Tuesday, April 30, 2013

We Need More Alternatives To 12 Step Programs

I think the 12 Steps are GREAT because it helps so many people I just think we should have alternatives so we can help everyone. I know the 12 Step work for a lot of people but I believe that no one should go with out help because their not comfortable with the 12 steps, therefore I wanted to explain some of the other alternatives. I know for some there's too much God or a Higher Power (no matter what that higher power might be) in the 12 step program. Some people in these programs might try to change your mind by explaining that a higher power can be anything and that its not religious. Honestly that's probably true for the people in those programs but we are all different and if we aren't comfortable with the use of a higher power or how the steps use the idea of a higher power. then we should have options. We all have the right to recover and get better even if its not with the 12 steps. I would love to have more people in those programs give me options when asked and told that the 12 steps aren't for me because of the way its uses a higher power, then trying to convince me that their program is the only way or that a higher power can be anything bigger then myself. I was surprised with the amount of people who just tried to change my mind instead of helping me with more options. What I personally wasn't comfortable with in the 12 steps was the idea that our recovery is up to God and not ourselves. I felt like it was saying the only way we can't start recovering was through God and surrendering ourselves to him. For example, just at a quick glance the 12 step Literature states:

  • We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God 
  • We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  • For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. 
I know this works for many people but the minority that want something different shouldn't have to conform because other people in the program tell them its the best way or the only way. I can just imagine what some people are  thinking: "Please stop trying to convince me and give me the help I seek." Sadly I've gotten more negativity and lack of acceptance of other peoples opinions from people in the 12 Steps then anyone else. My advice would be stop giving the program a bad name because sadly a few bad apples will give some people the impression that everyone in 12 steps programs are like that. Of course I know that not everyone in the program are like that but our society has a tendency to stereotype so be careful when representing something other then yourself. You wouldn't want someone to turn away from the 12 steps because of the way you acted or something you said.

The reason I'm giving alternatives is because I, like others out there believe in depending on myself and my inner strength to get clean not a God or higher power. In my case, depending on a Higher Power or a God would make me feel powerless and honestly I've already felt powerless enough in my addiction. I take full responsibility for my actions and my addiction therefore it was up to me to change my life. I got sober on my own, left a 6 year relationship because he was still using (which broke my heart), moved out of my home town on my own and started college to become a counselor. That was all me and that's extremely empowering. I believe Empowering Oneself and building Self Confidence was and still is the best way for me to get better. Taking credit for the great changes in my life and for my recovery has built that self confidence that I needed to stay drug free. As an addicts we often blame other people or situations for our circumstances and surrendering to God, for me wouldn't of helped that issue. I am the maker of my own life and I am fully responsible for it. 

For others out there like me I dug up 3 great alternatives to the 12 step programs. Feel free to go check them out and let me know what you think. I'm going to research these all further and give you an update soon on their methods and my thoughts on them. I really wish alternatives were more readily available everywhere around the world. I know a lot of people would appreciate it in my area but at lease for now alternatives can be found online.

Smart Recovery:

Rational Recovery:

The Life Ring: