28 March 2008

Did you know...?

...that Alcoholics Anonymous is a religious organization? Okay, maybe not officially, but take a look at their famous 12 steps:



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.


If that isn't religious, I don't know what is. Perhaps I'm speaking out of ignorance, since I know so little about addiction and the desperation that comes with it. And let me also emphasize that AA is no doubt a model organization that fills a void and reinvents the lives of addicts. My classmates in pharmacology class (a lot of my posts come from ideas I have in pharmacology class, probably because it's the only vaguely interesting class I have this semester) pointed this out to us in a presentation on alcohol addiction. My first reaction was a fear of ever becoming addicted to anything--not because of the harm it will do to my life, my body, and everyone I love--but because I don't know what options there will be for me when I try to seek help. How could I go to the AA, or so many other organizations that use a similar form of these 12 steps, when just reading their guidelines alienates me?

I admit that I'm part of a small minority in the world that has trouble believing in a specific religion, so of course my reaction is different--radical, even. But my friend, who is Hindu, told me that she felt alienated by the 12 steps as well. Surely it's possible to come up with 12 steps that don't evoke religion? It makes me afraid for those addicts out there who, like me, might avoid seeking help because of this very reason.


At March 29, 2008 2:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear sir, i am addicted to your blog and until now i could not see why i never got help for it. thank you for existing. your number one fan, bernard.

At March 30, 2008 1:58 PM, Blogger Kelley said...

dear bernard. you are so strange.


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