I truly hope you get the help you seek in this program. I tried both this and the SAA. Again if you had success and i works, well thats great. But lets not kid ourselves, the likelihood is anything but great. If they gave out marks, the grade recieved would be FAIL. If you dont succeed, your not working the program, or you werent sincere or you havent found your higher power or you .... Its your fault. I have a different view.

I am sorry but it IS about god, and its about religion tho not a specific one. It is about spirituality, a term anyone has yet to adequately define, or whatever that "means to you" - well it means nothing to me. Sorry we are all atheist, just some of us just believe in one or even a trinity of gods less. So as a survivor putting your blind faith( trust without any evidence) in a higher power which is likely how you ended up here in the first place - being coerced by a perp who knew your weeknesses and ignorance of innocence. Real faith comes with a reasonable expectation of outcome. Such as a applicant who is of sound character being hired for a new job. HR departments hire based on a resume, an interview and work experience with the faith and hope they will be able to be good at their new task. it is not a crap shoot.

AA has contributed to saving the lives of many people, however, we need to be honest about what AA does and does not achieve. We need to recognize its limits and be realistic about its effectiveness. Although the 12 step program of AA may provide people with a variety of benefits like social networking with similar people, emotional support, others who understand your plight, validation, hope and awareness, it is NOT an effective or complete approach for dealing with the true physiological or psychological roots of alcoholism.

It demands that you attend for the rest of your life and engage in a variety of religious practices to be an accepted member. Like other support groups, attendance in AA should be voluntary and used as a transitional phase for early stages of recovery, not something you're sentenced to for the rest of your life. AA should be like a parent -- teach and raise the child and then release them into the world. One of the guys in one of the SAA group i attended had been there for 12 years, that is one slow learning curve. He had a block on his pc so he couldnt view porn. Wouldnt it be better to understand why you want porn and obsess about it. It is a very infantile approach like locking the fridge for an obese kid, how about teaching some healthy eating habbits and figure out why they are using food to self sooth. This is a maladaptive coping skill that's askew. Its like wearing a chastitly belt. Not really effective to deal with the craving.

We don't tell anyone with cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, arthritis or cardiovascular disease to get right with God or their concept of God or blame their condition on the state of their morality or spirituality. When was the last time anyone with any other physical disease or condition besides alcoholism or addiction was told they must give their will and life over to a higher power, make a list of their sins, confess them to a group member, make restitution and engage in community service if they want to heal their health issues? When was the last time any of them were told the treatment protocol did not work because they are incapable of being honest, just not sick enough or in denial?

Additionally, the 12 step program of AA sometimes works because it provides someone whose life has been shattered by alcoholism with structure and direction. It's similar to the placebo effect, in that it doesn't really matter what the program consists of, it could be 3 steps, 2 steps, or whatever, it's simply a matter of being given a clear-cut path to follow that instills a false sense of protection and certainty in an unsafe and uncertain world.
Some people are able to be shamed and guilted into staying sober for a period of time, but since shame is also at the root of perpetuating addiction, this method does not work in the long run. For a survivor shame is the root of so many problems.

In the 12 step program of AA, you admit you're powerless, you give your power to God, list your sins, confess your sin, make restitution, engage in prayer, meditation and service to the program. We're very clearly talking about a religious conversion here -- not a treatment for addiction. The sole purpose of the 12 steps is to induce guilt and shame in attempt to change and control behavior; which is another contributing factor to why so many people can't succeed through 12 steps. Shame and guilt as we can all attest to, only produce low self-esteem and encourage self-destructive behavior like drinking and drugs rather than healthy, loving behavior towards self. How tough is that mirror to engage.

Instilling a sense of powerlessness(just admit it!) in an individual is destructive to self-esteem, teaches and perpetuates learned helplessness, perpetuates hopelessness, prevents one from taking personal responsibility and encourages a self-fulfilling prophecy that in the case of alcoholism or addiction often leads to binge drinking and justification for the binge.
Last but not least, every principle and technique used in the 12 step program of AA not only promotes but also ensures dependence upon the program. One addiction is replaced with another -- alcoholism for meetings. Instead of helping the individual develop skills that they can apply to their life outside the program to live a full and productive life, they are brainwashed with fear tactics into believing they must attend AA meetings for the rest of their life or they'll get drunk. They discourage independent thinking and, thus, the alcoholic becomes completely dependent upon the program and other members for not only their sobriety, but living in general. They look to to the 12 step program of AA for answers to managing all areas of their life.

Scientific research tells us that the drive to self-medicate with alcohol, drugs, sex, food, etc., is not the result of character flaws, mental disorders, weak will, personality disorders or spiritual deficits. It is an attempt to sooth or cover feelings that when at the surface are to painful to endure. Alcoholism is a physical compulsion with roots that lie in an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. We know that abuse can affect these brain chemicals and its effects have been well demonstrated. When the alcoholic tries to stay sober without addressing these physiological roots, then relapse is almost guaranteed, as the underlying biochemistry issues will push the alcoholic to seek relief in a drink. If relapse does not occur, it is temporarily soothed by engaging in other addictive behaviors like sex, sugar, caffeine, cigarettes or even the 12 step program of AA itself.

Alcoholics have been lied to and brainwashed. We are not powerless over alcohol or the addiction process. You do not have to be sentenced to a lifetime of meetings and the 12 step program of AA. You don't have to struggle with never-ending cravings for alcohol or drugs. When you learn the roots of alcoholism and are given the tools to address them effectively, cravings diminish and drinking becomes a non-issue in your life. Alcohol is no longer an issue in my life and random sex is just not something I would even consider.

The biggest crime in this scenario is that there are actual treatment methods that are based on sound scientific evidence that can help the body repair these physiological issues and ensure a much better chance of achieving long-term control over impulses. I even hate that word sobriety - its an all or none extremism.

For example I just think of the thought of how i will feel in the morning if i drink more that 2 drinks. I know that is a healthy limit that many studies have shown to be reasonable and healthy. No more than one or 2 can actually make you live longer and healthier. Why would i not want that. Plus i love the taste of red wine and i really like dark beer. So i know that if i have more than 2 i will feel upset and regrettful. So i dont, then in the morning i ask myself how i feel if i stick to my limit. And the answer is i feel great , in control and NOT POWERLESS. then the cycle continues. Then next time i am out with friends i ask myself how will i feel if i excede my limit again but now i also ask myself how good will if feel if i dont, cuz i know what that feels like cuz i have shown myself i CAN DO IT. So i have faith that i can go out and stick to 2 drinks only cuz i have seen how that works and feels. I KNOW IT CAN BE DONE CUZ I HAVE DONE IT

When my T said i could be a controlled social drinker i honestly thought he was full of shit. But he helped me see that through simple tools and exercises i indeed could be in control. You are two drinkers he said, one is social but then you dont stop. It is for pain control, social anxiety, wanting to escape feelings, being a part of the accepting party crowd. All that plus the ever present guilt of being a survivor. He helped me understand so much about being a compulsive drinker was just that, a compulsion, not a real disease. The cure is no cure, there is none - its managing the triggers that allow that permission statement in my brain at the point i want to drink too much. So at that point i stop and ask myself those questions, i assess how i am feeling. Know that i have control. I order a water with a twist of lime and just carry on. No harm no mess no foul.

Again if 12 steps work for you well that is outstanding. It didnt work for me and statistically it doesnt for most. I am just trying to put forth another perspective.


The need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence. Dalai Lama

WoR Barrie 2011