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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Recovery Debate's LiveJournal:

Thursday, September 12th, 2013
8:12 am
Thursday, February 3rd, 2011
9:34 pm
New Community
Hello! I've created a new community called addict_support , and the function of said community is exactly as it sounds. It's a place for support for all addicts of any kind, chemical or no, and debate and discussion is welcome. Anyone is welcome to participate. Please join if it sounds like something you'd be interested in!
Sunday, July 11th, 2010
12:36 am
Exploring Moderation
I just started seeing my substance abuse therapist again after a slip of drinking a drugs (after 6 months abstinent).

A bit of my history: Some of you know I had 15 + years abstinent after treatment and about three years of AA (which I consciously stopped going to because it felt bad) and tons of therapy. I attribute therapy for my ability to stay sober that long. Then I lapsed after those many years, drank for 4 years, then I began attending SMART and got sober with a few slips in about an 8 month period (with some added substance abuse counseling-about 4 months). I have been drinking moderately before starting therapy again and my therapist seems to support moderation, which I never knew about her, since my focus was on abstinence. I was shocked when she suggested it. It has never been in my vocabulary.

I have recently gotten some books on the underlying causes of addiction. I have been reading about moderation and what's funny is I didn't even know what these books where going to be about or say when I got them. According to Stanton Peele, there is more of a success rate from moderation (from destructive relapse) than there is from abstinence. This moderation thing goes way against anything I have been taught or heard in recovery treatment. It's like this door is being flung open in my mind, trying to wrap my head around these new concepts. Stanton Peele says the scientific route is a huge waste of time for professionals to be going down. That the solution is more cultural, psychological and depends on the individual which treatment works. Not all alcoholics are the same to him. In Britain and Europe these treatments work (moderation training) for a majority, (like 60-70%) but the American medical community, the American recovery community all just flat out reject it. As long as its treated like a disease, we will get nowhere..according to him.

As open minded as I am, this stuff is curling my hair. He supports his stuff with study after study. Tons of data....
Stanton Peele also categorizes compulsive behaviors as "addictions" in that the destructive affects and withdrawal can be the same. But he does not paint with huge broad strokes... He does separate physically addicted from problem drinkers and abusers. But moderation can work for them too. The most shocking thing I have read lately is that people who do treatment have the highest relapse rate. I think he said that only 10% (in the U.S.) that do any kind of treatment (counseling, AA, rehab) are able to stop or moderate. The books I have been looking at are
"7 tools to Beat Addiction" by Stanton Peele, Ph.D., J.D. "The Meaning of Addiction" by SP. and The Heart of Addiction by Lance Dodes, M.D.

I am not trying to convert anyone-it's our own individual pathe to walk. I think I will always be looking for truth in this fascinating subject.

x posted
Friday, April 25th, 2008
10:50 pm
x-posted harm_reduction
if abstenteeism is the benchmark for treatment then relapse must be its ultimate failure or would this be too simplistic. I personally think, the prolific and wide spread use/saturation of the 12 steps treatments and total abstinance are the laziest forms of para-therapies. Its making money from a system which was never designed to be implimented in such a form. I get the
zig when considering the billions of people dependant on pharmacological prescriptions, which are viewed as acceptable as the political and societal fingers are pointed at the 'addicts', the people of choice. You get enough christians too say 'what we are missing and need is god and Jesus in our lifes and they will be followed to the ends of earth, the same seems to ring true, for the spiritual parade of the 12 steppers terrorised by one drug is too many and a thousand never enough. Living without drugs is like giving up woman or men because we got hurt or into trouble, is love that dangerous. what do i know ime just a serial failure

- quoted with permission from person undergoing 12-Step treatment

The above is, in my opinion, a provocatively honest and courageous admission of the counter-productive internal state of confusion and uncertainty following exposure to 12-Step addiction treatment. 

12-Step treatment is abstinance based, there is no mid-ground between abstinence and habitual drug use, except for the act of "relapse", an ambiguous term with as many ambiguous embedded values.  As there is no middle-ground in 12-Step treatment, it inevitably creates an invisible, albeit operative, dualism that ultimately results in the risk of a person adopting the moral values ascribed to addiction and drug use behaviors that are socially biased and bound by conventional and unchallenged, not to forget out-moded, labels denoting negative social behaviors that are anti-social in their inherently unchallenged immorality.  Whilst 12-Step theories may not crudely admit to the use of moral value judgments, it is a common occurrence in their literature and meeting formats.  eg. the key tag is a tool to separate members into a hierarchy of clean time.  An applause is received upon the presentation of the key tag; the "ultimate" key-tag status is furthermore hierarchichal and adops value based notiong in the very material they are made of, ie. gold is worth more than silver.  That 12-Step groups adopt unconsciously accepted positive reactions in order to acknowledge an individuals "clean time" is suggestive that "clean time" is synonymous with "good behavior".  In short, this gives rise to contexts that spiral into a chain-effect of positve/negative re-enforcements, ie. good/bad, abstinent/clean, recovery/addiction, serene/sick, winners/losers.  Because 12-step theories leave no room for a mid-ground, it forms a dualistic linguistic system of postive/negative groupings.  Negative and disempowering personal labels are abundant in the nature of 12-Step literature. eg. the "inability" to remain abstinent is a defect of the character, a powerlessness over one's free will, a weakness, a surrender that wasn't surrendering enough.  In other words, shortfall after shortcoming that separate him/her from the "winners" (thus suggesting the logic of "I am not a winner, I am the opposite").

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008
2:19 am
A couple of questions to stir the pot...
A. A. is not the end all be all. It seems that most of us agree on that. From previous posts in this community it seems that there ARE alternative ways to get and stay sober...SMART, WFS, therapy, faith in a HP?

It would seem that the recovery community, professionals and such know more now. Yet, how does the treatment community begin to change it's approach by introducing new models..How?

Further, I often think about the challenges of long term sobriety. Perhaps AA can sustain a recovering alcoholic /addict for so long, but what about when a person gets serious time. I see some recovering people either relapsing or grabbing into some other addiction. For eg. I know someone who has over 20 yrs. sobriety, but still goes to the same AA mtg. once a week. She is very depressed, has gained alot of weight, puts up with abusive relationships and still suffers from low self esteem. As of late she has had suicidal thoughts.Yet she is honored for having successful sobriety.

I think long term sobriety has challenges..How many sustain long term sobriety and stay content? Will re-doing the steps again fix that? or are more sophisticated tools needed?

Just some thoughts for discussion.
Friday, November 2nd, 2007
4:08 pm
help, i'm being forced to do a 12 step rehab program which again ruins my chances of starting school
Hi, I’m liz. I’m 23 years old, and I’ve been shooting heroin since I was 15. whether or not I’m an addict depends on your definition. I’m told I’m “in denial” if I don’t call myself an addict, though, so, sure. Go with that.

I don’t use daily. I do in once in a while. How long that “while” is depends on what else I’m doing in my life. If I’m busy with school and stuff, then it can be several months. If I’m doing nothing, it can be once or twice a week. Usually, it’s somewhere in between those extremes. Sometimes I’ll binge for a week or two. Then I’ll run out of money and have to stop. My longest binge lasted four months, because I was selling weed and could afford more dope than was healthy for me. I don’t do other drugs besides opiates and cannabinoids. No alcohol, no cocaine, no LSD.

That binge ended with incarceration. I did two months in prison, because I was volunteering at the needle exchange and got caught with almost 400 syringes. Obviously, those weren’t all for personal use, but whatever. I chose prison time over rehab. I don’t believe in rehab. Now my parole officer is making me do rehab anyway. 

I’m a harm reductionist. Hence my needle exchange work. I don’t believe that complete abstinence is possible or even necessary for everyone. I despise the 12 steps. I don’t consider myself powerless or my life unmanageable. Not everyone can do heroin without doing it every day and such. I can; I do; I have for eight years. I’ve never compromised my dignity or values for a fix. I don’t blame drugs for some of the stupid stuff I’ve done before. I don’t have a higher power. Not only am I an atheist, I’m an existentialist. That’s valid, because I truly don’t believe in an objective reality outside of my mind. Of course, I’ve been conditioned to live as if the world doesn’t revolve around me. and I’ve been conditioned to have morals. But I know I’m only following them to make myself feel better.

Anyway, more importantly, I have no real desire to quit. The only way that drug have interfered in my life is by getting arrested for drug charges. For some, I guess this would be enough of a deterrent. But I guess it’s not for me. If they want to drug test me every day for the rest of parole (10 more months), I could pass every test. But I’d use again when I was done.

Hope is my anti-drug. I hope to do a lot of things with my life that aren’t drugs. I want to finish college. I have worked my ass off in the past couple months to get scholarships. And now my parole wants me to do this inpatient program that will last up to 90 days, meaning I won’t be able to go back to school until next year. But if I act right in the program, I can get out after 30 or 60 days. I am a bad liar. How the hell to I pretend to buy into the 12 steps when I don’t believe anything about them? Addiction isn’t a disease; it’s a lifestyle maybe. For me it’s not even that, because 99% of my eight years of shooting dope have not been spent actively in addictive behavior. I don’t even believe that most people ever really quit for good. I’ve never tried to quit. I’ve tried to take a break for a few months, and succeeded every time. I’ve never used when I didn’t want to, and I’ve never done something I didn’t want to in order to get drugs or while on drugs.

Anyway, I’ve got to pretend that I am going along with this rehab program so that they’ll let me out sooner and I can register for spring semester. Otherwise I’ll be really discouraged by having to put it off yet again. I’ve already done two years of college, and I’m old enough that I really should have my degree by now. I would like to finish school, because I love school, and because I hope that a degree will help me with many of my life goals, which include getting my books published, as well as working for drug policy reform and even establishing alternative treatment facilities for addicts, one that are based on more of a harm reduction philosophy. But like I said, drugs aren’t my only interest. I’m an anthropology major, and I’d like to be a college professor when I graduate.

So …. I just need help with how I’m going to not show my attitude in rehab. If possible, I’d actually like to learn something from it. But I’ve been to rehab before, and I didn’t enjoy it. What can I say there? How do I not show my attitude or beliefs that disagree with theirs? I don’t think I’m capable of putting on a façade for 30-90 days. I hate lying.
Friday, July 20th, 2007
7:36 pm
Thinking vs Spirituality
Something occurred to me the other day: If AA is so aligned with the spiritual solution, why oh why, are they also so big on "Thinking". I am reminded of the 10 questions that is in the AA literature :have you ever (gotten into trouble) because of your "Drinking", but it has been a fun little mind puzzle to substitute the word "Thinking" for "Drinking"...
This is not in the Big Book (not that i put alot of stock into that book)...
but is propagated around meetings, as if to say, that "thinking" got us into trouble (which may be true).
My point is: Isn't poor thinking the main philosophy of the cognitive approach-SMART and other cognitive based treatments?

Yet the cognitive programs are so looked down upon by AA.

Another thing that bugs me. We've been hearing so much about celebrities going to rehab. Yet when they come out, they spout the 12 step model dogma (eg. Baldwin I forget which one)..Is this model still the "one".
Has nothing really changed? Is AA still the Model of Choice? And why? With only a 1% success rate. Further I believe it is outdated, as do many chemical dependency professionals.

I had 15 years sober and began drinking again...I do not blame my drinking on the weaknesses of the program, however I did begin to question it and it's claims years before.

Saturday, March 17th, 2007
4:36 pm
I've started up a new community for those whose lives have been affected in a negative way by social services.

I'd advertising it here since I know there are many NA, AA and other fellowship members who have had dealings with them.

The community is there to support anyone who feels they need it around social services and their behaviour.

If you need it, add it.


Thanks for reading.
Wednesday, January 10th, 2007
5:51 pm
Atheist AA
Hi everyone
I've started a new community for atheists in aa
I haven't had a chance to write up an intro post but I will tonight.
Its not just for atheists, but for anyone who wants to discuss the topic.
Maybe I'll see you there!
Thursday, December 28th, 2006
8:49 pm
No more posts
So I see that it has been a while since my last post but I was somewhat surprised to get some responses after all this time. I realize that I did not make a favorable impression coming on the way I did just after joining this community and then I thought it best if I didn't post any more and so I wasn't really expecting any more responses after that. I mean it's been over a month. Anyhow, I wish you all a Happy New Year in sobriety and that you all have another good year in sobriety.
Wednesday, December 27th, 2006
1:23 pm
boy....its quiet ain't' it?
So I'll toss this out there:
several months ago, I became a born-again atheist.
Needless to say, I don't mention this much at AA meetings, but I did bring it up
while chairing a meeting at a local recovery center.
I think I've always been an atheist, but during the first year of recovery, I needed to externalize a higher-power because I needed the help, however illusory it might have been.
dunno why I'm sharing that.
Tuesday, November 14th, 2006
12:05 pm
My Bark Is Far Worse Than My Bite
Hello everyone,

It is more than apparent that I have stepped on not just a few toes and for that I must make my most heartfelt amends and I haven't even let you really get to know me but again, I make amends to everyone for just coming in here and dumping all my shit, as it were for I ought to know more than anyone that these are not dumping grounds and no doubt, I have given everyone the impression that I am all that which I certainly am not, it's just that spirituality is so important to me and how can one have recovery if they don't have spirituality? The Big Book says that 'we know only a little; we can only clear the ground a bit.......' from the last chapter but it sure wouldn't seem that way coming from this alcoholic who claims to know more than the Big Book.

I can see why so many people have left A.A. and one of the reasons as to why I don't participate as much as I used to is because of this insistence that "you can't do without us; you need us because we cannot do this alone".......and yet I fail to see what it is that this "we" are doing as it does give the impression of a religious community even though we are forever and emphatically stating that we are not for I do not believe that I need anyone or any group, necessarily to find God which is precisely what turned me off to religion and when the book says that we must lay aside all prejudice against organized religion, well, I have one very tough time with that since religion has nearly ruined me for God and so when I hear about how "we can't do this alone", well, when I reach out, I get this unmistakeable feeling that no one wants to bother.

No, I am not looking a surrogate therapist or any kind of counseling, but just someone to talk with over coffee, or, in my home group, go fishing with someone, although I don't fish. But I do like to just sit and watch the water and enjoy the surroundings, and in fact, that is what true fellowship is; "the meeting after the meeting" but sadly, our group doesn't do much of that as often as we used to when I first got sober back in April of '91. Well, I guess that is all for now, and again, my heartfelt apologies for all those toes that I have stepped on and may we all continue to enjoy this precious gift of sobriety.

Current Mood: drained
Monday, November 13th, 2006
4:44 pm
All Debated Out, hey?
So it has been pointed out to me that hardly anyone seems all that interested in posting to this community anymore which may or may not be too bad; all seems to based on one's perspective but what I had wanted to say is that A.A. can be a difficult place to be, to share about that Fourth Dimension of existence and the Big Book tells us to read other books which some of us do, and in fact, if you are going to grow spiritually, you would need to look outside of A.A. which I have done but from what just one individual said, most alcoholics are content with doing as little as possible but I think that they are cheating themselves, or shortchanging themselves by not reading the Big Book more at a deeper level since it is such a deep book but it wasn't until I had read those other books that then I would have an ever greater appreciation for the Big Book and the Twelve and Twelve. But now, if alcoholism isn't a spiritual illness, or a 'spiritual malady' as the book states, then what? That would have to mean that Dr. Silkworth was misguided for as he says, 'there is nothing within our synthetic knowledge with which to treat this illness; and that psychological measures can be of little benefit.'

And when people say that they have a "god", how can that be the one God which is not personal in any way as God is no respecter of persons? The problem is the idea of this "conception" of God and yet this so-called new concept is hardly much different from the one that all of us have had since birth; which is to say that God cannot be found or experienced in a concept; something that is a product of the human mind which is all-too finite. Well after all these years, and particularly in spite of what the Big Book says about 'letting God demonstrate through us what He can do.....", so many people are still very much afraid and though this particular text might not be "the last word", well, there's hardly anything else out there that has been written on the nature of alcoholism that carries much weight, let alone reading one by someone who has had a spiritual experience which did not set Bill above the rest of us or apart from us.

And so, people are much too afraid; that they are more afraid than they ought to be, that is if they are seriously alcoholic, since the Big Book makes explicit references as to how to outgrow fear but with that "special god" of theirs, why then of course, they will remain afraid with the execption of the old-timers which some of us don't seem to care for since they do want to know God, and they do. You have to go beyond whatever concept that you hold dear sooner or later. Let me tell you, I know fear as well as anyone and yet, I am outgrowing it, ever so slowly yet and this is why meeting have become so intolerable; why it is so difficult to listen to the same old thing, but the amazing thing, though, because of the "miracle" of A.A., people do grow and there are some things in the Big Book that may or may not really be true, such as where it says that 'we are not saints'. I have to say, that there are what seem to be some rather arrogant assumptions about us, that just because we're a bunch of drunks, that were not capable of greater spiritual experinces than non-drunks? How do we know what a saint is or isn't?

What I have been trying to say, is that some of us are going to branch out; for those of us who really want to grow and please forgive me as it could well seem that I might be sounding, so----"spiritual" for I am not all that nor anywhere's near but what get me these days, is when I hear someone say, 'You need us; I need you guys; you can't do this thing without us' but yet, I think that we are capable doing things for the alcoholic who is still suffering that no one else can; that we have this Power [that is if we're not too afraid of it] who can enable us to do these things but we aren't really interested in knowing this Power as most of us don't really know It as much as we might think or like to believe. Well if we need each other that much then let's take further steps as it were, rather than just being satisfied to taking in meetings, being a meeting secretary or a GSR and then going back home our lives and not too few of us hoping that we won't get a 12th Step call, or a call from someone who would like us to chair their meeting.

Oh this is long and maybe more harmful, in ways, than helpful as lord knows how some of us treasure that most precious commodity, serenity.

Current Mood: distressed
Sunday, November 12th, 2006
9:15 pm
Hello, and thanks.....
Hello everyone, and thanks for allowing me to be a part of this community, but there's something that I couldn't help noticing, which is that, from what I have read so far, that no one has posted since April and I couldn't find any links to later posts. Surely, people have been posting since April? Well I am not new to recovery since I have been a part of A.A. for well over 15 years but then I broke my sobriety date in December of 2004 but in all the years that I have been a part of this fellowship, I have realized that hardly a one of my home group really wants to talk about God; that it will turn people off, especially the newcomer. I can't understand that since all throughout the Big Book there are so many references to God; that there are so many references to the idea of God Consciousness and in fact, the section called the 'Spiritual Experience' it states that "many alcoholics agree that one must have an immediate and overwhelming sense of God Consciousness in order to recover.....". So, how can you not talk about God and yet you can ramble on about how you've had a "spiritual awakening"?.

Well, I have listened to the members of this Fellowship and others who just talk and yet, they how could they have had a spiritual awakening? Don't get me wrong and I certainly don't want there to be confusion since though we have had a spiritual awakening, it certainly doesn't mean that we are suddenly enlightened because the books says that the recovery process is not an overnight matter and that most of us develop over time, but yet, not only is there so little metion of God, there's practically nothing said about meditation and Bill knew well just how essential meditation is and yet there are so many of us who do slight it and so, if you don't meditate [preferrably with much frequency] much, how can you honestly say that you have had a spiritual awakening?
Thursday, April 27th, 2006
2:11 pm
recently, due to an earlier post, I've been searching for evidence that the first edition of the Big Book said that your higher power had to be jesus (btw, I've still not found anything to that effect).
Needless to say, I've been stumbling onto all kinds of websites about AA and Christianity. Many, of course, saying that AA *IS* christian.
And no one can doubt that its seeds started there.
But you'd be surprised how many people out there are of the feeling that AA is inherently ANTI-CHRISTIAN

Of course, it seems that their core arguement is any program that acknowledges that anything might be true that isn't in the Bible must be the devils work.
So, even if you say your HP is Jesus, you are part of a program that says "Its ok to have a non-Jesus higher power" and therefor you are working a non-christian program.
Tuesday, April 25th, 2006
11:12 pm
Debate or discussion
which is it?
1:04 pm
A open Letter to Catconfessional and anyone else from 12 stepfree on this board
As I can't post this on 12stepfree and you don't have a listed Email I opted to post this here, even if it is off topic.

I just wanted to say I was sorry for my part in the posts that have caused so much chaos, that was not my intention, nor was it to sound like an AA recrutier, I truthfully never really read the community description, I was asked to join it by a friend so I could help to provide support for one of her friends that had just got sober, and was using that board as his most important tool at that time. Had I fully read the description, my posts would of followed the rules/theme of your community. I think providing a safe place for people to post what they are feeling and going thru is a wonderfull idea. If the AA crowd "my self included" causes people to not post then I feel you made the choice you felt best for your community. I came to this realization kinda slowly to be honest with you, as I was hurt when I got banned and then read what looked like an attack on 2 differant journals. I wish you and all those in recovery who use your board as an outlet for what they are going thru the best of luck in recovery, and truly hope that it works for them and creates the community you are looking for.

2:02 am
Mrsrobyn, since this isn't JUST a community to debate 12 step programs, do you think you could add the names of some non-12 step programs to the interests list? (i.e. smart recovery, rational recovery, moderation management, women for sobriety)? I feel like ignoring such groups in the user info perpetuates the myth that 12 step programs are the only game in town. And, if we're talking about general recovery (not just drugs/alcohol), anad (anorexia nervosa and associated disorders) would be another great one to add.

By the way, who has tried methods of recovery besides 12 step programs? what did you think?

I've been involved in SMART recovery myself & loved it.
Monday, April 24th, 2006
6:37 pm
What do you like/dislike about various programs?
As was suggested, please feel free to post what you like/dislike about whatever programs you have been involved with
(msrobyn, let me know if I am stepping on your toes)
10:33 am
so now what?
So now here's this journal devoted to debating, I suppose, the merits and nature of 12-step programs and other types of recovery programs.
What do we do now?
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