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Old 13th June 2019, 08:39 AM   #1
Dancing David
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Atheist nurse's fight against mandatory AA will go before B.C. Human Rights Tribunal

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/briti...aint-1.5172488

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A B.C. nurse who lost his job when he refused to attend a 12-step program for addiction will get a chance to argue he was discriminated against as an atheist.

Byron Wood contends Alcoholics Anonymous's emphasis on placing your life in the hands of a higher power simply won't work for someone who doesn't hold any religious beliefs.

That's an argument worth considering, according to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. On Wednesday, it denied Vancouver Coastal Health's application to dismiss Wood's complaint alleging discrimination on the basis of religion.

"The tribunal has not [previously] considered whether the 12‐step program utilized by Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous may discriminate against persons with substance abuse disorders who are atheists," tribunal member Walter Rilkoff wrote in Wednesday's decision.
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Old 13th June 2019, 08:43 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
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Byron Wood contends Alcoholics Anonymous's emphasis on placing your life in the hands of a higher power simply won't work for someone who doesn't hold any religious beliefs.
Seems like it simply doesn't work for believers, either.

Given the extremely low success rate of 12 step programs and the substantial number of non-believers, it's insane that those programs are still court-ordered at all.
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Old 13th June 2019, 08:47 AM   #3
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I thought the AA "higher power" formulation left plenty of room for atheists who were more interested in recovery than in making an ideological point.

I'd take it more seriously if he were objecting on the grounds of effectiveness.

But assuming he's got a substance use problem that's impacting his work, then I figure it's incumbent on him to convince his employer that he's taking reasonable steps to treat it. It sounds like he did suggest alternatives, but they weren't within the scope of his employer's policy, so they were rejected.

I guess he's probably got a valid complaint here. His employer probably needs to reconsider their exclusive attitude towards AA-type programs.
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Old 13th June 2019, 08:53 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I thought the AA "higher power" formulation left plenty of room for atheists who were more interested in recovery than in making an ideological point.
Which higher power would an atheist place his or her life into the hands of? Darth Vader? Stephen Hawking?
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Old 13th June 2019, 09:00 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Which higher power would an atheist place his or her life into the hands of? Darth Vader? Stephen Hawking?

I believe that you're allowed to fudge it and be your own higher power.
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Old 13th June 2019, 09:03 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Which higher power would an atheist place his or her life into the hands of? Darth Vader? Stephen Hawking?
The FSM.
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Old 13th June 2019, 09:07 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Seems like it simply doesn't work for believers, either.

Given the extremely low success rate of 12 step programs and the substantial number of non-believers, it's insane that those programs are still court-ordered at all.
The 12 step program is not just religious, it's a con. They have NEVER proved the effectiveness of their programs.
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Old 13th June 2019, 09:22 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Which higher power would an atheist place his or her life into the hands of? Darth Vader? Stephen Hawking?
Who ****** cares? You've got a serious substance abuse problem. You've had a psychotic break and you're about to lose your job. Say the words, go through the steps, get recovery, and get your job back. If that's what you want.

If that's what you want.

I mean, you've already let yourself go to the point where you're having psychotic breaks and destroying your career. It's a bit late to stand on Atheist Principle and claim that you'd totally go into recovery and save your career if it weren't for that pesky "higher power" clause.

Apparently your own power isn't up to the task. So call the process itself the higher power, and commit to going through it.

---

I'd take an efficacy objection more seriously. If he'd gone to the courts and said, these other programs are proven to be far more effective than AA, and it's unjust for my employer to make my job contingent on a program that doesn't work. I'd take that more seriously.

But not much more seriously, simply because he hasn't actually tried any of those programs either. Right now - provisionally, taking the story at face value without passing judgement on whether it's accurate - it looks more like an excuse to avoid recovery, than a legitimate human rights complaint.

But legitimate or not, seriously or not, it is a human rights complaint, and probably a valid one. I don't have much invested in this guy's outcome, but I do hope that one result is that the employer ends up considering other programs besides AA, for this kind of thing.
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Old 13th June 2019, 09:29 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Who ****** cares? You've got a serious substance abuse problem. You've had a psychotic break and you're about to lose your job. Say the words, go through the steps, get recovery, and get your job back. If that's what you want.
So, pretend to believe in god so you can pretend to recover?

That doesn't sound like a very good path to actual recovery.

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I'd take that more seriously.
I take it very seriously. If the beliefs of Christians and Muslims are sacrosanct, then the non-belief of atheists should be just the same.
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Old 13th June 2019, 09:35 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
So, pretend to believe in god so you can pretend to recover?

That doesn't sound like a very good path to actual recovery.
Pretending to believe in recovery is never a good path to recovery.

Finding a way to make the language of recovery work within your worldview, because your worldview includes a serious commitment to recovery, on the other hand, is probably not a bad idea.
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Old 13th June 2019, 09:39 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Pretending to believe in recovery is never a good path to recovery.

Finding a way to make the language of recovery work within your worldview, because your worldview includes a serious commitment to recovery, on the other hand, is probably not a bad idea.
But an atheist doesn't believe in a higher power! He or she is going to pretend one way or another. You can't commit to recovery by following a path you know won't work, at the very least, for you.
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Old 13th June 2019, 09:44 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
But an atheist doesn't believe in a higher power! He or she is going to pretend one way or another. You can't commit to recovery by following a path you know won't work, at the very least, for you.
Like I said. Call the process your "higher power", and commit to following the process.

And how do you know it won't work? Have you actually tried? We're talking about a trajectory towards rock bottom here. It's time to start trying stuff.

And you know what? If that "higher power" crap really rubs your atheism the wrong way, try something else instead. It may not work for that employer, but it could make a difference for another employer, and save your career.

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Old 13th June 2019, 09:45 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Who ****** cares? You've got a serious substance abuse problem. You've had a psychotic break and you're about to lose your job. Say the words, go through the steps, get recovery, and get your job back. If that's what you want.

If that's what you want.

I mean, you've already let yourself go to the point where you're having psychotic breaks and destroying your career. It's a bit late to stand on Atheist Principle and claim that you'd totally go into recovery and save your career if it weren't for that pesky "higher power" clause.

Apparently your own power isn't up to the task. So call the process itself the higher power, and commit to going through it.

---

I'd take an efficacy objection more seriously. If he'd gone to the courts and said, these other programs are proven to be far more effective than AA, and it's unjust for my employer to make my job contingent on a program that doesn't work. I'd take that more seriously.

But not much more seriously, simply because he hasn't actually tried any of those programs either. Right now - provisionally, taking the story at face value without passing judgement on whether it's accurate - it looks more like an excuse to avoid recovery, than a legitimate human rights complaint.

But legitimate or not, seriously or not, it is a human rights complaint, and probably a valid one. I don't have much invested in this guy's outcome, but I do hope that one result is that the employer ends up considering other programs besides AA, for this kind of thing.
I CARE. TRUTH MATTERS. Whether it's an alcoholic or the President.

Forcing people to tell lies is not good for anyone. What right does anyone have to put you in a position to choose to be a phony or choose recovery? How can an alcoholic who is told these step are essential for recovery when he believes one of those steps is crap?

And by all available evidence it is crap.

How can the alcoholic take it seriously, when it's based on a lie?
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Old 13th June 2019, 09:51 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
I CARE. TRUTH MATTERS. Whether it's an alcoholic or the President.

Forcing people to tell lies is not good for anyone. What right does anyone have to put you in a position to choose to be a phony or choose recovery? How can an alcoholic who is told these step are essential for recovery when he believes one of those steps is crap?
I'm saying there's a way to interpret it that isn't phony.

Call the process your "higher power" and commit to following the process.

Quote:
And by all available evidence it is crap.

How can the alcoholic take it seriously, when it's based on a lie?
That's not the argument he's making, though.

That's an argument I'd take more seriously.
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Old 13th June 2019, 09:53 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Like I said. Call the process your "higher power", and commit to following the process.

And how do you know it won't work? Have you actually tried?
You're not listening, man. You can't just pretend that higher power means something else entirely. The entire process (have you read the 12 steps?) relies on your letting God remove your addiction for you.

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And you know what? If that "higher power" crap really rubs your atheism the wrong way, try something else instead.
You can't if it's court-ordered or if you lose your job if you do.
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Old 13th June 2019, 09:55 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I thought the AA "higher power" formulation left plenty of room for atheists who were more interested in recovery than in making an ideological point.
They say that, but I don't know. I've been to a few different meetings in the past, and I used to work at a rehab center that used the 12-step method. Every time an atheist came in complaining about the language, everyone would robotically assure them that the "higher power" can be anything you want. It can be yourself, it can be your love for your family, it can be your artistic prowess - whatever is the ultimate inspiration for you, the ultimate thing that lifts you up. Which sounds pretty good. But the content of the actual program WAS undeniably religious.

At the rehab center, for example, they opened group meetings with the Serenity Prayer and closed with the Lord's Prayer. People who objected were often written up as being uncooperative, sometimes failing to advance toward program completion as a result. It was disingenuous as hell. It was like doublespeak. And I couldn't get a clear answer as to how they justified it, even when I spoke to one of the program leaders one-on-one. It was like we weren't even having a real conversation; he just brushed me off with these cheery platitudes that didn't quite answer my questions.

Now, all that being said - many atheists have no problem with the stuff I outlined above. They just roll their eyes and shrug off the religious elements, focusing only on what the program means to them personally. But many others are not able to do this. Getting sober (especially from certain substances) is a wicked, wretched, emotional process. Being locked in a rehab center, even voluntarily, can feel degrading for many patients. Things like daily room searches and patronizing group dialogues can make even the most optimistic patient feel uncomfortable and infantilized. Constantly being angry and having your wishes **** on is not conducive to recovery. A cheery nurse telling you that it isn't religion and then turning around and demanding participation in blatantly religious rituals is questionable behavior.


EDIT: I wonder what would have happened if a Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu had enrolled and objected to the religious language. It would have been interesting to see if it was handled differently than atheist objections were. I never got the chance to see. The population of the area was overwhelmingly Christian.

Last edited by isissxn; 13th June 2019 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 13th June 2019, 10:03 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
If the beliefs of Christians and Muslims are sacrosanct, then the non-belief of atheists should be just the same.
For once I will not nit-pick about how a "non-belief" could be considered sacrosanct and just say that I agree with you.
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Old 13th June 2019, 10:14 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
You're not listening, man. You can't just pretend that higher power means something else entirely. The entire process (have you read the 12 steps?) relies on your letting God remove your addiction for you.
The steps are steps you take to recover from your addiction. God doesn't take those steps, you do.

The process doesn't follow itself. You choose to follow the process. You choose to take the steps. You either take the steps or you don't.

If you say you can't follow the process because you don't believe in God, fine. Not believing in God is a totally legitimate thing to do.

But if my reply is that you don't need to believe in God, you just need to believe in the process, what then? Maybe then you say that you can't believe in the process because it's a crap process. That's acbytesla's argument, and I think it's a good one. If you can show the court evidence that it's a crap process, then an injustice has been done and you are entitled to be made whole.

Or maybe instead of making that argument, you just double down on "higher power" has to mean God, and you don't believe in God, so no recovery process for you!

Quote:
You can't if it's court-ordered or if you lose your job if you do.
You certainly can! Perhaps you might also have to comply with a court order. Perhaps you might still lose your job because it's not what your employer wants.

But you have a substance abuse problem and a psychotic break to think about. There's more to taking care of yourself than just doing what the court says or hanging on to this particular job.

---

And what's the endgame here, anyway? The guy gets to have his job back without going into recovery for his substance abuse? That seems like a bad idea in most fields, but healthcare especially.

Find a program that works for you, go through it, and then worry about finding a position of authority and trust as a healthcare professional. Fight the human rights case in court while you do that, if you like, but seriously. There are other important things you should be doing right now.
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Old 13th June 2019, 10:18 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by isissxn View Post
They say that, but I don't know. I've been to a few different meetings in the past, and I used to work at a rehab center that used the 12-step method. Every time an atheist came in complaining about the language, everyone would robotically assure them that the "higher power" can be anything you want. It can be yourself, it can be your love for your family, it can be your artistic prowess - whatever is the ultimate inspiration for you, the ultimate thing that lifts you up. Which sounds pretty good. But the content of the actual program WAS undeniably religious.

At the rehab center, for example, they opened group meetings with the Serenity Prayer and closed with the Lord's Prayer. People who objected were often written up as being uncooperative, sometimes failing to advance toward program completion as a result. It was disingenuous as hell. It was like doublespeak. And I couldn't get a clear answer as to how they justified it, even when I spoke to one of the program leaders one-on-one. It was like we weren't even having a real conversation; he just brushed me off with these cheery platitudes that didn't quite answer my questions.

Now, all that being said - many atheists have no problem with the stuff I outlined above. They just roll their eyes and shrug off the religious elements, focusing only on what the program means to them personally. But many others are not able to do this. Getting sober (especially from certain substances) is a wicked, wretched, emotional process. Being locked in a rehab center, even voluntarily, can feel degrading for many patients. Things like daily room searches and patronizing group dialogues can make even the most optimistic patient feel uncomfortable and infantilized. Constantly being angry and having your wishes **** on is not conducive to recovery. A cheery nurse telling you that it isn't religion and then turning around and demanding participation in blatantly religious rituals is questionable behavior.


EDIT: I wonder what would have happened if a Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu had enrolled and objected to the religious language. It would have been interesting to see if it was handled differently than atheist objections were. I never got the chance to see. The population of the area was overwhelmingly Christian.
Well said.

I remember seeing a psychologist who at the end of our first session who recommended self help books all with heavy religious themes. I could NOT be serious about it since I thought it was nonsense. It also left me thinking that the person was a moron. But I could find another psychologist.
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Old 13th June 2019, 10:26 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The steps are steps you take to recover from your addiction. God doesn't take those steps, you do.

The process doesn't follow itself. You choose to follow the process. You choose to take the steps. You either take the steps or you don't.

If you say you can't follow the process because you don't believe in God, fine. Not believing in God is a totally legitimate thing to do.

But if my reply is that you don't need to believe in God, you just need to believe in the process, what then? Maybe then you say that you can't believe in the process because it's a crap process. That's acbytesla's argument, and I think it's a good one. If you can show the court evidence that it's a crap process, then an injustice has been done and you are entitled to be made whole.

Or maybe instead of making that argument, you just double down on "higher power" has to mean God, and you don't believe in God, so no recovery process for you!


You certainly can! Perhaps you might also have to comply with a court order. Perhaps you might still lose your job because it's not what your employer wants.

But you have a substance abuse problem and a psychotic break to think about. There's more to taking care of yourself than just doing what the court says or hanging on to this particular job.

---

And what's the endgame here, anyway? The guy gets to have his job back without going into recovery for his substance abuse? That seems like a bad idea in most fields, but healthcare especially.

Find a program that works for you, go through it, and then worry about finding a position of authority and trust as a healthcare professional. Fight the human rights case in court while you do that, if you like, but seriously. There are other important things you should be doing right now.
You just don't get it do you ? People should have a right to avoid religion and religious teachings. Baking it into the cake of rehab is unreasonable and unfair.

If I said you had to answer the call to prayer and praise ALLAH 5 times a day as a prerequisite for your job, would you not have a problem with that?
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Old 13th June 2019, 10:32 AM   #21
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There's an agnostic AA meeting in my city - I may check it out.

I kind of think it all boils down to motivation. If you want to get clean/sober a lot of things will work. If you don't, nothing is going to work very well. There are recovery groups that are not 12-step based, so I don't think AA should be court-ordered.
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Old 13th June 2019, 10:35 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The steps are steps you take to recover from your addiction. God doesn't take those steps, you do.
I really think you should read up on those programs. A key part of the process is to admit that you can't do anything about your addiction and let God pull you out.

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You certainly can!
Only technically. It's not a viable option.

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But you have a substance abuse problem and a psychotic break to think about. There's more to taking care of yourself than just doing what the court says or hanging on to this particular job.
Are you a Christian, sir?

Quote:
And what's the endgame here, anyway? The guy gets to have his job back without going into recovery for his substance abuse?
How about we stop the state from forcing you to follow programs that violate your beliefs or freedom of religion? How about we get the state to send you to programs proven to work?
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Old 13th June 2019, 10:39 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
There's an agnostic AA meeting in my city - I may check it out.

I kind of think it all boils down to motivation. If you want to get clean/sober a lot of things will work. If you don't, nothing is going to work very well. There are recovery groups that are not 12-step based, so I don't think AA should be court-ordered.
But it is . And very often. And your first statement is the crux of how AA claims it's success rate. They say if you follow the program you'll succeed. It's a tautology. If you drink, you stopped doing the program. They don't count those who fall off the wagon as they stopped doing the program.
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Old 13th June 2019, 10:43 AM   #24
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A friend was ordered AA for a year. To not violate parole he went every two weeks for a " surprise " drug test the day before AA. Then sat through it not really paying much attention. They did a routine where each stood up and proudly announced how long without a drink. He always said two weeks because right after the meeting he went to a fave bar. They always applauded his " progress " like it was a great victory. He never lied. Others would say ever increasing time frames and I knew one was fibbing. We ate at the same bar four days a week.

The group leader wrote a glowing report of his rehabilitation and I read it that weekend over beers at a gathering. Another AA success story and another inspirational group leader put a feather in his cap.

Another fought court ordered AA on a freedom from religion base and thought he was slick when he won. He then had to pay out of pocket for another rehab every week for three years. But no religion.

It would have been far easier to fake it.
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Old 13th June 2019, 10:46 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
You just don't get it do you ? People should have a right to avoid religion and religious teachings. Baking it into the cake of rehab is unreasonable and unfair.

If I said you had to answer the call to prayer and praise ALLAH 5 times a day as a prerequisite for your job, would you not have a problem with that?
I don't think the two situations are analogous.

I do get it, I just disagree with your position. It doesn't look like either of us has anything new to say, just repeating our arguments and positions at each other. Instead of doing that, I'll take a step back and see if the discussion moves to a place that's novel and interesting for me.

Feel free to take the last word on this exchange, if that's your pleasure.
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Old 13th June 2019, 10:47 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by 8enotto View Post
A friend was ordered AA for a year. To not violate parole he went every two weeks for a " surprise " drug test the day before AA. Then sat through it not really paying much attention. They did a routine where each stood up and proudly announced how long without a drink. He always said two weeks because right after the meeting he went to a fave bar. They always applauded his " progress " like it was a great victory. He never lied. Others would say ever increasing time frames and I knew one was fibbing. We ate at the same bar four days a week.

The group leader wrote a glowing report of his rehabilitation and I read it that weekend over beers at a gathering. Another AA success story and another inspirational group leader put a feather in his cap.

Another fought court ordered AA on a freedom from religion base and thought he was slick when he won. He then had to pay out of pocket for another rehab every week for three years. But no religion.

It would have been far easier to fake it.
But perhaps better to pay out of pocket for actual treatment of the actual problem.
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Old 13th June 2019, 10:57 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
But perhaps better to pay out of pocket for actual treatment of the actual problem.
You took the words right out of my sober mouth, though now I'm confused as to what exactly is our disagreement.
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Old 13th June 2019, 11:02 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
But an atheist doesn't believe in a higher power! He or she is going to pretend one way or another. You can't commit to recovery by following a path you know won't work, at the very least, for you.
Some of us chose sobriety as our higher power, more telling however is that they asked to have a secular variant of the 12 steps and were refused
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Old 13th June 2019, 11:02 AM   #29
acbytesla
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I don't think the two situations are analogous.

I do get it, I just disagree with your position. It doesn't look like either of us has anything new to say, just repeating our arguments and positions at each other. Instead of doing that, I'll take a step back and see if the discussion moves to a place that's novel and interesting for me.

Feel free to take the last word on this exchange, if that's your pleasure.
No you don't. The situations are EXACTLY analogous. You're a Christian and you would object to saying overt aphorisms to another religion even though you wouldn't have to mean them. That's because they mean something to you.

I was brought up to believe my personal integrity and honor was my most valuable asset. A man is only as good as his word. Forcing me to say out loud something I view as a lie damages my self worth. It makes one less in their own eyes. This is the effect of your proposition. It's a sellout.

Think about it.
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Old 13th June 2019, 11:08 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
For once I will not nit-pick about how a "non-belief" could be considered sacrosanct and just say that I agree with you.
That's easy. Pick a religion, any religion.

For followers of that religion non belief of every other religion's gods is sacrosanct.

For Abrahmic religions it's actually in the text.
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Old 13th June 2019, 11:09 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by isissxn View Post
Every time an atheist came in complaining about the language, everyone would robotically assure them that the "higher power" can be anything you want. It can be yourself, it can be your love for your family, it can be your artistic prowess - whatever is the ultimate inspiration for you, the ultimate thing that lifts you up. Which sounds pretty good. But the content of the actual program WAS undeniably religious.
Yep. The "higher power" _can be_ anything you want. But it isn't. Just listen to them. When they talk about the "higher power" they aren't talking about your love for your family, or yourself, or your artistic prowess. It could be that, but it isn't.
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Old 13th June 2019, 11:19 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
But it is . And very often. And your first statement is the crux of how AA claims it's success rate. They say if you follow the program you'll succeed. It's a tautology. If you drink, you stopped doing the program. They don't count those who fall off the wagon as they stopped doing the program.
IMO, AA should stop treating the first however-many-pages of the Big Book as sacrosanct or label it "legacy opinion" or some such because Bill Wilson based his statement "Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path" on extremely shaky grounds. He was a great promoter, but could not resist exaggeration. As far as I know, it's been quite a while since AA as an entity has made any claims, but that excerpt of its founding document is still widely read at meetings, and it's misleading.

I'm pretty sure a lot of the membership would just as soon not have court-ordered or employer-ordered attendees. I'm surprised a Canadian employer would follow such a policy. Actually that would surprise me even with a U.S. employer.
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Old 13th June 2019, 11:21 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Forcing me to say out loud something I view as a lie damages my self worth.
Your point about freedom from religion is valid. I just want to point out that no one in AA forces you to say anything out loud.
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Old 13th June 2019, 11:25 AM   #34
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I posted this because it is an interesting point, they also denied the nurse secular options.
It is hard to sit in 12 steps meetings as an atheist or pagan, there is so much 'god did this, god did that'. Of course god also told them to hit on the your women at the meeting!

However I decided that I needed to have some support other than myself, so I kept going, I did eventually find a very open almost secular meeting.
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Old 13th June 2019, 11:29 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
Your point about freedom from religion is valid. I just want to point out that no one in AA forces you to say anything out loud.
Fair enough. Nevertheless it's a sermon, not a a rehab program.
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Old 13th June 2019, 11:37 AM   #36
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If I had to sit through a series of meetings where everyone was talking about God and trying to credit God with the accomplishments I myself was making, I'd need a ******* strong drink by the end.

This is just my opinion, but I find the entire premise of "submitting to a higher power" questionable in recovery terms. I think personal empowerment is a much better idea. "I no longer need alcohol to socialize with people. I have learned how to be comfortable navigating conversation without a crutch." Or, "I no longer need to spend my days worried about if I'll have enough fixes to get by. I have gained the strength to simply go face my day." A lot of AA doctrine paints addicts as pathetic wretches whose God is alcohol or drugs. So they encourage you to swap out the substance with a deity figure, even if they sometimes hedge around calling it a deity. I don't really see that as healthy progress.

Now, if a person is religious, they might disagree with me. And that's fine. Whatever helps you recover is what you should do. But it's really not going to work for a lot of people. "Oh, I'm powerless. I need saving. I've been going to meetings for 10 years, haven't had a drink, but still have to introduce myself as an alcoholic. Because I'm powerless, and I'm just one slip-up away from disaster, so I cling to that higher power that keeps powerless old me in line." I don't think it's healthy.

Again, just my opinion.
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Old 13th June 2019, 12:30 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Fair enough. Nevertheless it's a sermon, not a a rehab program.
It can be both. There are certainly preachy people, but many of them aren't. And many people address practicalities - there is some overlap with CBT. I didn't mind people talking about God though their reasoning usually wasn't great ("I know there's a God because I'm alive" was popular). I'm surprised that secular groups, even if they had to charge a few dollars, are not more common than they are. I was in a women's (not AA) group for several years at $15 a week, gently led by a therapist. I also went to AA. They complemented each other.

The problem with paying for outpatient treatment is that the charges are absurd for what amounts to a support group with a professional facilitator. They charge what insurance companies will reimburse, generally for a period like 6 weeks. The insurance companies didn't mind because it was so much cheaper than the previous standard, 28-day inpatient stays. An ongoing maintenance-level group could do it much more affordably. It can't quite be free if a professional facilitator is involved, but it could be pretty reasonable. Or subsidized by naltrexone or Suboxone manufacturers might work for people using those medications. Even methadone. Those clinics rake in a lot of dough. The problem there is they have a vested interest in keeping you on methadone.
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Old 13th June 2019, 01:04 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
It can be both. There are certainly preachy people, but many of them aren't. And many people address practicalities - there is some overlap with CBT. I didn't mind people talking about God though their reasoning usually wasn't great ("I know there's a God because I'm alive" was popular). I'm surprised that secular groups, even if they had to charge a few dollars, are not more common than they are. I was in a women's (not AA) group for several years at $15 a week, gently led by a therapist. I also went to AA. They complemented each other.

The problem with paying for outpatient treatment is that the charges are absurd for what amounts to a support group with a professional facilitator. They charge what insurance companies will reimburse, generally for a period like 6 weeks. The insurance companies didn't mind because it was so much cheaper than the previous standard, 28-day inpatient stays. An ongoing maintenance-level group could do it much more affordably. It can't quite be free if a professional facilitator is involved, but it could be pretty reasonable. Or subsidized by naltrexone or Suboxone manufacturers might work for people using those medications. Even methadone. Those clinics rake in a lot of dough. The problem there is they have a vested interest in keeping you on methadone.
I've never had a substance abuse problem. I'm lucky that I have never had to fight that demon. I have no problem with people that feel the need to appeal to whatever fairy tale they wish if it helps them. As John Lennon says, whatever gets through the night is alright. I see it much like isissxn. Saying I am powerless and appealing to a mythical being is not my thing. If it works for you ....fine but I say "go screw yourself" if you think you should be able to tell me it has to be mine as well.
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Old 13th June 2019, 01:27 PM   #39
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I was "asked" to attend a support group as a friend of a regular. Cover story he wanted my support, real reason he projected his issues onto me. He was out to help me.

Some emotional psychobabble specialist that had written self help books and such. It was three times a week and cost money plus suggested book buys and special council for newbs. Yahoo....

It lasted half of one session and I was gone. I liked my antisocial tendencies and wasn't going to fix it. .

I quit drinking heavy by just not drinking booze. No bibles or babble from groups. I was powerful enough to just stop because I wanted to. That whole AA line of needing a sponsor and a higher power is laughable. I feel for those who can't but I don't have anything special, we all have the same power.
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Old 13th June 2019, 01:46 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by 8enotto View Post
I was "asked" to attend a support group as a friend of a regular. Cover story he wanted my support, real reason he projected his issues onto me. He was out to help me.

Some emotional psychobabble specialist that had written self help books and such. It was three times a week and cost money plus suggested book buys and special council for newbs. Yahoo....

It lasted half of one session and I was gone. I liked my antisocial tendencies and wasn't going to fix it. .

I quit drinking heavy by just not drinking booze. No bibles or babble from groups. I was powerful enough to just stop because I wanted to. That whole AA line of needing a sponsor and a higher power is laughable. I feel for those who can't but I don't have anything special, we all have the same power.
I'm not sure if we do. We're all not alike. We have different strengths and weaknesses. I feel you're demonstrating the same arrogance as the AA people. You cannot walk in another person's shoes. You will never know what it is like to be them.
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