12 Steps... Impossible for Atheists?

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Replies

  • TMLPatrick
    TMLPatrick Posts: 558 Member
    There is no real agreement in the medical and psychological communities that the 12 steps are the most effective treatment for alcoholism, and even less agreement that any success it has in that area translates into effectiveness for anything else. If you are already hesitant at step 2, perhaps you should look at other things.

    This is my biggest complaint with the 12-steps, there's absolutely no evidence to support it and somehow it became the de-facto rehab program.
  • spookiefox
    spookiefox Posts: 215 Member
    There is no real agreement in the medical and psychological communities that the 12 steps are the most effective treatment for alcoholism, and even less agreement that any success it has in that area translates into effectiveness for anything else. If you are already hesitant at step 2, perhaps you should look at other things.

    This is my biggest complaint with the 12-steps, there's absolutely no evidence to support it and somehow it became the de-facto rehab program.

    Fortunately I think it is becoming less so. There are many more options than there used to be, and I really do believe the 12 steps are impossible for an atheist.
  • BinaryPulsar
    BinaryPulsar Posts: 8,927 Member
    I've never gone to an addiction group. But, I have done the support groups such as alanon (many years ago, when I was younger). I didn't need to follow all the steps because I was not dealing with an addiction. So, I followed some of the steps such as making an amends. And other steps in a more secular Buddhist way (as mentioned above). But, I did not strictly follow all the steps. I skipped ones that did not apply. The group was flexible and supportive because they understood what I was dealing with and had similiar experiences. It was free. It's not something I would do now. But, I went because of the suggestion by my husband (he's a scientist) because he had a good experience with alateen when he was a teenager.
  • I went to an OA meeting and the feeling I got was that there was a division in the group: Christians in one corner, atheists in another. When an atheist went in front of the room to speak, she said, "I use the word 'God' because it's shorter than 'Higher Power as I understand it,'" and it was met with snorts of disapproval and appreciative snickers. I found it interesting.
  • PIckleballDink
    PIckleballDink Posts: 17 Member
    edited January 2015
    My $.02, I've started going to a 12-step alternative called SMART Recovery. It has been very helpful and supportive. Here are the main points from the website.
    1: Building and Maintaining Motivation
    2: Coping with Urges
    3: Managing Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviors
    4: Living a Balanced Life
  • AllieBear88
    AllieBear88 Posts: 170 Member
    Thanks for the agnostic list! I had only seen the "higher power" one!
  • AllieBear88
    AllieBear88 Posts: 170 Member
    I just realized how old this thread is! LOL!
  • T1DCarnivoreRunner
    T1DCarnivoreRunner Posts: 11,501 Member
    Yes, old thread, but still relevant.

    I remember seeing an article a few weeks ago about an atheist group in Des Moines that Alcoholics Anonymous will not allow to be a part of the official AA organization. This means that it is difficult for potential new members to find the group (because it is not listed on the AA calendar and group list) and there is a very small following.

    AA's reason for not letting that group join is that they do not follow the 12 steps EXACTLY as it is spelled out in the book that their group is based upon. In other words, the atheist group changed the verbiage from "Higher Power" to something more innocuous. I will have to find the article in the Des Moines Register and post the link later when I have a chance.
  • soldier4242
    soldier4242 Posts: 1,368 Member
    I admit that I find it a bit odd that a group of people would be so dogmatic that they would rather let another group of people go unnoticed rather than letting them help out people in their own way. Since courts do force people to attend AA I am not sure if they count as a private organization or a public one.

    If they are a public organization then they should not be allowed to include religious terminology in their doctrines at all.

    If they are a private organization then they can be as religious as they like and they can exclude anyone that they want but they would not be allowed to receive government funding and I would think that forcing people to take part in their religious activities would be an unconstitutional violation of their rights.
  • T1DCarnivoreRunner
    T1DCarnivoreRunner Posts: 11,501 Member
    edited February 2015
    Yes... court ordered attendance at a religious gathering is a big concern of mine. I've never been in that situation and never plan to be. However, if it should happen, I definitely would plan to appeal.
  • Azuriaz
    Azuriaz Posts: 785 Member
    This is old and this forum seems awfully quiet, but I'll chime in anyway:

    An AA member once told me her 'higher power' was herself. Just a part of herself she wasn't in touch with who was more capable than the self she walked around as every day.

    I'm not sure I have such a self, but I can cope with the concept if I'm ever court ordered to AA or any of its spin-offs, not that it's likely. At least the higher power as higher self is empowering, whether it's true or not.
  • T1DCarnivoreRunner
    T1DCarnivoreRunner Posts: 11,501 Member
    Azuriaz wrote: »
    This is old and this forum seems awfully quiet, but I'll chime in anyway:

    An AA member once told me her 'higher power' was herself. Just a part of herself she wasn't in touch with who was more capable than the self she walked around as every day.

    I'm not sure I have such a self, but I can cope with the concept if I'm ever court ordered to AA or any of its spin-offs, not that it's likely. At least the higher power as higher self is empowering, whether it's true or not.

    Groups overall seem to be quite inactive since the software upgrade almost a year ago.

    I've heard that same thing before... the "higher power" is oneself. But I don't think that highly of myself.
  • Azuriaz
    Azuriaz Posts: 785 Member
    Azuriaz wrote: »
    This is old and this forum seems awfully quiet, but I'll chime in anyway:

    An AA member once told me her 'higher power' was herself. Just a part of herself she wasn't in touch with who was more capable than the self she walked around as every day.

    I'm not sure I have such a self, but I can cope with the concept if I'm ever court ordered to AA or any of its spin-offs, not that it's likely. At least the higher power as higher self is empowering, whether it's true or not.

    Groups overall seem to be quite inactive since the software upgrade almost a year ago.

    I've heard that same thing before... the "higher power" is oneself. But I don't think that highly of myself.

    Me either, but it beats thinking highly of a doorknob or some invisible best friend who shoots lightning bolts at the recalcitrant!
  • firephoenix8
    firephoenix8 Posts: 102 Member
    From what I've heard and read, AA actually has a rather abysmal track record of actually working. So personally I while I celebrate with anyone it works for, I don't think if it as the only way forward.
  • toutmonpossible
    toutmonpossible Posts: 1,580 Member
    The feminist critique of the 12 steps is that it's not a good guide for women either because women frequently are too passive. Asking them to surrender to a higher power is more of the same.