I’ve been doing some research into non-12 Step recovery strategies for an article I’m writing. In the process, I’ve run across several sites that seem to be devoted to trashing one or another program.
It seems to me that this is not a good thing. Without getting into the pros and cons of specific recovery paths, I believe it is reasonable to assume that they are working for someone, or else they would not survive. Therefore, with the possible exception of true cults, they are most likely doing some good for some people.
This is how I see it: given the variety of possible ways that recovery, the recovery process, and even what constitutes recovery can be perceived, what right does anyone have to trash a program and reduce the faith of the people it is helping?
I’ve been around recovery for a number of years. I understand the program now. I understand certain things about how it works, and I understand why those for whom it has worked are concerned (not to say superstitious) about making changes. I don’t necessarily agree with some of their points of view, but I understand them.
That was not always the case. Early on, I could have been discouraged. If I had been exposed to people who, for one reason or another, believed the 12 Step programs are cults, or religious organizations, or artifacts of the devil, or whatever the fashionable objection might have been in 1989, I might have been discouraged from attending those meetings. A different program might not have worked as well for me, although it might easily have been perfectly suited to the next guy.
I take little credit for the years I have been clean and sober. I know that the 12 Step programs are the reason I was able to make it this far. I don’t know if another path would have worked for me. In that case, I would be dead now. Bottom line.
So if AA did not work for me, or NA, or Rational Recovery, or the Buddhist Recovery Network or whatever, that does not give me the right to destroy someone else’s faith in their program. To even imagine that a person would be so crass as to do so intentionally is to examine one of the prime characteristics of un-recovered people: the conviction that black is black, white is white, and that they know the way things ought to be.
I suggest that they might want to call their sponsors, and have a cup of coffee and a long talk.