Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Thanks pboy, you've sent me off on a tangent.......

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.


Asylum Seeker said...

Only steps 4, 5, 6, and 10 aren't utter bullshit. Of course, that's after substituting "yourself" for the word "God", since, really, programs like this should be about self-empowerment in order to facilitate positive change in your own life, and not about sitting back and waiting for something else to do the work for you. The funniest thing about what you mention (God making them addicts in the first place) is that TRUE alcoholism (biological addiction and dependence is largely genetic in nature. And it is hilarious that they thought that you could admit things to a chair, and then have it cure you of alcoholism. I think I want to call "projection" on that one.

mac said...

Yeah :-)

A chair has about much power as any god I have ever seen. With the possible exception of the sun god, he's pretty powerful- and real.

I wonder what one does if one is a sun devotee and also has with skin cancer. Does he turn his life over to the same sun that CAUSED his cancer?

pboyfloyd said...

Yea, they've pretty much taken the fun out of drinking and driving, haven't they.

Oh well, it's probably a good thingy overall, just thinking that the odds of being hit by a drunk we're probably worse than me being drunk hitting someone else.

My wife hit a truck head-on way back, but she WAS wearing her seat-belt and THAT certainly saved her life.

The poor woman she hit was grieving that her mom was sick so she sort of went a bit silly and tried to get car insurance money FOR the sick mom who wasn't in the truck at the time.

pboyfloyd said...

Just read Seeker's threat to 'get you' for not tellin' us about your blog.

Thinking of sending the bird over to rip yer lips! (you have to remember to hold real still while he does that tho', he's a bit of a 'chicken'.)

Anonymous said...

You got every in and out of it Mac. To comment on Asylum, the steps aren't false for those whom they work for. He is right though in pointing out the self-empowerment aspect of it because that's what it's really about. Well, self-acceptance too.

I'm glad you have a blog. Things are in balance.

Asylum Seeker said...

"the steps aren't false for those whom they work for."

I didn't mean to say that they were false: just far too likely to be ineffective to bother bringing them up. I am, of course, including the inane "go find all the people that you have slighted and apologize" thing, only because it has very little to do with the problem at hand, as far as I can tell. If it works for people, than that is fantastic, I just have no f-ing idea why it would, personally...

mac said...

While I'm sure the steps do work for some folks, I could not see turning over to god my problems.

I think in that position, one could see god as the creator of the problem as much as the solver. I'm not sure if that makes much sense or not?

mac said...

Yeah, I bet that bird has 'lip' envy anyway :-)

Sydney said...

Sure, I don't mind thinking of god as a bunch of drunks.
Classic! Made me spit diet coke all over my keyboard.

Anonymous said...

I knew about the blaag! :-)

So - Here's MY question ... How is it that judges can order you to go to a religious organization for "recovery"?


mac said...

It happens all the time.

Look at most courthouses in America. The Ten Commandments are displayed prominently.

People are ordered into 12 step programs all the time, I'm not sure everybody sees them as I do. BUT, the evidence for religion is in their very foundation.

Asylum Seeker said...

"Look at most courthouses in America. The Ten Commandments are displayed prominently."

Really? I thought that such a practice was litigiously bitch-slapped into oblivion. I guess I was overly optimistic...

They really don't have the right to do that, nor should they be allowed to send you to AA if it has such a clear religious bent to it, making it less effective for those that don't buy into the religious underpinnings. And also because it doesn't seem as though they have as firm of a basis in good psychology and therapy techniques due to that over-reliance on religious conceits. But, unfortunately, there are way too many things like this for us to oppose, without looking a crazed, hateful anti-God crusader. Sad.

mac said...

"Really? I thought that such a practice was litigiously bitch-slapped into oblivion. I guess I was overly optimistic"

I merely write of which I see. Perhaps, I should have written "most of the courthouses I see"

But, yeah, I think, traditionaly, this stufff is pretty common

Tit for Tat said...

I think you miss the point of the steps, its more about a higher power. So could that not be someone in the group that has had sobriety for a long time and shared his/her ideas with you? Now I know steps 6,7 and 11 may pose a slight problem but hey, alcoholics are great at deluding themselves when they want to drink, why not do it for when you dont want to drink.

mac said...

Sorry, Tit for Tat.

God is the one mentioned. It's not just steps 6, 7, and 11. Look over all twelve step programs, god must be revered for any of them to work( according to their own rules).

I think we could all take a little more responsibility for our own actions. I left god out of my life as a child. No god-like creature led me to drink, no god like creature has delivered me from drunkeness. I've doner that on my own. 17 years and counting...it can be done !

Tit for Tat said...

Good for you....... I agree that you dont have to have a 12 step program to quit something. I do believe it does wonders for many people. So hey, whatever floats your boat. Ultimately whatever created us, left room for the potential of both addiction and healing. Pretty cool if you ask me.