"Faith is not a good reason to believe in any one thing. It's a bad reason to believe in everything. Faith is not synonymous with any one idea; it is synonymous with any strongly held idea, true or not. But one thing faith is not synonymous with is a logically justified idea."
March 24, 2010
My father and a few select others in my life had addiction problems but I do not and I’m thankful I don’t. If you’re fucking up your life by constantly consuming alcohol or using narcotics I have no idea what you’re really going through. But if this paper is supposed to be educational I need real facts. Luckily I did my homework and got a whole plethora of knowledge from real drunks and dopers who know how 12-step programs are supposed to work. If you think I’m wrong in anything that I say because I’ve never experienced what you’ve been through, well then fine. That’s your right to your own opinion, but not a right to your own facts.
It is estimated that 14,000,000 Americans (1 in 13 adults) abuse alcohol or are alcoholics themselves. With all these self-proclaimed addicts the 12-step programs are a big business! There are over 300 different types of 12-step programs operating in America alone. Everything from “Alcoholics Anonymous” to “Gambling” and even “Sex-Addicts Anonymous!” The phrase “12-Step” sounds like good technology right? After all it has numbers that represent the progressive steps needing to be taken to turn your life around and quit that awful habit for good. Almost like a “build-it-yourself” handbook. Step one, two, and three and all the way to 12 and you built a porch; or in this case you’re cured or at least no longer a slave to an addiction! But 12-stepping isn’t technology as much as it is religion.
Religious culture takes the people in their congregation with problems and teaches them to think of themselves as lonesome sinners. They teach these people to be ashamed of themselves and tell them they are weak and helpless and then they offer them one way out. You show them a single infallible authority (God?). Tell them they are totally dependent upon the forgiveness and healing powers of this deity and they go running to preach the word! Let me lay out the steps to the well known 12-step program and you tell me if they sound more like medical treatment or religion…
THE 12-STEP PROGRAM...
Step 1: Admit that you are powerless over (Your Vice of Choice Here) and that your life has become unmanageable.
(That’s the hardest one I’d suppose. Most addicts are in denial of their ways and cannot accept the truth. Often it takes a loved one to point out their obvious flaws. This one I almost agree with… Except the part about being “powerless.” You’ve started taking the necessary steps to fix the problem yourself, that makes you powerful!)
Step 2: Come to believe that a power greater than yourself can restore you to sanity.
(First of all you are not insane. Unless you’re addicted to eating your own shit, then you might be insane. Second, what if you don’t believe in a power greater than yourself? Not in a conceded way but in an atheist way. Then who do you see as more powerful than yourself? The Federal Government?)
Step 3: Make the decision to turn over your life to the care of God as you understand him.
(Okay, now it can’t be the Federal Government. They flat out said it has to be God! But they say, “as you understand him.” Does that mean it doesn’t have to be the Christian God, it can be Buddha, right? Or Allah?)
Step 4: Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of yourself.
(This means to take inventory of all your ethics and values. See what it is that you hold dear and want to keep and protect. For a married man struggling with alcohol addiction it might be his wife and kids. He doesn’t want his flaw to hurt his family and he decides to change it before it ruins them all. I like this one. Even non-addicts should try this one, just to see where they stand.)
Step 5: Admit to God, to yourself and to another human that nature of your wrongs.
(There’s that “God” again. What if you don’t believe in God!?! What then! What if your addiction is too embarrassing to be told to another person? You can’t go tell your mother that you’ve been helplessly addicted to getting boned like a fish! Plus, getting away from your flaw and being around people who don’t know it ever existed is the prime idea for some people. Why tell them about your flaw if they don’t need to know?)
Step 6: Become entirely ready for God to remove all these defects in your character.
(Why is it up to God to take my bad habit and squash it? I thought I was in charge of my life and my addiction! I thought I needed to change! If it was all up to God anyway why didn’t I just go to church and pray it away?!?)
Step 7: Humbly ask God to remove all your short comings.
(That sounds a lot like what I just said before. So is the answer to getting off the booze a simple prayer?)
Step 8: Make a list of all the people you have harmed and be willing to make amends to them all.
(I’m not against making amends for my wrong doings. That’s what a good person should do in life. If you hurt someone wrongfully then you should make things right. Or at least try. That’s not science though, that’s just good rules for life. But even still I agree.)
Step 9: Make direct amends to such people whenever possible unless to do so would injure them or others.
(That’s not bad either. But I’m curious… When would making amends to someone ever injure them or anyone else? Just curious.)
Step 10: When wrong, promptly admit it.
(Not a bad idea. I hate it when people are flat out wrong but still try to cling to what little bit of their argument still exists. If you’re wrong then you’re wrong.)
Step 11: Seek through prayer and meditation to improve your conscience contact with God, praying only of his knowledge for his will for you and the power to figure this out.
(So I need to pray and meditate to ask God for the method to the madness. What is my destiny in all this? Was I a drunk in order to save the universe? This is just needy people looking for an explanation of the simple things in life they are still too far in denial to admit. If you were a drunk then it’s because you were stupid enough to make it a problem, it’s not destiny. The blame is still on you, there is no ultimate excuse.)
Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening due to these steps bring this message to other addicts and practice these methods in all your affairs.
(A spiritual awakening? The cure for addiction is a spirit journey? Seriously. I thought addiction was a chemical dependency, not a demonic possession.)
AA has no respect for their 12-steppers. They tell you to pity yourself and see yourself as weak and helpless and look to a higher God-like power for salvation from what has been proven to be a chemically scientific addiction. As if God could cure cancer but needs you to cry and pity yourself first. If it worked that way for all chemical and biological ailments then you could cure cancer and diabetes with the 12-step method too.
We hear it everyday. People claiming that their alcoholism, drug addiction, obesity and even their anorexia is a “disease.” Is this right? Are these habits a real disease or are they based on personal choice? Are there genetic abnormalities in their body make them drink, smoke and puke or is it all in their head? Do they make the choice for themselves to do these bad things? Who is really in control, the addiction or the addict?
“Addiction is a choice; it is not a disease… Addiction is a behavior and because it is a behavior it’s always voluntary. There is no such thing as an involuntary behavior. In the scientific community we hold a particular view of what constitutes a disease and drug addiction and alcoholism do not meet those criteria for a disease. Drinking alcohol and putting it into your body expresses your choice. A real disease, something like cancer is not a choice.”
-Dr. Jeffrey A Shayler, Addiction Medicine Specialist, Assistant Professor at American University
What really is an addiction? Addiction is a psychological and chemical issue. Which means it needs a scientific approach to cure. However AA and the other 12-step programs do not do what is scientifically necessary to treat the problem. They do not change their tactics to meet their results. For all the years the 12-step program has existed it has never been changed. It is still the basic program it was when it began. Real scientific treatments change with time thanks to new technology and the further understanding of the treatment’s results. AA isn’t science.
12-Stepping and the Law?...
In 1988 the trial of "Traynor v. Turnage" came to light. It involved a veteran who had applied for education benefits but missed his deadline for full enrollment. He sued, claiming his “disease” of alcoholism made him neglect to file on time. The argument went all the way to the Supreme Court where it was finally decided that alcoholism was most certainly not a disease. It lacked the raw evidence to prove that it was a disease. Instead it proved a waste of time.
The truth is you choose to drink or do drugs. You don’t choose cancer. Ask someone who’s dying of cancer if alcoholism is a disease. If they still have the strength they will slap you! A real disease is something you do not choose! You get stuck with it! Alcoholism is an issue you choose to have or choose to refuse to have.
Do you know what percentage of AA members actually get off the hooch and stay off? Alcoholics Anonymous doesn’t publish it’s results anymore since it’s considered to be a “religious” method. But at one time it did publish them. It found that only 2% of its members ever really stayed sober. Only 2%! That sounds pretty low, doesn’t it? If a prescription drug only cured a patient 2% of the time doctors wouldn’t prescribe it! But here’s the catch… Alternative methods for sobriety, which aren’t considered religious and therefore must by law post a report of all their results, have a 2% success rate as well. Can you guess how many people are able to successfully quit cold turkey? Yep, it’s 2%. So it doesn’t really matter what you do. Whether you use the AA 12-Step method, alternative methods or just plain quit on your own, your odds are still 2% out of 100! Shouldn’t you be aloud to choose the method that you feel will best suit you if the results are statistically all the same?
PS: Sorry Dad, AA isn't science, it isn't medicine, it is religion. It's pseudo-scientific religious dogma.
Author: SgtHaile at 6:11 PM