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techstepgenr8tion
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14 Nov 2011, 11:19 am

OP, sounds familiar. Watch this, you might get a kick out of it:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3rGev6OZ3w[/youtube]


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leejosepho
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14 Nov 2011, 12:15 pm

ruveyn wrote:
^^^^^

The traded on addiction for another. Instead of booze, it is coffee and donuts, badges, and meeting after meeting with sad maladjusted people ...

That might be true within much of today's AA, Ruveyn, but not in the original ...

Quote:
We have shown how we got out from under. You say, "Yes, I'm willing. But am I to be consigned to a life where I shall be stupid, boring and glum, like some righteous people I see? I know I must get along without liquor, but how can I? Have you a sufficient substitute?"
Yes, there is a substitute and it is vastly more than that. It is a fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous. There you will find release from care, boredom and worry. Your imagination will be fired. Life will mean something at last. The most satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead. Thus we find the fellowship [we share here], and so will you. ("A.A.", the book, page 152)

But of course, yes, some of us do still smoke cigarettes by the carton and drink coffee by the gallon ... ;)


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pete1061
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22 Nov 2011, 7:31 am

Here are some tips from an atheist who has been dealing with AA/NA for many years....
I have wrestled with the "god" thing for a while now, and found my own peace with it.

First, AA & NA technically are not religions.
Religions are organized, 12 step groups are not, not even close.
Religions have a uniform set of spiritual beliefs, go to enough 12 step meetings, you will find a very wide variety of beliefs. Including people who do not believe in a deity.

12 step groups do not have social workers, what you we're exposed to was not a true NA/AA meeting, but a treatment center bastardization that has no right calling itself an AA/NA meeting.

AA/NA have the sole purpose of helping someone get and stay off substances. They are not for treating depression.
That's what professionals are for. The AA big book even says to go get professional help for such things. And if you do not believe you have a problem with a substance, then don't waste your time there.

The 12 steps allow for all belief systems. If someone is forcing their belief on you, they are not reading the steps right. Just ignore them.

The "doorknob" suggestion is a stupid one. Ignore idiots like that. Don't curse all of AA/NA based on a single moron.

12 step groups are basically "the blind leading the blind". They consist of some very f'd up people, some not so f'd up. Don't expect so much from them.

Don't get hung up on that three letter word (god). The basic idea behind this "higher power" stuff is accepting that most of life is beyond your control. the process of the steps is mainly to distinguish what is within your control and what is outside of your control. many addicts/alcoholics get all f'd up stressing over things that they can't control, like the actions & beliefs of others for example.

AA/NA is a good support group of clean & sober people to hang out with. There really are few other social groups like that besides church groups. For the most part 12 step people are positive, supportive people to hang out with.
But they are not perfect, nobody is.

Again, treatment center AA/NA is not the real thing.

As an atheist surrounded by theists in these meetings, I have found it's easiest not to debate the god issue with them. I don't want them forcing their beliefs on me, so I shouldn't force my belief on them. The toughest thing about being an atheist is accepting that others do believe in this "god" fairy tale.

And one last thing, there are TONS of AA/NA meetings in almost every country, if you don't like one, there is always another.

But of course, it's not for everyone. the 12 steps is not the only way to stay clean & sober. Explore all your options.

...

and PS:
It's about damage control, getting off the really life damaging addictions. It's not really fair to be cursing 12 step folks for switching to coffee, donuts & cigarettes. We're talking about addictive personalities here, they are going to act addictively with just about everything they do. Geez... Cut 'em a break, at least they aren't pounding a half gallon of vodka per day then getting behind the wheel of a car anymore. It's about being alcohol free, not addiction free, that's not humanly possible. Not for someone with that type of personality.


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leejosepho
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22 Nov 2011, 12:17 pm

pete1061 wrote:
Religions have a uniform set of spiritual beliefs, go to enough 12 step meetings, you will find a very wide variety of beliefs ...

Yes, because many people bring their religions on in. However, A.A. is simply an *experience* and not a set of beliefs at all.

pete1061 wrote:
AA/NA have the sole purpose of helping someone get and stay off substances. They are not for treating depression.
That's what professionals are for. The AA big book even says to go get professional help for such things.

Not necessarily in that kind of way. Rather ...

"My friend promised when these things (the Steps) were done I would enter upon a new relationship with my Creator; that I would have the elements of a way of living which answered *all* my problems ...
"Since this book was first published, A.A. has released thousands of alcoholics from asylums and hospitals of every kind ...
"If [someone] ... can convince you and your doctor that he means business, give him a chance to try our method, unless the doctor thinks his mental condition too abnormal or dangerous." ("A.A.", the book, pages 13, 114)

pete1061 wrote:
The 12 steps allow for all belief systems. If someone is forcing their belief on you, they are not reading the steps right. Just ignore them.

Sure enough, and yet we all still end up here:

"Being wrecked in the same vessel, being restored and united under one God, with hearts and minds attuned to the welfare of others ...
"The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution. We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action. This is the great news this book carries to those who suffer from alcoholism." (pages 161, 17)

pete1061 wrote:
As an atheist ... The toughest thing is accepting that others do believe in this "god" fairy tale.

"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." (page 151)

How does that kind of evidence sound like a mere fairy tale?

pete1061 wrote:
... the 12 steps is not the only way to stay clean & sober.

Definitely not, and we say this about that:

"He should not be pushed or prodded ...
"If he thinks he can do the job in some other way [than through spiritual means], or prefers some other spiritual approach [than the one that has worked for us], encourage him to follow his own conscience ...
"... be friendly. Let it go at that." (page 95)

pete1061 wrote:
Explore all your options.

Personally, I ended up in A.A. after exhausting them!


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pete1061
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22 Nov 2011, 5:17 pm

leejosepho wrote:
...snip...
"Being wrecked in the same vessel, being restored and united under one God, with hearts and minds attuned to the welfare of others ...
...snip...


"under one god" doesn't that sorta go against the whole "god as you understand him" in the 3rd & 11th steps.
I suppose it can be up to philosophical debate. I mean we all have an understanding of the same phenomenon called "god" of which we all have a different take on.

I personally choose NOT to call my higher power "god". To me "god" is a name, implying a single personality that can be communicate directly with. I have more of a monastic view, with a non local consciousness. It's more of an all present energy, neutral, like any of the four fundamental quantum forces. really a fifth quantum force. It may have a consciousness, but that consciousness is something completely different from what as humans know as a consciousness. Really, nothing like a deity.

I just don't get into this more traditional "buddy god" that so many speak of. My higher power isn't something that I can pray to. But if I meditate and look beyond my ego, I can sense a presence. It may be the presence of all life itself around me.

But the word "god" just has too much baggage.

leejosepho wrote:
pete1061 wrote:
Explore all your options.

Personally, I ended up in A.A. after exhausting them!


Same here.


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TheHorseandtheRider
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22 Nov 2011, 5:36 pm

LeeJoseph. In good humor and with best intentions I must point out that your last post mirrors a christian post complete with "scripture" quotes but in your case from the Big Book. :lol:



leejosepho
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23 Nov 2011, 8:49 am

pete1061 wrote:
leejosepho wrote:
...snip...
"Being wrecked in the same vessel, being restored and united under one God, with hearts and minds attuned to the welfare of others ...
...snip...

"under one god" doesn't that sorta go against the whole "god as you understand him" in the 3rd & 11th steps.
I suppose it can be up to philosophical debate. I mean we all have an understanding of the same phenomenon called "god" of which we all have a different take on.

Yes, that is it: we each have "an understanding of the same phenomenon called 'god' of which we all have a different take on."

TheHorseandtheRider wrote:
LeeJoseph. In good humor and with best intentions I must point out that your last post mirrors a christian post complete with "scripture" quotes but in your case from the Big Book. :lol:

I understand, and possibly some of my sectarian past still shows from time to time. However, my only desire and intent here are to be sure anyone curious or interested has an opportunity to hear the original A.A. *experience* "straight from the book", so to speak. Within today's AA as it is, other people might otherwise never have an opportunity to hear it at all.


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GoonSquad
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26 Oct 2013, 10:37 am

Sorry for necro-ing this thread, but I'm [avoiding] doing a research project on AA right now.

It seems to me, that AA is effective (for some) because of the CBT and MI aspects of the system.

All those slogans, and even the appeal to a "God" are just elements of homespun CBT, reframing a seemingly insurmountable problem in manageable terms... The addict/alcoholic may have failed at kicking the habit alone many times, BUT this time, they have God's help! Praying also provides a way for the addict to maintain a positive internal dialog, clarifying and stating goals. Also, the various slogans. such as "One day at a time" help to redefine big problems as something more easily accomplished. NEVER drinking or drugging again is an almost impossible goal, but not drinking and drugging for one day is easy (by comparison). Eventually, all those single sober days do eventually add up to never again.

Also, when AA is done 'by the book', attendees are never coerced or judged. They share their problems and experiences in a safe, supportive atmosphere that promotes bonding and empathy. Those shared stories also illustrate the benefits of not using and provide 'proof' that change is possible. It's just MI, motivational interviewing done by group rather than counselor.

Hmm....


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MadeUnderground
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28 Oct 2013, 8:21 am

AA and NA meetings are helpful for me.

And by that I mean helpful when I need them.

The problem with the AA and NA in my area is that it's like a cult-community type thing. So many people keep telling me what I should or shouldn't be doing.

I've been sober for almost 8 months now, when I first got out of rehab, I went to an AA or NA meeting 2 or 3 times a day for the first month or two. It was helpful because I liked listening to peoples' stories.

After a while I got really burnt out by all the crap. I know that some of it is still good and I do enjoy a good speaker meeting but the majority (especially NA) of the meetings consist of the same people complaining or preaching about the same things. Over and over and over for 20-30 minutes straight.

I tried to keep going, but I started excusing myself from the meetings for more cigarette breaks, which led to me leaving early, which led to me going maybe two or three times a month if I'm lucky.

I have a sponsor who I talk to about two or three times a month. I used to talk to him on a daily basis.

I just don't think those meetings are for everyone, and I don't know how to explain this to others in the program.
I honestly just want to see my therapist once or twice a week and have her keep me in check. I'll always go to a meeting if I think about picking up a drink but I just can't do the full immersion thing anymore. It really is like a clique.

Rumors spread like wildfire among these people. It's like they have nothing better to do but to talk crap about people. Say someone relapsed when that person hadn't because they're just paranoid or something.

After living in a sober living house for 5-6 months (I'm actually in charge of the house now), I've had about as much as I can bare. It was helpful for when I needed it, but I can't wait to go back to school. To get out of this... surrounding.. (I don't know how else to describe it)

I'm trying to find other ways to remain drug and alcohol free without having to be all gunho on AA and NA.

A part of me is convinced it's just the social aspect that draws people. I mean I see people who've got 30 years clean that still go to meetings Every. Single. Day.

I mean that's great for them but I just can't do it. And when I say something like that, I'm greeted with the response, "Well you do what it takes to be sober." Yes that's true, but what if I don't need to go every day? Or even every week?

If I have a therapist I'm seeing once or twice a week that's good enough for me. I'll go to speaker meetings or hit one up when I feel like I can bare to sit through an hour (or an hour and a half if NA) of people talking about random blah.



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30 Oct 2013, 3:51 am

I have been to AA and NA meetings, and they have a lot of cult-like qualities. You are not imagining things.

Maybe religion does help some people quit drinking and doing drugs. I'm not doubting that.

But AA is sometimes hostile towards atheists, which is counterproductive. A bit of a hoax if you ask me. However, the community spirit and social support can be positive for some (emphasis on some).



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30 Oct 2013, 8:15 am

I had an experience similar to the OP. Hospitalized after a meltdown in 2009, I tested positive for marijuana and was compelled to enter addiction therapy.
For a while I tried to take it seriously, not because of Marijuana addiction but as if it were a class I was taking. When I would try to seek common ground with people fighting real addiction, they would sometimes literally laugh at me.
The same people running the addiction therapy also prescribed medication and put me on anti-depressants. Eventually I began to resist the program, it took more than a year to struggle out of it.
Now I just think most therapy is a scam and avoid it on principle.



GoonSquad
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30 Oct 2013, 10:03 am

heavenlyabyss wrote:
I have been to AA and NA meetings, and they have a lot of cult-like qualities. You are not imagining things.

Maybe religion does help some people quit drinking and doing drugs. I'm not doubting that.

But AA is sometimes hostile towards atheists, which is counterproductive. A bit of a hoax if you ask me. However, the community spirit and social support can be positive for some (emphasis on some).


That's the CBT stuff and it is a method of thought reform. The thing is, it's positive thought reform aimed at supporting and enabling sobriety.

I can agree that AA is not the only or the best way for many, but I think CBT and MI is essential. You can get that from a good therapist, and done in a more honest way.

I guess the only real advantage of AA is that it's free. A lot of people couldn't afford access to a good therapist.

There are Atheist versions of AA style systems. I'd like to do some research on those too.


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