12-Step Coercion - page 18

the following presentation was given at the may 21, 2004 open forum of the north carolina board of nursing meeting:... Read More

  1. by   RNBSN1
    Well stated, Quailfeather.
  2. by   Tweety
    Quailfeather, excellent post as always.

    I think I too will bow out of this thread. It's been a great discussion for the most part and the last four or five pages have been repetitious.
  3. by   serene992
    No offense but what is the point of this book other than negativism? Does the author have an alternative for helping those suffering alcoholics/addicts achieve a sober, happy and healthy life? There are two kinds of people in this world - those that see the glass as half full and those that see it as half empty. I for one feel as if I am being chocked to death when surrounded by negativity that abounds from the glass half empty theorists/people.As I said what is Stanton Peele's point?
  4. by   Dixiedi
    Quote from Quailfeather
    Dixiedi says:


    Dixie, are you saying that you honestly believe that everyone who rejects the program of AA is in denial or rationalizing their way to their next drink? If so, you are greatly misinformed. More people sober up without AA than they do with it. Just because someone is offended by the "spiritual principles" in AA, doesn't mean that they deny they have a serious problem with alcohol. Rejecting AA is not synonymous with refusing to accept that a problem exists. I once had a serious problem with alcohol abuse. According to the DSM IV, I did not meet the criteria for alcohol dependency, but my therapist and I both agreed that I was headed in that direction. So I embarked on my personal odyssey to find help in overcoming the devastating addiction that threatened to destroy me and everything that I held dear. I went to AA and attended meetings 5 times a week for nearly 3 years. However, due to my personal religious philosophy, I was unable to integrate my views with those inherent in the program of AA. I even read the book, The Zen of Recovery, by Mel Ash in an attempt to find a way to work the 12-steps without compromising my beliefs, but only incurred the wrath of others, including my sponsor, who insisted that I read only the Big Book and work the steps exactly as Bill Wilson wrote them. It was a no-win situation that created a cognitive and philosophical dissonance which utimately compelled me to leave AA and seek a secular alternative. It has been nearly 5 years since my last drink and I maintain an honest and empowering sobriety by utilizing concepts that I have learned from SMART Recovery (Self-Management And Recovery Training) as well as Rational Recovery, SOS, and LSR. I no longer have a problem with alcohol because I simply do not drink, ever. My past patterns of alcoholic drinking forged a dark and twisted road to self-destruction that I might quickly find myself travelling, once again, if I were to ever pick up a drink. Does this sound like denial to you? Am I rationalizing or attempting to find an excuse to drink? I think not.
    No, I NEVER say EVERYONE and literally mean EVERY. There are always exceptions to everything and I would think as nurses (educated individuals) we would all know that. However, I have noticed that when someone fails to make their point they do tend to nit pick at the other posters who have not listed every possible exception. Just another method diversion. Some folks spend their whole life building that skill. Diverting that is.
    I am quite sure many people can overcome the affects of extended over-use of alcohol, but I would think that would be the very few from what I have read (and no, I do not have those resources available.) I, and apparently a lot of other people, becasue it is posted here, believe AA and other groups do a great job. It's not for everybody, nothing is for evderybody, but unless it is given a chance and not negated on religious grounds some folks will never know.
  5. by   koan
    A.A. works, religions do not (think about it)


    Quote from efiebke
    I hold this understanding too!! The 12 step program is NOT a religion. (But I can easy to understand why people may get confused on this account.)

    Religions involve dogmas, "scriptures", religious leaders, formal prayer, and giving very a specific definition to a god or gods; Religion involves theology. This is not true for 12 step programs. Although 12 step programs involves the notion of a "higher power", no detailed definition should be given to that "higher power". An individual 12 step group can have their higher power be the group conscious itself and should leave room for an atheist to say no formal definitive god exists. Rather, I would say that 12 step programs are "spiritual" in nature. In my mind, one can be spiritual and still proclaim that no god exists. Spirituality simply involves some kind of work or process towards inward peace through heavy self examination; it involves a deeply honest understanding of one's self in relationship to one's self and others. Spirituality MAY involve a "higher power". But that "higher power" can be anything or anyone or even any diety other than self.

    Yes. 12 step programs was founded by a group of people with religous backgrounds. But it is my understanding that this group specifically helped design these programs not to be religious in nature. It was more important to them that people overcome their alcoholism, NOT pay homage to a specific diety.



    It is true that in the U.S., the term "God" can frequently be heard mentioned in meetings. Let's face it, many people in the U.S. come from Jewish or Christian backgrounds. Personally, I would have a problem with ANY individual 12-step group if it goes from spirituality to religous (as mentioned above). I would hold that individual group accountable for becoming religious like and stray away from the intended focus of the 12 step program. Usually, though, the focus is on "working the program"; taking that journey down the road of self-honesty and working to make a very specific change in one's life: to stop drinking.

    For clarification's sake, anyone can "confess" or have "faith" or "meditate" or even engage in "prayer" and not conform to any specific religion. Yes, these terms can be easily applied in a religious context. But these terms can be applied OUT and away from of a religious context as well (except, for "prayer", maybe). One can easily "confess" or experience "faith" in something or "meditate" and still hold the belief that dieties do not exist. And prayer? A group of people reciting a verse together sounds like prayer. Should not hear a lot of formal prayers at 12-step meetings, though. If you do, request in a group conscious meeting that they not take place. Remember, the focus is NOT on worship or defining a diety. The focus is on stopping drinking. Period.
  6. by   tommyperkins
    Quote from MoJoeRN,C
    If you are honest, open minded and willing, the teachers are all around you.
    I'll be honest, open-minded and willing. I just wanted to ask you a few questions since you posted your credentials and also said you were a long-time member of AA, so I thought you would be well-informed enough to answer some basic questions. I don't want to take up a lot of your time so for the most part the answers can be short. Some people on this forum who are obviously familiar with AA claim it is not religious. What about it? Is AA religious? And here are a few more questions:



    Is alcoholism a disease?



    More than ninety percent of treatment programs in the U.S. are 12-step treatment programs. Is this not really religious indoctrination rather than medical treatment? Is treatment in the U.S. based on medical science or is it based on religion?



    Overall, is alcohol/drug treatment in the U.S. successful?



    Can you explain to me, in scientific terms, the role the 12-steps play in treatment?



    Several people have said that in AA your higher power can be a tree or a doorknob. Is this true? Can a tree or a doorknob actually remove a person's character defects?


    Step 6: "Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."
    [font='Times New Roman']If so, can you explain, in scientific terms, how a tree or doorknob can do this?
  7. by   tommyperkins
    Quote from debstorlie
    In reading through some of your other comments, it appears to me that you have a problem, how can you care for patients with such a strong bias against religion? AA works, and that is all that should be important to anyone that is in the health profession. Perhaps if more people believed in God we wouldn't to have this discussion.
    Why do you think I have a bias against religion? I am a Christian.
  8. by   tommyperkins
    Quote from serene992
    No offense but what is the point of this book other than negativism? Does the author have an alternative for helping those suffering alcoholics/addicts achieve a sober, happy and healthy life? There are two kinds of people in this world - those that see the glass as half full and those that see it as half empty. I for one feel as if I am being chocked to death when surrounded by negativity that abounds from the glass half empty theorists/people.As I said what is Stanton Peele's point?
    Stanton Peele's point is that 12-step coercion violates a person's constitutional right to religious liberty.
  9. by   RN30years
    I have been to AA and NA meetings, Just because I know I may be sent there one day by the clueless BON . They required that we pray and more than once they ask us to SING Christian songs? ???? for the Bible tells me soooooooo!!!!!!!!
    not everyone is a Christian It was too weird !!!
  10. by   koan
    most are not like that but the catch is you really have to look for a group that fits you...personally I couldn't stand the singing and churchy stuff but I think a person addicted to going to church (or AA) is better than being addicted to drugs or alcohol (even if it is annoying)


    Quote from RN30years
    I have been to AA and NA meetings, Just because I know I may be sent there one day by the clueless BON . They required that we pray and more than once they ask us to SING Christian songs? ???? for the Bible tells me soooooooo!!!!!!!!
    not everyone is a Christian It was too weird !!!
  11. by   Dixiedi
    Quote from RN30years
    I have been to AA and NA meetings, Just because I know I may be sent there one day by the clueless BON . They required that we pray and more than once they ask us to SING Christian songs? ???? for the Bible tells me soooooooo!!!!!!!!
    not everyone is a Christian It was too weird !!!
    Not to sound like a real jack--- I just want to remind you that there are two traditional books of the bible.
    Those of us who are not Christians, but do believe in God (which includes Jewish folk) do read/believe in the Old Testament.
    Folks who are Christian follow both the Old and New Testaments.

    There are other more non-traditional books such as the Book of Morman. Mormans' are Christians but believe a somewhat different version of the New Testament was found here on the North American continent. And don't forget Wiccan and other less traditional beliefs.

    Oh well, that's enough... just wanted to remind you that not everyone who believes in God is a Christian.
  12. by   Big Bab's
    Quote from Dixiedi
    I quit posting in here several days ago becasue I realized that nothing is going to be said to make an individual who is looking for any excuse he/she can, including religion or lack of it, to not accept they have a problem and in order to keep their license they must follow the rules which may be uncomfortable or even down right disgusting!

    You can lead a horse to water but you can not make him drink. You can lead a human to AA but you can not make him NOT drink! He/she will complain about everything they can find to complain about until they talk themselves into drinking and it's all AAs fault for trying to force them to believe in a higher power.
    I've never been there, and am glad my only habit (cigarettes) is still legal. However, I do know a couple of alcoholics and it won't work unless they want it to. One is dry, he hasn't been in a church in his entire life (except for friends weddings and funerals) thanks to AA. The other, who proffesses to be a Christian is drunk just about every day of the week and never dry.

    UUuuummm, I don't see anybody denying that they have a problem, all we want is a choice of programs, not to "get out of" anything, not to "deny" that we have a problem.......Could you please explain why you think that if a person does not agree with and doesn't feel the 12 steps are right for them, that they are saying they don't have a problem???....It's a HUGELY false statement if that's what you're saying.
  13. by   koan
    But take a look at the success ratios of AA and *any* other program...AA wins.
    But saying you're religious or belive in God does nothing to stop you from drinking..only action not words.


    Quote from Big Bab's
    UUuuummm, I don't see anybody denying that they have a problem, all we want is a choice of programs, not to "get out of" anything, not to "deny" that we have a problem.......Could you please explain why you think that if a person does not agree with and doesn't feel the 12 steps are right for them, that they are saying they don't have a problem???....It's a HUGELY false statement if that's what you're saying.

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