12-Step Coercion - page 2

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

  1. by   odatrn
    Who wants to be at a meeting where there are people who are forced to be there? If they feel the spiritual part of the program is unacceptable, how do they feel about the 'anonymous' part?

    I am not surprised that people who are forced to attend meetings would look for a way out. It is unfortunate that it puts the programs in the position of having to defend itself. It works because you are ready to be there, and become willing..........
  2. by   Ted
    The following is from the West Baltimore Group A. A. web site.

    ________________________________

    http://www.a-1associates.com/AA/religion.htm

    Lets Ask Bill

    These excerpts from various talks and articles by and on Bill W. reveal a wealth of the thinking and insight of the co-founder of A.A

    Q - Is Alcoholics Anonymous a new religion? A competitor of the Church?

    A - If these misgivings had real substance, they would be serious indeed. But, Alcoholics Anonymous cannot in the least be regarded as a new religion. Our Twelve Steps have no theological content, except that which speaks of "God as we understand Him." This means that each individual AA member may define God according to whatever faith or creed he may have. Therefore there isn't the slightest interference with the religious views of any of our membership. The rest of the Twelve Steps define moral attitudes and helpful practices, all of them precisely Christian in character. Therefore, as far as the steps go, the steps are good Christianity, indeed they are good Catholicism, something which Catholic writers have affirmed more than once.

    Neither does AA exert the slightest religious authority over its members. No one is compelled to believe anything. No one is compelled to meet membership conditions. No one is obliged to pay anything. Therefore we have no system of authority, spiritual or temporal, that is comparable to or in the least competitive with the Church. At the center of our society we have a Board of Trustees. This body is accountable yearly to a Conference of elected Delegates. These Delegates represent the conscience and desire of AA as regards functional or service matters. Our Tradition contains an emphatic injunction that these Trustees may never constitute themselves as a government - they are to merely provide certain services that enable AA as a whole to function. The same principles apply at our group and area level.

    Dr. Bob, my co-partner, had his own religious views. For whatever they may be worth, I have my own. But both of us have gone heavily on the record to the effect that these personal views and preferences can never under any conditions be injected into the AA program as a working part of it. AA is a sort of spiritual kindergarten, but that is all. Never should it be called a religion. (The 'Blue Book', Vol.12, 1960)

    A - Alcoholics Anonymous is not a religious organization; there is no dogma. The one theological proposition is a "Power greater than one's self." Even this concept is forced on no one. The new corner merely immerses himself in our society and tries the program as best he can. Left alone, he will surely report the onset of a transforming experience, call it what he may. Observers once thought A.A. could only appeal to the religiously susceptible. Yet our membership includes a former member of the American Atheist Society and about 20,000 others almost as tough. The dying can become remarkably open-minded. Of course we speak little of conversion nowadays because so many people really dread being God-bitten. But conversion, as broadly described by James, does seem to be our basic process; all other devices are but the foundation. When one alcoholic works with another, he but consolidates and sustains that essential experience. (Amer. J. Psych., Vol. 106, 1949)
    Last edit by Ted on Jun 8, '04
  3. by   tommyperkins
    Neither does AA exert the slightest religious authority over its members. No one is compelled to believe anything. No one is compelled to meet membership conditions. No one is obliged to pay anything. Therefore we have no system of authority, spiritual or temporal, that is comparable to or in the least competitive with the Church.
    You might consider doing some homework:

    http://morerevealed.com/books/
  4. by   Ted
    Quote from tommyperkins
    You might consider doing some homework:

    http://morerevealed.com/books/

    I have. :stone


    __________________________

    Quote from odatrn
    Who wants to be at a meeting where there are people who are forced to be there? If they feel the spiritual part of the program is unacceptable, how do they feel about the 'anonymous' part?

    I am not surprised that people who are forced to attend meetings would look for a way out. It is unfortunate that it puts the programs in the position of having to defend itself. It works because you are ready to be there, and become willing..........
    Yes. . .

  5. by   VivaLasViejas
    I'm well acquainted with this issue myself, and all I know is, I don't know where I'd be today if AA hadn't been there to give me my start in sobriety 12 1/2 years ago. I'm not what I would call 'religious'---spiritual is more my style---but I took from the program what was relevant to me and left the rest. That's what people do.........it doesn't matter whether it's education, philosophy, entertainment, church, or whatever, you use what's good and don't bother with the rest of it.

    But then, AA only works for those who want it to work, which is why I hate to see it required for people who don't want to be there, as a condition of staying out of jail or being allowed to keep a professional license. It makes it difficult on those who are there because they KNOW they have a problem and want help for it. Frankly, I think this whole topic is a smokescreen to enable the subject of the OP to continue to live in denial........otherwise, why throw up roadblocks to something that can, and does, work for many, many people?

    Just my .02 worth.
  6. by   hypnotic_nurse
    Quote from mjlrn97
    Frankly, I think this whole topic is a smokescreen to enable the subject of the OP to continue to live in denial........otherwise, why throw up roadblocks to something that can, and does, work for many, many people?

    Just my .02 worth.
    My thought as well.
  7. by   Lemonhead
    How do you know it "works so well for so many people". What statistical studies are you gaining this information from? Propaganda?
    As for making this argument a way out of participation in a program, "being in denial" or "rationalization"..all I can say, is you folks are ignorant to facts.
    If you've done your "homework", you would find very poor statistics for the success rate of the 12 steps and high stats of relapse. You would also find countless other successful programs that are not offered by any state board for nurses--while physician's, pharmacists, etc in some states do have options.
    Are "we" looking for a way out? Am I in denial? Hardly. You have, as 12 steppers famously do, twisted the argument and turned it back on those of us that have been forced to participate in a religious cult. That's very typical, but very sad that a group of nurses--nurses!--would do this. Would you make this same comment to a patient that expressed difficulty with these groups?
    There are nurses that have stayed clean for years without 12 steps, and in some cases, despite the mind games of these groups.
    If you've not been there, you cannot understand. If you've been there and it has help you--good for you. But to deny there are some serious issues within the 4 walls of these groups that ARE NOT MONITORED IN ANY FASHION, you are ignorant. How can this group spout out "but we help so many" when it is an unmonitored, anonymous organization? That is an oxymoron to the highest point. There are COUNTLESS other issues with the forced participation in these programs in addition to the religious issues. Do you realize that these programs are used by the courts for just about anything deemed an "addiction"...as in sexual addictions, etc. Yes, a judge, and in some cases, some state nursing boards, have ORDERED a sexual predator to 12 step meetings...AA meetings! The same meetings that a 17 year old young lady may be forced by the court to attend, following a first time offense. If you want to argue that point, I will post several links to support it. These meetings that nurses are forced to, are not limited to drug or alcohol problems..the 12 steps tout itself as useful to ANY type of addiction and the courts and boards feed on that..therefore, you could be exposed to some very dangerous situations, again, IN AN UNMONITORED ENVIRONMENT. And all in the name of protecting a license.
    Another poster made a comment on "anonymity"...Although the meetings are supposed to be "anonymous"...hardly. There is no creed, signing in blood or any other way to enforce this. Therefore, we are FORCED to attend meetings and FORCED to participate--if we don't, a fellow 12 stepper is required to send a letter to the Board regarding our participation--if we don't participate, it's considered a relapse indicator, hence, we very well may NOT get our licenses back. So, we participate--only to be pointed out at the town grocery store, the county fair, etc by fellow 12 step members as the "nurse that did drugs".
    In addition, what some of you are failing to recognize, is not every nurse is there for committing a crime or even endangering the lives of patients. If the board does not "like" the fact that you take narcs for chronic pain conditions, regardless of the fact that you do not use them while on the job--you too could be forced in to a "program" to protect your license.
    There are nurses in these programs under false allegations--nurses that did not appropriately sign out narcs, accused of stealing them.
    These are just a few examples of those that did NOT endanger a patient or do anything illegal.
    For those that support the forced participation, I have a few questions.
    How safe are these meetings? Do they force religion? How successful are they?
    After you answer the questions, please back it up with statistics. And please, tell me how you know, for a fact, the answers when these thousands of meetings are not monitored, have a continually rotating and changing membership, do not keep attendance, and do not follow up with any participant on a long term basis.
    Who runs the meetings? Not a trained mental health professional. There may never be a trained mental health professional unless they happen to be in recovery themselves. These meetings are run purely by the "been there, done it" class and "this is the only thing that works" mindset. So, as NURSES, would you do this to any other patient with a "disease" or physical condition? Would you sit a schizophrenic in a room full of schizophrenics for "therapy" and "support"? Without a capable, mental health trained professional in attendance? Would you send a pregnant patient to have a c/section performed by a mother that had one previously? Without a professional in attendance to MONITOR and FACILITATE the process?
    If you would, you deserve a license far less than I do. Key point...THESE MEETINGS ARE NOT MONITORED BY ANY PROFESSIONAL. THESE MEETINGS HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO PROFESSIONAL GUIDELINES. THESE MEETINGS ARE NOT GOVERNED BY ANY ENTITY AND DO NOT HAVE TO REPORT TO ANY AGENCY. And most importantly--it is NOT just for support..there is a "plan" of the 12 steps that the nurse MUST "work through" with another AA participant--and this process IS reported to the Board by the fellow AA member--wether he/she be a factory worker, topless dancer or maintenance man--is this who you would want to be forced to share you most intimate and damning "secrets" with? Sorry folks, but I'll take the professionally trained mental health professional that is bound to confidentiality laws and best knows how to guide me through a process....
  8. by   tommyperkins
    Quote from mjlrn97
    Frankly, I think this whole topic is a smokescreen to enable the subject of the OP to continue to live in denial........otherwise, why throw up roadblocks to something that can, and does, work for many, many people?
    And just what am I denying? Also what kind of roadblocks am I throwing up? If a person wants to go to AA voluntarily the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment guarantees that person's right to do so, just as the Establishment Clause guarantees a person's right not to be coerced to go to AA.
    Last edit by tommyperkins on Jun 8, '04
  9. by   SRbear
    Been there done that...well been there, did not do anything. Did not get narcotics wasted immediately after we first got our pyxis machine. Few times during the understaffed, crazy day, did not remember to go back and sign it out, I always had someone watch me waste. Well, it was decided that I was taking all the drugs. Wrong. I was given a choice of saying I had a drug problem or was told that the DEA would be called and I would be facing numerous federal counts. It is a federal offence not to sign waste immediately, and I repeat, immediately. I had no problems at work, no errors, etc. Needless to say, I was forced to a 12 step progrem, and counseling meetings run by the addict that had been there the longest. At the beginning, I did not test positive, nor did I ever test postive with any randon drug screen. It was quite an education. My biggest problem was with having God involved. If we are powerless, and only God can help us, and we do not believe in God.........
  10. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Quote from mjlrn97
    It makes it difficult on those who are there because they KNOW they have a problem and want help for it. Frankly, I think this whole topic is a smokescreen to enable the subject of the OP to continue to live in denial........otherwise, why throw up roadblocks to something that can, and does, work for many, many people?

    Just my .02 worth.
    I'm thinking, those who wind up in AA are there because they are forced into it -- forced by their DISEASE. I was there because of an unsuccessful suicide attempt and knew soon after that alcohol was the main culprit. As I said, it's worked for 18 years for me. Others are forced by the justice system, wives/husbands, girlfriends/boyfriends, employers, physical illness, whatever. Yet whatever it is that brings them, many find themselves convinced after attending meetings for a while that they do have a problem and that AA has a solution. So newcomers who come in for the "wrong" reasons are not resented, they are welcomed, because we know they have a shot at getting well.

    Now of course AA doesn't work for EVERYbody, but it's a start.
  11. by   Liddle Noodnik
    [QUOTE=SRbear]Well, it was decided that I was taking all the drugs. Wrong.QUOTE]

    Sounds like it sucked, big time. What happened after, did you get your license back or what?
  12. by   Tweety
    AA is not a religion or a demonination. However the 12 steps are very Judeo-Christian and it's lines are very blurry and I find them to be very religious IMHO> I think people should be offered alternative to forcing someone into 12-step programs.

    I think the relapse of addiction is dismal regardless of the program. Don't have anything to back that up with though. But I read somewhere that one of the symptoms of recovery is relapse.

    Lemonhead, with all due respect you sound a bit too bitter to be very objective. Your anger is palpable. You've been there, but you should preface that this is only your opinion. But maybe I should shut up too, sorry.

    AA however, should not be forced. There should be alternatives to 12 steps offered to profressional nurses. It shouldn't be the only program offered. That's not fair.

    But AA being in every corner of the world speaks volumes that it's a valid program of recovery, religious cult or not, lives are saved, people are changed.
    Last edit by Tweety on Jun 8, '04
  13. by   SRbear
    [QUOTE=zoeboboey]
    Quote from SRbear
    Well, it was decided that I was taking all the drugs. Wrong.QUOTE]

    Sounds like it sucked, big time. What happened after, did you get your license back or what?
    Never lost my license, but I could not give narcotics for 2 years, then had 2 more years of more meetings and random drug screens. The nurses I worked with then, and some I still work with now, cause I am at the same place, were great, and understanding. I hollered for them to give my patient a shot, and they hollered for me to hang an IV for them, so it worked out. They could not believe what had happened. You know, you really only have to be accused of taking narcotics.....and bam. They did not have to prove anything....at least if I had been aressted, I would have been read my rights.

close