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JenX 05-29-2009 12:03 PM

Step 1 interpretation - Discussion
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.

Right here, right at the start, is a giant problem. I am not powerless over alcohol, not even close. I have almost perfect control over alcohol. I can drink it or not, I can let it sit on the table and look at it, and I might even be able to juggle it. I can also drink enough to kill myself. My choice.

The second half of that sentence says that my life is "unmanageable". Ummm, no, that isn't quite right. If I drink alcohol, my life becomes a disorganized mess I drink too much alcohol, and I get more or less addicted to it, and I get behind on the rent, and the utility companies turn everything off, and I starve, but I still wouldn't say that my life was "unmanageable" because I was "powerless" over alcohol.

Step One might be halfways true if it said that us alcoholics couldn't manage our lives very well while drinking alcohol. And Step One might be true if it said that it was ultimately impossible for us to continue drinking alcohol and still have a happy life. But that isn't what Step One says.

Step One is a setup for surrender to the cult. Since you are powerless over alcohol, you will need somebody or something else (like a sponsor) to be your keeper, and take care of you, and tell you what to do, to keep you from drinking. This step encourages dependence on the cult instead of self-reliance; incompetence and failure instead of competence and success.

Margaret Thaler Singer considered inducing a sense of powerlessness and guilt to be one of the five essential conditions for an effective mind-control, or "brainwashing", program. This step, and the next two, where you confess that you are insane, and then surrender to "Something greater than yourself", do a fine job of inducing a sense of powerlessness. And then the following steps, Steps Four through Ten, induce plenty of guilt.

Want more information?

I've got plenty.

Eroica 05-29-2009 12:08 PM

Thank you. I totally agree!!

Katie09 05-29-2009 12:38 PM

You are preaching to the choir, and I should point this out (sorry!) This is the description to secular forums:

Alternatives to 12 Step Recovery
LifeRing-Smart-SOS, CBT, Problem Solving, Self Management, Self-Empowerment, Rational Thinking, Positive Lifestyle Changes, Self Assessment, Commitment and Follow-Through, Self-Acceptance, Motives and Goals, Peer Support.
12 Step Programs are off topic for this forum and posts discussing 12 Step Programs will be removed. Please use the Secular 12 Step Forum for positive topics on Secular 12 Step Recovery.
I am very grateful to this forum, but forget the first amendment here.

Ananda 05-29-2009 12:46 PM

I utilize step 1 very well thank you.....yep....another bashing other recovery programs :)

Maybe you could share about what keeps you sober today? That would be helpful to everyone :)

shockozulu 05-29-2009 01:59 PM

As a sociology major who has read Singer, I know that she specifically states 12 Step programs do not meet several of the important criteria to be a cult.

Originally Posted by Margaret Thaler Singer
From time to time I will also hear someone compare cults to an organization like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or to some other group with a charismatic leader. Again, it is not the one feature - namely, a charismatic leader or adherence to a particular belief system - that cults may share with another group that is crucial; rather, it is the differences that are important. AA does not recruit deceptively, AA does not hide what membership eventually will entail, and members can leave at any point. AA focuses on helping people grow, while cults use their members to promote the growth of the cult and increase the cult leader's power and wealth. Cults are complex structures, and by taking any one point out of context, we can lose sight of the whole.

(Cults in our Midst - Revised Edition page 97 (2003)).

As for any discussion on the First Amendment, my years of study in Constitutional law along with several books I have opened since reading the final post remind me the Constitution applies to the government. As the Supreme Court ruled in Lebron v. National Railroad Passenger Corporation, the ONLY issue discussed was the fact Amtrak was a government entity. Nothing more.

In the future please keep on topic and do not attack the moderators, administrators or owners of SoberRecovery.

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