Now that Clara’s husband has forbidden her to read any of my posts or comments, perhaps we can get down to some serious discussion without too much hijacking from the trolls.
We all know about the huge problems that come from the culture that has grown up around and within AA; we all know what a scandal it is that needy people who really do want - or need - to give up drinking are subjected to the faith-based 12 step program in place of any kind of proper treatment in rehab centres and elsewhere; we all know that this is a problem, because as long as AA dominates the field, alcoholics and addicts are generally not getting access to any kind of effective help, if they need outside help (and I personally think that some do).
But isn’t one of the main problems with Steppism that it hugely complicates what is in fact a very simple proposition? If a person is running into serious problems as a result of their addiction, then the one aim should be for that person to overcome that addiction and stop consuming the addictive chemical. They don’t need to have a religious conversion, they don’t need to become a better person, and they certainly don’t need to buy into a crackpot religious program, pray, confess, seek out God’s will, have a spiritual awakening, etc. in order to quit drinking. It sounds self-evident (though this is nonetheless denied by steppers) but the only answer to alcoholism or addiction to any other substance abuse is to stop using that substance. End of.
Now, I’m not necessarily saying this is an easy thing to do, though it will be easier for some than for others. I don’t think this depends on the moral or spiritual condition of any particular individual, or on their IQ for that matter – it would seem to largely depend on how addicted they are, how long they have been drinking addictively, their individual psychology and circumstances, and – most importantly - how strong their motivation is to quit. And such people would be better off learning how to deal with their addiction on the basis of recognizing it for what it is, using their power of rational choice, and staying in touch with their original motivation to stop (which is easy to forget once you’re feeling physically fine again).
The 12 step program does not even attempt or pretend to deal with the matter of addiction on any level, nor does it give any advice or guidance as to tackle it. But it does attempt to pile on a whole lot of completely irrelevant and unnecessary stresses on people at the very point in their lives (the point when they are genuinely trying to help themselves) when they could well do without it.
This is something of a “Back to Basics” post. But I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts (well, the thoughts of most of you, anyway.) It seems to me that in all this talk of AA, like AA we sometimes lose track of what the real issue is here.