So much great stuff in this thread since I left it, and I hate to pick one, but this post is excellent, IMHO -
(I also think this turned into one of the better & more heart-felt threads here)
Thank you for composing this - it shows good excellent into both addiction & 12 step programs.I can respect your opinion. You're certainly not the first to express malcontentment (or disapproval) for 12 step programs in the manner in which you have and I apologize for having to delete part of your post..I ran out of the allotted character space.
But I would say that the issues around chemical dependency is more than complex than most of us can even begin to realize.. The variables involved are as many as their are people with different levels of intelligence, creativity, religious beliefs, education backgrounds, life experiences, etc, etc, etc.
I don't want to try to defend the mantras often used in AA. Or the repetition of sayings that people use to make a statement of condition or simply an act of being or existing.
Most people who attend AA go their with a lost sense of self. They've become disconnected with their families, possibly co-workers, etc. Critical thinking has been one of their better skills for sometime. They have diminished problem solving skills, which usually impacts so many aspects of their social skills in general.
But people who find it difficult to get sober and/or clean have very skewed concepts about their dilemma. And many just want to know how to find solution that isn't as complex than their current perspectives on life, which a lot of people believe is basically hopeless. What they want is something like a "paint by the numbers" sort of solution. In other words, life is damn complicated for them and they need to see something that has a not so complex of a starting place, which at some level makes some sense to them. And where they can see some continuing path that "could possibly lead to some positive end result".
What AA (and like programs) has to offer is a paint by the number solution - which is comprised of common sense principles which has the ability to apply in some positive way for all of the various types of people who find themselves participating in the program.
Because every person's life is different, the manner in which they actively participate will not bear the same exactly outcomes for each person. That's not the intent. In fact, there is no way to mold people's minds to live their lives in a controlled like environment once they walk out of an AA meeting. No matter where people go - there they are. Their problems still exist. They aren't exempt form life's sometimes harshness and non-discriminating random acts of challenging hardships.
But, make no mistake. There is an intent involved. It's to help people, via a very rote method, to deal with life on life's terms. People need to be able to get sober or clean long enough to become teachable and to see their world and problems through different eyes (metaphorically speaking). It's like parents with children who have ADHD and they have their kids put on a medication - thinking that all their problems will go away. They don't. The meds might make it possible for kids to become teachable. But the hard work involved to get to some positive results must be viewed from two perspectives. One is providing the types of information that has the possible chance to promote positive change. The other is helping those who are in situations where learning is difficult - to actually learn.
No, AA isn't a one-size-fits-all type of solution. It is, however, the potential to be a huge stepping stone from a place of feeling terminally unique to knowing that they aren't alone, there is a other options than the one an alcoholic or addict has repeatedly used thinking they could solve their own skewed concepts of what the hell has gone wrong in their life.
We can't think ourselves into acting right. We have to act ourselves into thinking right. (Not an AA saying - but maybe it should be)