I am again having doubts about 12 step programs.


I have been in ACoA and Alanon for a year now, but I still feel that they dog me out because instead of relying on Godism I am turning to the groups for support as my "HP"; they said I could do that.


However, when I do that, they turn away from me, claiming that I don't "get" the program or the steps or what "God wants me to do".


They tell me to "put myself out there and give love in order to get it, to give it away to keep it", but I still feel that I give and don't get anyting back or "keep" anything.


I feel that, like churches, 12 step programs are empty promises, asking me to give of myself and promising things in return that neve rhappen.


this is definitely, for me, a loss of community and more disillusionment in my face.


I am now attening online smart recovery meetings and advocating "alanon/acoa" type meetings that do not support the idea of a deity or 12 steps.


or sponsor, either.


Over the weekend I tried to get a sponsor, 2 of them did not email me after insisting that i do so every day.  after one email, they never spoke to me again.


then they say, "God wants you to be alone so that you can get to know Him".


I am so sick of people's cryptic, magical thinking when they explain to me what happens to me and why.


someone told me to come back here and bask in more rational ideas.





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I don't know a whole lot about 12 step programs but I did attend an overeaters anonymous meeting once out of curiosity because I was gaining back some weight that I had lost during an illness. I went on-line and read up on their criteria for joining and I figured I'd could meet it. I figured I could deal with the 12 step program they had going also.

I had read on-line you could use "the group" as your higher power too, like you metioned, but during the meeting they all held hands and recited the Lord's Prayer. I was not comfortable with that and never went back.

People say stupid things all the time, every day, even people you love and care about say stupid things -it's just the way it is. My only advice is to keep trying to reach out (where to reach - I don't know - hopefully some others on this forum can help you with that) and hopefully now and then you will come across some people that "get you" and treat you with the dignity and compassion that you deserve.
I sense that the group members collectively ARE a stronger power than an individual separate.  Two heads are better than one, as the saying goes. 
The only trouble with relying exclusively on a supernatural "higher power" is that no new information is gleaned from this nonexistent entity.  One must obtain the thoughts and perceptions from other human beings in order to compare and mold these against one's own.  Experience doesn't happen in a vacuum, no matter what religious folks claim. 
Having myself come from a pretty insular group of Fundys, I realize that their impressions only work within their own set of ideals within their chosen lifestyle.  I had to get out of that in order to get along with anyone in the "world".  I am still working on it, 26 years later. 
F. Bacon
One thing 12-step groups share with other religions (yes; anything that depends on gods is religious) is the propensity for the nonsense you have described. It took me quite a long time of involvement with them to understand that the *only* thing real I was ever going to receive (besides headaches and heartaches) was fellowship, and even that only to the extent I seemed to be one of the in-group, the ones who supposedly get it. The literature does not lie about this -- the purpose of the steps is to lead you to a spiritual awakening, a belief in god -- but the group members tend to play fast and loose with it, probably because they alienate fewer people by claiming that spiritual+ceremony+doctrine does not equal religion, somehow.

There seems to be decent research that shows substance addicts in 12-step groups do not recover at a greater rate than those not participating in any improvement plan, and there is some indication that they are less effective than other plans. (I really don't want to get into an argument about that yet again, so if any 12-step true-believers want to debate whether something that is effective 2-3% of the time can be said to "work," just go google it and get back to me in the next life.) I don't know what the stats are for Al-Anon and other groups, but the main issue is not so much how effective they aren't (massively), but can the methods they claim actually provide a mechanism for recovery? The answer, if their claim is otherworldly intervention, is absolutely not -- it's ridiculous to think so.

I feel your pain, and your anger. Some of the things you hear in these groups are patronizing, condescending, and ludicrous; I've heard the exact same claims you cited in AA, NA, and CA too many times to count. But you know what they say -- some are sicker than others. My question is, that being said, why not opt for health?

If the support of the group is helpful, go for it, obviously. It has been for me sometimes, as long as I don't expect much, and I count many friends there. But clear, well-evidenced information and support resources are not to be found among a bunch of woo-sayers, most of whom are to some degree insane, by their own admission. I had to cobble things together myself, with some support from the medical community, web resources, and groups promoting intellectual and philosophical understanding of the human issues involved.

Good luck with things.

ty everyone so far for your support.


very sane and to the point.



 I came back here and read your replies today.


ty again.


It is helping me right now.


things keep happening to me in "sixes and sevens" (not twos and threes) and again I have to keep fighting the brainwashing.


all that is available to me are 12 step meetings (chats) and it is hard when I am feeling so vulnerable.






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