Reading a blog earlier today, from someone I consider pretty well stacked in the smarts department, I was thrown back into my past. Specificly my history with addiction.
Jan 17 1992:
I am a mess. I drink way too much, and do some crazy shit when I drink (very very,crazy). I was drinking and riding my bike in this nasty Ohio winter. 15 degrees and getting colder, at 3 AM all I wanted was to get off that frozen death machine and crawl into bed with someone warm. I got caught, as it happens to everyone who does this stuff, sooner or later.
Looking at a stiff fine and a few weeks in jail OR going to six months of AA classes and out-patient therapy was my choices....I did not take option one.
Which leads me to this memory, AA. AA is a 12 step program, a quasi-religiouorganization, as I see it. The steps themselves demand we pay allegience to god. God as we understand him, of course.
Step 1 - We admitted we were powerless over our addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable
Step 2 - Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
Step 3 - Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God
Step 4 - Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
Step 5 - Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
Step 6 - Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
Step 7 - Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings
Step 8 - Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all
Step 9 - Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
Step 10 - Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it
Step 11 - Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out
Step 12 - Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs
That, in essence, is a 12 step program.
I could not get around the religious aspects of the thing. BUT, I knew I had to give up the booze or I would wind up like my dear uncle Joe- a skid row drunk!
The guys in the organization tried to help me. They said the group could be my higher power...... Sure, I don't mind thinking of god as a bunch of drunks.
Another suggestion was a chair. YES, a chair. I was to put my faith in a higher power in a chair!
I found all their options insulting. If their god was so good, why did he(she/it) allow all of them to become drunks in the first place? Why make a person with the disposition to become an addict?
I mean, if he's to save them, who made them that way?
That's right, he did. Nobody seemed to see this but me. Luckily, I'm just anti-social enough not to care what other saw and I didn't.
In all of it I was struck with their utter insistence that their's was the only to remain sober.
Is it just me, or does this look like another group's M.O.? Read sobriety as salvation. Now you may see what I felt.
I have since learned of a few options that don't rely on god for salvaltion(sobriety), but after 17 years, I think I'll stick with my method....Just don't do it anymore? Though, I would not exactly recommend someone else do it my way, it has worked for ME.