Concerns Regarding The
Twelve Step Religion
My name is Sabrina Glidden. I've been corresponding with [suppressed] for a few months. I am in the process of deconverting and have enjoyed his support.
The reason I am writing you today is, he recommended I discuss some of my concerns with you regarding the 12-step program for substance abuse treatment. As I've been waking up to some truths, it has occurred to me that Christianity has been an obsession of mine largely due to the substance abuse in my family. As I grew up I noticed the only people in my family who didn't appear to be addicts were instead Christians. At this age of 31, I now see that Christianity was the least harmful of the two for me to choose early on. Now that I'm outgrowing the need for it, I've felt some concern about the way it is used in state funded treatment centers.
I realize that the God of Christianity is not the only "higher power" they promote. However, the fact that it has to be any god at all bothers me. I see it as pushing some sort of religion upon those who need to rehabilitate and that is a problem. Some say their higher power is their lover or best friend, but I see that as another codependent relationships that inevitably leads the addict back to using their drug. And if a person truly does not or cannot truly convince themselves that there is a god this program cannot help them. So it leaves me hurting for atheists who need treatment from state-funded agencies -- and all they'll be told is that they need to admit to their higher power that they themselves are flawed, morally deficient losers who can't make it without him. What does that say to their self-esteem?
I've heard of Save Our Selves (SOS) in Europe and there's one in Oklahoma. I'm a student of psychology and interested in doing some study on secular drug rehabilitation, and eventually would love supporting the implementation of an effective rehab program into these state funded agencies. I don't like tax dollars going to promote screwy religions to mess with the minds of those already whirling from addictions.
From: "Positive Atheism" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Cliff Walker...
Date: Saturday, September 02, 2000 6:18 PM
All methods advocate that you need help (or are otherwise inferior) -- except one: Rational Recovery. Rational Recovery dismantled its system of groups and meetings following my argument that if RR teaches self-recovery, why do we still hold meetings? I would look into the methods with this discinction in mind. Check out RR's website and my Recovery Watch page.
I currently practice moderation as advocated by Stanton Peele and agree with Peele's denunciation of the abstinence-based methods as an across-the-board cure-all. Alcoholics Anonymous has its roots in the same temperance movement that sparked the Prohibition Era in the United States. Their predecessors, the ill-named Washingtonian Society (Washington was a very heavy drinker), was scornfully denounced by Abraham Lincoln during a speech he gave at one of that society's functions. This rebuke showcases Lincoln's wit and cynicism probably better than any of his utterances. So, abstinence is a party-line policy, not one derived from observing which methods work most effectively. Moderation is the mainstream method in Europe, and where it is practiced drug and alcohol problems are more likely to be under control than where abstinence is emphasized.
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
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