The ‘God’ word has been a contentious element in 12-Step recovery as long as I have been involved.
In my experience those that thrive in 12-Step recovery are; either those that wholly accept the “God” element, (and for this group it may be fair to say it is a religious programme) or those who are able to move past the archaic language of the literature.
Many falter as they become preoccupied with the apparent contradictions between the claim that 12-Step recovery is a spiritual programme and the content and practices of this programme.
I have a great deal of sympathy with this latter group, and find statements such as, “They are just not ready.”, or “That’s the disease talking.” as a response when they challenge or seek to explore these difficulties, to be absurd and less than spiritual.
Is this blind acceptance of these apparent contradictions a clever therapeutic device woven into the fabric of the programme? I would suggest probably not.
At times, it’s a bit like the “in secret” where old timers nod and smile to each other as newcomers struggle to reconcile these difficulties while these same old-timers cling to the very cant that is one of the biggest stumbling blocks for 12-Step recovery, thus also rendering it harder for the many non-recovering, but nonetheless important, people involved, such as doctors, nurses, drug and alcohol workers, police officers, lawyers and family members, to fully embrace, endorse, recommend and support 12-Step recovery.
(A feature of many dysfunctional religions is blind adherence to that which is written coupled with conflicts that arise from interpretations of that which is written.)
Is it not time to put the 12-Step house in order? Is it not time to fully reflect the contention that this is a spiritual programme and begin to work on the archaic wording?
Is it not time to bring the 12 step fellowships out of the 1930’s and into the here and now?
Francis de Aguilar©2015