12-Step Brainwashing
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24-09-2010, 02:05 PM
RE: 12-Step Brainwashing
(24-09-2010 01:22 PM)TruthAddict Wrote:  
(24-09-2010 09:15 AM)BarleyMcFlexo Wrote:  
Quote:In principle, the believers are all supposed to have their eyes shut, so they shouldn't notice. If they do say something (a rare event), I like to ask them why their eyes weren't closed.

Please explain why you think believers are supposed to close their eyes when they pray. Prayer is talking to God.

And does he talk back?

Only when I'm listening, Truth.
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24-09-2010, 08:42 PM
RE: 12-Step Brainwashing
(24-09-2010 04:34 AM)Stark Raving Wrote:  Well isn't this just the can of worms I've been waiting for someone to open. My wife is a FORMER alcoholic (they hate it when you say that) who went to a center that based it's recovery strategy on AA, and I attempted al-anon. We are both atheists. Long story to come....

I will very eagerly await that! I have several family members who cite their sobriety as certain proof that god exists. Of course, they forget about a little thing called the "placebo effect." If you believe strongly enough that god is helping you you can almost certainly cure yourself.

Why not just acknowledge that other people helped you to get and stay sober? I can't wait to hear what I'm sure will be a very relevant take on the whole thing.
(24-09-2010 06:08 AM)2buckchuck Wrote:  Live and let live seems like a reasonable policy for dealing with theists in your life. For the most part, anyway.

Absolutely. Principles like this are what I find so helpful about Al-Anon. Smile Let's just leave god out of it.
(24-09-2010 11:39 AM)BnW Wrote:  For what it's worth, I know many people who have been helped by Al-Anon. As with anything else, you take the parts of the message and experience that work for you and leave the rest behind.

I don't mean to direct this at anyone in particular but I really think we've all gotten very sensitive as a society. For me, I find being offended by a religious reference as silly as a Christian being offended by "Seasons Greetings" in December.

I agree. I do think this is a particularly religious group however. I had a sponsor who basically told me to pray or get a new sponsor. The bad part was that she was probably one of the least religious people there, and there aren't any atheists of agnostics in the group. I just feel like I'm left out because I'm not ignorant enough to believe a sky daddy is going to solve all my problems for me. Know what I mean?
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24-09-2010, 09:08 PM
RE: 12-Step Brainwashing
Yes, I do and that is clearly a problem.

AA may not work for everyone but I know many people it does work for. Some are religious, some are not, but none of them wear it on their sleeves. One of the things AA says is to believe in a "higher power" and it leaves it up to you. I agree with the original comment that it can be a baseball bat or whatever. I'd probably make it my need to take care of my family. You just have to find what works for you.

Just remember, though: the most important thing you have is your health, both physical and mental. Not only is the sky daddy not going to solve any of your problems, but you can't really count on anyone else to solve them either. Other people can help you but the decision to be well has to come from you. However you do that is almost irrelevant, as long as you do it.

Finally, I suggest you move to the northeastern US. Higher percentage of college graduates, lower percentage of people trying to drag you off to church. It's not utopia but compared to some other parts of the country I think it's pretty close.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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24-09-2010, 09:21 PM
RE: 12-Step Brainwashing
(24-09-2010 09:08 PM)BnW Wrote:  Just remember, though: the most important thing you have is your health, both physical and mental. Not only is the sky daddy not going to solve any of your problems, but you can't really count on anyone else to solve them either. Other people can help you but the decision to be well has to come from you. However you do that is almost irrelevant, as long as you do it.

Finally, I suggest you move to the northeastern US. Higher percentage of college graduates, lower percentage of people trying to drag you off to church. It's not utopia but compared to some other parts of the country I think it's pretty close.

Very, very good point. And since we only have one life to live now Smile it becomes even more important.

Northeastern US? No skiing and fighting of bears with zucchini? What fun would that be? LOL
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25-09-2010, 12:00 AM
RE: 12-Step Brainwashing
Let's start out with an interesting statistic. Somewhere between 4% and 7% of people who go through the AA program achieve long term success. (Depends on which study, and when it was done. AAs success seems to be getting worse.) That's not nearly what they would like you to believe.
The twelve steps in AA take the power of recovery out of the hands of the addicted. Right from step one (We admitted we are powerless over alcohol) they tell you that it's not your fault and that you can't fix it. Instead, you must give you power over to your "higher power". Sure, they say it can be anything, just like they insist you don't have to pray, but instead meditate. This is a thin veil at best, to disguise an institution that is so similar to a church that if it didn't deal with addiction it would be indistinguishable. At the beginning and end of every meeting everyone says "affirmations" together (read prayer) and you must follow their book of rules (read the bible) otherwise you CANNOT be sober, but only what they call a "dry drunk". Think about that for a second. Let it really soak in. If you don't do it their way, you cannot, according to AA, achieve sobriety. Many say AA is beyond a religious organization, and actually compare it to a cult. (Arguably one in the same, but that's another debate.)

This is a bit of a long read, but well written, and for those that need references, it has them.

Heck, skip to step 12. It tells you that now you have to "spread the word" Basically they say that to be truly sober, you now must be a recruter for AA!!!

Ok, that's enough of that for me. My purpose was to share personal experience. If you want statistics, there are many on this forum that are FAR better researchers than I. I'm going to attempt to give the readers digest version of my (Well, mine and my wifes) experience with AA and Al-Anon. My wife attempted treatment four times through AA. Each time, she hit a roadblock early on. Her first hurdle was the "higher power". She is an atheist, and even though they say meditation, it was always obvious that they meant prayer. She was even pulled aside and told that they have to use those terms or those godless atheists would whine and complain that they were being excluded. "To hell with them" was a phrase she heard from several people in more than one group. So right from the start, she had to hide who she was just to get help. The next hurdle was the teaching that you are powerless. Having a degree in psycology, she was well aware of the fact that taking someones power away from them is the WORST thing you can do if you want to promote healing. In the end (to make a very long story short) my wife decided that the 12 steps were so horribly askew, that it would make sense to actually look into doing the exact opposite of what they proposed. If you read the steps, and picture the opposite, you may see why this thinking was helpful. She sought alternatives, and in her research actually discovered that the majority of real mental health professionals do not agree with most or all of what AA teaches. She is now over a year sober, and has very little problems at all with her desire to drink. Part of that (a big part if you ask me) is that she is not constantly forced to think about her alcoholism. (AA expects you to attend weekly meetings for the rest of your life!) She copes with the occasional craving for a drink WHEN IT HAPPENS, and otherwise, doesn't live her life as an alcoholic, but as a normal person. She has accepted responsibility for drinking instead of claiming she is powerless over it, and maintains that power to maintain a sober lifestyle.

As for me, I tried the Al-Anon thing. It wasn't a support group for families of alcoholics, it was a prayer group. Many are less religious than the one I went to, but they are still based on the 12 steps of AA. Three meetings and I knew it was nothing more than a cult.

I may have rambled a bit here. For that I am sorry. Unfortunately, it's just impossible to tell my story properly in this medium. If however, there's anyone here who truly needs to talk to someone who's been through it (as a spouse of an atheist alcoholic) send me a PM.

I may try to add to this later, but in the meantime, ask questions. I'll happily answer what I can from my own experience.

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25-09-2010, 03:00 AM
RE: 12-Step Brainwashing
Quote:So right from the start, she had to hide who she was just to get help.
There's no non-religious help avaiable for drinking problems in Canada?

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25-09-2010, 06:20 AM
RE: 12-Step Brainwashing

Your experience is vastly different from what my wife and her friends have experienced. Yes, the 12 steps are a bit ridiculous but they have worked for my wife and her friends. For me, that is all that matters. If she had to promise to giver her soul to the "green-meanie" or something and she attributed that to her sobriety, there would be zero argument from me.

The "cult" charge gets leveled a lot but I don't buy it. The point of AA is to help you stay sober. Some people take certain aspects of it far too seriously and there have been some weird splinter groups over the years. Due to where we live, my wife has always had choices in where she goes to attend meetings.

As for the stats you site, I think you need to dig into those a little. The overwhelming number of people who try to get clean and sober, regardless of what route they take, don't make it 90 days. For those who do, a large % of them won't make it past a year. Once you get passed a year your odds of staying sober go up. They never become 100% and some people will always lapse. However, the percentages in general have a lot to do with the number of people who don't make it based those first big milestones.

I wish you and your wife the best of luck, though. I was fortunate enough to meet my wife when she had been sober for 5 or 6 years and she was lucky to have a group of friends who all got sober together and then staid that way together.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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25-09-2010, 07:17 AM
RE: 12-Step Brainwashing
Kikko > Yes, but they are few and far between. Also, there are no govenment run ones, so it's either use AA, or pay money through the nose for private treatment.

BnW > I spent sveral months digging through stats. How long have you spent? I am aware of the statistics that involve non-AA programs, as well as those for people who go it alone. What I said was not implying that the stats were spectacular outside of AA, but was making the point that AA wants people to believe they are more successful than other routes to sobriety. AA is like prayer. It doesn't improve the chances of getting what you want, but with the right "pitch" lots of people have the perception that it does.
Plenty of people have a hard time buying the "cult" part of it. Especially when they know someone who quit through AA. All I can say to that is, experience it. Part of the reason many people who have gone through the AA program defend it (PART mind you) is that they were in a horrible place in their lives when they joined, and it's not easy to think that what helped you out of that spot is a cult. And AA depends on that. You see, even if someone doesn't recover, they quite often get sober for a short period. They enjoy a short period of clear thinking, and because AA helped them achieve that, it's tough to think of AA in a negative light.
The bottom line is that AA is successful for some people. No more successful than other methods of achieving sobriety. I'm glad it worked for your wife. My reason for posting here is not to say AA doesn't work for a handful of people, but I do feel that it's methods are no better than other methods (and I think worse, especially compared to modern practices and especially for people who don't fit into the AA mold), and that many parts of AA can be quite harmful to ones mental health.

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25-09-2010, 07:55 AM (This post was last modified: 25-09-2010 07:59 AM by Stark Raving.)
RE: 12-Step Brainwashing
I'm sorry for taking up so much space in this thread, but I think this is helpful. My wife used this to gain perspective on the 12 steps, and to help her accept that her instinctive rejection of AA and it's values was rooted in her knowledge of psycology, and not denial as an excuse to continue drinking.
Even for believers in AA this may prove interesting.

This is a proposed revisal to the 12 steps, based on modern knowledge of psycology.

THE 12 STEPS Step 1 AA Step 1: We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.
Proposed Step 1: I realize that I am not in control of my use of alcohol. AA views the admission of powerlessness as the first step toward sobriety. Here, individuals learn that they are passive victims, resting at the mercy of the greater power of alcohol. Admitting powerlessness has the potential of guiding the individual in one of two directions. The first leads toward the AA program and Step 2. The second, and more dangerous, encourages the individual to view himself or herself as a helpless alcoholic who accepts the futility of trying to stop drinking. In a profession where empowerment is a widely accepted goal, it seems strange that powerlessness should be the primary focus of the most referred-to substance abuse treatment program. Stensrud and Stensrud (1981) wrote that the helping process can even be dangerous if feelings of powerlessness are increased. It is therefore advisable that, although the first step recognizes that the individual is not in control of his or her use of alcohol, it also has as an underlying rationale the belief that people are capable of self-direction and self-responsibility regardless of their level of alcohol dependence. Egan (1990) pointed out that "if clients are not urged to explore and assume self-responsibility, they may not do the things needed to manage their lives better, or they may do things that aggravate the problem they have" (p. 73). This belief in self-direction and self, responsibility is echoed in the writings of Rogers (1961), Maslow (1968), and Peris et al. (1951). The AA steps all begin with the plural "we," which may cause individuals to simply identify with the group as a whole without internalizing the steps for themselves, thus further reducing the need for self- responsibility. Having the steps in the first person (using "I" as opposed to "we") helps to emphasize the need for individual decision making and responsibility within the group atmosphere. According to Jung, the need to separate oneself from the collective and find one' s own way is essential for self-realization (Kaufmann, 1989). Because the AA steps are written in the past tense, they tend to imply that once a step has been achieved work in that area has been completed. The use of the present tense in the proposed steps may encourage continuous work on the steps and self in the here and now.
Step 2
AA Step 2: We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Proposed Step 2: I acknowledge that a spiritual awakening can help me to find a new direction. Having accepted powerlessness, AA's Step 2 reinforces the idea that change is only possible if a power outside of oneself can come to the rescue. The theme of greater forces saving powerless individuals reminds one more of ancient myths than modern day realities, and for many the promised happy ending never arrives. The goal of being restored to sanity also raises concerns. Even though some individuals in the AA community might have unique interpretations for certain words, for many clients and counselors it is unacceptable to label all problem drinkers as insane.

Bufe (1991) pointed out that this step promotes the idea of individual helplessness and encourages dependency, which is directly contrary to the usual therapeutic goals of self-direction and independence. Although individuals in crisis may need direction from outside forces to help restore equilibrium, too much reliance on external powers may prevent the development of internal resources (Gorton & Partridge, 1982). Theorists like Rogers (1961, 1980), along with many professional counselors, place faith in the individual's ability to grow. For some counselors, the emphasis on outside forces and greater powers may be attributed to the recognition that a sense of spirituality is one of the factors that correlates with positive treatment outcomes (Ludwig, 1985; Rogers, 1980). Carl Jung expressed his belief in spirituality as an aid to recovery from alcoholism when writing to Bill Wilson (Adler & Jaffe, 1963). Wilson placed less emphasis, however, on recognizing the spirituality that lies within the individual and on helping people to awaken their own spiritual strength. Although some clients are comfortable with the idea of a "power greater than ourselves" coming to rescue them, others might feel this aspect of spirituality is foreign and alienating. Thus, rather than prescribing the type of spiritual assistance needed for the client, the focus could be changed to developing an individual spiritual awakening. This awakening could lead the client in a new, personal direction developed from within.
Step 3
AA Step 3: We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Proposed Step 3: I am ready to follow and stay true to the new path I have chosen. AA's third step encourages individuals to turn their "will and lives over to the care of God as we understood Him." Having completed Steps 1 and 2 it is understandable that this is the main option left for individuals who have accepted their powerlessness and are waiting for a powerful sane force to take control of their lives. Although AA literature states that the interpretation of the nature of God is a personal matter, it makes it clear that any sense of spirituality must come from outside oneself. The main objective of the book Alcoholics Anonymous is stated as being "to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem" (AAWS, 1976a, p. 45). It also states that "any life run on self-will can hardly be a success" (p. 60). This is directly contrary to the underlying principles of most theories of counseling. As counselors we must ask ourselves if the messages in AA's steps are ones we wish to send to our clients. A more suitable approach might be to help the client to follow and stay true to his or her individually chosen path. This can allow independence of thought and remains consistent with the belief that individuals are capable of self-direction. Jung, in particular, felt that individuals are not only capable of self-direction, but that movement toward individuation is a vital instinct for achieving wholeness and growth (Kaufmann, 1989). Although the group may provide support and encouragement, it is important to remember that it is the individual who maintains the ultimate responsibility. The idea that people are responsible for their own individual moral choices, as advocated by Yontef and Simkin (1989), among others, is central to this belief.
Step 4
AA Step 4: We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Proposed Step 4: I have the strength and courage to look within and to face whatever obstacles hinder my continued personal and spiritual development. AA's fourth step demands a "searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves." The object of such a search is to "disclose damaged or unsalable goods, to get rid of them promptly without regret" (AAWS, 1976a, p. 64). The idea of being expected to remove immoral or unwanted aspects of the self can set the individual up for exaggerated shame and guilt. The individual may learn that "parts of myself are no good. I must get rid of them, right now. If I cannot, then I am a failure. " AA's idea of looking within the self is excellent, especially if it can be achieved in a nonaccusatory, growth promoting way. Emphasis could be placed on accepting what one is first; not rejecting parts of oneself as if these parts were foreign to the person. Rogers (1961) found that acceptance of the self is crucial to change and growth. The process of change will also be continuous and will not always be prompt and without regrets.
Step 5
AA Step 5: We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Proposed Step 5: I commit to become fully aware of how my use of alcohol hurt those around me. In AA's Step 5 members must admit to God, to themselves, and to another human being the exact nature of their wrongs. Through repentance, this step attempts to remove some of the guilt that may have been exaggerated by the fourth step. AA suggests that "though we have no religious connection, we may still do well to talk to someone ordained by an established religion" (AAWS, 1976a, p. 74). Repentance has long been used in religion to remove guilt and to provide a sense of a new beginning. In using the AA steps as part of a treatment program, the counselor needs to be clear that this is in the client's best interest. One of the difficulties with asking our clients to repent is that we are endorsing the concept of sinful behavior and placing ourselves in a righteous position. AA seems to be demanding that the individual asks for God's forgiveness, rather than finding internal peace. For some members, asking for and receiving this forgiveness may lead to internal peace, but for many others it can be alienating and may not produce the desired serenity. Developing awareness of the consequences of behavior might be more useful than insisting on repentance. Awareness involves an internal search that keeps the responsibility with the individual, rather than relying on outside forces. The person is not being judged or forgiven, but can develop insight into how the use of alcohol has harmed those around him or her. With awareness there is often a greater understanding and acceptance of self, which can allow growth to occur.
Step 6
AA Step 6: We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Proposed Step 6: I am changing my life and developing my human potential. Having admitted to God the nature of the wrongs, this next AA step prepares the individual to have God "remove all these defects of character. " It is interesting that what was an action or "wrong" in Step 5 is being described as an integral albeit defective part of a person's character in Step 6. Labeling parts of the self as defective may increase feelings of shame. Defect can imply failure, and may also establish guilt. The AA member is advised to prepare to have God take away these broken parts. It is doubtful if there is any therapeutic value in installing shame in clients, yet this is exactly what this step risks doing. The person is discredited, and then left dependent on outside forces to make changes in the self. An alternative step could encourage individuals to develop their human potential.

Bandura has pointed out that effective functioning requires not only the development of competence and skills, but also the formation of a strong belief in one's own efficacy (Evans, 1989).
Step 7
AA Step 7: We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Proposed Step 7: I am proud of my strength and ability to grow. In Step 7 AA members ask "Him" to remove their shortcomings. The message seems to be "parts of myself are defective. I cannot accept or change these parts. Only God can save me by removing them." Is this a message we want clients to learn? Instead of teaching people dependency and humility, the 12-step program could be aimed toward helping the individual become an active agent in the recovery process, rather than a passive patient who is hoping to be rescued. Emphasis can be changed from removing shortcomings to developing strengths. Whereas AA seems to believe that personal growth is best achieved by the removal of defects of character, the counseling field usually appreciates the value of working with a client's strengths (Egan, 1990). Maslow, Rogers, and Ellis strongly advocated waking the client' s untapped growth forces, no matter what the client's difficulty (Ellis, 1989). For clients in crisis, emphasis on strengths can help to increase self-esteem and participation in treatment (Gorton & Partridge, 1982). Empowerment often leads to self-respect and faith in one's ability to follow a new direction. Step 8
AA Step 8: We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Proposed Step 8: I will do all I can to make up for the ways I have hurt myself and others. AA's Step 8 attempts to remove guilt by repairing past damage. Members are asked to become willing to make amends to all those that they have harmed, and to go to them "in a helpful and forgiving spirit, confessing our former ill feeling and expressing our regret" (AAWS, 1976a, p. 77). Here, the individual is being asked to take on AA' s accepted feelings of sorrow and regret, regardless of what their true feelings may be. This task may serve to increase guilt as true feelings surface and the individual feels that he or she has failed, or is experiencing the wrong feelings. Not only is this task impossible, but it may also be therapeutically unsound in denying clients the right to their true feelings (Benjamin, 1987; Carkhuff, 1983; Maslow, 1968; Rogers, 1980). As Homey (1950) pointed out: "His not feeling his own feelings makes him unalive, no matter how great his surface vivacity. His not assuming responsibility for himself robs him of true inner independence" (pp. 172-173). The concept of making amends can be therapeutic, but before one can achieve harmony with others, it is important to be at peace with oneself. Individuals could be encouraged to make up for the ways they have hurt themselves first, and then how they have hurt others. True feelings may be acknowledged, and emphasis could be taken away from making amends with everyone to doing what one can to repair past damage. This more realistic approach may help the individual achieve a harmony undisturbed by feelings of culpability.
Step 9
AA Step 9: We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Proposed Step 9: I will take direct action to help others in any way that I can. Step 9 extends Step 8 by taking the willingness to make amends and converting it into the act of actually doing so. Now the AA member must not only convince himself or herself of benevolent feelings, but must also act on them. The result is likely to involve a mixture of guilt and dissonance. Emphasis on helping all people, regardless of whether they have been the victims of our past wrongs, might help to move a person out of the past and into the present. Clients can focus on helping others in any way that they can, rather than agonizing over those on their list of wronged persons that they have not yet been able to reach. Growth through helping others is reflected by Mosak (1989) in describing the Adlerian goal of therapy as "to release people's social interest so they may become fellow human beings, cooperators, contributors to the creation of a better society, people who feel they belong to and are at home in the universe" (p. 107).
Step 10
AA Step 10: We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
Proposed Step 10: I will strive to be self-aware and follow the new path I have chosen. This step repeats the fourth, only now it is stated that personal inventories must be made continuously and wrongs must be promptly admitted. The AA member is advised that this "should continue for our lifetime" and that when wrongs occur "we ask God to remove them at once" (AAWS, 1976a, p. 84). Here it is made clear that continual dependence on higher powers is considered necessary for sobriety. Whether counselors wish to include continual repentance as a part of their treatment programs is doubtful, yet this is exactly what this step encourages. Yet, striving to be self-aware and working toward following an individually chosen path does not necessarily leave the person dependent on any program or higher power. Parts are not labeled immoral, and the individual is not expected to have them removed. This development of self-awareness, rather than dependence on higher powers, can help to guide the person along his or her chosen path. As Perls (1973) noted: "If we produce our own awareness, if we do it ourselves and do not rely on artifacts, we have all the basis for growth that we need" (p. 133).
Step 11
AA Step 11: We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out.
Proposed Step 11: I will continue to develop my potential through helping others and strive to become fully conscious of myself and life around me. Now that the AA program has instructed individuals on how they should feel and act, Step 11 provides directions on what they should pray for. Suggestions include "How can I best serve Thee-Thy will (not mine) be done" (AAWS, 1976a, p. 85). Some clients may find these prayers valuable, but others may not. It is important that there are programs flexible enough to accommodate both. Greater emphasis on encouraging individuals to continue to develop their own potential through helping others can increase growth and still allow freedom of choice. Particular talents, skills, and interests may be discovered and put to excellent use. The strengthening of cooperation between individuals was particularly valued by Adler, who noted that the development of social interest can lead to increased feelings of confidence, worth, and accomplishment (Ansbacher & Ansbacher, 1979). Clients can also strive toward being fully conscious of themselves and life around them. Rogers realized the importance of developing

consciousness, and felt that he would be satisfied with his work as a therapist "if the individual is becoming more able to listen to what's going on within himself, more sensitive to the reactions he' s having to a given situation, if he's more accurately perceptive of the world around him" (Kirschenbaum & Henderson, 1989, p. 75).
Step 12
AA Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Proposed Step 12: I will continue to develop my own human potential and spirituality and will actively help others who cannot control their use of alcohol. In this last part of the program, AA members state that they have had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, that they will carry the message to all addicts, and will practice the principles in all their affairs. It is interesting that in this last step AA chooses the term spiritual awakening. With AA's emphasis on greater powers, immorality, and the carrying out of God's will, it would seem that the steps are more inclined to lead a person to a religious conversion than to a spiritual awakening. Either way, gains that have been made through working the program are not attributed to the individual, but to the steps. Any pride that the person might have developed is removed and credit is given to AA and to God. Instructing members to carry the message and practice the principles reminds one more of missionary work than sound counseling or guidance. Members are not encouraged to help others control their drinking, but to present the AA message as the solution for all. Step 12 could encourage individuals to continue developing their spirituality and human potential, and emphasis could be placed on actively helping others to control their drinking. Although there are many different ways in which individuals can help others, an important contribution could be made through modeling. Bandura (1986) pointed out that many behaviors can be learned by observation through modeling. Individuals can act as guides, helping others to expand their knowledge and skills, and acquire new patterns of behavior. Individuals can also help to increase the perceived self-efficacy of others by conveying effective coping strategies (Bandura, Adams, Hardy, & Howells, 1980). Bandura noted that "even the self-assured will raise their perceived self-efficacy if models teach them better ways of doing things" (Bandura, 1986, p. 400). This can be especially helpful, as an increased belief in one's efficacy has been shown to play an important role in the prevention of relapse (Annis & Davis, 1991; Solomon & Annis, 1990). Aiding other individuals by helping them develop their strengths and self-confidence might be more useful than merely carrying a message.

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25-09-2010, 09:48 AM
RE: 12-Step Brainwashing
Quote:What I said was not implying that the stats were spectacular outside of AA, but was making the point that AA wants people to believe they are more successful than other routes to sobriety.

I don't think I implied otherwise. And, there is nothing wrong with marketing your program in the best possible light and presenting the facts so they are most favorable to you. All programs that offer services to free you from addiction make these claims. A key difference between AA and many of those programs is AA does not charge you a fee for the privilege.

As for your wife's experience, I have no idea if it's atypical or not. All I can say is that has not been our experience. Now, I will say that 2 years ago when we moved from metro-NYC to metro-Philadelphia, and into an area that is a lot more rural and has a greater % of bible-thumpers, it took my wife some time to find a group she was comfortable with. But, she ultimately found one.

Like I said earlier: the most important thing is your physical and mental health and whatever it takes for you to resolve your issues is the best thing to do. If AA does not work for you, then you try something else. I would not disparage the entire program because of a single poor experience or because the recovery rate is no greater then in other programs. Addiction is a disease, though, and it's not something that people can generally just beat on their own.

One final comment on the "dry drunk". My wife and I used to have a friend who was a big drinker and one day basically overdosed on liquor. He ended up in the hospital and had a moment of clarity. He went to AA, decided it was not for him, and chose to do it all on his own. He did stop drinking, but to make sure he stayed sober he basically shut himself off from everyone he knew but his wife. He became almost a total recluse, never leaving the house or socializing. That is what's meant by a "dry drunk" - someone who resolve their issues by changing their life in a way that can't reasonably be healthy. I don't think AA automatically prevents you from being one and I don't think AA is the only way to avoid becoming one. However, something that gives you an automatic social setting is more likely to help you avoid those kinds of traps.

But, in conclusion, what works for some does not work for all. I'm glad you guys found a means of dealing that worked for you.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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