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Re: 12 step programs » Cass

Posted by JLx on October 10, 2004, at 16:08:12

In reply to 12 step programs, posted by Cass on September 27, 2004, at 17:40:24

> Are any of you in 12 step programs?

I was involved in 12-step programs for several years and spent many an hour in meetings of various groups. I am struck by the fact that you go to meetings with your husband. Are these "open" meetings?

If he's an addict/alcoholic most people in the program would probably suggest Al-Anon for you, even though he's in recovery. It's something of a misnomer to say that Al-Anon is for people who have been "victimized by an alcoholic". Official literature says "affected by" which is more than a matter of semantics because what people learn in Al-Anon, ideally, is how NOT to see themselves as victims while also acknowledging the problem. Al-Anon helps one to see that whatever problem you are having as a result of an alcoholic's (or anyone's) behavior, is your problem and responsibility. This is a radical notion to anyone who thinks that "I'll be ok when someone/something else changes".

While it's true that it's often acute distress that compels people into meetings initially, meetings can vary a lot in their tone and emphasis. Some have a lot of old-timers, for instance, who continue to go to meetings to help others and as a type of church-like weekly reminder to stay on a good path. As they say, "take what you can use and leave the rest".

> I'd like to work on my spirituality by "working the steps", but it seems strange to do it independent of a group.

One of the things that makes the 12-steps powerful, imo, is the fellowship. It's also the drawback though, in that one must feel part of the defining characteristics of the group.

> Which leads me to this: I feel like I should justify why this post belongs on the faith board. To anyone who doesn't know, 12 step programs require that members find their "higher power" and surrender to that higher power. I think that's the most transformative thing about the programs.

Did you know that AA has been recognized by some courts as a religion or religious group? This has come up when people have been court ordered to attend AA for drunk driving. Some have successfully fought it on grounds that that violates their First Amendment rights. Some others view AA and other 12-step groups as cults. (My personal opinion is that it's a religion, but not a cult)

> I need to surrender.

You might like the books of Wayne Dyer, such as "Your Sacred Self" and "There's a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem". Like AA, Dyer draws on many spiritual traditions. Reading between the lines, I think he's also a former 12-stepper.





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