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Bael
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I went to my first AL-ANON Mtg. last night. It is A.A. 12 step for people who are family members of an alcoholic. Part of me say's "This is what you need." "You need a place where you can process out all the shit thats happened to you!" The other part of me doesn't like the victimization attitude. "I can't handle life....blah, blah blah," I don't like the God thing either. Its as if I end up going through this then I have to give up something about myself. Can anyone offer advise?

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This isn't that borg-org run by the Scientologists, is it? If it is then of course get your ass out of it.

 

I view such organizations that promote belief in a deity as a step in a (hugely successful) program to gain control of alcohol and drug abuse essentially harmless, UNLESS it is a required course. That is, I don't mind it in and of itself, I don't even mind the evangelical Christian versions of it so much. Hey, if you decide you need God to get over it, whatever floats your boat. What irks me is the fact that these organizations are often supported by the state and people of various and differing beliefs are forced into them despite their own opinions on said Deity.

 

For example, I once saw a program on TV that was presented by the ACLU (my personal opinions of which organization are not relevant in the current discussion). A Catholic drug addict was forced by the state to attend a fundie evangelical Christian rehab program. The fundies that ran the place regularly placed great pressure on him to convert away from his "evil devil worship" and even took his very personally treasured rosary away from him, saying that it was a "tool of witchcraft". Why is this place being used by the state to rehabilitate people if it's full of so much hate-mongering and oppression of beliefs different to the strict interpretation of their own?

 

I don't believe that the state should sponsor programs that promote a specific religious or spiritual belief as "totally neccessary" to rehabilitation, or at least for the addicted public at large. I wouldn't have a problem with, say, supporting an evangelical Christian rehab program at which only evangelical Christian addicts would be required to attend, or a Hindu program for Hindu addicts, etc.

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To be completely honest, it's bullshit and you shouldn't give up a part of yourself to become "whole." This is the same scam religion uses to get people... they either find you broken and promise religion can heal you. Or they break you (or convince you you're broken at least) and then promise they can make it all better.

 

If you have serious, recurring issues relating to alcoholism in your family... seek professional help. Don't sit around in some pissant 12 step group waiting for a higher power to come around and make it better.

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This isn't that borg-org run by the Scientologists, is it? If it is then of course get your ass out of it.

Indeed, it is. Al-Anon (which is NOT the same thing as Alcoholics Anonymous), Ala-Teen and Narc-Anon are all "non-profit" Scientology front organizations. The Cult Awareness Network (CAN) was assimilated by Scientology some time back, as well.

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This isn't that borg-org run by the Scientologists, is it? If it is then of course get your ass out of it.

Indeed, it is. Al-Anon (which is NOT the same thing as Alcoholics Anonymous), Ala-Teen and Narc-Anon are all "non-profit" Scientology front organizations. The Cult Awareness Network (CAN) was assimilated by Scientology some time back, as well.

 

Well, the one Al-Anon meeting I ever went to didn't give off a scientologist vibe to me...seems kinda weird.

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Actually, after doing some research, it seems that Al-Anon was not formed by Scientology. The Scientology quackery is called "Narconon". Al-Anon was founded by Bill W.'s wife, not Ronnie Hubbard.

 

Although I doubt that the entire organization and idea has been totally taken over by Scientology or anything along those lines, of course if you start hearing about thetans, or being forced to say the Lord's Prayer at the end of every meeting (as I've read, happens often - you wouldn't see that in a Scientology setting since we all know Christianity was merely a film reel presented to the alien thetans in the prehistoric movie theaters), then I would just check out the local United Way office, since they can help in the way of therapists and what-not.

 

Actually, if you find yourself saying the prayer against your will but still enjoy the help you may be getting, I would first see the group leader privately and ask if saying the prayer is really neccessary, given your beliefs. They may be willing to accomodate you.

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My BIL attends both AA and Gambler's Anon meetings. Of course, he's also a believer. And a highly addicted gambler.

 

I think the AA part is for friendship and social life. He has alot of friends there.

 

The way I understand it, AA et al promote that you are powerless over whatever it is you are addicted to. In most cases, this is true. At least, at the outset, otherwise why would you be there?

 

Al Anon..for the family members..I dunno. I went to several of those. Seemed like a good way to bitch about the alcoholic we all lived with..and we were told our "higher power" could be anything we wanted, including the light switch on the wall.. :twitch:

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I'm a bit suspicious of any organization that requires you to think of yourself as helpless to control your own life and depend on supernatural aid. I'd prefer to seek out an organization that didn't do that. Though, if I couldn't find one of those, Al-anon would probably be an option.

 

Though it doesn't look very likely that I'll ever have to deal with a family member struggling with alcoholism. My sympathies to those who do.

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Having tried other 12-step programs, I can attest that they help. They aren't perfect but at least they're there.

 

Thing is, that regardless of who "invented" these groups. Many people get helped everyday by attending.

 

If you have all the money in the world to pay for first-class therapy, then don't bother, go to the professionals. But if money is a concern, 12-step programs are a great option. You get to meet and hear people who understand you, because they are or have been where you are.

 

To heck with the program and the founders or their belief in this or that. Go because meeting people who have the same problems you do is healing in itself. After a while, you will outgrow the group, but while it is still helpful to you, use it to your advantage.

 

To completely throw out 12-step programs because of a technicality such as who founded AA is black-and-white thinking. The same type of thinking that led us to christianity in the first place.

 

Let's get out there and find the GRAY. Let's not dismiss things without trying them first. We are adults now. We can think for ourselves and discern if something is going to work for us or not.

 

END OF RANT

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To be completely honest, it's bullshit and you shouldn't give up a part of yourself to become "whole." This is the same scam religion uses to get people...

 

I wholeheartedly respect your opinion, fallenleaf, but I will take the opportunity to throw in a counter argument.

 

It was through 12-step programs that I started my deconversion process. I went there and realized that people could even pray to a CHAIR and get answers. Then I realized that god was a construct of my imagination and that, when I thought my prayers got me help from god, I was actually just helping myself.

 

As for the groups being recruit centers for churches, that just isn't true. Church people crinch at the thought of any of their members going to 12-step programs. Heavens, no. You should read your bible, pray, and be healed instantly by Jesus. 12-step groups, in their view, just prove that you aren't a good christian--otherwise, why would you need extra help?

 

When the church people heard that I was going to co-dependent anonymous, they started to shun me. I told some pastor I was corresponding with, and within days I received a package by priority mail with a christian alternative to 12-step programs.

 

Trust me, the church hates 12-step groups.

 

I will also add that most people I met when I attended meetings were atheist, masons, spritualists, pagans, bahai--anything but christians. I must have met 1 or 2 christians during my three years of attending groups.

 

 

Maybe I'll go to a meeting tonight. I love going.

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I guess it really depends on the group. My father forced me to go to one Al-Anon group because my mother is an alcoholic and it gave me the woogies. Especially since they wouldn't let me opt out of the prayer circle at the end. Everyone HAD to participate. I was told I didn't have to pray if I didn't want to, but I HAD to hold hands. I left feeling like I was trying to get insects off my skin.

 

Of course, every group is different. My brother went to twelve step groups to get off weed, and they helped him out a LOT. So I would go with my gut instinct. If you're getting a bad vibe, not getting any helpful advice, or being forced to do anything you don't want or told you have to do things in a particular way, then leave.

 

It's important to find people who understand and therapy for what happened to you, but don't get caught thinking there is only "one way" you can get that help. That's the only thing I really warn against.

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I guess it really depends on the group. My father forced me to go to one Al-Anon group because my mother is an alcoholic and it gave me the woogies. Especially since they wouldn't let me opt out of the prayer circle at the end. Everyone HAD to participate. I was told I didn't have to pray if I didn't want to, but I HAD to hold hands. I left feeling like I was trying to get insects off my skin.

 

Of course, every group is different. My brother went to twelve step groups to get off weed, and they helped him out a LOT. So I would go with my gut instinct. If you're getting a bad vibe, not getting any helpful advice, or being forced to do anything you don't want or told you have to do things in a particular way, then leave.

 

It's important to find people who understand and therapy for what happened to you, but don't get caught thinking there is only "one way" you can get that help. That's the only thing I really warn against.

 

 

From your description, it does seem as if AL-ANON is different from other 12-step programs. I think Codependents Anonymous (CODA) is an excellent option for children of alcoholics.

 

For what I know, when a parent is an alcoholic, the roles switch and you become the parent. From that, you learn that you must take care of everyone in your life and that the whole world is on your shoulders--that is codependency. Nobody is going to make you pray at a CODA meeting--heavens NO.

 

If the CODA people were forced to pray, they would all walk out of there in seconds. The whole CODA thing is about stopping controlling behaviours, it is about letting others be, to let them go and pay the consquences of their actions.

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I've been a successfully recovered alkie for about 13 years now, so let me give you my thoughts on AA & Al-Anon.

 

I found AA very helpful for about the first year, but I haven't been to a meeting since. I was already an agnostic by then, and although they say in the program that your 'higher power' can be anything, I found that many people in the program got rather upset when I declared my power to be 'free will'. :Wendywhatever:

 

I also saw a private counselor during that time who helped me deal with the religion issues in AA. That helped a lot. But in the end, I think the reason AA helped me was simply group therapy - I never got into the program that heavily, and anything to do with 'god' I simply disregarded. But it was helpful to discuss things with fellow addicts.

 

After a point, I stopped going because I started to know what people were going to say before they said it, and I figured I had gotten everything I needed from AA by then.

 

I guess I was right, since I've never had another drink since and am pretty happy and enjoy life greatly. :shrug:

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I've been a successfully recovered alkie for about 13 years now, so let me give you my thoughts on AA & Al-Anon.

 

Congratulations, AGF! That will make you 23 right? You stopped drinking when you were 10?

 

Just kidding. Glad you are doing OK.

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It was through 12-step programs that I started my deconversion process. I went there and realized that people could even pray to a CHAIR and get answers. Then I realized that god was a construct of my imagination and that, when I thought my prayers got me help from god, I was actually just helping myself.

 

Well, if I was a deist (I'm not but let's use that as an example) I would be completely uncomfortable with everything relating to 12 step. I know the stupid argument that if you don't believe in God that anything can be your higher power (which isn't actually true because the higher power has certain qualities which must be filled, but they do say that to lead you in). Well, as a deist, that would be completely insulting to me. There is one God and he is the only higher power. To say that anything else is a higher power, or to compare him with a rock, is blasphemy. Further, my deist God is forbidden from being my higher power in 12 step because he's forbidden (by the nature of belief in him) to participate in my affairs. Not only do they want me to passively sit by while they spout blasphemies, they insist I deny the one true God and join them.

 

The fact that you came to the realization that if they say your higher power can be a chair then the construct of a higher power is flawed does not mean that they are in any way justified in their methodology.

 

As for the groups being recruit centers for churches, that just isn't true. Church people crinch at the thought of any of their members going to 12-step programs. Heavens, no. You should read your bible, pray, and be healed instantly by Jesus. 12-step groups, in their view, just prove that you aren't a good christian--otherwise, why would you need extra help?

 

Uhm, I never said the groups converted people to churches. In fact, I never used the words God, Christ, or Christian. I said they used the same scam that religion uses to hook you. The promise they have something which can help you -- when all they have is dogma. I detest 12-step groups for how they are like religions not because they're some Christian organization or something. Any group which sets people up to rely on the group for continual support invites abuse.

 

Does 12 step help some people? Sure. Churches help some people also. But they also do harm... and the harm they do doesn't really make up for the help they exist to provide. My mother honestly believes she would have never been able to raise three children on her own without God. That's up to her. But she's wrong. You can honestly believe you would have never sobered up without a 12-step program. That's up to you.

 

Even if you believe that 12-step was the only way you could avoid the hell you were making of your life... it's not justification for encouraging it for anyone else. It's especially not justification to encourage someone to join one under the guise of being a victim of an alcoholic.

 

When the church people heard that I was going to co-dependent anonymous, they started to shun me. I told some pastor I was corresponding with, and within days I received a package by priority mail with a christian alternative to 12-step programs.

 

Trust me, the church hates 12-step groups.

 

I will also add that most people I met when I attended meetings were atheist, masons, spritualists, pagans, bahai--anything but christians. I must have met 1 or 2 christians during my three years of attending groups.

 

This is anecdotal evidence and it also supports the fact that your church didn't like 12-step groups and the 12-step group you attended wasn't primarily Christian. It doesn't actually support the claim that 12-step programs are not religious (or more specifically not Christian).

 

More importantly, I couldn't care less if 12-step was Christian or not. It is religious in nature, supports the victim mentality, and encourages people to see their problems as a disease they themselves can't control.

 

Maybe I'll go to a meeting tonight. I love going.

 

Well, I certainly hope you enjoy yourself. :shrug:

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his is anecdotal evidence and it also supports the fact that your church didn't like 12-step groups and the 12-step group you attended wasn't primarily Christian. It doesn't actually support the claim that 12-step programs are not religious (or more specifically not Christian).

 

More importantly, I couldn't care less if 12-step was Christian or not. It is religious in nature, supports the victim mentality, and encourages people to see their problems as a disease they themselves can't control.

 

 

You are certainly entitled to your opinions. As I am entitled to disregard them.

If you have a way to help the suffering people that go to those programs, then by all means advertise. In the meantime, do not go around discrediting institutions that are there with the only purpose of helping.

 

The truth is that you don't even know these groups. Your opinions are completely unfunded.

 

We'd better stop here or move to the lions den. I am not interested in arguing with you anyway.

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The truth is that you don't even know these groups. Your opinions are completely unfunded.

 

Speaking of "unfounded"... how about that assumption there? You have no information at all regarding my personal history with such groups or with people involved with them and/or suffering from addiction. My disagreement is not out of ignorance and desire to cause strife. I wouldn't send a hurting person to a church for help... and for similar reasons, as well as other reasons, I wouldn't send them to a 12-step program.

 

:crazy:

 

Edit to add: This is amazingly similar to something a Christian would say to me when I would say that I think they're wrong. "You never knew Jesus... you don't know my church... you don't know what you're talking about..." and so on. "What about the suffering people that are helped by Christianity... etc." This is the religious mindset, I was talking about, demonstrated pretty clearly.

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Eh, if people find that 12-step programs are helpful, don't try to talk them out of it. I think that if you've got a problem, it might well be worth trying one.

 

I don't think it would be for me, thanks, but I'm sure that many people get great benefit out of it. As I said before, I'm suspicious of programs that require you to look to a "Higher Power," but I can see how that would be an effective psychological tool to help get control of an addiction. It effectively places the decision outside the realm of things you can decide for yourself, and in the realm of things decided for you, like taxes and gun laws.

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I'm like this. Seek treatment according to how well it works for you. Because in the end, that's all that matters, getting results. However, if the concept of A-Anon makes you uncomfortable or you go there and you find it's not beneficial, search for something else that is helpful.

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I'm like this. Seek treatment according to how well it works for you. Because in the end, that's all that matters, getting results. However, if the concept of A-Anon makes you uncomfortable or you go there and you find it's not beneficial, search for something else that is helpful.

 

Yeah, that's what it boils down to. Going to Al-Anon, you might get some good advice or information. Nothing says you have to keep going.

 

Also, when I started recovery I got some good books dealing with addiction, and purposefully avoided AA-oriented titles. Do a little searching on Amazon and you'll probably find some good ones, too.

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Having tried other 12-step programs, I can attest that they help. They aren't perfect but at least they're there.

 

Thing is, that regardless of who "invented" these groups. Many people get helped everyday by attending.

 

If you have all the money in the world to pay for first-class therapy, then don't bother, go to the professionals. But if money is a concern, 12-step programs are a great option. You get to meet and hear people who understand you, because they are or have been where you are.

 

To heck with the program and the founders or their belief in this or that. Go because meeting people who have the same problems you do is healing in itself. After a while, you will outgrow the group, but while it is still helpful to you, use it to your advantage.

 

To completely throw out 12-step programs because of a technicality such as who founded AA is black-and-white thinking. The same type of thinking that led us to christianity in the first place.

 

Let's get out there and find the GRAY. Let's not dismiss things without trying them first. We are adults now. We can think for ourselves and discern if something is going to work for us or not.

 

END OF RANT

 

I would hardly call it a rant. I would call it a ‘sensible approach’ to recovery for those without cash (which most addicts are.)

 

I went through NA (Narcotics Anonymous) from 1989-1993 with the same attitude you suggested. I never worked one step and never said the Lord’s Prayer. Today it has been nearly 17 years since I have done any hard drugs. I needed a place to meet other people who knew what I was going trough and found it within NA.

 

Eventually I found that I no longer needed meetings anymore. I did not give into the philosophy that “I was powerless,” over my addiction. Instead I adopted the mindset that “I was responsible” for my life. Because of this I was able to trust myself to resume alcohol and marijuana usage again after about 5 years of sobriety. I never had a problem with either of those drugs and still don’t. It’s great to trust yourself! :woohoo:

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