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Addiction is the topic: Twelve-Step Programs.


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What are your thoughts on them?

I'm currently in one, but I'm at odds with the 'higher power' mentality.


Does anyone have an objective view of the 12-step programs?

Has it worked for you?

If so, how have you incorporated the higher power philosophy into your life?

Has it worked for people you care about?


I'm not in the program because of any legal reasons, but because I've seen habits inside of myself I'd like to improve.

These are certain habits that I just can't seem to stop for whatever reason. 


Figured I'd give the 12 steps a try since my mom has 30 years sober with alcohol because of it.

My main fear is that it's just another form of dogma with it's "do this or die" mentality.


I don't see how that's much different from Christianity's "do this or risk Hell."

Yet, I like aspects of it.


Curious what your thoughts on the 12 steps are, because they seem to work for a LOT of people.



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My wife is in recovery for alcohol addiction, and was very put off by the 12 step mentality. So she went looking online and found smartrecovery.org (SMART = Self Management and Recovery Training) which is evidence based (rational emotive behavior therapy) and far more empowering than 12 step programs. It is not dogmatic at all, and takes into account the fact that each person is a unique individual and has the power of choice. It has really helped her and given her practical tools to get sober and get her life back on track. You may want to check it out and see if there's anything there that can help you. 

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I would try SMART as well if you can find it. I haven’t tried it myself but there are many more 12 step programs in my area. 


My perspective on the 12 step programs is that they should get you on the road to recovery and out the door. You’ll learn tools, examin yourself, empower yourself, while facing potentially some hard truths. You can find all different types of groups for 12 step programs even within the program you will have to seek out people who have the experiences and past that allow you to get the help you need. For me it was never about the program so much as having a place to share the things I needed to talk about, listen for tools, get sponsorship where I wasn’t accountable. I don’t believe in life long membership but that’s me. I also think that if you don’t want to live you shouldn’t have too, but I balance that by saying if you can’t figure out how to do it right you need to get some tools and resources to help you out, change your perspective, change your mind, work with what you’ve got, learn about yourself. Appreciate weakness if they’re too great and respond accordingly.


I grew from the experience whether or not the 12 steps would have gotten me there. I used it as a utility, made a couple friends, didn’t continue some friendships/relationships/sponsorships too.


The most important thing to me is if you can be honest. Is if the group has the capacity to hear you/put up with you. You go to meeting to hear other people tell their tales and pick up on the lessons that will help you to appreciate especially the behavior that you are afraid of. 


If you are lucky you’ll be able to examine some of the deeper things like where your needs come from. There’s good in the meetings, some bullshit, and sometimes you don’t know what is what. If you have the mindset to collect what you need, participate until it makes sense or until  you can make a decision whether it’s working or not you’ll probably gain a lot. The surrendering part is admiting you’re not sure what’s going on, which you’ve already done. Theres no harm in languishing in the unknown and hoping for a god to help you, but practically speaking the god is the advice and life experiences others bring to the table. Hence you need to do some looking around to find a worthwhile group and play it by ear listening for hints suggestions and understand that your working with your own brain and responsible to figure it out. If always found people in 12step groups willing to help and that’s a great quality, it’s part of the amends and being of service to others. 


If you’re in a culty 12 step you find another one. Go to an NA meeting instead. You get to choose that for the most part if your city has different groups. You don’t have to like the group and can switch. There are all sorts of people trying to recover in different ways. 


I believe even talking about your issues is important and attending a 12step meeting is a step towards a SMART meeting or where ever you ultimately end up. Don’t hold off on getting the lower quality help if that’s easily available in your city, take advantage of it, move on to therapy or other options if you need them.


Many of the things that the religious people in these groups do aren’t really about asking god to fix them, but it’s more of a mindset, about being willing to get help for things you don’t know how to help yourself, and that’s a key to so many of life’s problems. There’s no easy way to substitute the god stuff, mostly it’s an orientation where most people open themselves up to become receptive to answers they don’t have already but I understand why people might find that disempowering, or why it might keep people trapped coming back to meetings. It could become additive in itself. I suggest you embrace your inner pagan and let your demons out pray to Satan the great for healing from demonismo it just depends on whether you can suspend a little belief and still get help from what is basically just a bunch of guys who don’t necessarily care a lot about the divine themselves (each group is different). 

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