12-Step Coercion - page 19

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

  1. by   Dixiedi
    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.
    I'm not saying that if a person says the 12 steps are not right for them they are denying their problem. I said if a person complains too much about "serving time for the crime" in a program as directed by the state then they are very likely denying a problem by trying to say the program is the problem.
    It could be the problem is not alcohol/drugs (I hate saying that becasue alcohol is a grug but oh well...) but simply denying a problem with authority! However, if the person does have an alcohol problem, the denying is likely alcohol dependence related.

    AA is required by the state. If it's not the right problem for you, then fullfil the states requirements by attending and seek out another method that will work for you. The whole thing that got this started was someone complaining that athiests should not be required to go to AA because it's Christian based. That is a bunch of bull. The BON chose AA because of thier success records, not because of anyones religious affiliation. Go with it, it can only help if it's not faught!
  2. by   tommyperkins
    Quote from koan
    But take a look at the success ratios of AA and *any* other program...AA wins.
    Please offer some stats. Which program comes in second place?
  3. by   Dixiedi
    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.
    That was said after many many posts with a particular person. It is being taken out of context, forget it. I am not going to try to re-explain myself.

    Should all persons being reprimanded be given a choice? What makes an athiest special that they should set themselves apart from the mainstream. If you are going to live in this country, you are going to have to get used to the idea that everybody has rights (not just a few vocal groups); and that includes the BONs right to choose how you will verify working to correct a problem. Comply or give up your license. It is that simple. We all have the same rights. I'm not a Christian but have veryoften been subjected to Christianity throughout my life. It doesn't hurt in the least bit when you accept the fact that everybody has rights. The same rights.
  4. by   serene992
    AA is a simple program for complicated people. An alcoholic is a master at denial, control and manipulation, negative tools used to justify the continually descending pattern of deterioration of the disease of alcoholism. The program began it's success by helping 1 then 2 then on and on of what is called low bottom drunks back in the 1930s. Faced with imminent despair and their near to death consequences of their alcoholism they found the first of the basic reasons why the program works - unconditional love and acceptance from a peer. One of the most powerful tools of recovery from anything including the loss of a child, recovery from a mastectomy and overcoming the effects of incest/sexual abuse as a child is to be in a safe, accepting and nurturing environment where one can share one's honest feelings with others who know exactly how one feels. Out of the meeting of 2 alcoholics filled with despair at their inability to stop killing themselves one moment at a time evolved a major discovery of the basis of all support groups today.
    When young men and women join a military service they all go through a grueling physical, emotional and spiritual indoctrination to called boot camp. I believe the purpose of it is to quickly get the recruits into shape as an individual and as part of a unit, indoctrinating them with the rules, regulations and survival skills they may someday need in the performance of their jobs in the military. A rapid brain washing of individualization is replaced with the basic thinking necessary to survive and thrive as a unit. When they are dug in to a foxhole in a war zone and are being fired upon from all directions is the recruit going to take back his own way of thinking premilitary to problem solve how he/she should act now? No they are going to respond using the tools implanted in basic training. AA is basic training for the alcoholic - period. It's whole purpose is to provide the tools necessary for that moment when the alcoholics disease rears it's ugly head and demands another drink. Helping one another get, stay and live sober one day at a time is the purpose of the AA program from it's beginning. Foxhole tools for sobriety evolve through attendance at AA meetings and through reading AA literature. There are thousands upon thousands of alcoholics in remote areas that are recovering from their disease through correspondence courses with other recovering alcoholics and by reading the AA literature.
    As far as protecting my license, I would go to whatever steps necessary to protect it. Even if you felt that you were falsely accused, there are some authorities in our lives that have the power we do not. Find out what they want and do it -period. Along the way sit back, relax, have a cup a coffee with the members and learn what recovery is all about. If you are not an alcoholic - great. You are a nurse and attendance at and learning from the program is a free gift to learn tools of supporting your patients, family and friends who are affected by the disease of alcoholism. Just remember to only attend "Open" meetings of AA. "Closed" meetings are meant for only those people who admit they cannot stay sober and want to learn how to do it. How do you know what is an "open" and a "closed" meeting? Ask. If it is closed then leave. Many areas have places called an Intergroup that has members of AA available to help guide you to a meeting and/or contact. Every phone book has AA listed with a phone number.
    Wasn't it Shakespear that said "Me thinks you protesteth too much"?
  5. by   MoJoeRN,C
    Sounds like you found the same kind of AA that worked for me. And you said it very well. Denial is not something one does in a conscious state, it is part of the protection of self, based on beliefs and values. The 3 biggest tools of denial are 1) Rationalization 2) justification 3) Intellectualization. I can only speak to what my life was like, what happened, what my life is like now and what has worked for me. It is a program of progress rather than perfection. You are invited to take from the meetings only what you want and leave the rest there. I was one of those who only attended meetings because it was part of the aftercare plan and was mandated by the place I worked. I went to meetings 60 miles from where I lived for about a year. Finally as my attitutes, values and beliefs were restored to reality, I was able to attend meetings in my home town. I keep hearing that loosing your license because one does not attend 12 step meetings is not a choice. Not all choices are those we want to choose but they are choices irregardless.
  6. by   mamabear
    Quote from tommyperkins
    anyone who might believe that aa is not religious can read chapter 3 of this book:



    http://www.morerevealed.com/books/resist/index.html







    not to mention that numerous federal and state courts have ruled aa to be religious.
    where, when, and under what conditions?[quote]
  7. by   Quailfeather
    Somehow this thread has veered from the original topic, the legality of mandated 12-step treatment, to a discussion of the efficacy of treatment [AA in particular]. Yet, no one has offered any valid research-based statistics to support their claims that AA works. While I wish to remain neutral on the subject of AA effectiveness, I do have some statistics that may be of interest to those who are curious about addiction/alcoholism and treatment outcomes. As I have stated on previous posts, more alcoholics recover without AA than do with it. One article published by the Harvard Medical School in their Harvard Mental Health Letter addresses this phenomenon:

    "There is a high rate of recovery among alcoholics and addicts, treated and untreated. According to one estimate, heroin addicts break the habit in an average of 11 years. Another estimate is that at least 50% of alcoholics eventually free themselves although only 10% are ever treated. One recent study found that 80% of all alcoholics who recover for a year or more do so on their own, some after being unsuccessfully treated. When a group of these self-treated alcoholics was interviewed, 57% said they simply decided that alcohol was bad for them. Twenty-nine percent said health problems, frightening experiences, accidents, or blackouts persuaded them to quit. Others used such phrases as "Things were building up" or "I was sick and tired of it." Support from a husband or wife was important in sustaining the resolution."
    Treatment of Drug Abuse and Addiction -- Part III, The Harvard Mental Health Letter, Volume 12, Number 4, October 1995, page 3.

    As for the effectiveness of AA, there are a few studies that have addressed this. One is an informal survey conducted by Alcoholics Anonymous. For many years in the 1970s and 1980s, the AA GSO (Alcoholics Anonymous General Service Organization) conducted triennial surveys where they counted their members and asked questions like how long members had been sober. Around 1990, they published a commentary on the surveys: Comments on A.A.'s Triennial Surveys [no author listed, published by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., New York, no date (probably 1990)]. The document has an A.A. identification number of "5M/12-90/TC". This document was produced for A.A. internal use only. A compilation and averaging of the results from the five surveys from 1977 to 1989 yielded these numbers:

    Of all of the newcomers to AA,
    81% are gone (19% remain) after 1 month;
    90% are gone (10% remain) after 3 months,
    93% are gone (7% remain) after 6 months,
    and 95% are gone (5% remain) at the end of one year.

    The above survey does not address whether those 5% remaining achieve continuous sobriety.

    A more formal and valid study was performed in the 1980's by a Harvard physician who is also a member of the AA Board of Trustees. George E. Vaillant, M.D., joined AA's General Service Board as a Class A (nonalcoholic) trustee in 1998. He is professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, director of the Study of Adult Development, Harvard University Health Services, and director of research in the Division of Psychiatry, Brigham and Women's Hospital. The author of The Natural History of Alcoholism Revisited, a comprehensive study of alcoholism, George lectures widely on alcoholism and addiction and is one of the foremost researchers in the field. While working at the Cambridge-Sommerville [Massachusetts] Program for Alcohol Rehabilitation (CASPAR) back in the 1970s and 1980s, Dr. Vaillant conducted an 8-year-long clinical test of A.A. treatment of alcoholics, enthusiastically trying to prove that A.A. works and is a good, effective treatment for alcoholism. Much to his dismay, Dr. Vaillant instead clearly showed that A.A. was no more effective than no treatment at all. Dr. Vaillant candidly reported those results in his book The Natural History of Alcoholism: Causes, Patterns, and Paths to Recovery, in 1984:

    "To me, alcoholism became a fascinating disease. It seemed perfectly clear that ... by turning to recovering alcoholics [A.A. members] rather than to Ph.D.'s for lessons in breaking self-detrimental and more or less involuntary habits, and by inexorably moving patients from dependence upon the general hospital into the treatment system of A.A., I was working for the most exciting alcohol program in the world.
    But then came the rub. Fueled by our enthusiasm, I and the director, William Clark, tried to prove our efficacy. ... After initial discharge, only five patients in the Clinic sample [100 subjects] never relapsed to alcoholic drinking, and there is compelling evidence that the results of our treatment were no better than the natural history of the disease. ...Not only had we failed to alter the natural history of alcoholism, but our death rate of three percent a year was appalling."
    The Natural History of Alcoholism: Causes, Patterns, and Paths to Recovery, George E. Vaillant, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1983, pages 283-285.

    I, for one, would love to see more current statistics comparing and contrasting the efficacy of all of the addiction treatment modalities. In the meantime, I would strongly urge anyone who is finding success in their chosen program to stick with it, regardless of the numbers. However, I would caution anyone against claiming that their program is the best, or that it works for everyone. The numbers speak for themselves. And yes, I still advocate against mandating anyone into any program that may violate their constitutional right to religious freedom. After all, we are human beings with human rights, in spite of our differing beliefs or dysfunctional compulsions.
    Last edit by Quailfeather on Jun 22, '04
  8. by   Dixiedi
    I don't think it is important wether AA works or not. The original discussion was wether or not a state BON has the right to require AA so that nurses with a problem can keep their license.
    Yes, they do have that right. If you are required to provide proof of treatment and the BON chooses AA as that form, no amount of complaint, proof it doesn't work, proof it is illegal to force an atheist to be exposed to Christianity or anything else can change that.
    The states have developed their BON and given the responsibility to them to ensure safe nurses for that state. It's their game, we choose to play it. Play by there rules or get the heck out!
    If you don't lilke the rule they have established, at the next open meeting, engage in an effort to get them to change the ruling. Provide suggestions for alternatives that will be readily available throughout the state. Provide proof that these alternatives are available, are effective and anything else you can think of. I wuold suggest that a spych nurse, one without an addiction prepare and present this to them.
    Legal in your mind or not, it is the boards choice!
  9. by   Quailfeather
    I don't think it is important wether AA works or not. The original discussion was wether or not a state BON has the right to require AA so that nurses with a problem can keep their license.
    Yes, they do have that right. If you are required to provide proof of treatment and the BON chooses AA as that form, no amount of complaint, proof it doesn't work, proof it is illegal to force an atheist to be exposed to Christianity or anything else can change that.

    What part of "Any state or governmental agency that mandates or coerces a citizen to participate in A.A. or any other 12-step program is acting in direct opposition to the principle set forth in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution" do you not understand? Several courts at the state and federal levels have made this ruling. As a state agency, the Board of Nursing, does not have the right to supercede any court ruling. Period.

    If you don't lilke the rule they have established, at the next open meeting, engage in an effort to get them to change the ruling.
    That is exactly what Tommy Perkins did (please refer to the original post).
  10. by   Big Bab's
    Amen to that Quailfeather!!!....and for the record Dixiedi, treatment "Porgrams" choose the 12 steps NOT because it does or does not work, they choose it because its FREE.


    Quote from Quailfeather
    What part of "Any state or governmental agency that mandates or coerces a citizen to participate in A.A. or any other 12-step program is acting in direct opposition to the principle set forth in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution" do you not understand? Several courts at the state and federal levels have made this ruling. As a state agency, the Board of Nursing, does not have the right to supercede any court ruling. Period.



    That is exactly what Tommy Perkins did (please refer to the original post).
  11. by   Big Bab's
    Just to clear something up, when nurses are mandated to these Alt. programs, they are supposedly there to recieve TREATMENT not punishment....so when we are coerced into meetings, the BON does it in the name of TREATMENT.....these programs are supposed to get the nurse treatment and help maintain and prove their sobriety, they are also to help facilitate the nurse rejoining the nursing profession NOT try to break us down, treat us like garbage, and keep our licenses and livlihood, which IS what happens in many programs.....It seems that there are a few in this discussion that are unaware of this, so here it is.
    Last edit by Big Bab's on Jun 22, '04
  12. by   Dixiedi
    Quote from Quailfeather
    What part of "Any state or governmental agency that mandates or coerces a citizen to participate in A.A. or any other 12-step program is acting in direct opposition to the principle set forth in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution" do you not understand? Several courts at the state and federal levels have made this ruling. As a state agency, the Board of Nursing, does not have the right to supercede any court ruling. Period.



    That is exactly what Tommy Perkins did (please refer to the original post).
    If you examine the constitution a little more closely, you will find the criminals have no rights under the constitution.
    Anyone abusing their nursing license is guilty of criminal activity just the same as any other person abusing their license no matter what kind it is. You enter into an agreement with the state concerning behavior, break it and well it's criminal.
    Last edit by Dixiedi on Jun 22, '04
  13. by   Dixiedi
    Quote from Big Bab's
    Just to clear something up, when nurses are mandated to these Alt. programs, they are supposedly there to recieve TREATMENT not punishment....so when we are coerced into meetings, the BON does it in the name of TREATMENT.....these programs are supposed to get the nurse treatment and help maintain and prove their sobriety, they are also to help facilitate the nurse rejoining the nursing profession NOT try to break us down, treat us like garbage, and keep our licenses and livlihood, which IS what happens in many programs.....It seems that there are a few in this discussion that are unaware of this, so here it is.
    Call it what you want but we all know in reality forced treatment is little more than punishment that will hopefully correct the problem.
    People who abuse their driver license might be sent to driving school. Is this piddly little treatment gong to teach folks, many with years of poor driving habits, how to drive safely? NO. It's little more than punishment that the system has labeled treatment.
    The hope, I think, being that the treatment will be so disagreeable that it will serve the purpose and on paper look like the treatment was successful!

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