12-Step Meetings Confrontation. | INFJ Forum

12-Step Meetings Confrontation.

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by Not2bforgot10, Feb 6, 2009.

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  1. Not2bforgot10

    Not2bforgot10 Community Member

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    I am writing everyone tonight to see what you think about 12 step meetings. After the experience I had tonight, I am feeling very frustrated and in need of condolence.

    I have been attending an online program (stepchat.com) for a while now and decided to share a concern tonight that was very close to my heart, and apparently the administrator/moderator of the room/site did not like the controversial topic i brought up and blocked my IP address. I can now no longer assess the site and am restricted in all areas.

    This is what I shared tonight in the chat:

    I am genuinely concerned about those who are actively being
    abused who attend al-anon (for support) and are just taught to
    "detach;" that the qualifier has a 'disease' that they can't
    control. This does not provide much hope
    for the individual (‘victim’ at this point) who is being abused, NOR is it demonstrating
    to the victim that that the qualifier should be held RESPONSIBLE for his/her actions
    (behavior); rather, it would seem as though it is providing a justification instead.

    Obviously if we have had to “detach” to begin with then it is implied that something is wrong. Detachment, by general characterization is a
    means at gaining perspective. It is a tool used to help us step back and see
    our situation more clearly. I think
    that it can be dangerous however if not explained properly. I feel like, in this case, it can be used as
    an excuse for inaction, which can pose a serious threat to the victim themselves.

    Lets say that I’m in an abusive relationship with Eric who’s
    an alcoholic. I go to al-anon and am
    taught to “detach;” moreover, that Eric has a disease that he cannot control. (This is impounded into al-anoner’s minds
    again and again: “Alcoholism is a
    disease,” etc etc; we must ‘forgive’ the alcoholic, etc). Basically al-anon has taught me that Eric is
    not responsible for his disease (actions
    included) and that my best bet/solution would be to just “detach.” Since al-anon cannot provide SOLUTIONS (offer help0, no one would legitimately be able to help this
    desperate individual who rightfully deserves help. The individual would not be advised to seek
    further help (ie: outside al-anon) since solution-offering is denied (It is
    against rule # [​IMG]_).

    So what happens is that the victim keeps coming back to al-anon
    for support, in search of safety and understanding; however, they are not getting
    the true help that they need. Al-anon
    themselves would be acting as an enabler for this individual by avoiding the
    real issue. In al-anon we are taught not
    to be in denial and ways of undoing this, etc, yet by not offering proper
    advice to an individual when necessary, we are going against our very own best
    judgment and putting an individual in harm.
    Argument could be made over whether or not an organization (al-anon
    itself and its creators) could be responsible for endangering an individual once
    the individual enters its premise.

    If anything, the victim is being mislead and harmed through
    going to al-anon. I am proposing that
    the dynamics of abuse be taught in these meetings and an awareness surrounding
    the issue be created.


    I think it's funny how I bring this up, openly and honestly, and I am kicked out of a chat forum! These groups are supposed to be supportive... I was under the impression that we are allowed to share our feelings. Why was I kicked out just because I brought up a legit concern about the meeting itself?
     
  2. Silently Honest

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    I have no idea...
     
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  3. Soulful

    Soulful life is good

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    That really sucks. I'm sorry they responded to you in that way, Not2beforgot10.

    I'm not familiar with al-anon's approach or philosophy, but you raised some interesting points that I think deserve to be addressed (even if they didn't agree with them). I'm very shocked that they decided to block you and barred all communication. That's bewildering to me. I'm sorry you had that experience, especially from a group that is supposed to be helpful :hug:.

    I had a very brief experience with a 12-step group. It wasn't al-anon, but I felt extremely uncomfortable and never returned again. It wasn't anything offensive that turned me away - just the philosophy of the 12 steps themselves, the constant mention of 'God as a Higher Power', and feeling like I had to adopt that philosophy. Plus, the group was completely out of my age and life range. So, it wasn't for me.
     
    #3 Soulful, Feb 6, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2009
  4. alcyone

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    Well, I can say that the response to a legitimate concern about the conduct and content of your meetings is most distressing.

    However, it does show that you are a very perceptive and intelligent individual.

    I've not been to 12 step meetings, so I can't answer your OP....Sorry...
     
  5. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    Maybe you were kicked out for being right. I've never heard of al-anon, but it doesn't sound like a very reputable forum if they refuse to discuss an issue a member brings up that challenges them.

    That's pretty scary since it's a legitimate professional organization (from what I gather in my looking into it just now). Their actions were irresponsible and that's really sad considering that they state that their purpose is to bring people in despair over the alcoholism of a loved one together to empower, support, and encourage one another. The fact that they banned you seems counter-productive to their goal.

    Like I said, I am not familiar with this group, but if that is just what you told them, I'd say you said it with respect and insight, and it doesn't read like an attack. Doesn't seem like you're susceptible to group-think. I hope you are able to find other resources.
     
  6. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Permanent Fixture

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    How odd. I thought 12-step programs were supposed to be about honesty, and its not like you were expressing your opinion belligerently. It is a valid view point.

    Anyways you do have a point there. Keep in mind though that many people who go to al-anon are codependent, and are willing (to some degree) to put up with an abusive relationship because they have positive feelings for the alcohol abuser otherwise (or rely on abusive dynamics in some way). I agree that al-anon basically enables, but so long as that person has the choice then I don't see anything wrong with it so long as its understood that the person has consent to exit the relationship at any time.
     
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  7. Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    True support groups have facilitators with no real leadership. The chatroom in itself is not indicative of a true alcoholics anonymous group.

    Also, the term is survivor of abuse, not "victim" of abuse.
     
  8. OP
    Not2bforgot10

    Not2bforgot10 Community Member

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    Next day: Yeah, I don't really know what to say anymore... I am still hurt. I just tried getting onto the site, and it says "Access denied to your IP address." I'm really upset that people can't face the truth and that I brought up a LEGIT concern and they wanted to just dismiss it and continue being in denial... isn't one of the POINTS in 12-step to NOT deny?! ...to RECOGNIZE our denial?! (Sorry if I am yelling). Really though... how hypocritical! Wow, talk about lack of self-awareness... It's like, "Hmm, lets just stay in our little 'circle...' our 12-step group and 'pretend' everything is okay; lets not question the litature even when a legit concern has been brought up... lets just keep going... lets not worry about anyone else.'" Well, I am sorry (sarcasm) that I am worried about other people, similar to myself, going into this program the way I did and harming themselves!

    Does everyone sort of get what I'm saying, and what I'm upset about? I think that every voice should be heard; we should never deny anyone the RIGHT to speak. Just because we don't like to hear something, does NOT mean that it should be ignored. "Our common welfare comes first" 12-step says... Okay, fine, and I was ginuinely looking out for the common welfare of members! God forbid I say it like it is, rawly... but honestly and nicely!

    That's the thing... I have been going to face-to-face 12-step groups over and over and you honestly can't say anything negative or members look down on you. You can't share your *true* feelings... they get upset, because (sarcasm), remember, the "common welfare" comes first.

    Hell, all my life I've felt like I've had to shut up... like I've just had to keep silent. I am NOT going to do that anymore. It's not fair. And it hurts.... literally, it hurts my heart, and it is not right. In order to heal, I believe we must get to the ROOT of the pain... I often feel like 12-step sugar coats it... they just gloss over it... it's like "Yes, all we can share is POSITIVE wisdom!" What about the negative, which is JUST as valid?! You know? You must balance both negative AND positive... it seems color, candy-coated. I am really upset.
     
  9. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    Well, maybe it's the way they've dealt with folks in the past who honestly have issues with the Al-Anon method, but haven't quite handled the conversations tactfully. I'd see if you can request a dialog with the moderator, and ask them why you were barred from posting. Perhaps if you made your case known, they'd allow you access to the forums?

    The hardest part is, if you are going to follow a method, there isn't much room for going outside that method. You'll be branded a "heretic" at the very least.

    You might want to try some alternative Al-Anon/AA sites. There are a few out there, but not many. You have to search for them.
     
  10. ZenCat

    ZenCat Waving Sage

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    Sounds like you got in a bad group :(

    In my late teens/early 20's, I attended many Al-Anon meetings. They really didn't work for me (repetitive complaining, nobody taking steps forward, tremendous self-pity - like hey, aren't we ALL there because we're in pain?). On the advice of a friend who was really committed to and helped by Al-Anon, I tried going to different groups, but I couldn't find one that wasn't the same people, saying the same things, week after week, with no apparent desire for or intentions to change themselves or the situation they were in.

    This contrasted strongly with my own instinct, which was to remove myself from the destructive relationship rather than wait for the other individual to change... or continue being slowly destroyed by the relationship, work on healing myself, and then see what the situation looked like down the road.

    Even my mother (who was sober for the 15+ years after she quit drinking to her death) could never find an AA meeting she felt comfortable in, or people in them she could relate to.

    While I myself and my mother did not feel guided or supported by these 12-Step groups, I do know several other people who have considered them a live saving resource.

    I guess it just depends on the individual and possibly lucking out with a good group.
     
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  11. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    Yeah...the problem with the AA/Al-Anon philosophy is, you can never be totally well. You are always sick, and therefore subject to falling into the same self-destructive patterns at any time of your sobriety. And personally? I think that *is* a victim-type mentality. You can never grow. You're stunted. You're done.

    On the other hand, thinking you *are* cured when you still have things to work through--? Also very dangerous.
     
  12. Soulful

    Soulful life is good

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    I understand, Not2bforgot10.
     
  13. Soulful

    Soulful life is good

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    I can't speak on behalf of alcohol, but the "you're never cured" mentality terrifies the living daylights out of me. It honestly frightens me. It's like carrying a burden around with you your entire life..

    As someone who's dealt with something similar, I am screaming out in fear inside when I am reminded of that. While I don't disparage that this may be true for some people, for me it seems like an awful way to live. I find it incredibly depressing and hopeless.
     
  14. OP
    Not2bforgot10

    Not2bforgot10 Community Member

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    Yeah, I just try to "let it be." I try to not say "Well, I'll be 'cured' or I won't." I just try to go with it, if that makes sense. It's "progress, not perfection," and no one can define my reality for me. Trust yourself. Know where you stand.
     
  15. OP
    Not2bforgot10

    Not2bforgot10 Community Member

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    How many of you in here have actually been to a 12-step group? (I'm just curious), and if you don't mind sharing, which one(s)?

    I have attended al-anon face-to-face and an online ACOA one (Adult children of alcoholics).

    Also, just for shits and giggles, I attended AA (I do not drink) because I desperately wanted to feel a sense of belonging, and I figured, "What the hell, I've grown up with alcoholism; at least it'd feel somewhat 'familiar' and familial-like."
     
  16. ZenCat

    ZenCat Waving Sage

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    I have, Al-Anon and ACOA.

    I had individual counseling which focused on ACOA, and did me a world of good. The 12-Step programs did not work for me.
     
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  17. OP
    Not2bforgot10

    Not2bforgot10 Community Member

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    Very nice, so you're an adult child? Very nice. Are you still in therapy?
    What kind of work does your therapist perform?
     
  18. ZenCat

    ZenCat Waving Sage

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    Theoretically, yes. Both of my parents (and my stepmother) were alcoholics, though my mother stopped drinking 15 years before she died (cancer) and we became the very closest and best of friends. Both of my parents are now dead, and I have no alcoholism to deal with of any kind in my life, so all those triggers are mostly in my past.

    No, the therapy was when I was in my mid 20's, when my life was spiralling out of control. It was effective enough to set me on a new path, and in fact I more or less tore myself down and rebuilt myself at about age 25. By 27 I was well on the road to becoming who I am now.
     
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  19. KingOfSpades

    KingOfSpades Community Member

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    Wow Zen...I feel for you. Both of my parents were alcoholics as well. My father passed when I was 20 (still drinking) and my mother didn't sober up until a few years back, but she was remarkably destructive up until then (I think there may be bi-polar issues as well). I hit rock-bottom with my co-dependence issues a few years back and got personal therapy which really helped.

    It's amazing how fixing that one aspect of myself and my relationship with my mom dramatically improved the quality of my life and my sense of self-worth and happiness, and helped me see when a relationship is healthy and when it's not.
     
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  20. OP
    Not2bforgot10

    Not2bforgot10 Community Member

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