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Can you recovery from addiction by NOT using the steps?

Old 12-03-2008, 12:51 PM
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Can you recovery from addiction by NOT using the steps?

My ex is in outpatient rehab. Going 3x's a week for 3 hours. He is not getting any one on one therapy but can if he feels its necessary. They are not using a 12 step program but are using workbooks and journals???? So I am just wondering if you arent practicing the 12 steps can you REALLY find recovery.

I am practicing the 12 steps myself and find them VERY helpful. I can see why the 12 steps are important when trying to beat addiction. So I am curious as to hearing from anyone who DID NOT use the 12 steps and how did you stick to recovery without them?

Thanks
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Old 12-03-2008, 12:55 PM
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The 12 Steps are not the only path to recovery. You may want to have this thread moved to a non-program specific area like the 'Substance Abuse' or 'Alcoholism' forums to get responses from non-12 Steppers. You might also want to post something in the 'Secular Connections' forum.

Here are a couple of non-12 Step recovery program sites:

http://www.unhooked.com/index.htm

http://smartrecovery.org/
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Old 12-03-2008, 12:59 PM
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Sorry I dont know how to move the thread....

I didnt realize I posted in the wrong area....Sorry

Thanks for the links.
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Old 12-03-2008, 01:05 PM
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You can't move the thread, only a SR person can do that. Doorknob's suggestions are right on, however if your ex is seeking a 12 step program you should ask the rehab why they are not using a 12 step program. Most rehabs are very upfront about the 12 step issue.
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Old 12-03-2008, 01:16 PM
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I stayed clean & sober for ten years without even knowing the 12 steps existed.

I used the sheer "I do not drink or use no matter what" method.

But I'm not sure that clean time is the same as 'recovery'.

I discovered the steps a little over 4 years ago, the steps have changed my life in ways I never thought possible, and I am now cetain what 'recovery' means (for me).

Today, I try and live the 12 steps.

But to semi-answer your question, yes, I believe people can find recovery without using the steps.
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Old 12-03-2008, 03:24 PM
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I'm currently using the sheer "I do not drink or use no matter what" method too....but I'm doing more than just not drinking.

I've worked very hard to tackle the underlying problems I used to drink over - looking at consequences, taking full and honest responsibility for myself and my actions, and finding other coping strategies besides drinking has helped me immeasurably.

I've changed myself and my life for nigh on 2 years now. I drank 24/7 for most of the 5 years before that, habitually abused alcohol for ten years before that.

I may be proven wrong, of course, but I consider my clean time to be the same as 'recovery'.
I'll back myself

The 12 steps are great for many people, but they're only one method.

D
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Old 12-03-2008, 03:30 PM
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I have been sober 18 months using Dee's method...including the need for personal change and growth. My life is nothing like it was.

Many paths to the same destination.
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Old 12-03-2008, 03:37 PM
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when I first went to treatment we didnt work on any steps tho they were mentioned in the classes and such , they suggested that i got my rear in AA and gotta sponcer and work them there , thats what AA is for they worked on other areas , but the big book and steps were used here and there just not the principle tool of soberity . I did as they suggested and today im still sober since 2003:ghug3
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Old 12-03-2008, 04:04 PM
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Here we are. I moved this up from the NA forums where I am sure you will hear from more Non 12 Step recovering people.
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Old 12-03-2008, 04:34 PM
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Hi Cassandra,

I am also an SR member who doesn't use the 12-step method. However, like Dee and others, I do many things to stay sober. I think it's about balance and I try to exercise every day, meditate, and stay positive. I have used journalling and found it to help a lot. I also read many books to help me on my spiritual journey. And, last, but definitely not least, I am on SR every day. This place inspires me.
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Old 12-03-2008, 04:59 PM
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I hesitated to offer my own E, S & H because, cassandra, I feared feeding your obsession. I do understand you're only trying to gather information. I also think you understand that you have very little, if any control over what your ex does or does not do. So, it's not for me to judge whether you should or should not be asking. My apologies.

What can you do? Not much. I mean, you can set your own boundaries. If you have children together (which I believe you do?), you can file for and see through a child support order. That will force him into financial obligations. You can file for a protection order if you feel threatened. You can refuse him a place to live. But you can't get or keep him clean. You can threaten, and he might even bend to your demands for a time (or for good), but unless somewhere along the line he accepts "the way" in his heart, it won't be lasting or peaceful.

The anger you've been feeling from him might be from any of a number of different causes, but I can tell you from my experience, when I was forced into sobriety, I was very resentful.

As far as your initial question -- can you recover from addiction by NOT using the steps? -- I take that "you" to be directed at addicts in recovery. In other words, I qualify to answer from my own experience. I'll answer by first telling you what did not work for me.

The first method I tried to stop using was switching partners. I sought out new friends and lovers who didn't use drugs or drink to same the extremes that my old friends and lovers I'd been surrounding myself with did. One of two things happened with that method. Either I started out with some very uncomfortable self-control, eventually leading back to my previous levels of use or I got bored and went back to the crowd that tolerated my excess.

The second method I tried was a complete geographical cure. It involved the same as above, but in a different state, a different climate and a different work environment, I thought I could re-invent myself. No go. Same result as above.

While on one of my geographical adventures, I met a woman who was into mythology and theology. I began to study, thinking that religion held an answer for me. I managed to find something wrong with each school of thought or established faith, abandoning one after another.

I got pregnant and thought motherhood would "fix" me. I managed to stay sober through two pregnancies and nursing periods, but the day I weaned each of my children, I was drunk, high or both. I justified it by telling myself it would keep me from giving in to a crying baby.

Next came therapy (one-on-one & group) as well as a parade of self-help books. Everything from Dale Carnegie to ****** Gawain, CBT & REBT. I have taken sponsees into my extensive library where I have a shrine to my failures: shelves of books that have lots of great information (some of which I use now), but alone, they could not fill the gaping hole that time after time I tried filling with mind-altering substances.

For me, the twelve steps were the only thing that worked. That's not true for everyone, as you've already read in the above responses (and I'm sure, many more to come here). I'm an intelligent woman. It wasn't that I couldn't learn another method--but the combination of spiritual belief, honest living, and purposeful, service-oriented living that the steps taught me could not be found in any of the other methods I tried. The steps work for me where every other method failed.

Having said all that, others tried to carry the message to me when I wasn't ready. There were fifteen years between my first meeting and the one where I was willing to go to any length. That willingness couldn't be given to me; it was delivered to me by my own desperation.

Bless you, cassandra. I'm glad Al-anon is helping you. Keep your focus on that, and I pray your ex will find his way, too.

Peace & Love,
Sugah
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Old 12-03-2008, 06:22 PM
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I attended AA for the first six months of my recovery, but I didn't practice the steps. After six months, I stopped attending meetings.

I'm not saying I have great sobriety, but I've got almost a year sober and it seems to be working okay for me. And I know there are plenty of people with years of sobriety who don't use the 12 steps, or any program at all.
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Old 12-03-2008, 07:05 PM
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I think you can survive just fine without the steps.

I think it would be hard to stay sober without hinting at them though. I could see myself merely borrowing suggestions from AA, just as I've borrowed from alternative programs. I only use AA because it's widely available group support and the steps are sensible to me. I certainly don't see it as the only option.

My advice would be to at least help him get the gist of the steps and see how he could apply them in his own way. Most people, even people with no addictions at all, can still relate to the steps on some level (I think.) I might even suggest it as "following an already beaten path." Like or dislike AA; it's certainly got history on its side.
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Old 12-03-2008, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Sugah View Post
I hesitated to offer my own E, S & H because, cassandra, I feared feeding your obsession. I do understand you're only trying to gather information. I also think you understand that you have very little, if any control over what your ex does or does not do. So, it's not for me to judge whether you should or should not be asking. My apologies.
No apolgies needed. I guess you are right. I know I have no control over any of this. I find myself learning that more and more each day. I am powerless. I know that my quests can seem obsessive, and while they are, they are usually short in duration as I begin to say ok I cant fix that or ok I have no control over that.

The program that my ex is in isnt teaching the steps and I really was bothered by that because of everything that I have read about addiction and the behaviors and addicts themselves they only true lasting recovery is by working the steps. I know that there are exceptions to the rules as some have posted that here but just really deflated when I heard that he wasnt learning the steps. Now thats not to say that at one point he wont but for now he isnt.

I thank you for your honesty and understanding.

Just a little down that he wouldnt be learning these steps. I have been working them and they are truly opening my eyes to my own issues.
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Old 12-03-2008, 09:06 PM
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I use SR. That's it. I don't particularly obsess over staying sober, but I do check in here daily (or when I can), just for affirmation that I'm still on the right track.

I feel great, better than I have in years. I'm calmer. I think before I open my big mouth, well, I try anyway! I really do look at my life differently, it's hard to explain, but things are just better.

I think my recovery is just as true and just as liable to succeed/fail as someone who is doing the steps. Hope that makes sense, it's not meant to be a slam to anyone. I just think the bottom line is you HAVE to want it more than ANYTHING in the world. And you have to work at it. It's just not a given just because you are working a step.
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Old 12-03-2008, 09:18 PM
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Interesting scenario... I had to look long and hard to find a treatment center that wasn't based on 12-Step theology.
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Old 12-03-2008, 09:22 PM
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Cassandra, let me tell you my experience with treatment centers "teaching steps."

I've sponsored women in half-way houses who were required by their counselors to "go get a sponsor." So, they'd ask when they were taken to outside meetings, and I did what my sponsor taught me to do--set a time to meet them and start working steps with them. With three different women on three different occassions, I got there, got out my Big Book and commenced working the first step with them, only to be told, "Oh, I've already taken the first step." And the second, and the third.

"I'm working on my fourth step with my counselor."

So, I ask, "Is your sponsor in the program?"

"I don't know. Some of them are, but some aren't, and they don't tell us which are which." (I guess they don't want the clients to be biased against "book taught" counselors)

Ultimately, I was asked to sponsor them so that they could say they had a sponsor, but for the life of me, I don't know what the counselors thought a sponsor was supposed to do. Be supportive? Chit-chat? A sponsor takes a sponsee through the steps. One alcoholic (addict) helping another.

I'm telling you this because I can't imagine an out-patient treatment center not suggesting AA or NA to a client. It then becomes his responsibility to attend meetings. I wouldn't be so upset about them not "teaching" him steps because from my experience, step work was treated as home work--something these women had to do to "graduate" from their treatment. In AA (or NA), there is no graduation. Besides, if he's "taught" steps, what happens when his treatment comes to an end? Steps are a design for living, and part of that design is it's continuity. The twelfth step directs us to carry that message to others. In the treatment setting, that means either staying in treatment or becoming a counselor.

I'm sure that logic is flawed (I'm tired), but I think you get the drift. Closed institutional meetings aren't meetings--in that sooner or later, one moves on. I don't lose my seat in my home group. This is what I try to get through to ladies in the jails. You can start there, but eventually, you have to be proactive and find your own place in the recovery community.

Something tells me I just doubled back on myself.

Cassandra, if it helps, I empathize with your desire to see him do well. I watched my mother trying to deal with my father, and though she had your desire, she had no one to talk to about it. If I could go back in time and try to help her, I would suggest to her that she do as you're doing, find Al-anon, and take care of herself.

Peace & Love,
Sugah
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Old 12-04-2008, 03:15 AM
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I think, if I may borrow Sugah's words, if you have some combination of spiritual belief, honest living, and purposeful, service-oriented living - and I'd add a sincere commitment to the hard work of staying clean - then you're ahead of the pack, 12 steps or not.

The specifics may be open to a degree of interpretation - I myself don't find a spiritual component necessary beyond a desire to fulfill my potential as a human being, use my talents wisely, and live 'right' - but that's ok....its the same goal we're chasing here...freedom.

As Bugs said, there are many paths to recovery. I hope your bf finds his way too Cassandra

D
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Old 12-04-2008, 03:26 AM
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I think the most important thing is to have a plan and realise the need for change, cos recovery is more than just quitting for most people. If you don't change what is going to stop you from using again?

Although I am in AA and do the steps I feel that a lot of people seem to think it is the only way and it just isn't.
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Old 12-04-2008, 07:05 AM
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I found SR and this has been my place of comfort and help. I don't plan on going to a meeting or doing steps, per se. I think my main issue was needing someone to talk to who would understand and encourage me, without telling me it's okay for me to drink on special occasions and that I'll be fine, you know?

I think ultimately we need to do what works best for us, as long as we stay clean and sober and don't hurt anyone in the process =)

Good Luck~
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