12-Step Coercion - page 3

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

  1. by   CHATSDALE
    The Whole Point Or Going To These Meetings Is One Helping The Other...i Promise You That "professionals" You Go To Are Not Any More Capable Of Helping You Than Someone Who Has Been There...i Have Spoken To Many Aa Members And Most Have Found It To Be Of Help But None Were Forced To Go...it Was A Personal Decision You Need To Make And You Have To Make It A Priority In Your Own Life..if You Feel You Are Not Getting Anything Out Of It Petition The Board To Offer An Alterative....go To A Professional If That Is Your Choice But Get Help Somewhere....we Can Not Lose Capable Nurses Nor Can We Subject Patients To At Risk Nurses
  2. by   Lemonhead
    [QUOTE=CHATSDALE]The Whole Point Or Going To These Meetings Is One Helping The Other...i Promise You That "professionals" You Go To Are Not Any More Capable Of Helping You Than Someone Who Has Been There

    Wow, that's a scary thought. I certainly hope the professionals are better equipped to help us, because the "been there, done's that" may not have the simple social skills to walk another person through some extremely traumatic events, regardless of their own experiences. I can tell another person what it was like to have cancer, but I surely am NOT equipped to treat them.
    Case in point--this happened locally over 3 years ago. 26 year old man court ordered to AA following a domestic abuse charge, following several months of alcohol abuse. He was NOT ordered to anger management, nor any other type of professional counseling. He obtained the obligatory "sponsor", a man that had been a lifelong alcoholic and worked in a boat factory. The guys wife attended AA with him and one day after a meeting, went to the "sponsor" and told him that her hubby was acting irritable--the sponsor went a little off the wall--asked the kid if he'd been doing his Big Book reading assignments, his nightly prayers and phone calls...the kid said no, the sponsor said, "well, ya wouldn't be feeling this way if you'd read your book and prayed"....next day, kid rapes and strangles to death his wife in front of his 2 young children....do ya think a professionally trained, college educated mental health therapist would have told the guy to go home and read a book? So, yep, the boat maker had "been there, done that" and hardly handled the situation appropriately--on the contrary, he did nothing short of killing that young woman...
    In response to the "too angry to be objective." "Anger" can propel a person to educate themselves and understand every aspect of a cause they are pursuing..ignorance does not.
    To SRbear, I am so happy that you shared your story. People that have not been through the nightmare of a false allegation, cannot even fathom the horror of it. There are so many nurses that have made false admissions just to save their license. When you have a prosecutor or even board agent tell you that if you do not "admit" to a problem and enter in to a "confidential" program, you WILL face state and federal felony charges and permanent licensure records..and possibly a prison sentence..who wouldn't "admit" and jump through whatever hoops necessary to preserve your livelyhood. I'm sorry you had to go through that and hope you are getting through all of it okay. What every single nurse MUST understand, that something as "simple" as a documentation error can lead to very serious charges--and the board DOES NOT have to "prove" guilt. They simply have to show evidence.
  3. by   Lemonhead
    In addition to the religious issues:
  4. by   CHATSDALE
    LEMONHEAD there are horror stories concerning "professionals" and people who cannot recognize others who need support....some people with a broken leg need open reduction and some just need crutches for awhile....i work in a psyche facility and I can tell you that some professionals are absolutely useless..maybe that is what sends them to that specility is to try to understand themselves...maybe I have just seen the dregs but you can spend yourself into the poorhouse and come away just as troubled as you were before...if it will make you feel better people who abuse other people will do that no matter what...the woman was in danger no matter who would try to help her husband...why men think they can prove their love by killing is beyond my conprehension
  5. by   rnmom3153
    [quote=tommyperkins]the following presentation was given at the may 21, 2004 open forum of the north carolina board of nursing meeting:

    hi tommy, i'm new to all this and to computing so please excuse my mistakes. i happen to be very knowledgable about 12 step programs andtheir history. it is not a religious program and this is stressed because 12 step programs want newcoers to feel comfortable and not fear that god will be shoved down their throat (?) it is a spiritual program and people grow as they heal and recover. the aa book in particular is an excellent resource. all 12 steps programs stem from that.
  6. by   vwgirl
    Quote from tommyperkins
    the following presentation was given at the may 21, 2004 open forum of the north carolina board of nursing meeting:

    [font='times new roman']http://www.angelfire.com/journal/forcedaa/ncbon.html
    as a nurse in recovery i had lots to say on this subject. but the bottom line here can be broken down into two main points: 1. the bon powers that be mandate 12 step meetings because na/aa are programs proven to help give addicts/alcoholics a chance at having lives worth living, which includes the ability to function in society and as nurses. 2. while a person can be mandated to attend these meetings, no one can mandate what you believe. if you wind up in such a situation where meeting attendance if required, and you want to keep on being a nurse, then show up, get your paper signed, go home, and show up the next time until your mandated period is done. you can't screw around with the bon beauracracy; they have you by the short hairs here. no one says you have to believe what you here, or that you have to get the na logo tattooed on your back (like me!) but if you want to keep on being a nurse you need to jump thru whatever hoops they hold up. and anyway who knows; they say if you bring the body the mind will follow. if you are someone who truly needs to be in na/aa, you'll know it. not a whole lot of "normal" people wind up in the rooms by mistake.
  7. by   vwgirl
    Quote from 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....
    Hey, take it easy on the topless dancers and factory workers, ok? It's obvious you don't dig 12 step programs and that's ok. But I've never been in a meeting where anyone is forced to share anything, and I've been in a decade's worth of meetings. As far as the been there, done that factor goes, it works for lots of the addicts I know (see, I can't quote statistics, because I don't have any, but I can talk to you about my friends with 5, 8, 12, 15, 19 years clean) because only someone who has been thru the hell that is active addiction can understand what it it like and how hard getting clean is. I tried the trained professional route; nothing saved my *** until NA. But I'm not the NA police, everyone has to find their own way.
  8. by   odatrn
    NO ONE should be forced by a governing group into ANY 12 step program. It sucks for the person being forced into the meetings, and it sucks for the people who are there because they want to be. And it is frightening to me that a Board of medical professionals would have so little knowledge of the disease of alcoholism that they would do this on a seemingly routine basis. I never knew until reading this forum that this is apparently a common thing.

    I applaud anyone who can find sanity from this disease, no matter which course you take to get there.
  9. by   NP2BE
    Quote from 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.........
    I have worked at a treatment center that specializes in the care of health care professionals. I am also a memeber of AA.
    Point 1- the book Alcholics anonymous has an entire chapter devoted to the agnostic, not trying to convince them they need be religous or spiritual
    Point 2- Your case is extremely rare if what you say is true, and the greater good is served by sentencing people to treatment and AA. I have seen many people stay sober and get their licenses back along with their lives
    Point 3- Physicians and pharmacist do NOT have other options, they get the same treatment. And in some cases worse. They make certain docs do another residency if they are bad off enough, for example, anesthesiologists often have to do another residency which is is far worse than having to attend a few AA meetings, especially if you are over a certain age and have certain finanial obligations.
    Point 4- Maybe if you quit focusing on the God thing , you might learn something and improve your life, even if you are not an addict, everyone could benefit. You have to be there anyways.
    Point 5- You have a very negative attitude toward people who suffer from the disease of addiction with judgemental undertones.Being in healthcare, and being a nurse, I would expect and hope for better, would you talk about cancer patients that way????
  10. by   mscsrjhm
    I believe the point has been made that the courts have declared 12 step-programs as 'religious'. So, the debate is not whether they are religious or not, the debate is whether nurses should be forced to attend 12 step-programs as "rehab", and as a requirement to obtaining their license.

    If the above is correct, then NO, the licensing bureau for each state does not have the constituitional right to force nurses into the program.

    Personally, I do not believe that any one program would be beneficial to every person. Perhaps one specific program could assist a "majority", however, that leaves a "minority", right? Nothing is 100% effective for 100% of the people.

    Not having any experience with 12 step programs, I do not see how forcing a program could be constituitional, or beneficial. Either they use, or they don't. Drug testing and its consequences should be utilized when it comes to adults.

    If I have a problem, consequences teach me a lesson. As a 'free' citizen in a 'free country', I do not want anyone "assisting" me by mandatory programs. I simply do not believe that the government has that right.

    Keep your mandatory "counseling" and "12 steps" to yourself. If I mess up, then I pay for it. That is all it takes for me to learn.

  11. by   Quailfeather
    Point 1- the book Alcholics anonymous has an entire chapter devoted to the agnostic, not trying to convince them they need be religous or spiritual
    Chapter 4 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous titled We Agnostics most certainly does attempt to convert agnostics (and atheists) to a religious point of view! I don't see how you can seriously claim that it does not. Consider the following excepts taken from that chapter:

    "Well, that's exactly what this book is about. Its main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem. That means we have written a book which we believe to be spiritual as well as moral. And it means, of course, that we are going to talk about God." p.45

    "We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God." p.46

    "We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him." p.46

    "Instead of regarding ourselves as intelligent agents, spearheads of God's ever advancing Creation, we agnostics and atheists chose to believe that our human intelligence was the last word, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and end of all. Rather vain of us, wasn't it?" p.49

    "We, who have traveled this dubious path, beg you to lay aside prejudice, even against organized religion. We have learned that whatever the human frailties of various faiths may be, those faiths have given purpose and direction to millions. People of faith have a logical idea of what life is all about." p.49

    "When many hundreds of people are able to say that the consciousness of the Presence of God is today the most important fact of their lives, they present a powerful reason why one should have faith." p.51

    "When we saw others solve their problems by a simple reliance upon the Spirit of the Universe, we had to stop doubting the power of God. Our ideas did not work. But the God idea did." p.52

    "When we became alcoholics, crushed by a self-imposed crisis we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is, or He isn't. What was our choice to be?" p.53

    As an agnostic, I find that chapter to be nothing more than a hard sell on the God concept. Bill Wilson's use of the word *spiritual* throughout that chapter is nothing more than a deceptive exercise of rhetoric. The entire book, in fact, is riddled with similar disguised religious dogma that failed to go unnoticed when subjected to the scrutiny of several U.S. Courts.

    Point 2- Your case is extremely rare if what you say is true, and the greater good is served by sentencing people to treatment and AA.
    Sentencing anyone to treatment that uses religious principles violates their religious freedom. The Supreme Court has repeatedly made clear that at a minimum, the Constitution guarantees that government may not coerce anyone to support or participate in religion or its exercise. To force one to give up their constitutional rights, in the name of "greater good" is nothing less than an act of tyranny. C.S. Lewis said it best when he proclaimed, "Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
  12. by   Tweety
    Quailfeather, I believe too it is religious in nature. Where they try to get away with saying it isn't is that it isn't part of any demonination. So AA is not a religion, but it's very religious if I'm making sense. Also, many stress that the "power greater than yourself" can be anything. Meaning you yourself have failed to get and stay sober, it's time to look for something outside yourself, thus a "power" greater than yourself. For AA and the founders that power was God, but it doesn't have to be, you don't have to subscribe to anything. But for anyone who has read the book to say it isn't about "religion" is nitpicking semantics IMHO. It's rooted in the Judeo-Christian model to confess and turn your life over to God.

    Again, it works. The millions of groups throughout the world are testimony to that. But I agree it violates someone's freedom of choice when forced on someone.

    Being an alcoholic or drug addict is dangerous. I agree with forced treatment and accountability or surrender your license, but not necessarily force someone to go to AA meetings if they have a problem with it.

    Bottom line patient safety is most important.
  13. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Quote from SRbear
    at least if I had been aressted, I would have been read my rights.
    I'm sorry that happened to you...