12-Step Brainwashing
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25-09-2010, 09:23 PM
RE: 12-Step Brainwashing
I'm a little late on this discussion, but IMHO, a lot of people (NOT ALL) who are alcoholics and drug addicts are weak-minded anyway. They have to have something to lean on to have a reason to quit. Relying on their own strength just isn't enough; there has to be something more. So, I guess when you supposedly have some omnipotent being looking over your shoulder all the time, or is "there" for you to talk to when you feel like being bad, then turning to a deity is ideal. Frankly, if it helps them when nothing else has, that is fine with me because people who are in the throes of alcoholism or addiction are some of the most miserable people alive. In fact, many commit suicide just because they can't overcome their problem.
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26-09-2010, 02:13 PM
 
RE: 12-Step Brainwashing
Thanks, Stark Raving and BnW for your input. It's nice to hear both sides of the experience. Frankly, it's great to hear someone say out loud that AA and Al-Anon are not the be-all and end-all of recovery programs. I really thought there was something wrong with me that was preventing me from just taking the thinly veiled religion thing in stride.

Cat Dance, I don't know that all addicts are weak-minded. I do think that many of them are abuse victims or have had other life experiences that make them more likely to depend on coping mechanisms.

I wish someone would start a revised 12-step program for atheists!
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26-09-2010, 02:35 PM
RE: 12-Step Brainwashing
Athnostic, this is true. Some people have a traumatic experience and drugs or alcohol is a way to forget about it, or cope with it. HOwever, many people experience the same things and do not turn into addicts. It has been my observation that a lot of people who become addicts (drugs or alcohol) are often people who have trouble setting boundaries.
And I agree with you--there needs to be a 12-step for atheists!
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26-09-2010, 02:48 PM
 
RE: 12-Step Brainwashing
There is AADAC, an association in Alberta, Canada that is a cheap form of Rehab. They use the same tactics as AA. I've also seen an Al-Anon commercial that had religious undertones. The attempt made is to replace your addiction with another (one that they see as a "positive" addiction). The problem with this goal is that, if ineffective, you just make that person a religious drug user.

The moral dilemma is even more overwhelming: their options for atheists are limited, and encouraging people heavily into drugs or alcohol to fixate on something that encourages negativity not just on themselves, but on others around them is NOT a good system. Then there are the atheists who refuse to participate: if you are showing a unwillingness to join in prayer, you clearly do not want to change and, for places like AADAC, they will no longer try to help with your addiction.
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26-09-2010, 07:48 PM
RE: 12-Step Brainwashing
I am wondering how many alcoholics are created because of the contradictions of religion. You have people who believe others, yet they don't see what others tell them is obvious, so they start doubting themselves. (This is a documented and proven phenomenon). It is very hard for some people to come to terms when what they experience and what they are told are at odds with each other. I had this problem. It creates self doubt and makes you look outside yourself for who you are. Fortunately for me my desire to know was a lot stronger than my desire to believe, which led me to atheism. I learned that you look inside to find out who you are, not outside as religions direct you. People need to feel that they are complete and whole without outside manifestations. This is what religion doesn't want you to learn.
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26-09-2010, 08:22 PM
RE: 12-Step Brainwashing
(26-09-2010 07:48 PM)No J. Wrote:  I am wondering how many alcoholics are created because of the contradictions of religion. You have people who believe others, yet they don't see what others tell them is obvious, so they start doubting themselves. (This is a documented and proven phenomenon). It is very hard for some people to come to terms when what they experience and what they are told are at odds with each other. I had this problem. It creates self doubt and makes you look outside yourself for who you are. Fortunately for me my desire to know was a lot stronger than my desire to believe, which led me to atheism. I learned that you look inside to find out who you are, not outside as religions direct you. People need to feel that they are complete and whole without outside manifestations. This is what religion doesn't want you to learn.

Not only is this a very astute observation, but it directly relates to how AA works. AA is like religion in this way. AA wants you to look outside yourself for the solution to addiction, instead of looking within for the strength needed to overcome.
My wife and I have been discussing this thread, and she mentioned a similarity between religion and AA that I hadn't realized. She said that in the past, omens, "signs" and the like were useful to society. It was helpful to people in that they would often use occurences in nature (for example an orange moon high off the horizon) as omens of something bad about to happen (a dust storm in the desert). We now know that the orange moon is caused by dust raised into the atmosphere, causing the moon to appear orange. In many ways, religion refuses to evolve and accept that we don't need science to answer what has already been attributed to god. We have better information now. AA is the same. It was something that helped people. The problem lies in the fact that AA refuses to evolve with modern knowledge. We now know that taking someones power away is detremental to recovery. If AA, a program recognized better than any other, would release the idea that they are the only way, they would improve, and be able to help more people. Unfortunately, the cult attitude causes them to see someone suggesting change as opposition, and as a threat.
Please realize that when I refer to AA as "they" or "them", I am speaking of the group mentality, and not nescessarily individuals. There are alsways exceptions.

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26-09-2010, 09:37 PM
RE: 12-Step Brainwashing
(26-09-2010 08:22 PM)Stark Raving Wrote:  Please realize that when I refer to AA as "they" or "them", I am speaking of the group mentality, and not nescessarily individuals.

That is the way I took it.
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30-09-2010, 11:51 PM
 
RE: 12-Step Brainwashing
(26-09-2010 07:48 PM)No J. Wrote:  I am wondering how many alcoholics are created because of the contradictions of religion. You have people who believe others, yet they don't see what others tell them is obvious, so they start doubting themselves. (This is a documented and proven phenomenon). It is very hard for some people to come to terms when what they experience and what they are told are at odds with each other. I had this problem. It creates self doubt and makes you look outside yourself for who you are. Fortunately for me my desire to know was a lot stronger than my desire to believe, which led me to atheism. I learned that you look inside to find out who you are, not outside as religions direct you. People need to feel that they are complete and whole without outside manifestations. This is what religion doesn't want you to learn.

And, I might add, the unnecessary guilt caused by fundamentalism leads to methods of coping with that guilt.
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01-10-2010, 12:13 AM
RE: 12-Step Brainwashing
(30-09-2010 11:51 PM)athnostic Wrote:  And, I might add, the unnecessary guilt caused by fundamentalism leads to methods of coping with that guilt.

Yes. There is that, too.
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02-10-2010, 06:16 PM
RE: 12-Step Brainwashing
My mother kicked booze two years ago with the assistance of the 12 Step Program.
Of course I am glad that she finally kicked the addiction, it makes me feel great to see
her much happier than she was before AA, but I can't help but hold a certain grudge
against AA for the brainwashing that goes on in the program. How does the 12 Step
Program "cure" people? As far as I can tell, all it is doing is replacing their addiction to
alcohol with an addiction to religion. It bothers me to see that my mother can not take
responsibility herself and instead relies on a "higher power" to solve her problems for her.
My older brother is currently addicted to cocaine and it hurts to see my mother sit back
and pray that Jesus Christ himself take control of the situation and help him out.

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