Thursday, March 26, 2015

12 Step Myths

ODAT Online Recovery Blogs
For anyone who has a family member or friend struggling with substance abuse;

Common myths about 12 step recovery; Thanks Dr Stanton Peele
1. Addicts are different from normal people and can never be like them.

Regarding others—or oneself—as fundamentally different is a burden, an unnecessary identity that is as damaging as a negative drug or alcohol habit.

2. Recovery is bestowed by a force outside yourself.

 When addiction is seen to be a disease, something that clearly cannot be treated from within, you must turn yourself over to recovering addicts and alcoholics and addiction experts—and, most famously, to a “Power greater than ourselves,” in order to become whole again.

3.Addiction is always an incurable, progressive, fatal disease.

“What is the hardest addiction to quit?” The audience—many of which I reckon have experienced a number of forms of addiction—shouted in unison, “Smoking!” “Oh,” I said, “How many of you have quit smoking?” In a group of 750 people, perhaps 400 raised their hands. “How many of you,” I continued, “relied on a therapy, medical or otherwise, or a support group to quit?” Two or three people raised their hands. And why isn't smoking addressed by 12 step or rehab?  Because there is no money to be made by rehabs, doctors, counselors and drug companies. A 20 Billion dollar industry relies on the flawed disease concept that doesn't include smoking, shopping, gambling or sex addiction.

4. Recovery is a lifetime process that must include lifetime abstinence and 12-step work forever.

According to 12-step recovery, you are as likely to relapse 25 years after quitting your drug of choice as two hours afterwards. And, among the many strange messages AA prides itself on, this is perhaps the strangest: “While you are here (meaning a 12-step meeting) your addiction is in the parking lot doing push-ups.” Why is this message drummed home, even while you are supposedly undergoing the therapeutic process of leaving your addiction behind? Because AA, 12-step rehab, and addiction medicine want to convince you that you can’t survive without them. The disease theory is all about how addicts are never free—even after they stop drinking and using.

The disease view, by pervading the consciousness of our culture, makes it more likely that people will succumb to addiction as an overpowering disease in the first place. And, finally—and perhaps seemingly stranger—the disease theory can be most malicious for people who feel it has “saved” them. For most of these people would have overcome or outgrown their addictions on their own or with the help of sensible, time-limited treatment.

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