Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Step Program

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Darth Wong
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Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Step Program

Postby Darth Wong » 2008-06-09 01:40am

Just for the sake of reference, here are the 12 steps in the AA 12-step program:
  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles for all our affairs.

It's amazing how little of this list has anything to do with alcoholism. In fact, 10 of the 12 steps in the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program have nothing to do with alcoholism per se, and could have been cribbed out of any church sermon in the Christian world.

Believe it or not, the phrase "as we understood Him" is supposed to refute the charge that AA is engaging in Christian proselytizing rather than genuine treatment of alcoholism. I guess it makes "God" less specific. Or something.
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"It's not evil for God to do it. Or for someone to do it at God's command."- Jonathan Boyd on baby-killing

"you guys are fascinated with the use of those "rules of logic" to the extent that you don't really want to discussus anything."- GC

"I do not believe Russian Roulette is a stupid act" - Embracer of Darkness

"Viagra commercials appear to save lives" - tharkûn on US health care.

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Adrian Laguna
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Postby Adrian Laguna » 2008-06-09 03:00am

Oddly enough, the AA program has had an effect in driving people away from fundamentalism. It basically indirectly, and inadvertently, promotes the beliefs that you can get all the God you need without going to Church. Of course Christians who don't go to Church can still be fundies, but by staying outside of church they are less likely to mindlessly repeat whatever their pastor tells them, since they don't have one. It's an improvement.

Phillip Hone
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Postby Phillip Hone » 2008-06-09 11:48am

What is the official AA policy towards alcoholics who are non-religious and aren't willing to convert?

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Postby Cycloneman » 2008-06-09 10:36pm

Mongoose wrote:What is the official AA policy towards alcoholics who are non-religious and aren't willing to convert?
I think they say to do something like use a rock or a tree instead of God.

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Darth Wong
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Postby Darth Wong » 2008-06-10 11:11am

Mongoose wrote:What is the official AA policy towards alcoholics who are non-religious and aren't willing to convert?

From the AA official website:
Numerous alcoholics, when they first turn to A.A., have definite reservations about accepting any concept of a Power greater than themselves. Experience shows that, if they maintain an open mind on the subject and keep coming to A.A. meetings, they will in time find an answer to this distinctly personal dilemma.

In other words, you'll accept God eventually, with enough brainwashing. In the meantime, they will encourage you to consider the AA group itself as your "spiritual higher power" until you accept God. The underlying idea is still the same: man is a pitiful, weak thing and needs guidance from a "higher power" in order to control himself. And for some reason, this "higher power" is capable of washing away your sins and personality defects. Only Christians could delude themselves into thinking that this is a non-denominational concept.

Also on their website Q&A:
Is Prayer Observed in the A.A. Program?

There are two references to prayer in the Twelve Steps, as written by the founders of A.A.

The Seventh Step reads: “[We] humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.” And the Eleventh Step states: “[We] sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”

Some A.A. meetings close with a collective recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. Others use the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity to accept
the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.


In the Fellowship’s early days, there was no A.A. literature, and the young groups leaned heavily on Bible reading for inspiration and guidance. Meetings usually closed with the Lord’s Prayer because, as A.A co-founder Bill W. later explained, “it did not put speakers to the task, embarrassing to many, of composing prayers of their own.”

They try hard to act as though they are not engaging in religious proselytizing because they have been accused of that by many of their opponents. But it's virtually impossible to read their shit without coming to that conclusion, and excuses like "we only use group Christian prayer because otherwise, people would have to come up with their own prayers" ring pretty damned hollow. If AA is sincere about the "higher power" being the AA group itself (even though we all know that's a dodge to evade the charge of religious proselytizing), then who the fuck are they praying to? Themselves? And why call this higher power "God" or capitalize "His" name?
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"It's not evil for God to do it. Or for someone to do it at God's command."- Jonathan Boyd on baby-killing

"you guys are fascinated with the use of those "rules of logic" to the extent that you don't really want to discussus anything."- GC

"I do not believe Russian Roulette is a stupid act" - Embracer of Darkness

"Viagra commercials appear to save lives" - tharkûn on US health care.

http://www.stardestroyer.net/Mike/RantMode/Blurbs.html

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Aaron
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Postby Aaron » 2008-06-20 07:18am

I hope this isn't necromancy:


Mongoose wrote:What is the official AA policy towards alcoholics who are non-religious and aren't willing to convert?


I'll tell you what I got at the meeting I attended:

"You don't have to believe in God but if you want to quit drinking it's the best way"

Than I looked around the room and noticed that out of the 20 or so people there, I was the only one who had been sober for more than a week. And some of these guys had been going for over ten years.

My exit came shortly after that, during the lords prayer.

As a side note, my sister in law tells me there are secular AA groups in the Boston area (I've never found one in the Ottawa Valley) and that apparently AA is only effective for 5% of the people who attend. She's a social worker in Boston, so I have no idea if these numbers apply only to her area or across the board.
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