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Unread 05-16-2010, 10:32 AM   #1
OhioMike
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Exclamation I Don't Like The Steps!

So yes, reading here on this site has sparked this post.

Please understand, I am not trying to offer a rebuttal to other opinions, I am merely trying to offer options on how to approach things.

But, this post is for those who express negative comments about the 12 Steps, beyond the opinion that they simply were not a good match for them!

Naturally the 12 Step peer support method is not for everyone, that would be impossible. However, as a person who struggled greatly with trying to self medicate himself and who also struggled with only trying to use the 12 Steps and failing, I wanted to share some of the things which I have either experienced or have witnessed.

I strongly believe that any of us entering recovery, either for the first time or for the 10th time, that we owe it to ourselves to look into and experience as many different forms of recovery methods and tools as possible, so we can build a good plan for us!

In regard to the 12 Steps and this is the reason for this folder, two things always seem to come into play when people struggle with benefiting from the method. That is the medication issue or the Higher Power issue. Basically when we let these two issues stop us from learning anything from the steps, we are letting others stand between us and possible helpful tools.

I am a firm believer that the 12 Step method can help to some positive degree nearly everyone. When you look at the 12 Steps from a very generic perspective they are nothing more than basic common sense suggestions on how to reorganize and problem solve in our lives. I have witnessed the person taking a recovery medication benefit from the Steps and I have witnessed the atheist or non religious and/or non spiritual benefit from them.

First of all from my perspective the medication issue is only your business and no one else's. It has absolutely nothing to do with working the Steps and gaining anything positive from them. Anyone who claims otherwise is only trying to force their personal will on to you.

The Higher Power issue is maybe a bit more involved, but, again, only if we let it be. The High Power is a force greater than ourselves which we can lean on and depend on, when we are struggling or need added support. Yes, as written by the Steps founders, it is a more spiritual force, simply because that is what worked for them, but, the overall concept certainly is not limited to that and again, anyone telling you it is, are only trying to force their personal will, onto you!

Each time we come here and post a recovery problem, on this site, we are using the Higher Power concept. We are coming here, relying on the combined power of the members here, a power when combined is greater than ourselves, to help us problem solve and to lean on for support. We come here for a power greater than ourselves to help us.

This very same idea, concept, action works exactly the same when placed into the Step Method, for the non religious and/or spiritual. You go to a meeting to share your problems, looking for support and help from a power greater than you, the combined power of the group. Each group, each meeting I should say, has what is called "home group" members. These home group members serve the same purpose ass the regular posting members here on this site serve. They are the ones who are always there, at each meeting. Hence, these home group members or put in a even more simple term, your personal support line, can very easily be your higher power and offer you the same type of emotional support that the religious and/or spiritual person receives or gains from their religious and/or spiritual higher power.

Now, does all this mean that everyone should work the steps and benefit from them? Of course not, but, it does mean that we can at least learn about them and experience this recovery method enough that we can take something positive from them, to add to our overall recovery method to help us heal.

Now I am a 12 Stepper, but, thankfully my doctor and my AA sponsor both encouraged me and at times forced me to experience other methods and tools, so that my personal recovery plan could be broad and hold parts of many methods and tools, put together to best serve me.

When I was limiting myself to only one method or only one tools, I was struggling and frankly digging my personal hole much deeper and darker.

So please consider the above when sharing your negative thoughts about the 12 Steps and/or the religious and spiritual aspect of the method.

And please consider the above when planning and building your personal recovery program.

Mike
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Unread 05-16-2010, 07:03 PM   #2
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You are lucky to have people in your life that suggested you look into other recovery tools. I sought alternatives on my own. I have to say that despite my protest in personal matters, the steps have helped me at much needed moments.
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Unread 05-17-2010, 02:08 AM   #3
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The steps are only a tool to guide you so you have some thing or some one to help you through your recovery because i know i cant do this on my own. When i use nothing to help guide me my life turns into sh%%%%t..... THose steps with the help of my sponser teaches me how to live again sober.. Thanks Di
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Unread 05-17-2010, 01:49 PM   #4
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Learning to use the Steps in my life is the only reason I am even typing this post! I was (fortunately, in retrospect) hit hard by rigid "old-timers". Of course, in my mind, alcohol wasn't the problem, so I resisted every aspect of the program.

So....what happened? Looking back, I have come to believe that I have been blessed with just enough gumption to never surrender to the disease. I did everything wrong, became a chronic relapser, but somehow, I've never been able to simply surrender to the disease. Sometimes my family (God bless 'em all for putting up with me!) have forced me to take action.

I guess I have to say that my reason for *knowing* that there is a Higher Power in my life, is the simple knowledge that, without one, I would have been long ago. Somehow, things happen when they need to happen.
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Unread 06-28-2010, 02:00 PM   #5
toms
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OhioMike View Post
I am a firm believer that the 12 Step method can help to some positive degree nearly everyone. When you look at the 12 Steps from a very generic perspective they are nothing more than basic common sense suggestions on how to reorganize and problem solve in our lives. I have witnessed the person taking a recovery medication benefit from the Steps and I have witnessed the atheist or non religious and/or non spiritual benefit from them.

First of all from my perspective the medication issue is only your business and no one else's. It has absolutely nothing to do with working the Steps and gaining anything positive from them. Anyone who claims otherwise is only trying to force their personal will on to you.

The Higher Power issue is maybe a bit more involved, but, again, only if we let it be. The High Power is a force greater than ourselves which we can lean on and depend on, when we are struggling or need added support. Yes, as written by the Steps founders, it is a more spiritual force, simply because that is what worked for them, but, the overall concept certainly is not limited to that and again, anyone telling you it is, are only trying to force their personal will, onto you!
Excellent comments here. I experienced all of the usual turn-offs about the steps that most of us do. I really have never encountered anyone who waltzed into the program because they wanted to be there. And for a person who doesn't want to be there, few things provide a better excuse than mentioning God or religion.

I grew up in a fairly devout family. We had to attend Sunday school and church each week, was baptized on schedule, and never had any problem with the concept of a Higher Power. What did me in was ongoing struggles with guilt and shame. I understood the concept of forgiveness, but had a terrible time forgiving myself. So when I hit AA, my initial impression was that it could never work for me.

So what changed? As in so many things, once I simply tried a few suggestions (willingness) and pursued that which seemed to work. There was no ringing of bells, visions, or any other dramatic occurrence. I began to catch on to the differences between spirituality and religion. I began to develop a relationship with HP as a friend, rather than some cosmic judge who would always see my shortcomings. None of this happened quickly, but it did happen. I had gone in with a big chip on my shoulders, and thought all the laughing, smiling faces in the rooms were phony. They used to tell me to go until I reached the point where I wanted to go....that was the key to unlock the door to recovery.
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Unread 07-04-2010, 03:20 PM   #6
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I always heard that if we get rid of the alcohol we still have the ick, that's what the steps are for. By my experience the same thing applies for those of us who are addicted to other substances. Just because we abstain does not mean that anything else in our life has changed.

Granted, if we're abstaining chances are pretty good that at least the drug seeking behaviors and their consequences have stopped, but what about those behaviors, ideas, and incidents that lie at the root of our using? I can only speak for myself, but to be honest if I hadn't addressed those things, I would have remained a miserable, but abstinent SOB.

I didn't go through all of the pain of getting clean just to be filled with emotional pain. I fiended for more dope. Today I fiend for more recovery. The 12 steps from my program of choice are the tools I use to get it.

I remember my BIG problem early on with the steps was that I read further on down and saw steps 4 and 5, steps 8 and 9. I was so resentful and full of fear and anger that I swore I would NEVER EVER work those steps. I even told some of the people who were working with me my plan, and gave them my justifications. Those loving assholes smiled, nodded, told me to "keep coming back", and suggested I work the step I was on that day to the best of my ability, and not worry about the next step.

The wierd thing was, once I had worked step 1 with a sponsor, then step 2 with a sponsor, then step 3 with a sponsor, step 4 didn't seem so daunting. Step 5 just kind of happened. Step six dealt with the root causes of my behaviors from step 4, and step seven dealt with how I acted out on those root causes. By the time I got to step 8 the list just came naturally, and then I had heard about how step 9 could really ease my conscience. I'd received enough serenity from 1-8 that I believed 9 could make more positive change, and that Higher Power Who had helped me so much in 1 - 8 really seemed to know what He / She / It was doing ...

Damn it, people TRICKED me. Here when I followed their suggestions each step worked in order seemed to increase my willingness to do the step that followed. Imagine that.

The thing is, I have NEVER EVER been given a program-based "suggestion" from another recovering person that didn't eventually lead to my growth, and to me feeling better about myself, the world, and my place in it.

I qualify this as PROGRAM-based, because sometimes recovering people decide to assume the mantel of expert in things that are outside of our program (physical and psychological illnesses, etc.) Suggestions about treatment courses from these people must be taken with a grain of salt, other than as recovering people it is always best to be up front and honest when dealing with professionals, and to follow their treatment suggestions with care.

We were not responsible for our disease, but we must be responsible for our recovery. For this recovering addict, the steps continue to be the key.

Peace and love everyone,

-Joe G.
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Last edited by joegeeusa; 07-04-2010 at 03:21 PM.. Reason: Slight change in wording, YES THAT PERFECTIONISM CHARACTER DEFECT. :P
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Unread 07-04-2010, 03:30 PM   #7
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And as for the Higher Power thing, yeah as a gay man I had a problem with that too. I understood the concept of my substances as a power greater than myself, and when I was Out There I abandoned myself to them regularly. I had to find a loving power greater than myself to put in their place. Thankfully I was told early on that the group could be that loving power. I used G roup O f D runks / G roup O f D ruggies for many months as I worked to develop my understanding of a power greater than myself. My understanding of a Higher Power still speaks to me through groups of recovering people, but that understanding has broadened and deepened.

I know atheists, and even one Satanist in recovery. Believe me, this HP thing ain't about one religion, or even any religion. It's only about the belief that there's something out there greater than us that we can turn to as a source of strength when we find our own strength failing.

-Joe
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Unread 01-14-2011, 09:23 PM   #8
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lol seriously
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Unread 01-24-2011, 01:11 PM   #9
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Well I can tell you that I have yet to see a valid study where they show correlations between the steps and recovery. When you read the steps, there is not one that tells you how to become abstinence from alcohol or drugs. In fact, I have not seen any studies that prove that it does much of anything except perhaps indoctrination in to a "Spiritual Awakening" (better know as religious conversion).
But that is a far far reach between getting a Spiritual Awakening and stop drinking and using drugs.

I think the steps can be trace back to the Council of Nice second or third century Catholic Christianity.

It is not only archaic, but it is amateur. I don't think that neither bill nor bob were given any holy power and Carl Jung was a Nazi collaborator that was not much of a scientist, most of his case studies have been debunked by modern research. Billy was a hell of a self promoter with a lot of conjectures. And as soon as the feds and insurance companies began to say "we want to see evidence that the treatment you use does have effects, etc" a couple of years ago. Some proponents have been trying to start some creative research (like creative accounting), where it surely confirms that the 12 Steps does something, although I have yet to see them do a study to refute their dearest theories, which is what serious scientist do.

But if you want good entertainment and think you still can get some value, from an organization that gets piss poor results and blame it on their patients, you haven't reach bottom, or you did not wanted bad enough, or you are not willing to go to any length, an so on, you have every right to practice it. The Constitution and the 1st Amendment give you every right to participate in any ritual and believe in any generic Higher Power that is organized. About the only thing that I believe it is on any value is the Network. Everything else is a bunch of tightass believes, and pronouncements, sarcastic wisdom that believe there is a higher calling and are better than the rest of us mortals.

AS a result, we have plenty of alcoholics and addicts who believe in some sort of Higher Power, but are dieing because they have not been given appropriate treatment. Like HIV, addiction (thanks God) is now manageable if not cureable. All we have to do now is make it affordable.

If you are anything like me, I can expect that any medication or treatment including surgery, X Rays etc.) that is going to be perform on me, has gone thru years of pharmaceutical or rigorous studies before it is put in the market. Yet we do not expect the same thing for psychotherapy or any other life changing procedure.
Beats me!! We have been excepting too much repetitive at face value.
What was it that the Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels said
about some way of gaining people to believe them??

Last edited by Carlos; 01-24-2011 at 01:24 PM..
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