their own.

It's this beginning basis that's the problem. The philosophy that "you are not good enough to help you, you need others" is long-term destructive. An alternative philosophy that "you do not understand how strong you are, we will help you find your own strength to deal with this problem" seems much healthier.


This message is a reply to:
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nator
Member (Idle past 1992 days)
Posts: 12961
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 29 of 104 (400034)
05-09-2007 8:07 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Phat
05-07-2007 4:45 PM


Re: Cognitive Behavioral Perspective
quote:
We may be powerless over the effects of the addiction (biochemical stimulus and psycho-emotional patterns)

Of course we have power over those things, Phat.

The "psycho-emotional" is just "what we believe about ourselves".

We can work to change that, and the change can be dramatic. And it is ONLY the idividual that can change themselves. With knowledge and support, of course, but the individual is the only one with the power to change themselves.

I know this from first-hand experience.

The "psycho-emotional" is based upon the "biochemical", and (now this is the important part) vice-versa.

Here is an example.

When I worked at Zingerman's we were required to smile, be cheerful, positive, fun and helpful to our customers. It was part of how "great service" was defined there.

Sometimes, I was tired, or troubled or just not in a good mood when I started a shift. Being cheerful and enthusiastic and fun was pure acting on those days.

I noticed a fuinny thing happening, though. It turns out that your brain doesn't really know the difference between pretending to be cheerful and positive and fun and actually being cheerful and positive and fun. I usually left work in a much better mood than I began it on the days I was down or moody at the start of my shift.

Are there people who have problems with brain chemistry that might benefit from pharmaceutical help? Yes.

Likewise, are there lots of people who go through major depressions and recover without any drugs or therapy? Yes.

I know, because both Zhimbo and I did it.

Both he and I agree that the absolute WORST thing to be told when you are feeling so helpless and impotent and lost is that you really are helpless and impotent and lost.

That is because it is wrong thinking.

It is just as wrong as a normal weight girl who thinks she is fat.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by Phat, posted 05-07-2007 4:45 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

    
nator
Member (Idle past 1992 days)
Posts: 12961
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 30 of 104 (400035)
05-09-2007 8:28 PM


Maybe this is why
Maybe the reason people like the "I am powerless over my addiction" thing is because it ultimately translates to "I am not really responsible if I fuck up."
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