Why no atheist 12 step programs?
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    Ultra Member ECF Veteran ScottinSoCal's Avatar
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    Default Why no atheist 12 step programs?

    I've recently become aware of the tenets of addiction control groups, and they're all theist. Why is that? I mean, do atheists not become addicts? I don't believe that for a second, we're no better or worse than a theist, and we're just as susceptible to addiction as any other group of people. Is a belief in the FSM or an invisible pink unicorn, or a vengeful sky-daddy a requirement to control addiction?

    Ultimately it all comes down to a person's ability to control their own behavior, since there are no actual invisible support beams coming down from the sky to make you stop drinking, injecting, or whatever your addiction is. What is there in the human psychology that requires believing in those things in order to get the strength to resist? And what could be substituted to replace the fiction that some outside source is responsible?

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    The Vapor Pope ECF Veteran
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    I would venture to guess that since most folks arent self confirmed atheists, when they enter these 12 step programs, they can be "indoctrinated" into the belief that acceptance of god is the only way. NOW... I am all for getting clean if your willing to do so. I am in no position to tell these folks that they shouldnt take the help because its theistically based. If it works... do it.
    I had this argument in another thread, with someone who said that in their state if you are convicted of a DWI, you are forced to enter a 12 step program which includes the help of god, or face jail. I was utterly disgusted that a state would MANDATE such a choice. Jail, or religious addiction therapy? Really? He stuck to his guns and said that was the rule. Its blackmail of the highest order imo, and almost makes me want to go get a DWI in his state just so I can sue the state for imposing religion on me or go to jail... that was done during the inquisitions. I see no need to repeat in the 2011.
    Theists know all to well that the best time to gain converts is at a time in a persons life when their luck is down, or their morality is in dispare. Being an admitted (or caught) alcoholic is one such moment. And addicts who are willing to try to recover are often times willing to "do whatever it takes"... incuding accepting religious myths. Having never been an alcoholic, and never joining a 12 step program, Im uneducated as to the degree to which they promote a deity. I have one family member who did though. By his reports, the religious underpinnings werent too bad... but they were there. He also comes from a catholic family, so talk of god wasnt all that offensive to him.
    I can say with confidence that if I became an addict searching for help, AA wouldnt be my choice. I would most likely search out a program through the local UU Church or even join one of their recovery programs. Non religious programs exist. We dont hear about them because AA is such a houshold name in recovery that it over shadows most others.
    A simple online search for "non religious addiction recovery programs" yeilded these hits:

    Ratiomal and Secular Programs : The Addiction Recovery Guide

    Non-Religious Rehab - Secular or Non-Religious Alcohol Drug Rehab Programs

    SoberRecovery : Non 12 step - Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centers

    Heres a story about the very issue I discussed above... mandating AA in lew of jail time. This fellow is already incarcerated but is refusing to participate in the jail recovery program. In brief, he says he is within his rights to decline the program because:

    "Courts around the country, however, have ruled the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous is religious. In June of 1996, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that the New York Department of Corrections substance abuse program was unconstitutional because, "after a fair reading of the doctrinal literature of Alcoholics Anonymous (the 12-step program was found to be) unequivocally religious."

    Prisoner wants non-religious alternative to AA

    That is good info if your an atheist addict seeking alternative treatement. Anyway... to continue:

    SMART Recovery® | Self Help for Alcoholism & Addiction

    drug - alcohol - addiction - SOS-Save Our Selves - Non 12 Step

    And for those who demand that religious programs are the only way to recover, I would suggest directing them to these sites:

    Recovering Fundamentalists Recovery Program.|.Find help recovering from abusive religion.

    Recovery from Religion Meetups near Concord, California - Recovery from Religion Meetups - Concord

    Recovery from Religion Meetup Groups - Recovery from Religion Meetups

    Recovery from Religion | MarleneWinell.net

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    Ultra Member ECF Veteran ScottinSoCal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vapor Pete View Post
    I am in no position to tell these folks that they shouldnt take the help because its theistically based. If it works... do it.
    I've been looking into them with MOH, and they've all been like that. Not a huge problem for him - he's a believer - but if I was going to one of these all I'd be able to do is sit there and think This is all metaphysical bull..... Do they really expect me to believe this?

    Probably not conducive to working my own recovery.

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    The Vapor Pope ECF Veteran
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    Scott, are you seeking a recovery program?

    -VP
    "Politics will run the world, religion will ruin it" - Vapor Pete

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    Historical basis. The various 12 step programs have all based themselves off of AA. Many of the AA principles sprung from the Oxford Groups (AA founders were members of the Oxford Groups):
    The Oxford Group Connection

    (Just trying to answer the question.)
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    Penn and Teller did an excellent show on the AA.
    YouTube - 12 Steps BULL....
    It explains both the actual success rate of AA, alternative treatments, and the religious underpinnings of the group.

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    Ultra Member ECF Veteran ScottinSoCal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vapor Pete View Post
    Scott, are you seeking a recovery program?
    No, I'm not. MOH is, and has found one. This was more a sidetrack, because I don't know why religion would be involved in what is essentially a behavioral psychology problem.

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    Dang! I thought that religion was and still is essentially a behavioral psychology problem. My Bad!

    Seriously I think it makes sense to have 12 step programs for addiction to be religiously based. It is just a matter of trading one addiction for another that hopefully is less destructive and more socially palatable. Isn’t that what we are doing by vaping instead of smoking?
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    I would posit that since the AA/NA etc. credos state that you place your trust/belief in a "higher power" that it is not strictly theist. It instead allows you to choose an entity or ideal outside yourself that you can push toward.

    Again though, it begs the question, why try to fit into a belief based system if what you seek is logic and proof?
    Not to say that the two things are mutually exclusive (belief and proof) but belief is typically used in lieu of proof and is a form of trust.

    I mean if you want to walk into a 12 step program and say to yourself that your higher power is a flying spaghetti monster, who is to say otherwise?

    Maybe not the best points I bring up, but I wanted to participate in the discussion.

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    I am a fan of AA and other 12 step groups, they have helped a lot of people. I do know that your higher power can be whatever you want it to be. It can be the group, it can be your mother, it can be the chair you are sitting in if you want it to be that lol. But it seems that having a higher power and surrendering, and realizing you are out of control with your addiction, these are important aspects of the program. So they do recommend you choose a higher power, your choice on what that higher power is....
    In areas where there are a lot of AA groups, some of them are specific. Some may specifiy it's a group for gay members, others a women's only AA group......etc....
    AND I do know of one Athiest AA group, that meets in a library conference room once a week.

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