I'd like to offer a non-higher power version of the 12 steps. The version I have written is godless and instead focuses on personal accountability over 'the devil made me do it' excuses. It worked for me, and I am alone in my efforts in a den of drug users.
Your input would be welcomed, pro of con; so long as you come with an open mind and intelligent response.
I can understand how the word "clean" implies that you were once "dirty"... but for that reason I actually think the word is more effective and accurate. When I'm on drugs, I am polluting my system and thus, 'dirty' seems very appropriate. I feel like to some point, addicts and addiction are given the "there, there... it's okay" treatment and in my humble opinion, that is one of the most damaging responses I was ever given. My friends decided it was okay that I did drugs, and people around me would tell me I should do whatever I want. With that, there really wasn't anything that would hold me back. Part of why the original incarnation of the 12 step program doesn't work so often (also in my opinion) is the constant lack of accountability in people using and deflecting of that use to being the power and control of someone other than themselves. The framework of the 12 steps is just fine, its the principles that are broken. That is what led me to rewrite the program to better manage personal responsibility and not leave people the answer "you will get there when you get there" or my personal favorite: "fake it 'til you make it". Now, the only one you have the option to lie to is yourself and that option is no longer viable the moment you are actually honest with yourself and say "I am an addict." Once you tell yourself that, it is no longer a matter of 'do I have a problem' and more 'am I going to solve it or continue to fail'.
Harsh words... but in reality, it is ourselves to blame and no one else.
On a side note, I spent a stretch of time locked up. This ideal I have is a translation of my conflict I have with prisoners getting so many luxuries and having them pawned off as "rights". It's the reason the prison system in its current incarnation is broken and doesn't work. I feel the same is true for treating and understanding addiction. I screwed up. I took the drug. I became a wreck. It is my responsibility to straighten up or suffer the consequences.
wierd... my comment was edited down by a few paragraphs
I'm sober almost 28 years. I haven't been to a 12 step meeting in 9 years. When we know better, we do better, eh?
I don't recommend the program anymore, at all. The fear that is influenced into unsuspecting, often vulnerable minds is not fair, honest or necessary. Besides the God push, it is often said that if you don't continue to go to meetings, help the new comer, be of service, have a sponsor, and read the big book, that you'll likely go back to drinking/using. It is a commonly held belief in the program, that if you don't have a God, that you have no spiritual defense against the first drink, as if your own ability to choose otherwise isn't enough.
The last time I went to a meeting, I was asked to share from the podium. I let them know they were far more powerful than they had been lead to believe. I talked about the power of intent, and focus and conscious choice. After I sat down, a man with 10 years more time than me, told that same room of people that if they wanted to learn about any of what I spoke of, that they could take a class at UCLA and end up in a bar afterward. Powerlessness is defended in the meetings, as is the idea of "disease."
There is something to be said for thought patterns. I'm no neurologist, but it seems to me that any extended amount of time that I focus on the thought to drink or use drugs, I begin to feel as if taking the action is more and more appealing. It begins in my head, every time. If I allow myself to become emotionally attached to the thought to get high, chances are, given enough time, I'll get high. Apparently, every time those thoughts have run through my head, I redirected my thinking to thoughts that had nothing to do with using.
I thought you might be interested to know about SMART recovery as well. A 4 step program based on "scientific knowledge."
i like your rendition of the 12 steps. Really helpful for someone.
I was around the original 12 stepsfor 25 yrs.
Funny thing tho, I stopped believing in God ( I was a devoted fan) and THEN I got sober, after over twenty five years of trying to quit(with God).
My life is just as or more screwed than it ever was but I won't drink.
I don't have any answers. No one's got my back if I'm right or wrong about what I think. I'm really messed up.
I'm here looking for an ear to bend and found your page. tag , your it.