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Author Topic:   The philosophy behind The Twelve Steps
Legend
Member (Idle past 2480 days)
Posts: 1226
From: Wales, UK
Joined: 05-07-2004


(1)
Message 76 of 108 (474189)
07-06-2008 1:27 PM
Reply to: Message 75 by Phat
07-06-2008 10:33 AM


Re: Empowerment and definition of Higher Power
Phat writes:

Obviously, if one were truly powerless, they wouldn't even be able to choose God!


But they don't choose God, they're just accepting the first glimmer of hope that comes their way, much like a drowning man will grasp at anything in order to stay afloat.

Most 'born-agains' in my old church were there just because people from my church happened to be the first ones to talk to them. They were the first ones to knock on their door. They could have easily been from any other religious denomination or social group that offered some kind of salvation.

The converts didn't choose, they were chosen.

Having said that, I admire you much like I admire anyone who's recovered from serious addiction and massive respect to you for doing so, God or no God.


"We must respect the law, not let it blind us away from the basic principles of fairness, justice and freedom"
This message is a reply to:
 Message 75 by Phat, posted 07-06-2008 10:33 AM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 77 by Phat, posted 07-06-2008 4:24 PM Legend has responded
 Message 82 by Phat, posted 07-29-2008 8:48 PM Legend has not yet responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 9501
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 77 of 108 (474201)
07-06-2008 4:24 PM
Reply to: Message 76 by Legend
07-06-2008 1:27 PM


Group Support
Group support and personal willingness to be honest and share are the keys to success.

The toughest steps are 4 and 5.

quote:
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs.


Its hard to get real with yourself and its hard to get real with others, God notwithstanding.

Edited by Thugpreacha, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 76 by Legend, posted 07-06-2008 1:27 PM Legend has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 78 by Legend, posted 07-06-2008 6:01 PM Phat has responded

  
Legend
Member (Idle past 2480 days)
Posts: 1226
From: Wales, UK
Joined: 05-07-2004


Message 78 of 108 (474209)
07-06-2008 6:01 PM
Reply to: Message 77 by Phat
07-06-2008 4:24 PM


Re: Group Support
quote:
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs.


These are tough steps indeed, but soul-searching and honest self-assessment yield results regardless of of one's faith in God.

Put another way, you can replace the word 'God' with 'self' in the twelve steps (obviously re-phrase step 1) and the results will remain the same.

Edited by Legend, : grammar


"We must respect the law, not let it blind us away from the basic principles of fairness, justice and freedom"
This message is a reply to:
 Message 77 by Phat, posted 07-06-2008 4:24 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 79 by Phat, posted 07-07-2008 3:33 AM Legend has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 9501
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 79 of 108 (474239)
07-07-2008 3:33 AM
Reply to: Message 78 by Legend
07-06-2008 6:01 PM


Recovery Without God
Legend writes:

These are tough steps indeed, but soul-searching and honest self-assessment yield results regardless of of one's faith in God.

Put another way, you can replace the word 'God' with 'self' in the twelve steps (obviously re-phrase step 1) and the results will remain the same.

You may be interested in this:
quote:
Recovery Without God(©1999 World Service Office, Inc.)

It seems that I've been searching all of my life for something to believe in. Finally, in 1982, after fifteen years of nonstop drug abuse, I crawled into the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous. Though I was barely recognizable as a human being, I found in those rooms the hope that had eluded me for so long.

Upon receiving my first hug at my first NA meeting, I knew that I had come home. What I found especially appealing were the choices I had been given -- the choice to not use, just for today, and the choice to have a Higher Power of my own understanding. For the most part, not using just for today proved to be much easier than finding a Higher Power.

Over the years in recovery, I tried many different gods: Jesus, Buddha, Saraswati, Vishnu, and countless others. But I found that trying to believe in an intangible and invisible being or force left me empty and longing for more.

What worked for me in early recovery, as well as today, is using the group as a power greater than myself. Actually it is the unconditional love that I get from the group and members of NA that I believe is a Higher Power -- certainly greater than anything of which I'm capable alone.

Does this mean that I pray or meditate to the group? Of course not. Prayer is simply a petition, and meditation merely reflecting -- it does not have to be directed to anything, anyone, or any deity in particular.

How can I possibly have any purpose or meaning in my life without a god? I believe my purpose in life is to develop into the best me that I can be.

Finally, with what do I maintain a conscious contact, and from where do I seek comfort, if not a god? Today I find comfort in knowing that I am living a healthy, good, clean life and that I am not harming others or myself. I can maintain a conscious contact by holding love close to my heart.

I seek to do the right thing for the right reason. I attempt to move my life forward in a good, orderly direction, and I do my best to incorporate the principles of our steps, traditions, and concepts into each day, I stay close to the program by going to meetings and sharing with my sponsor and sponsees. Today I accept my humanity. I know I'm not perfect, just a perfect human being.

My most significant spiritual awakening was when I realized that the power is in me. I cannot rely on a mythical being or force to do for me what I cannot do for myself, nor do I wish to. After a lifetime spent trying to be everything to everyone, I now know that it begins and ends with me. I have to do the footwork, I must make the effort, and I need to seek the solutions.

As it states in It Works: How and Why, today I have the ability to "live with dignity, love myself and others, laugh, and find great joy and beauty in my surroundings." I believe that life is an adventure waiting for me to discover all of its intricacies, not something to dread. I embrace the life that NA has given me today, and in spite of all the pain, loss, grief, and fear that I've experienced over the years, I relish every waking moment. I love life today.

I recently read something that, for me, says it all: "The meaning of life is to live a life of meaning." Today, with the help of NA, its principles, the friends I've made, and the people I've met along the way, I'm capable of living such a life.

-- Anonymous


I think that becoming the best that we can be is a noble goal. What happens, however, when one does not care about recovery? I went through such a phase. I figured that all I was doing was hurting myself...if anybody. I actually liked being addicted. I saw no harm in it.

In light of this, my question is this: Is addiction always a bad thing?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 78 by Legend, posted 07-06-2008 6:01 PM Legend has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 80 by Legend, posted 07-08-2008 5:42 PM Phat has responded

  
Legend
Member (Idle past 2480 days)
Posts: 1226
From: Wales, UK
Joined: 05-07-2004


Message 80 of 108 (474478)
07-08-2008 5:42 PM
Reply to: Message 79 by Phat
07-07-2008 3:33 AM


Re: Recovery Without God
I think that becoming the best that we can be is a noble goal. What happens, however, when one does not care about recovery? I went through such a phase. I figured that all I was doing was hurting myself...if anybody. I actually liked being addicted. I saw no harm in it.

In light of this, my question is this: Is addiction always a bad thing?

well, as long as it doesn't become the only driving force in your life I wouldn't think so. However, this is rarely the case. Most addicts neglect or mistreat their family, friends and dependants in pursuit of their addiction, so it's fair to say that addiction has other victims and not only the addicts.

Speaking of addiction, I find that some people are addicted to religion. They need to believe in a greater power and they need to feel part of a community that believes the same thing. It gives them an enormous high, it's an addiction that's very difficult to kick. Thoughts?


"We must respect the law, not let it blind us away from the basic principles of fairness, justice and freedom"
This message is a reply to:
 Message 79 by Phat, posted 07-07-2008 3:33 AM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 81 by Phat, posted 07-09-2008 10:48 AM Legend has not yet responded
 Message 83 by Phat, posted 08-25-2008 3:49 PM Legend has not yet responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 9501
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 81 of 108 (474568)
07-09-2008 10:48 AM
Reply to: Message 80 by Legend
07-08-2008 5:42 PM


Re: Recovery Without God
Legend writes:

Speaking of addiction, I find that some people are addicted to religion. They need to believe in a greater power and they need to feel part of a community that believes the same thing. It gives them an enormous high, it's an addiction that's very difficult to kick. Thoughts?

Oh I very much agree. Religion is one of the main addictions as well.

Addiction by definition is (dependence on)the mood altering state that helps an individual cope with pain and emotion.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 80 by Legend, posted 07-08-2008 5:42 PM Legend has not yet responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 9501
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 82 of 108 (477059)
07-29-2008 8:48 PM
Reply to: Message 76 by Legend
07-06-2008 1:27 PM


The Stages Of Change Model
Legend writes:

But they don't choose God, they're just accepting the first glimmer of hope that comes their way, much like a drowning man will grasp at anything in order to stay afloat.

I'm gonna bring this theory up since it is along the same topic guidelines. :)
People have been found to exhibit six basic stages of change that they cycle through in their attempts at recovery.
The stages of change are:

1)Precontemplation (also known as Denial)--In the precontemplation stage, people are not thinking seriously about changing and are not interested in any kind of help. People in this stage tend to defend their current bad habit(s) and do not feel it is a problem. They may be defensive in the face of other people’s efforts to pressure them to quit.

2) Contemplation--In the contemplation stage people are more aware of the personal consequences of their bad habit and they spend time thinking about their problem. Although they are able to consider the possibility of changing, they tend to be ambivalent about it.

3) Preparation/Determination--In the preparation/determination stage, people have made a commitment to make a change. Their motivation for changing is reflected by statements such as: “I’ve got to do something about this — this is serious. Something has to change. What can I do?”

4) Action/Willpower--This is the stage where people believe they have the ability to change their behavior and are actively involved in taking steps to change their bad behavior by using a variety of different techniques.

This is the shortest of all the stages. The amount of time people spend in action varies. It generally lasts about 6 months, but it can literally be as short as one hour! This is a stage when people most depend on their own willpower. They are making overt efforts to quit or change the behavior and are at greatest risk for relapse.

5) Maintenance--Maintenance involves being able to successfully avoid any temptations to return to the bad habit. The goal of the maintenance stage is to maintain the new status quo. People in this stage tend to remind themselves of how much progress they have made.

People in maintenance constantly reformulate the rules of their lives and are acquiring new skills to deal with life and avoid relapse. They are able to anticipate the situations in which a relapse could occur and prepare coping strategies in advance.

6) Relapse --Along the way to permanent cessation or stable reduction of a bad habit, most people experience relapse. In fact, it is much more common to have at least one relapse than not. Relapse is often accompanied by feelings of discouragement and seeing oneself as a failure.

While relapse can be discouraging, the majority of people who successfully quit do not follow a straight path to a life time free of self-destructive bad habits. Rather, they cycle through the five stages several times before achieving a stable life style change.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 76 by Legend, posted 07-06-2008 1:27 PM Legend has not yet responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 9501
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 83 of 108 (479235)
08-25-2008 3:49 PM
Reply to: Message 80 by Legend
07-08-2008 5:42 PM


Re: Recovery Without God
Legend writes:

Speaking of addiction, I find that some people are addicted to religion. They need to believe in a greater power and they need to feel part of a community that believes the same thing. It gives them an enormous high, it's an addiction that's very difficult to kick. Thoughts?

I am coming to see the 12 step process in a new light recently.

Lets review Step One: (According to Celebrate: Recovery )
1. We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors. That our
lives had become unmanageable.

I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do
what is good, but I cannot carry it out. (Romans 7:18)

It used to be that I thought that "being powerless" mean't that I lacked the willpower to quit on my own and that I was powerless over something which I had no control over. Recently, I realized that this is an excuse and is only partially true. While certain deeply ingrained habits are hard to break, they can be broken. The biggest part of the first step is in wanting to change.
Celebrate: Recovery wants to be a means to introduce people to the addiction known as Jesus. :) Rational Recovery seeks to empower people to realize that they can change without the need for any religion apart from belief in oneself.

The Stages Of Change Model that I brought up in the preceding post shows the factual stages that an individuals mindset is at.

Bottom Line: Many people never really want to change. They stubbornly and persistently gravitate towards their addictions rather than the solutions.

Any program can and will work only once an individual wants to change and is brought to a place where they see the need for change in their life. Without that seemingly obvious realization, no magical formula, theory or Sky Daddy will ever be able to help them.

I once heard this, ironically, from a Christian: The Human Will is the most powerful active mental force in the universe. Even God won't override it.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 80 by Legend, posted 07-08-2008 5:42 PM Legend has not yet responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 9501
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 84 of 108 (496525)
01-28-2009 6:29 PM


Conclusion?
I STILL believe that the 12 step process can work, but I don't believe that it is the only way to go, nor can it work without ones cooperation. I have concluded two basic things:

  • People have to want to change.

  • Awareness happens slowly. It may take years to uncover the events of our past that we either don't understand, have purposefully hidden from ourselves, or never remembered.
    Replies to this message:
     Message 85 by Larni, posted 01-29-2009 9:52 AM Phat has responded

      
  • Larni
    Member
    Posts: 3943
    From: UK
    Joined: 09-16-2005


    Message 85 of 108 (496609)
    01-29-2009 9:52 AM
    Reply to: Message 84 by Phat
    01-28-2009 6:29 PM


    Re: Conclusion?
    I STILL believe that the 12 step process can work, but I don't believe that it is the only way to go, nor can it work without ones cooperation. I have concluded two basic things:

    People have to want to change.

    Awareness happens slowly. It may take years to uncover the events of our past that we either don't understand, have purposefully hidden from ourselves, or never remembered.

    I partially concur.

    I take issue with the final sentance, however. You do not always (and in my experience; often) have to go digging in the past to solve ones problems.

    My favourite example is the habit of smoking. We don't have to know why we started smoking, but we need to konw what is going on now to make any changes.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 84 by Phat, posted 01-28-2009 6:29 PM Phat has responded

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     Message 86 by Phat, posted 01-29-2009 10:06 AM Larni has not yet responded
     Message 89 by Phat, posted 08-12-2011 1:11 PM Larni has responded
     Message 91 by Phat, posted 09-09-2013 3:48 AM Larni has responded

        
    Phat
    Member
    Posts: 9501
    From: Denver,Colorado USA
    Joined: 12-30-2003
    Member Rating: 2.3


    Message 86 of 108 (496611)
    01-29-2009 10:06 AM
    Reply to: Message 85 by Larni
    01-29-2009 9:52 AM


    Ghosts of Christmas past....
    I did'nt mean that every habit requires a full awareness of ones past life. In my case, I had emotinal issues that seemingly kept me from growing up. (Peter Pan syndrome?) Delving into my past allowed these issues to become consciously rationalized. Now, the information is all available to me, but I still have to make the efforts required to mature. It is not easy, since it is much more comfortable to blame external situations and causes rather than to take the responsibility to grow on ones own self will.

    I am making progress, however. :) (BTW this also ties in with my addictions! ;) )


    "All that we call human history--money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery--[is] the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy."--C.S.Lewis
    * * * * * * * * * *
    “The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.”--General Omar Bradley
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    "The free man owns himself. He can damage himself with either eating or drinking; he can ruin himself with gambling. If he does he is certainly a damn fool, and he might possibly be a damned soul; but if he may not, he is not a free man any more than a dog." -GK Chesterson

    This message is a reply to:
     Message 85 by Larni, posted 01-29-2009 9:52 AM Larni has not yet responded

      
    Phat
    Member
    Posts: 9501
    From: Denver,Colorado USA
    Joined: 12-30-2003
    Member Rating: 2.3


    Message 87 of 108 (628732)
    08-12-2011 12:31 PM
    Reply to: Message 14 by dwise1
    05-08-2007 2:33 AM


    Re: My Perspective On The Twelve Steps
    dwise1 writes:

    AA gets public funding, right?

    From AA Website:

    quote:
    There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

    It has been several years since I first made this topic, and I still struggle with a gambling addiction. I joined Gamblers Anonymous back in January of 2011, and managed to be "sober" from gambling fgor a good 3 months. Initially, I made the decision to start gambling again and was in no way powerless. Now, however, despite trying to stop, I again find myself buying lottery tickets even when I previously told myself to stop! Analyzing the reasons and the thought process involved, I conclude that I prefer fantasy over reality and wish (pray, even) that the fantasy will become reality. Many Christians have this same tendency and for many of us, God bestowing favor is a necessary and expected part of life. After all, He has so much it won't hurt Him to favor us...now will it?

    Does anyone have any recent experiences regarding struggles with addictions and the process utilized to control and/or stop them?


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 14 by dwise1, posted 05-08-2007 2:33 AM dwise1 has not yet responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 88 by Panda, posted 08-12-2011 12:56 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

      
    Panda
    Member (Idle past 1187 days)
    Posts: 2688
    From: UK
    Joined: 10-04-2010


    Message 88 of 108 (628741)
    08-12-2011 12:56 PM
    Reply to: Message 87 by Phat
    08-12-2011 12:31 PM


    Re: My Perspective On The Twelve Steps
    Phat writes:

    Does anyone have any recent experiences regarding struggles with addictions and the process utilized to control and/or stop them?


    It is not much of a story, but I recently (last year, I think) gave up smoking.
    I read 'Allen Carr's Easyway to stop smoking' book and just stopped.

    I am not exactly sure how it worked - I think there was an aspect of hypnosis.
    I think it tries to change how you think about things.

    The book advises you to not stop smoking until you finish the book and then have a last cigarette.
    Half-way through that last cigarette I stubbed it out and threw it in the bin.

    Not had any relapses.
    I have smoked some recreational substances a couple of times - but I haven't smoked only tobacco.

    tbh: Really weird.

    (Not sure if this helps at all - I can go into more detail later if you want, but I am off homewards now.)


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 87 by Phat, posted 08-12-2011 12:31 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

      
    Phat
    Member
    Posts: 9501
    From: Denver,Colorado USA
    Joined: 12-30-2003
    Member Rating: 2.3


    Message 89 of 108 (628744)
    08-12-2011 1:11 PM
    Reply to: Message 85 by Larni
    01-29-2009 9:52 AM


    Cognitive Dissonance
    Larni writes:

    We don't have to know why we started smoking, but we need to konw what is going on now to make any changes.

    Is it common to become addicted to ones own body chemicals?

    Aside from preferring a fantasy, why would it be such cognitive dissonance for me to quit a habit that in reality offers me very little external benefit?


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 85 by Larni, posted 01-29-2009 9:52 AM Larni has responded

    Replies to this message:
     Message 90 by Larni, posted 08-12-2011 2:33 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

      
    Larni
    Member
    Posts: 3943
    From: UK
    Joined: 09-16-2005


    Message 90 of 108 (628755)
    08-12-2011 2:33 PM
    Reply to: Message 89 by Phat
    08-12-2011 1:11 PM


    Re: Cognitive Dissonance
    From my perspective you would be using gambling to modify your emotional state.

    It is not gambling (or any habit, for that matter) per se that is the problem; it is how the behaviour manipulates how you feel.

    I get a massive buzz when I buy something: it's not the thing I buy that I want more tan the buzz I get when I buy something.

    We find it hard to quit because we value that micro second of buzz.


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 89 by Phat, posted 08-12-2011 1:11 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

        
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