Author Topic: Choice vs Powerlessness  (Read 2239 times)

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Offline Maximilian

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Choice vs Powerlessness
« on: September 13, 2010, 02:05:26 PM »
I believe the choice vs powerlessness debate is sort of a false dichotomy. I don't think it's just one or the other, I think addiction is a complicated issue with a lot of middle ground for all the various theories and ideas on why it happens to some people. Trying to settle on one theory will probably take away from the fact that it is complicated, and not everybody uses for the same reasons, some people don't seem to have any reasons at all, it just happens. Yes AA talks about powerlessness in the steps, but if they meant you are completely powerless over your entire life, then wouldn't everybody go drink every time they passed a bar on the street, or the next time a drug dealer asked if they wanted to buy something?

People in recovery make the choice not to use again every single day, and every time they choose to walk into an AA meeting. I feel like it starts out as a choice, but quickly descends after that into an addiction which is more complicated than making a simple rational choice. If people really believed they were completely powerless over their addiction, then there would be no hope of recovery, and no point in going to AA. Relapse is a part of recovery from any addiction, but it's not a reason to give up. You always have to keep trying, even if you slip up.
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Offline psy

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Re: Choice vs Powerlessness
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2010, 09:54:47 PM »
I'm gonna post some of what I wrote earlier in response to this:
Quote from: "Psy"
Quote from: "Maximilian"
Quote from: "psy"

Can you describe exactly what that term "accountability" means as it was taught.  Are you accountable for everything that happened to in your life, including things that were done to you?

That's their definition, but I'm talking about more of a personal realization than what they taught at seminars. It was my fault I ended up in the program, and I don't mean this in the sense that they teach in seminars. Yes they teach a rigid form of accountability and choices, something I don't fully agree with. I think they teach it because it gives you a sense of control and a new way of making choices, and I find similar ideology in a lot of other things. We weren't taught AA, or 12 steps or anything like that in the program. They never mentioned it once, and addiction was for the most part considered a choice. AA philosophy and program ideology are actually quite different, if not contradictory.

I completely agree.  They're polar opposites.  The mistake is to think they are the only two philosophies.  AA teaches you are powerless.  The seminars teach you are at cause for everything and can thus control everything.  The middle-ground, what I believe, is that you choose and are responsible for 100% of your actions (including bad habits), but you are not responsible for what other people do to you, even if you accidentally put yourself in that situation (abuse, rape, etc).

Quote
I tend to side with AA type argument more, based on what I've seen and my own experiences with addiction. I don't believe people choose to destroy their lives, at a certain point what once might have been a choice becomes an unhealthy addiction, which I think is a form of mental disorder like depression.

I sort of agree with you there...  sort of. I see addiction as a symptom of mental illness, not a mental illness in itself.  People use hard drugs to cope with problems. It alleviates the symptoms but makes the root causes (diseases, shitty experiences, etc) worse.  It creates a vicious circle.  Still.  People choose to quit drugs all the time. You can't quit a disease.  Because you can choose to quit, the choice to continue must also be a choice.  It's probably difficult to look back on things and face the truth that you chose drugs over family and friends, but that's the reality of what happened.  Low self worth, depression, overbearing parents, the trauma from program's abuse.  All these things can contribute and can constitute diseases in some cases but putting substances in your body to alleviate the symptoms is merely a symptom in itself.  AA, on the other hand, teaches that addition is a primary disease.

Quote
Using drugs to the degree some people do, is as logical as jumping off a bridge when life gets tough. It's not a rational choice people make, something is wrong with them.

People make irrational choices all the time based on their desires.  It's easy to choose temporary relief over hard work and pain required to get back on track.  Still a choice.
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Offline psy

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Re: Choice vs Powerlessness
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2010, 10:05:14 PM »
Quote from: "Maximilian"
I believe the choice vs powerlessness debate is sort of a false dichotomy. I don't think it's just one or the other, I think addiction is a complicated issue with a lot of middle ground for all the various theories and ideas on why it happens to some people. Trying to settle on one theory will probably take away from the fact that it is complicated, and not everybody uses for the same reasons, some people don't seem to have any reasons at all, it just happens. Yes AA talks about powerlessness in the steps, but if they meant you are completely powerless over your entire life, then wouldn't everybody go drink every time they passed a bar on the street, or the next time a drug dealer asked if they wanted to buy something?

Well that is what it means.  Its what "let go and let god" means.  It's what step 3 means.  Only god can stop you from drinking.  You are still powerless.  If for some reason you don't drink or resist temptation, it was God's doing, not your strength of will.

What about those who don't believe in a god, don't believe in a benevolent god, or believe god gave men free will.  AA requires those people to change their beliefs and tells those who don't that they are basically doomed.

Quote
Relapse is a part of recovery from any addiction, but it's not a reason to give up. You always have to keep trying, even if you slip up.

Of course.  Nobody is perfect and people make mistakes (bad choices).
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Offline none-ya

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Re: Choice vs Powerlessness
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2010, 04:06:56 AM »
Quote
psy wrote;
"Of course. Nobody is perfect and people make mistakes (bad choices)."

That's why they keep makeing white chips.
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Offline Maximilian

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Re: Choice vs Powerlessness
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2010, 11:50:41 AM »
Quote from: "psy"

Well that is what it means.  Its what "let go and let god" means.  It's what step 3 means.  Only god can stop you from drinking.  You are still powerless.  If for some reason you don't drink or resist temptation, it was God's doing, not your strength of will.

What about those who don't believe in a god, don't believe in a benevolent god, or believe god gave men free will.  AA requires those people to change their beliefs and tells those who don't that they are basically doomed.

I've never heard recovery explained this way inside an AA meeting, ever.
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Offline DannyB II

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Re: Choice vs Powerlessness
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2010, 05:04:40 PM »
Quote
Well that is what it means.  Its what "let go and let god" means.  It's what step 3 means.  Only god can stop you from drinking.  You are still powerless.  If for some reason you don't drink or resist temptation, it was God's doing, not your strength of will.

What about those who don't believe in a god, don't believe in a benevolent god, or believe god gave men free will.  AA requires those people to change their beliefs and tells those who don't that they are basically doomed.

Pys, I think you are letting your bias out pace your actual knowledge of the literature and what it is saying. No one I know understands the Third Step this way.
Why would someone be doomed if they refuse God and AA, my brother did and he has been clean and sober since 2000.
I believe you are controlling (or) trying to control AA's over all message into your compartment of thoughts. AA is not exclusive it is inclusive, they want all thoughts, believers, non-believers and ect.....Stop taking Bill so literal...:) and yes their are the AA stompers.
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Offline psy

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Re: Choice vs Powerlessness
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2010, 01:25:24 AM »
Quote from: "DannyB II"
Why would someone be doomed if they refuse God and AA, my brother did and he has been clean and sober since 2000.

That's my point.  It *is* possible to quite without AA, despite claims to the contrary.  Ever heard the AA slogan "it's our way or the die way".  I could rattle off a few more off the top of my head.  AA does teach that it's the only way to sobriety that works.  Those who quit without AA are either considered to never have been true addicts or to be "dry drunks" or "merely abstaining".  AA teaches that compulsive alcohol abuse is a spiritual disease that can only be cured through some higher power.

Quote
I believe you are controlling (or) trying to control AA's over all message into your compartment of thoughts. AA is not exclusive it is inclusive, they want all thoughts, believers, non-believers and ect.....Stop taking Bill so literal...:) and yes their are the AA stompers.

Well, its like any religion.  There are those who adhere to the writings and those who dont' really care so much and believe what they want to believe.  I know of a woman who goes to private AA meetings in CA where they smoke pot throughout the meeting.  They don't even read standard AA literature.  Essentially it's AA in name only.  It's still accurate to say that what AA's official literature teaches is the same as what i've described.
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Offline DannyB II

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Re: Choice vs Powerlessness
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2010, 09:54:37 PM »
Quote from: "psy"
Quote from: "DannyB II"
Why would someone be doomed if they refuse God and AA, my brother did and he has been clean and sober since 2000.

That's my point.  It *is* possible to quite without AA, despite claims to the contrary.  Ever heard the AA slogan "it's our way or the die way".  I could rattle off a few more off the top of my head.  AA does teach that it's the only way to sobriety that works.  Those who quit without AA are either considered to never have been true addicts or to be "dry drunks" or "merely abstaining".  AA teaches that compulsive alcohol abuse is a spiritual disease that can only be cured through some higher power.

Quote
I believe you are controlling (or) trying to control AA's over all message into your compartment of thoughts. AA is not exclusive it is inclusive, they want all thoughts, believers, non-believers and ect.....Stop taking Bill so literal...:) and yes their are the AA stompers.

Well, its like any religion.  There are those who adhere to the writings and those who dont' really care so much and believe what they want to believe.  I know of a woman who goes to private AA meetings in CA where they smoke pot throughout the meeting.  They don't even read standard AA literature.  Essentially it's AA in name only.  It's still accurate to say that what AA's official literature teaches is the same as what i've described.


Ya know I am beginning to believe we acknowledge the same thoughts about recovery, could that be possible. Sorry, I wasn't much for the slogans or their jargons either. I wanted to recover from a hopeless state and they helped me to accomplish that, I will be forever internally grateful to AA/NA for this.
For all the other nonsense that goes on in those darn rooms of AA/NA, well people have self will, take that and a skewed brain, you have yourself a crazy mixture.  :)
Psy their are plenty of folks who smoke pot and go to AA, sorry Max and Art but it is true. I don't find a problem with it each to your own.
I personally have had enough of drugs and alcohol for my life time but that is me. I don't push this on anyone, why would I???
It is private and is really only understood by me.
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Offline DannyB II

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Re: Choice vs Powerlessness
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2010, 10:15:24 PM »
NOTE:
I did this in two posts because you threw out a lot of info up there.



Quote from: "psy"
Quote from: "DannyB II"
Why would someone be doomed if they refuse God and AA, my brother did and he has been clean and sober since 2000.

That's my point.  It *is* possible to quite without AA, despite claims to the contrary.  Ever heard the AA slogan "it's our way or the die way".  I could rattle off a few more off the top of my head.  AA does teach that it's the only way to sobriety that works.  Those who quit without AA are either considered to never have been true addicts or to be "dry drunks" or "merely abstaining".  AA teaches that compulsive alcohol abuse is a spiritual disease that can only be cured through some higher power.

I am not sure where you are getting your info, it could just be from your local AA groups. Stay away from those groups because they are poisoning your mind. Psy, I can not explain why certain pockets of AA groups will teach and promote the ideas you tossed out there above.
It is so far from what the founding members and founders had in mine. I keep saying Bill Wilson did not buy into the disease/allergy thing and produced evidence of him speaking to that yet you keep throwing it out there. Well Psy, your just like the members today you will not stop preaching a principle that the founders did not endorse. This disease concept came out of the treatment centers and doctors.


Quote
I believe you are controlling (or) trying to control AA's over all message into your compartment of thoughts. AA is not exclusive it is inclusive, they want all thoughts, believers, non-believers and ect.....Stop taking Bill so literal...:) and yes their are the AA stompers.

Well, its like any religion.  There are those who adhere to the writings and those who dont' really care so much and believe what they want to believe.  I know of a woman who goes to private AA meetings in CA where they smoke pot throughout the meeting.  They don't even read standard AA literature.  Essentially it's AA in name only.  It's still accurate to say that what AA's official literature teaches is the same as what i've described.
 
I agreed to all of that point except for the analogy of AA being a religion. Just because "one" Judge said we were does not make it so.
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