Is a 12 Step Program Right For Me

Readers Question Readers Question: (Name changed for privacy)
Stanton Peele Response by: Dr. Stanton Peele
Posted on May 25th, 2013 - Last updated: September 29th, 2023
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Dr. Peele,

I am currently in an intensive out patient program. It is a 12 step based program and a cognitive behavioral type program. The latter I have no problem with I agree I have personal “defects” that could use improving the former is old news to me. I am 48 I have been in and out of several programs since I was 15.

Several times I’ve heard the phrase that insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different outcome. I agree with this statement.

It is no small wonder why your ideals appeal to me. In group the other day I tried to explain that I had had an Ah Ha moment not revealing my source, I went on to explain that although I do believe in God I struggled with their watered down version of him that took away from me what mine “as I understood Him” had freely given me Free will to be able to choose what control I allowed drugs and alcohol to have over me.

I went on to explain that my goals had changed and that what I never let be a priority to me now was;  My family, my self and my future. I was feeling great! I was shot down and was told I was in a dry drunk. I have anger issues so I expressed how I felt but of course I was in denial. I did not and will not let them sway me.

I would like to thank you for showing me what was already before me I just did not respect it. I know my journey is far from over and when I think it is I need to be cautious of that mindset. Before I told them of my moment of clarity I shared with them your RSA article on addiction myths to get their point of view.

At that time I respected their opinion and, I wanted to be certain that I wasn’t just hearing what I wanted to hear. They never got back to me about it. So I am not sure if they read it or are just avoiding a conflict with their doctrine. If you could take the time to reply to this I would be very grateful. Actually there is a part of me that feels sorry for them because they are stuck on an old mentality that forces them to see little success in their clients. And I feel sorry for the others in my group who are being misinformed to the point of being set up to fail.

It’s quite sad this as you know is a serious matter that is being ignored because of big money and plain ignorance.

Thanks again. [Name Redacted]

Dear Anon,

I really value that I’ve been able to show you a different option. Sometimes, just being aware of alternative recovery paths can be incredibly impactful.

If you’re struggling to fit into a belief that doesn’t resonate with you, you might be sidelining your biggest supporter – yourself!

You might be able to change the way others think, or you might not. However, by being honest about what works for you and asking for understanding, it might be difficult for others to challenge you.

You’re genuinely trying to do what’s best for yourself, and deep down, everyone should recognize and respect that.

Sincerely yours,
Stanton Peele

Stanton Peele

Dr. Stanton Peele, recognized as one of the world's leading addiction experts, developed the Life Process Program after decades of research, writing, and treatment about and for people with addictions. Dr. Peele is the author of 14 books. His work has been published in leading professional journals and popular publications around the globe.

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