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Author Topic:   The philosophy behind The Twelve Steps
Phat
Member
Posts: 9313
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 61 of 104 (401700)
05-21-2007 4:13 PM
Reply to: Message 60 by Asgara
05-20-2007 6:01 PM


Re: Watch Your Step
I have been a part of the group for only two months. I also see a counselor on a weekly basis and it is those sessions that I feel are also helping. As you may or may not know, I majored (although never graduated) in psychology twenty some years ago and have always found the topic somewhat fascinating.

When talking with this counselor, I ask a lot of questions, receive some encouragement, some specific topics to think about, and am never given the solutions. He points out possible links in my thought process, but he never outright tells me the answer.

I arrive at the answers on my own. Much of the insights that recently have come to light came about through Step 4. If you want, come into chat and talk briefly. :)


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Phat
Member
Posts: 9313
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 62 of 104 (401702)
05-21-2007 4:27 PM
Reply to: Message 59 by ringo
05-20-2007 5:15 PM


Re: Watch Your Step
Ringo writes:

While examining the past has its value, shouldn't dealing with addictions emphasize the present and the future? Do you really need to know "why" you drink, gamble, etc.? Isn't it more important to recognize the effects of your behaviour in the present?

It depends on the addiction. If I were addicted to cigarettes, for example, there may be some clues in my past that predisposed me to such a need, but you are basically right in saying that it is a problem best dealt with in the present and future considerations.

An addiction to people, (co-dependency) on the other hand would have definite links to past events and situations within ones life.


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Phat
Member
Posts: 9313
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 63 of 104 (401964)
05-23-2007 2:41 AM
Reply to: Message 47 by ringo
05-12-2007 3:18 PM


Re: Addictions: a disorder of worship?
Ringo writes:

It seems contradictory that 12-step programs emphasize help from others, while the "disorder of worship" idea implies help to others.

Welch never implied that the disorder was in helping others. Welch implied that the disorder was in paying too much attention to ourselves individually rather than collectively.
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Jon Paine
Member (Idle past 3488 days)
Posts: 65
From: Los Angeles, California
Joined: 05-24-2007


Message 64 of 104 (402423)
05-26-2007 2:55 PM


Is there a "godless" type of 12 step program?
I may have missed it, but can anybody tell me; Is there a "godless" type of 12 step program? It seems that some psychologist somewhere must have put one together.
Replies to this message:
 Message 65 by crashfrog, posted 05-26-2007 3:42 PM Jon Paine has responded
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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 65 of 104 (402426)
05-26-2007 3:42 PM
Reply to: Message 64 by Jon Paine
05-26-2007 2:55 PM


Re: Is there a "godless" type of 12 step program?
Rational behavior emotive therapy is one such program.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 64 by Jon Paine, posted 05-26-2007 2:55 PM Jon Paine has responded

Replies to this message:
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Jon Paine
Member (Idle past 3488 days)
Posts: 65
From: Los Angeles, California
Joined: 05-24-2007


Message 66 of 104 (402445)
05-26-2007 10:22 PM
Reply to: Message 65 by crashfrog
05-26-2007 3:42 PM


Re: Is there a "godless" type of 12 step program?
Thanks. I googled, "Rational behavior emotive therapy" and it looks promising. Of course it's not for me, it's for my cousin (a little sarcasm).
This message is a reply to:
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Jon Paine
Member (Idle past 3488 days)
Posts: 65
From: Los Angeles, California
Joined: 05-24-2007


Message 67 of 104 (402446)
05-26-2007 10:23 PM
Reply to: Message 65 by crashfrog
05-26-2007 3:42 PM


Delete Double Post

Edited by AdminPhat, : deleted double post by Jon Paine


This message is a reply to:
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Phat
Member
Posts: 9313
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 68 of 104 (402578)
05-28-2007 12:04 PM
Reply to: Message 64 by Jon Paine
05-26-2007 2:55 PM


Re: Is there a "godless" type of 12 step program?
You may or may not have read my thread thus far, but I have been reading an excellent book on addiction from a Christian Counselor entitled Addictions:A Banquet In The Grave by Edward T. Welch.

While some critics may assert that his obvious dependency on Christian dogma makes him an unlikely qualifier as an addictions counselor, I would strongly disagree. His dual model approach to an addiction emphasizes the classic AA position of powerlessness which implies strong physical or psychological dependency issues coupled with a Christian idolatry model which emphasizes individual choice and personal responsibility in overcoming the addiction. For a Christian, the obvious solution is God. (AA also emphasizes a Higher Power, but not as a necessary surrender of self.)

Wikipedia writes:

One of the main objectives in REBT is to show the client that whenever unpleasant activating events occur in people's lives, they have a choice of making themselves feel healthily and self-helpingly sorry, disappointed, frustrated, and annoyed, or making themselves feel unhealthily and self-defeatingly horrified, terrified, panicked, depressed, self-hating, and self-pitying (Ellis, 2003).

Obviously in either case, we are given an awareness of our past coping mechanisms, many of which were instilled in us as children.

When childhood and adult destructive patterns and emotional responses are re-examined in a rational manner, new insights can then be drawn which gives the addict tools with which to walk towards recovery.

Welch, of course, emphasizes the allegiances of the heart. He asks this series of questions to his clients. Would any of you care to answer them?

Questions That Reveal The Heart: (From Addictions: A Banquet In The Grave)

What do you truly want?
What is your purpose in life?
What or whom do you really love?
When do you get most sad and depressed?
When do you get hopeless? (when you don't get what you want)
What do you get most excited about? What brings you the greatest pleasure?
What is your dream?
How would you like to be remembered?
What do you especially want to avoid?

I know that I am not going to easily be able to honestly answer these questions without revealing some addictive patterns and objects of worship. (The idolatry factor)


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Phat
Member
Posts: 9313
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 69 of 104 (403290)
06-01-2007 6:38 PM


Crystal Meth Anonymous
edit post as it is no longer conducive to the discussion ;)

Edited by Phat, : see above


  
Phat
Member
Posts: 9313
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 70 of 104 (411539)
07-21-2007 9:17 AM


Ready for Step Five
I finally finished step 4, which is thought my many 12 step afficienados as the crux of the entire program. Its funny, but I thought that once I examined my past and made a searching and fearless moral inventory, I would be well on my way to being cured!

I have found some deep seated anxieties, however, and the next step is to confess my entire life history and my secret fears, sins, and hangups to someone I trust! :eek:

I found a person that I can trust who will not judge me or gossip negatively about me, but I feel stupid and somewhat reluctant to share all of my past garbage!

Of course I am in control of what I reveal, but I have a fear of being seen in a wrong light. Apparently this confession is supposed to be cleansing to the soul, but I am still apprehensive.


  
Phat
Member
Posts: 9313
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 71 of 104 (444866)
12-31-2007 7:58 AM
Reply to: Message 23 by crashfrog
05-08-2007 2:19 PM


Further Discussion Of Empowerment
OK...so I went through the 12 steps and made a few changes in my life...but I have not been able to get past the idea of surrender.

Crashfrog writes:

Well, just to let you know - these steps aren't used in secular recovery programs. How could they be? How could a secular program ask you to give your life over to God?(...)

I can tell you that it's fairly well-known that these 12-step programs have little practical validity. (...)

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.(...)

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

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?

Interesting.

quote:
One of the main objectives in REBT is to show the client that whenever unpleasant activating events occur in people's lives, they have a choice of making themselves feel healthily and self-helpingly sorry, disappointed, frustrated, and annoyed, or making themselves feel unhealthily and self-defeatingly horrified, terrified, panicked, depressed, self-hating, and self-pitying (Ellis, 2003).

What I have been told in my group is that the people who don't recover have a problem with personal honesty...to themselves and to others.


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Phat
Member
Posts: 9313
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 72 of 104 (474009)
07-04-2008 12:30 PM


UPDATE
It has been a couple of years now, and I have been through the 12 step program twice. I have some good insights into addictions and why they happen.
Replies to this message:
 Message 73 by Granny Magda, posted 07-05-2008 10:33 PM Phat has responded

  
Granny Magda
Member
Posts: 2301
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


(1)
Message 73 of 104 (474161)
07-05-2008 10:33 PM
Reply to: Message 72 by Phat
07-04-2008 12:30 PM


Re: UPDATE
Hi Phat,

I'm glad to hear that you are well and, whatever my misgivings about twelve step, I'm glad that you are able to stay on an even keel. I wish you every success now and in the future.

I was wondering; are you any happier about the "surrender" and "powerlessness" aspects than you were when you made the previous post? I have to say that I agree with what Crashfrog had to say on the matter. Telling an addict of any stripe that they are powerless seems to me like the worst advice imaginable, the polar opposite of what they need to hear. That's my biggest objection to twelve step.

I'm also none too keen on the focus on God, but I guess that's not so problematic for you. :) Still, doesn't it seem a little... creepy. Addicts in recovery are at a very vulnerable time in their lives. Attempting to proselytise amongst such people seems like getting them whilst they're down, a bit of a dirty tactic in my view. What do you think?

My other criticism is not just aimed at twelve step, but at a good many addiction treatments. Cold turkey.

Suddenly going from twenty beers a day to nothing is not only a bad way to go about things in pragmatic success/failure terms, I believe that it is actually very dangerous for the person involved. A very dear friend of mine died after coming off heroin. She gave up rapidly and completely and a few days later suffered a heart attack in her sleep. I know that this is only anecdotal, but I can't help but speculate that the sudden dramatic change in body chemistry contributed to her death.

I would strongly advise anyone who has been a heavy drug or alcohol user to to attempt sudden cold turkey. Try and reduce the dose bit by bit. I think that approach is both safer and more likely to work.


Mutate and Survive
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Jaderis
Member (Idle past 838 days)
Posts: 622
From: NY,NY
Joined: 06-16-2006


Message 74 of 104 (474174)
07-06-2008 8:14 AM
Reply to: Message 73 by Granny Magda
07-05-2008 10:33 PM


Re: UPDATE
I was wondering; are you any happier about the "surrender" and "powerlessness" aspects than you were when you made the previous post? I have to say that I agree with what Crashfrog had to say on the matter. Telling an addict of any stripe that they are powerless seems to me like the worst advice imaginable, the polar opposite of what they need to hear. That's my biggest objection to twelve step.

I have to say that I agree as well. If one accepts that they are powerless and then find that they are alone (after a crisis of faith or a loss of the support group) then what?

However, it seems to go with a certain pattern of conversion into Christian faith. Accept that you are essentially worthless and evil/sinful and let God take over and all will be OK.

You probably have made the connection but you separated that point from this one

Granny Magda writes:

Attempting to proselytise amongst such people seems like getting them whilst they're down, a bit of a dirty tactic in my view. What do you think?

It is a dirty tactic. This is pure anecdotal evidence, but I have never met a born-again Christian (including close relatives) who didn't become so after being completely depressed, guilt-ridden or addicted to something or other. Not a single born-again I know became so because they were happy, content and/or optimistic about life and wanted to celebrate it by being "born again."

Essentially, it is a breaking down of self beyond whatever has you down. By admitting you have no control, you relinquish control but what happens when you relapse? It is all your own sinful fault again. Not the God you just relinquished control to.

It's always a fight, always a struggle and you hate yourself for giving in and God wants you to be good, but you give in and, with free will and all, it is really all up to you anyway. So why God? If this God can't really help you and it is really your own self-control that gets you through then why deal with all of the ritual and/or the extra helping of Bible-based self-loathing?

Of course, if you do stay sober then it can be attributed to God. It's all God's doing if you do well. Praise be! :rolleyes:


"You are metaphysicians. You can prove anything by metaphysics; and having done so, every metaphysician can prove every other metaphysician wrong--to his own satisfaction. You are anarchists in the realm of thought. And you are mad cosmos-makers. Each of you dwells in a cosmos of his own making, created out of his own fancies and desires. You do not know the real world in which you live, and your thinking has no place in the real world except in so far as it is phenomena of mental aberration." -The Iron Heel by Jack London

"Hazards exist that are not marked" - some bar in Chelsea


This message is a reply to:
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Phat
Member
Posts: 9313
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 75 of 104 (474177)
07-06-2008 10:33 AM
Reply to: Message 73 by Granny Magda
07-05-2008 10:33 PM


Empowerment and definition of Higher Power
Granny Magna writes:

I was wondering; are you any happier about the "surrender" and "powerlessness" aspects than you were when you made the previous post? I have to say that I agree with what Crashfrog had to say on the matter. Telling an addict of any stripe that they are powerless seems to me like the worst advice imaginable, the polar opposite of what they need to hear. That's my biggest objection to twelve step.

Jaderis writes:

I have to say that I agree as well. If one accepts that they are powerless and then find that they are alone (after a crisis of faith or a loss of the support group) then what?

Obviously, if one were truly powerless, they wouldn't even be able to choose God! So there is a degree of will and self determination involved. Once an addiction becomes an addiction, rather than merely an annoying habit, it is virtually impossible to control it, however. I cannot choose to gamble just a little bit. Whenever I did, I soon found myself spending more and more and spiraling out of control again. I don't personally feel that I am powerless and alone in the world without a support group, largely because of my personal faith. For a non-religious person, empowerment is the same as accepting that God exists. IMHO :)

Empowerment can mean being in touch with a super conscious mind and able to access the parts of ones brain not normally used! ;) How would we be able to tell the difference between that and a claim that God changed my life?


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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