It Is OK and Nothing Is Wrong With YOU If a 12-Step Program Does Not Work For You. It’s Why We Have “Choices Of What Works For Us.”

It Is OK and Nothing Is Wrong With YOU If a 12-Step Program Does Not Work For You. It’s Why We Have “Choices Of What Works For Us.”

“Now, we all know there is nothing wrong with you if for some reason a 12-Step program or meetings are just not enough to help you recover from any ADDICTION of say, Gambling, Alcohol, Drugs, Porn, any addictions. And there has been a lot of “Debate” about this for a long time by many groups and die-hard 12-steppers in my 12-years of maintaining recovery and I been to many AA and GA, Gamblers Anonymous meetings.

Especially when I had a negative experience a few times in a GA meeting where a few long-timers got in an actual “Shouting Match” in front of attendees, as some just happen to be newcomers! Very wrong to DO and THAT was not following the by-laws of how a 12-step meeting should be … So when I came across this new article in one of my favorite Recovery Magazines called The Fix and this  article about “There is nothing wrong with YOU if AA, and I’ll include NA and GA, 12-step program doesn’t WORK for you.”

Look, it’s OK to choose the recovery path YOU WANT and WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. And even though I had a BAD experience with my Gamblers Anonymous meeting? I still went back and used it as a form of SUPPORT and to be like-minded recovering gamblers, BUT? Knew it wasn’t going to BE the only help and treatment option I needed for my addictions to gambling and alcohol abuse. Here is what The Fix Article says about a 12-step program and if it works or not works for you …  ~Catherine Lyon

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There is hope

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There’s Nothing Wrong With You If AA Doesn’t Work

By Olivia Pennelle 02/03/19

“It isn’t that you’re incapable of being honest with yourself, or that you’re not working a “program” well enough. You are not too broken, or too far gone.”

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I spoke to a friend, Damien, last week. He was devastated at losing someone close to him to alcohol use disorder. What is particularly harrowing about this person’s passing is that it might have been prevented. Damien’s friend was repeatedly pushed toward Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), even though it clearly wasn’t the right fit for him. Just like many others, instead of being supported by peers and professionals and given alternative options, this friend was left feeling that the problem was him.

“It’s really frustrating to see friends die because the default treatment option doesn’t work for them,” Damien says. “We are losing far too many people with substance use disorder who find 12-step incompatible with their life experiences and belief systems.”

He goes on to say, “It’s not because they aren’t willing. It’s not because they can’t ‘get it.’ It’s because, for many people, treating addiction requires more than hope, spirituality, and fellowship. And yet, the only option most are presented with is founded on those three pillars. If the recommended treatment for bacterial infections had the same success rate as the 12 steps, then antibiotics would not be our go-to treatment plan for staph infections.”

My overarching message is: There is nothing wrong with you if AA doesn’t work. It isn’t that you’re incapable of being honest with yourself, or that you’re not working a “program” well enough. You are not too broken, or too far gone. You simply haven’t found the right pathway for you.

These kinds of beliefs stem from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, which states: “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.” [emphasis added]

During my five years of attending countless AA and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings, I have heard many members criticize those who come in and out of the rooms but return to using in between, categorizing them as unwilling, or incapable of being honest.“They just need to surrender to the program and work it like their life depends on it,” was the kind of statement I heard over and over again.

I threw myself into the program because there were no other options for me in the northwest of England. I was so desperate to find something that would help me that I believed anything members said, even if there was no evidence to back it up.

I did a fair amount of perpetuating these myths too. I was instructed to ignore my instincts and critical mind (because that was my “disease talking”), and do what I was told. Giving away my free will to a person in the sky or a church basement seemed weird, but I went with it for several years. After all, it had worked for many other members.

With a period of sobriety under my belt, I couldn’t ignore my inner doubts any longer. They became louder. It was as though, even after years in recovery, I suddenly woke up. And I started to slowly unpack all the myths I’d been told.

REVIVE DETOX  – Shares: 

“I think you’ll agree with us when we say:

Times have changed and not all addiction cases should be treated the same way.

Traditional 12 Step Programs are based on a relationship with a higher power, an external higher power.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), “Medications should be combined with behavioral counseling for a “whole patient” approach, known as Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT).” and is an effective treatment for addiction.

Personality, personal values, history, underlying conditions, and other factors dictate what type of recovery program works best for an individual.

We empower clients to invest in their own recovery which aids each individual in taking responsibility for their behaviors and breeds self-reliance.”

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Image result for free images quotes about Non 12-step choices are ok to choose

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In particular, I tried to unpack “it works if you work it.” There is substantial evidence that shows there’s no one-size-fits-all method when it comes to recovery. If this program were suitable for everyone with substance use disorders, its success rate would be much higher. The fact is that success rates of 12-step programs vary wildly, from as low as 5 to 8 percent, with dropout rates from 69 to 86 percent … to as high as 42 percent after four years.

I should point out that these dropout rates are a reflection of the attrition rates of addiction treatment generally. This underscores the point that the way we treat addiction isn’t appropriate for everyone and we need to get better at personalizing care based on individual circumstances.

When I moved to the U.S., it was like my world opened up. I saw that despite what I’d been told in AA — that it was the only method for successful recovery — there was actually an open landscape of diverse recovery pathways.

A leading study shows that tens of millions of Americans have successfully resolved an alcohol or drug problem through a variety of traditional and nontraditional methods. That means:

  • 9 percent recovered with “assisted pathway use” that consisted of mutual-aid groups (45.1 percent), treatment (27.6 percent), and emerging recovery support services (21.8 percent). 95.8 percent of those who used mutual-aid groups attended 12-step mutual aid meetings.
  • Just under half of those who did not report using an assisted pathway recovered without the use of formal treatment and recovery supports.
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I’m aware that an ideal model of treatment, individualized based on the person’s particular medical and psychological needs, is not always available to most people. Not all of us have the luxury of therapeutic treatment from a psychologist or psychiatrist. This is another reason mutual-aid groups are the most accessible form of recovery pathway — they’re free!

We’re fortunate in the U.S. to have plenty of other support groups that are not all based on religion, and some have a solid evidence-based program. They include Refuge RecoveryLifeRing Secular RecoverySMART RecoveryModeration ManagementWellbriety — among many others listed here — and they have been shown to be equally as successful as 12-step groups.

study comparing 12-step groups to alternative mutual aid groups found that LifeRing, SMART, and Women for Sobriety were just as effective as 12-step groups. Study author Dr. Sarah Zemore and her team reported that “findings for high levels of participation, satisfaction, and cohesion among members of the mutual help alternatives suggest promise for these groups in addressing addiction problems.”

Despite my reporting about AA’s success rate and some of the myths perpetuated by the fellowship, I’m not here to bash AA. I’m here to shine a light on the false statement that it is the only successful way. There are many others.

For those AA does work for, I respect your path. We just need to have a clearer picture of what recovery looks like so when someone is suffering, instead of saying they are the problem, we can be better informed to direct them to what may be a more suitable pathway.

After all, we all have the same goal: recovery.

 

 

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In Recovery, Don’t Let Anyone Or Anything Make You Feel ‘Less Than,’ Always Feel ‘More Than’ Because You Are “More Than”…

Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, And Welcome New Friends,

 

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Some days living life in recovery can be a bit of a challenge. What I mean is, no matter how much recovery time one gets under their belt, we still may have a day when something from our “Wicked Past Addiction” just might come back and ‘Bitch Slap’ us in the face of our present.
It’s why it’s important to ALWAYS have a plan. And especially for long holiday weekends like this one, *Memorial Weekend*…

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Even when that “Slap” comes around, we need to have a safe plan to deal with Life on Life’s terms. I mean, our higher power never said recovery was going to be an easy journey right? Here is what happened to me a while back. When we moved from So. Oregon, to here in Glendale, Arizona,…it was a very traumatic move for me in many ways. I had to adopt out my 2 baby kitties, actually my good friend who has a mini 3 acre ranch took them for us, but it was traumatic for me. Also the 3 day ride in the car was also a traumatic event for me, and had to stay a wee bit extra medicated with my psych meds for the long trip, as I suffer from Bipolar depression, mild PTSD, and Agoraphobia with panic, so need I say more? When we finally got her to AZ we were living with my husbands siblings until we could move back to Oregon. Well, there was SO much DRAMA and arguing that I was having 5 panic attacks a Week!!

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I cried every night we were there in that house. Missing my cats, hating the way they treated us! We barely lasted 2 months and got the HELL out! We had to find our own place with the help of my husbands older sister who is the ONLY SANE person in that house. We moved out and have NOT stepped foot in their house since. What I found out is,…the 2 brothers went to their lawyer and had him run a criminal background check on me, and they gave it to my husbands older sister. Now, for those who know me, or have read my book, you know that when I was within the worst of my ‘Gambling Addiction’ I had stolen from someone. They pressed charges, and YES,….I have a past criminal record, ONE.
I took ownership, and responsibility for what I had done 8 years ago. I made my amends where I could, began gambling addiction treatment, and worked hard these last 7 years to become the woman I was before my addictions to gambling and alcohol. I did the inside work within myself as well, and now try to help others, and “Pay It Forward.”

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So we need to be ready for when these types of LIFE MOMENTS happen, our past catching up &  into our future. His 2 brothers began to treat me even worse with verbal attacks, and more after they got that copy of my past misdeeds. But,….SO WAHT. So I knew we needed to get out to keep my sanity and recovery.

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I think I handled it all pretty well. I did get some bouts of depression and the panic attacks, but all was fine when we got a little place of our own. I mean, at the end, things were really getting out there! The guys hid all the window handles so we could not open our window in our bedroom for any fresh air in the mornings. I was only allowed downstairs living area and kitchen, not in their living room, or anywhere upstairs. I could not use scented deodorant, perfume, smelly body lotion as the boys called it. I really thought I was going MAD IN THE HEAD!
ANYWHO…..
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The point is this, Yes,…we may have made some ‘Bad Choice’s’ when we where within our addictions, but they don’t have to be part of your future, or even in this moment. Don’t let anyone make you feel “Less Than” no matter what. If you learned from the mistakes you made in your past, took ownership and accountability for them, that makes you “More Than in Recovery”! It’s another important reason to do the step work that is required to help you get there and achieve it. Your 12-steps are not all about a religious program.
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Nope,….it’s about learning to use them as a guide to help fix the many character defects, and the bad habits and behaviors we used to COPE within addicted life, and use the steps to transform us into better people in recovery. That’s how I feel about working and reworking my steps. You can see your growth with your own eyes! When you here the words “Unity & Fellowship” in meetings, it’s not a religious fellowship, it’s about applying “The Principals of the Steps” into our daily lives to restore the beautiful people we were before addiction!
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We in recovery deserve, and were given a 2nd chance. If you screw that up?
Well,…that’s on you. Might mean more work needs to be done in your recovery, and within yourself. But if you accept and use that 2nd chance in life given to you in recovery, then,….you are “More Than”…… Always.

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“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie
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Happy Memorial Weekend All,
God Bless!
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984478485