Thursday, February 27, 2014

Reworking the 12 Steps


Version 2.27.14 - My take on it

1. We admitted we were powerless  our physical/psychological addiction over alcohol that our lives had become and how it made our lives unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves understand those addictions and empowered ourselves with coping tools that could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.  'enough is enough' and with the help of trained medical help, will beat this addiction.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. Acknowledged who I am (good and bad) and what I've done (good and bad).

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

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove change all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove Worked diligently on our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer deep reflection and/or meditation to improve our conscious contact with God ourselves and our motivations, as we understanding Him how we got here, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and tapping into our own personal the power, along with the help of a support system, to carry that out what was necessary to live in a civilized society with others.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening experienced devastating consequences of our actions, taking responsibility, exercising deep thought and insight as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The original words without the strike-through - Copyright A.A. World Services, Inc.

I'm an average human with flaws, but also good character traits. Made good decisions and bad over my lifetime. It's probably correct to say that I have addictive tendencies, but they have not impacted my life in a devastating fashion to date. Regardless, my past included involvement with another 12 Step Program. It seemed like a good idea at the time. It was brief but gave rise to rethinking this whole approach. Primarily because of the AA model incorporating the same traditional approach that religion uses to save souls.

In my opinion, AA is parading like a wolf in sheep's clothing. The main objective for the alcoholic is to get sober, but the running of this program smacks of being back in church. It seems more about bringing wretched people to a god who pulls all the strings rather than solving the initial problem of addiction. Look how many of these steps revolve around the deity! Only 3 out of the 12 Steps actually talk about what to do to help with their recovery. They put up this whole smoke screen of curing/managing their addiction, but a god is the only one in charge apparently.

In addition, the 12 Steps seem to be giving them yet another crutch to use rather than empowering them to stand up for themselves. And obviously it works for some people (something always does - different strokes for different folks), but the conflicting success rates don't show that it is making a dent in the problem of alcohol addiction.

Personally, I think when an addict has crossed a certain threshold and decided for himself/herself that enough is enough, interjecting a god into this process is saying that a person can't do it alone. I call bullshit on AA for letting a person struggling with addictions feel as if they are powerless. How is them saying that give them the courage necessary to face the internal struggles? Especially when realistically they only have themselves to achieve anything. Oh right, I forgot, if they only give it up to God. It just seems like an obvious set up for defeat when it is highly likely they will lapse again.

So if or when the alcoholic does goes back to his old habits does God get the blame? NO! It's the schlub who falls off the wagon who just can't get his act together! The fall back will be 'he/she wasn't entirely ready' to give it all over to God. Does the program and their leaders even begin to understand physical addiction during this whole process?

If addicts were truly powerless, how did those who finally made a decision to stop drinking and then manage to maintain sobriety actually do it? They may 'chant' they believe in the 12 Steps, but it is taking their own determination and willpower to actually succeed. Way to go AA for not giving them the credit for taking the first step towards their own sobriety!

Like I said, I'm an average person with some flaws, I'm not an expert in the field of addictions. But I am against yet another process that would enslave someone to thinking they require a god to live a decent life. That's just bullshit.

If you are struggling with addiction and are searching for a program that doesn't involve handing your life over to a god, check out S.O.S. It's been in existence since 1985 and continues to offer an alternative to the 12 Step Program of AA.

I hope you find the strength you need to get through the process of recovery. May your support system be strong and the resolve for your sobriety be even stronger. You and your success in overcoming your addictions are a testament of your own strength. I wish you all the best.

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