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CrystalMendrilia

What Harm is Religion Anyway? 12 Step Programs...

(After Journal Comment)   I think this is a bit, oddly written compared to normal but I hope you enjoy it. :)   I attempted to have some humor in this by posting videos and things at certain parts of the journal.   I hope you enjoy the videos where they are placed. Make sure you watch then AND THEN continue reading. Otherwise you might miss some humor. ;)   ENJOY!  (Crystal Mendrilia)



If I were immoral or ignorant enough to drink and drive, the Government of the United States would be willing to mandate I go to a Religious meeting and obey their Tenets. Failure to comply would result in punishments such as fines, losing my car, or even getting locked up (aka losing my liberty). Further, A private business can force me to attend and obey these tennents or be fired!

While this attack on the Freedoms of, and from Religion works its way through the court system (which every judge ruled against by the way) we are faced with the possibility of enduring the 12 Step Program. So  First, I shall make the case that proves it is Religious, then I will cover how like every Religiously inspired program, it is full of immoral teachings and concepts, does actual harm, and is not a force of Good in the world.

My argument to prove the 12 step program is religious, I simply need to state the steps. So now, I must Justify my source. In 1939 a book titled, "Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of how many Thousands of men and women have recovered from Alcoholism." This is the original source of the 12 step program. Since then, it has been altered slightly for various other groups and topics from sex addiction, schizophrenia, Homosexuality, etc. The belief is this program works for "Addictive, compulsive or behavioral problems." Some alterations go so far as to remove "God" and replace it with "Higher Power."

Here is what was published in 1939 in what the 12 steppers call, "The Big Book"

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Well! Clearly God is involved, or a deity, or a supernatural thing. Some have tried to rationalize this and say "a Higher Power can be anything, even a tire!"   They didn't know this but there is precedence for this line of thinking!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWWufhqyGE8

Honestly it's funny how they can insult and degrade you to your face like that while thinking they are good, friendly people trying to help you. Their ignorance though is just what happens with a religious mind, so it's no real surprise that A.A. members act like that.

The actual damage of the 12 step program is first and foremost: It is a cult. Definition of a cult: Religious sect or system. (Per the Dictionary)  What is common in Religious teachings are the, "You are sick! We have the cure." and it's always the Religion that is defining the "sickness" into existence. In A.A's case, step 1 establishes the "Problem" as "you are Powerless over alcohol."

Please Note: As A.A. is a Religious "Fellowship" as they call it, all it's varies denominations are different from each other so all I can really use to represent their side is what is common amongst all these variations. They expand on step 1 by classifying alcoholism as "A disease" or "Illness" and "sickness" the problem is this line of thinking immediately removes self responsibility from the person. Why? Well, obviously they teach there are microscopic organisms that penetrate the body and begins converting your body to a more suitable environment for its survival and reproduction. So the host uncontrollably goes and purchases a drink with alcohol, consumes it at such a rate the liver cannot filter it all. The alcohol then spreads into the body inducing a state we label as "Drunk" of which there are many levels of severity. But don't worry! A.A. has the cure!

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

To be fair, they sum all this up with words like, "Disease" or "Illness" etc. But don't think of it as I just explained it. I imposed Science on their definitions, despite them being a group that outright rejects Science.''

See, if they are going to use subjective words then the system itself is subjective. If it is subjective, then the system is not Scientific. It also makes it subject to interpretation. (Sound familiar?) I should see if I can find someone from the 95% of failures saying A.A. was bad, and then got the "That wasn't a true A.A. program!@" fallacy from one of the 5% of successful people. I'm shocked by this, the "No True Scotsman Fallacy" is quite common in Religious discussions I hadn't expected it in A.A.

This also means you can shop around A.A.'s until you find one that you like... just like churches. But if it is all interpretation, then what kind of evidence is there that it actually works? Well, there sure is a lot of anecdotes!..... guess there really isn't any substantial evidence since anecdotes aren't evidence. No wonder A.A. doesn't release records of their results anymore.... (yeah you read that right. They used to release their results but stopped a long time ago... guess they didn't like their results suggesting they were ineffective.)

Golly, still on step 1.... So they do another big thing in that: They remove personal responsibility by declaring you are the victim. The problem is beyond the control of the Alcoholic. They are helpless. Apart from conditioning people for indoctrination through basic peer pressures, and self guilt perception altering etc. it also makes the person lose self esteem. They can't do anything on their own. Since (12) encourages this program be adopted into "all our affairs" then this encourages stagnation. Getting your life together only means you are no longer spiraling but it doesn't mean you are growing either. Maybe learning techniques to better yourself while taking Naltrexone to prevent cravings for alcohol would get more positive results. Once weened off the pill, the subject would already be in the habit of not drinking. A.A. seems to disagree with my reasoning though and fights this effective drug in court despite this actually having real and positive evidence while A.A. has no measurable effect.

Okay, I'm tired of being on step (1)... Step (2) Remember, these people say that a "Power greater than ourselves doesn't have to be God! It could be a rock!" So a rock can restore me to sanity.... (cough) I can see why people following the 12 step program would be interested in getting their sanity again.... o_O  (Bet you thought I'd pretend a Schizophrenia Anonymous exists joke here but I don't find it funny because they actually exist.)

(3) [Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.]
"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of Rubber as we understood (explodes)"    

(4) Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Reading multiple interpretations of this step makes me want to drink. The mindless and "spiritual" ravings reinforces my concern about the general publics grasp on reality.
So, in short you take a look at your life, and how you handle situations, what you do. That allows you to identify what is wrong and detrimental to where you want to be. Normally I would say something like, "You Should take a moment and try observing your life as if you were an outside observer. If you aren't happy with what you see, make changes.
A friend of mine whom is quite special to me used to make actions that caused him friendships and drama. After he looked at himself, he identified the problem and took my advice to change. It's not easy breaking ones habits but he wanted to change it. Since then, he has not repeated the action once. I'm proud of him for this, and rightly so! He did it! So does the 5% of A.A. that break the habit. Just, they didn't need the Dildo to restore their sanity. (Dildo because the higher power can be anything, right?) Guess just like any other supernatural claim, A.A.'s "Higher Power" has no measurable effect.


(5) [Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.]

Ignoring the whole admitting to The Scab part, this step wants you to admit to yourself... again. (Please review step 4) and admit to another person your wrongs. Well! In fact,  it can help having someone you can turn to so you don't feel so alone, just so long as said person isn't a bad influence or takes advantage of the person. Apart from seeking help, this step is redundant.

(6) [Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.]

(7) [Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.]

Just more religious nonsense and more "I suck too much to fix myself. I'm weak, etc." nonsense. Both steps don't need to exist. Again, there isn't a measurable effect from being ready for SR388 to remove your defects or asking Canned Air to remove your shortcomings. o_O  


(8) [Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.]

Guilt again, but it is good to think about whom you have hurt but it's rare for an A.A. person to actually make amends. It usually devolves into just apologizing over and over again, etc. Basically closure for the subject, not actually making amends. For most, amends are just you changing and becoming more reliable. I know this is not how A.A. encourages them to think of it but, they are Loved. But instead of that angle, A.A. the 12 step pushes the "you wronged them" angle.  


(9) [Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.]

This step is more about closure for the A.A. member then actually making amends. Amends takes time.


(10) [Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.]

Now this step is important. Since you suck, and need the "Botulism Virus" to restore your sanity, you will have to keep checking to find new problems. "Silly Humans. Always finding Patterns when there aren't any." - 8th Doctor as Paul McGann, Doctor Who. A check from time to time is fine, but put the way 12 step does encourages stagnation through obsession. Don't forget most successful A.A. end up "Addicted to A.A."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n86JKqA8o4w


(11) [Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.]

Sought through Prayer and meditation to improve conscious contact with 99942 Apophis as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out.
Hahaha, couldn't resist that. I'm not really sure if that was a low blow or not though. It's just the Religious make it so easy!


(12) [Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.]

The final step of a cult. Having finished conversion, those that remain are now instructed to go out and bring in new people for conversion. They are then instructed to become the afraid person at the party that once sees alcohol won't stop talking about their sobriety, or how they need A.A. or what their addiction story is, their so called disease, EVERY TIME. It pushes people away, isolating them in many cases. They often rationalize it as those were bad friends for them, etc. The usual cult reasoning.
Some describe step 12 as being your chance ot make "friends" and end the loneliness. In some cases that is true. However, in others it becomes a we the cured or healing vs the diseased, the epidemic of Alcoholism. Us vs Them.
At parties, I see the person whom went through A.A. as a person obsessed with alcohol. This is reflected in their subtle stares, the constant fear in their eyes, I even once saw one gesture a cross and give a small prayer after staring at the ice chest full of beer, and then walk away thinking nobody was looking. These people aren't cured, they are only suppressing their urge. What a waste of time and energy.
It is really sad that not only does the 12 step program fail, but those running them actively fight against anything that DOES work. It's so Religious to fight what helps people, while harming people under the guise of helping them and still call themselves: A force for good in the world.

In the face of such staggering failure to make a real positive, let alone a measurable effect, to help alcoholics, and the evidence that they harm those they claim to help. The question becomes, "Why do it then?" Is it conversion to religion? I sit for the money? Well, like most cults: Follow the money.......

The person at the top person CEO of both "Alcoholics Anonymous Grapevine Inc." and "Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc." Pulls over $200,000 in Salary alone per year. Tax benefits run high as these are non profits. The only people making a living though are the executives, the counselors, and the Rehabs. So now the obvious question: Where does the money come from? Sales of literature, the Big Book, Pamphlets etc.

Well if that's the case, how do they afford running such a large scale organization if income is from book sales? Most "Fellowships" aren't aggressively getting you to sell your home for rehab and Divorce using their Lawyers (because they understand what you are going through) etc. How can the bus model work? Because only the top people are making money. The rest are Volunteers. Does such cult like models really surprise you at this point of the journal?

At these free meetings, everyone is encouraged to donate at least $1 every meeting. Further donations are encouraged to help with rent. Further donations, to purchase Literature. ALL Fellowships are required to be self sustainable. So the money raised goes to rent, Books, Pamphlets including those to assist the Alcoholics Witnesses complete step 12. Literature distribution costs are paid for by volunteers. They cover their own Gas, man hours, vehicle ware, etc. The Volunteer then brings the books they purchased back to their fellowships for resell. The dollars collected actually more than covers Literature costs. Some have to buy the literature against their will by the need to please the person in charge for a good grade... or face time in prison.

Volunteers at every opportunity, money climbs the ladder, makes rich people rich for little work.

The A.A. grapevine/World services INC do not dictate the rules for A.A. The "General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous Inc." does. These rules are called the 12 Traditions.

(1) Each member of Alcoholics Anonymous is but a small part of the great whole. A.A. must continue to live or most of us will surely die. Hence our common welfare comes first. But individual welfare follows close afterward.

(2) For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority - a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.

(3) Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism. Hence we may refuse none who wish to recover. Nor ought A.A. membership ever depend upon money or conformity. Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an A.A. group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation.

(4) With respect to its own affairs, each A.A. group should be responsible to no other authority than its own conscience. But when it's plans concern the welfare of neighboring groups also, those groups ought to be consulted. And no group, regional committee, or individual should ever take any action that might greatly affect A.A. as a whole without conferring with the trustees of the General Service Board. On such issues our common welfare is paramount.

(5) Each Alcoholics Anonymous group ought to be a spiritual entity having but one primary purpose-that of carrying its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

(6) [An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
(7) An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose. An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
(8) An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
(9) An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
(10) An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
(11) An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
(12) An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.



Please understand the follow will NOT make sense if you do not follow the page I referenced. The person writing a pointless rebut to this stuff.... I am not going to hold your hand. Either you read his stuff to understand my context or you don't. I'm not going to recite 'everything' so there! *drinks some of her spiced rum / coke hehe*

After having read my previous journals, I doubt any of these really surprised you.


Rebuttals: Source: "Why the Hostility Toward the 12 Steps?" By David Sack, M.D. Nov 20, 2012. Psychology Today. Here's a link should you wish to verify the source. ^_^

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/where-science-meet...

I will refrain from challenging the intro as I am focusing on the Rebuttals specifically. I actually object to all the assumptions his intro offers, but it doesn't really matter to the overall topic of this journal.


#1 You have to be religious or believe in God, to make the program work.

(C:) so the steps were conceived from a Christian world view sure but Atheists benefit from steps such as: (2), (3), (5) remove God doesn't really change this step) (6), (7), or (11), hmm Some of 12, It's just telling you to proselytize so its no real benefit to the recovery process, Atheist or not. It's meant to reinforce. Therefore, Atheists would apply to steps, (1), (4), (5), (8), (9), (10), 6 step program... with all the failures it still offers.

Now the will power thing, is Classic Religious thinking. We can't do it ourselves so we need an outside force to help. In truth, other people can help, so can Science. However this person suggests "The Group working toward a common goal" or nature? Oh Yes! (6) I am entirely ready to have the Supernova remove all these defects of Character!


Lastly Mr. M.D. Defines Spirituality in an Irrational context. It is a very subjective term. (How much you want to bet Mr. M.D. rejects Evolution? xD don't take my bet, you'll obviously lose)



#2 Powerlessness frees the addict from accepting responsibility.

(C:) Yeah, accepting responsibility for having fixed their life or it allows them to feel victimized when they fail thus relieving them of responsibility for not trying harder. This puts them in a state of helplessness which already was covered in the journal. A.A. wants them in that state, primarily for financial gain via addiction or dependency to A.A.

So, Mr. M.D.'s red haring aside, he does raise an important issue: it takes time to recover and the cravings are hard to overcome... unless you use Science. Pills. Then you could end cravings instantly, and focus on fixing your life, and then ween off the pills to make it absurdly easier to be used to controlling the urge to drink or even simply lose the urge in the first place. But A.A. fights anything in court, that actually works and has evidence to prove it unlike their entire 12 step program nonsense.

Lastly, shouldn't an M.D. know what a disease is?  I'm just asking, since Mr. MD. here, doesn't seem aware.....  I mean, he seems to imply that alcoholism is caused by a virus / bacterium? o_O



#3 Addicts substitute their addiction with a dependence on 12-Step meetings.

(C:) not sure Mr. M.D. knows what a "Chronic, relapsing Disease" is. Eh, whatever. We do know that the diseases here aren't spread through rational thinking..... (low blow maybe?)

Psychic Mediums provide a service where they claim to speak with the dead and provide help for the grieving. Many grievers often build up a dependency to these meetings, others diminish into depression and in many cases give up finding loved ones kidnapped. Addicted or not, everyone needs support when they are so emotionally vulnerable and/or frail. If recovering grievers find that support through psychic mediums then what is the harm? They often feel that they should continue going to these meetings. This type of... dependency is very dangerous to a person. Why then is dependency on another kind of meeting (A.A.) that has equal amounts of evidence to support their claims any different than Psychic mediums? My analogy is good! Neither have a positive measurable effect in Reality.


(#4) The 12-Step Program is a cult.

C: People are indeed free to participate or not lest mandated to by the Government of course, or you have already liquidated assets, invested in rehab, and some hound you until you give in again, etc. Minus all that, you are free to go. (Coughs, cough SCIENTOLOGY! coughs.... okay but be fair it isn't 'as bad' as Scientology.) It is true that a "close-knit group of people who share similar struggles" does not make it a cult, nor is that why people like me call A.A. a cult... (uhDUUUHHHHH)

Hmm... "encouraged to think critically and to find their own way." eh? That's like opposite of what the 12-step program actually does. Any measurable effect is a negative effect. Critical thinking often would cure these issues, including Alcoholism. Further A.A. encourages group solidarity, and claims teaching you how to fix your life. Finding your own way is certainly not encouraged by A.A. Mr. MD. Sorry. : /  You look into this stuff before rebutting it?


#5 There are too many rules.

C: Oh cry me a river! If it works, then the amount of rules would be fine. What does this even have to do with if it works or not?! However, this nonsense isn't a rebuttal to any claim I've made and unless requested I'll just move on. I find the idea of complaining about too many rules real silly in the first place so I choose not to waste my time on this.


#6 Twelve-step recovery is for old men, losers and people who are too weak to do it on their own.

C: Uhh, wait. Who said it was for old men, losers, and people who are too weak to do it on their own? (shrugs) However it is a principle of the 12-step program to accept you ARE too weak to do it on your own. (For example steps: 1,2,3,6,7, and 11.)  

Hmm... that means Mr. M.D. is either lying, or has not read/understood the words used in "The Big Book." (o_o) either way, this isn't a Rebuttal to me. Just a claimed stereotype by Mr. M.D. (Already reputable liar) that isn't actually found in any rebuttal to the 12 step program I have yet seen.

"Oh! He says "Addiction is a chronic, progressive Illness." then he references people with actual disease and only then refers to Alcoholics as addicts instead of diseased... Good job Mr. M.D. Please, show me the virus or bacterium that causes someone to drink alcohol addictive dependency.

(crickets chirp here)


#7 (C: I have to say that I've been looking forward to this one) Twelve Step Programs don't work. (Shouldn't this be higher up in the list? Kind of an important one, wouldn't you think?)

C: OF COURSE there is a divide! Science uses evidence, data and observation paired with Rational, critical thinking and facts/data to form conclusions. The "recovery community" are composed of nothing more than simple anecdotes and emotional experiences. No evidence or facts at all.

Wow Mr. M.D. First, the reason A.A. has all the evidence yet don't release it is because all the statistics and data are NOT in their favor. In fact, the last time they released their data was in the 1980s and due to the back lash they got they refuse to release the data anymore. Further, Scientific study is inconclusive on some aspects yet disprove others parts... such as the claim that A.A. is a force for good in helping Alcoholics end alcoholism. The fact Anecdotal "evidence" is abundant no more helps the A.A. cause than the claim the sun was dancing in the sky according to the Bible.

..... did I read that right? (double takes)

Well, he said it! 12-step recovery has long rejected the need for and validity of Scientific inquiry. (AKA: actual evidence, facts, and data to support their claim) That means this is nothing more than simple blind faith. This is the sort of thing all Religions resort to, when Science (Rational thinking, Evidence based views) Do not back them up. If there ever was Evidence for a Religion, can you imagine any of them saying, "We reject the need for validation through Science." like Mr. M.D. does regarding A.A.?  Yeah I thought not. They'd all hop on the idea Science proved their cause!


So in closing... Hey Religious! Stop forcing your arrogant nonsense down everyone else's throats and using the Government to force it as well! And while we're at it, look up what the word "Humble" means because news flash: You aren't. You are as far away from the word "Humble" as possible. There is no greater level of opposite of humble than a Religious person.


-End.
Viewed: 18 times
Added: 5 years, 3 months ago
 
jasperfox
5 years, 3 months ago
Wow,
Great work as always!
I never realized AA was so religious, and controlling, and by that means dangerous. I had never really paid attention to them, but from what I'm reading here it's seeming to be like the inner city charities you read about that use a group component to convince people the reason they are poor or their lives are messed up is because they are not close enough to god.
The fact the court system relies so much on AA w/ their alternative programs and all that is scary.
Ideally religion should be forgotten, but at least the government should stay secular.
Thanks for all your hard work!
CrystalMendrilia
5 years, 3 months ago
^_^ I was kind of surprised myself when I initially learned all this. There are secular A.A. programs (which aren't 12 step programs obviously) that are beginning to sprout up as a legal alternative when the Government attempts to force A.A. on people. But they aren't accessible everywhere.
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