Trashing Programs of Recovery

Lately I’ve been doing some research into less mainstream recovery strategies. In the process, I’ve run across any number of sites that seem to be devoted to trashing one or another program. It seems to me that this is, more or less categorically, not a good thing.

Without getting into the pros, cons and arguments — biased or not — regarding specific recovery paths, I believe it is reasonable to assume that each of them is working for some one, or else the program would not survive. Therefore, with the possible exception of true cults, they are doing some good for some people.

My position, based on the above assumption until it is proven incorrect, is this: 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, problematically, reduce the faith in its efficacy of the people who are being helped?

What arrogance! What hubris! How immoral!

For example: I have been clean and sober, as of this moment, for something in excess of 6,880 “twenty-four hours” as we say in the 12 Step rooms where I got recovery. I understand the program now. I understand certain things about how it works, and about why those for whom it has worked are a bit skeptical of making changes. I don’t necessarily agree with some of the points of view — but I understand them.

That was not always the case. Early on, I could have been discouraged by voices that I perceived to be authoritative. If I had at that time been exposed to the ranting of the many folks who, for one reason or another, believe 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 dissuaded from attending those meetings, and instead diverted into some other path. A different program might, or might not, have worked as well or better for me, although it might easily have been just what the doctor ordered for the next guy.

The fact is, I take no credit (or very little) for the nearly 24 years I have been clean and sober. I know absolutely that the rooms of the 12 Steps 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.

I put it to you that if AA did not work for me, or NA, or Rational Recovery, or the Buddhist Recovery Network, or whatever program, THAT DOES NOT GIVE ME THE RIGHT TO DESTROY THE FAITH OF OTHERS IN THEIR PROGRAM. To even imagine that a person would be so crass as to do so intentionally — with malice aforethought, as it were — is to examine one of the prime characteristics of unrecovered 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.

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