The book of alcoholics anonymous says that there are alcoholics that can’t be helped by AA. (Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Chapter 5). That means that there are alcoholics that need an alternative to AA. Yet, some people are against providing alternatives to help addicts and alcoholics. They say that offering an alternative to AA is the same as being Anti-AA. It isn’t. Saving the lives of alcoholics that can’t, or won’t grasp the program of AA is compassion. It’s humane, and it’s ethical. It’s what we do.
Saving the lives of alcoholics that can’t, or won’t grasp the program of AA is compassion. It’s humane, and it’s ethical. It’s what we do.
Recently I had a meeting with a colleague in recovery that asked me if I was anti-AA.
I have been hearing this gossip ever since Adaptive Center opened in 2012. It’s ridiculous. My friends, colleagues and staff members in recovery, who have known me for the last 27 years, found it laughable, shocking, and stupid.
You see, 27 years ago I learned about AA from men and women that had been transformed by the program of AA. Who at that time had 20, 30, and 40 years of recovery. Giants of recovery that lived according to the principles of the program. Here’s what they taught me:
1. AA is a program of attraction.
This means that there are no AA Evangelists or recruiters. According to tradition the only possible message to a person that may profit from AA is this: I was like you. I suffered like you are suffering. By working the first 11 steps of AA I experienced a spiritual awakening, and now I’m free. You can also be free. And, that’s it. No judgment. No pressure. No diagnosing “you are an alcoholic.”
2. There are alcoholics that don’t or can’t grasp the principles and practices of AA.
AA can’t help them. This takes humility to accept.
3. We are not ok with accepting that some alcoholics would die because they wouldn’t, or couldn’t apprehend the program of AA.
My AA teachers understood that for some, other methods are necessary. So they searched for answers like psychotherapy, addiction counseling, and medication. Their searching created a field. The field of addiction treatment. A field dedicated to finding ways to save every addict. With whatever means necessary. Is that Anti-AA?
I created Adaptive Center to help people reach their potential. We are dedicated to saving the lives of all addicts. Including those that can’t or won’t be helped by AA. To this end, I dedicate all my education, training and experience. I will use any means within my power to help suffering addicts. Including exposing them to the 12 step programs. Respecting their decision to adopt them, or not. Without coercion. Again, is this Anti-AA? No. It isn’t. But I know what is:
1. Pushing your own kind of recovery down people’s throats. Like a zealot in a cult.
2. Insisting that “your way” is the only way. Preaching “the newcomer is the most important person.” While judging, rejecting, and ridiculing suffering addicts. The ones that are incapable of grasping AA. The ones that need the most compassion and help. Being ok with them dying without help if they don’t agree with you.
3. Taking everyone’s inventory. Gossiping and forming ignorant opinions. Criticizing people that are dedicated to saving the lives of all addicts. Even the ones that you disapprove of. Poisoning potential sources of help for those that need a different way. Help that can lead to come back to the program. With a renewed mind and spirit. And be able to grasp the principles then. As the majority of people who go through treatment do.
That is what being Anti-AA really looks like. That’s not us.