Twelve-Step Programs DO Work
anonymous Asks ...
Does anyone else have a problem with the 12 steps forcing you to constantly look back at all the shit you did that just makes you feel terrible today now that you are trying to move on? I know I am supposed to learn from it and make amends but the whole process picks away at my selfworth? Are you experts absolutely sure that AA is a helpful program? I feel like I can do this but it is like AA is telling me that I cannot. I feel like even if I can stay sober I will just feel like useless garbage.
Dr. Mark Abrahams Says ...
Bill Wilson created the A.A. (and subsequently, N.A.) after undergoing four years of LSD psychotherapy. Initially, Bill W. wanted to use LSD as part of a step program, but the government was already restricting its use to limited research, and by 1966, it was made a Schedule 1 drug. So, unable to employ psychedelics themselves, what Bill did was to created a system that imitated the increasingly healthy development that he experienced through his psychedelic psychotherapy. The A.A. steps are very much like classic 8-Limbed Yoga, which seeks to remove the cruder physical obstacles in one's life first, then with increasing subtlety, one eliminates social, then psychological obstacles, eventually arriving at a more-or-less spiritual mode of being-in-the-world.
However, 12-Step programs are intended to be conducted by laypeople, not psychotherapists, so it is up the the recovering person to supplement their recovery with psychotherapy. Your self worth, or self-esteem may well be a core issue underlying your addiction. The very first three steps requires an attitude of humility with which:
- 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.