12 Step Programs
In this post, I’m going to share with you a little from my experience with 12 step programs and why they are not for me. ( and hopefully you too)
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My desire is for you to become clean and sober no matter which path you take. So please, take what I have to say with a grain of salt. 12 step programs have been around for decades, have some good points, and helped a lot of people. Personally, I was able to get clean and sober in 60 days without them and you can read below how and why.
To provide you a brief background about myself, I was an alcoholic and substance abuse user for over 10 years. I am now clean and sober and have been for multiple years. I didn’t go through a 12 step program and I didn’t and don’t go to meetings on a daily, weekly or regular basis. It was all through the grace of God I became sober, and you can be clean and sober too!
Truth vs Lies
Every day in this country and around the world people are being misinformed. Well-intentioned, but misinformed. Addicts and especially alcoholics are taught and believe lies about addictions and substance abuse issues. I’m going to attempt to replace some of those lies with what God’s word has to say and how God got me sober and clean in less than 60 days without AA, NA, or any other program. So, if you are anything like me, and want to finally get free, clean and sober. There is another way.
My goal is to help set you free. Just as God set me free. Free from alcohol, free from drug use, free from eating disorders, free from faulty beliefs and mindsets. Anything you are struggling with can be overcome with God’s word, the Bible. With God’s word, I’m going to debunk some of the lies and faulty beliefs that are told in 12 step programs such as AA, NA, addiction groups, substance abuse models, and recovery programs in general.
12 Step Meetings
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend multiple 12 step programs over several weeks. AA, NA, and Celebrate Recovery, respectively.
What I observed was absolutely mind-blowing ( not in a good way). While I liked what was taught or shared in Celebrate Recovery. I can not say that about AA or NA. And If I had to choose any of the 3 at all, it would certainly be Celebrate Recovery. They practice in part and mostly what I’m saying. (sort of)
During most of the meetings, which were in churches ( I’m very fond of church attendance and believes it plays a vital role in sobriety so please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying) I was tempted to simply stand up and walk right out based on what I was hearing.
Addiction is a disease?
What I was hearing and observed being taught was that alcoholism, addiction, and food disorders are a disease. This is a lie and a faulty belief. When you cower under the disease theory you are giving people excuses for their lack of self-control and responsibility for their actions.
If alcoholism was a “disease” then people who have never even drank alcohol or used drugs would start.
Addiction and alcoholism is a choice, Not a disease. If addiction was a disease then you would have people that never had a drink or drug suddenly and randomly want to have a drink without any prior use.
The truth is you DO NOT have to drink, use that drug, or eat that extra slice of cake. You certainly weren’t born that way. You may be pre dis-positioned to alcoholism or addiction through genetics. But you have a choice to NOT drink or use those drugs. Period.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, Luke 4:18
With all due respect, I don’t care what the American Medical Association says about addiction or alcoholism. I care what The Word of God says and it says that Jesus came to set the captives free!!! (That supersedes what anyone else has to say on the subject)
There has to be Hope
Please quit teaching people that they have a disease for the rest of their lives. Imagine if someone told you that you had a disease. Which wasn’t the case. And there was no cure? You would always be that way and there is nothing you can do about it when there are living people which you know have been cured or delivered from addiction. That’s not freedom, that’s not hope. That’s slavery. A mental prison in which you are sentencing them to for life. Give hope, give life, give and teach there is freedom! Because there is!
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36
Drinking alcohol or using drugs can certainly lead to diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and cirrhosis of the liver just to name a few.
Let’s think about it for a minute. You can go to any 12 step program around the world and find people who have not used or drank in 30 plus years.
How did they do it if it was a disease? What’s the cure? ( Jesus)
They, like you and I, have a CHOICE every single day and it’s called self-control. Have problems with gaining weight? Put down the fork or spoon. Problem with drinking? Don’t drink. Problem with drugs? Stop doing them. Your body or mind doesn’t need them to live. They are not oxygen, food, water or the Word of God.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” Mathew 4:4
The “Higher Power”
All 3 of the 12 step programs admit that they believe in God as their higher power. However, in AA and NA I’m not 100% convinced they really do? At least they didn’t act like it.
Sugarcoating who their “higher power is” and heaven forbid you to mention Jesus or God. Just a tiny tiny amount at the beginning and a tiny bit at the end. Thank heavens they at least say “The Lord’s Prayer” at the end of every meeting. Maybe if they talked a little more about God and HIS word instead of “The Big Book” they would be able to help even more people!
Hats off to William Wilson and all the folks at and who hold AA and NA meetings but if God got you sober, and you know it was only because of him. Don’t be ashamed.
While some of the 12 step programs have worked for millions, I have a fundamental belief that what they teach is wrong.
AA 12 step program
AA, as most people know, stands for alcoholic anonymous. The problem with AA, from my experience, is that they shy away from the fact that it is God who gets and leads us to sobriety. No one or anything else.
For example, in most of the literature, will state something along the lines of believing in a “higher power” Or to “God, as you understand him.”
While they are admitting that it is God who gets and keeps them sober, they’re very reluctant to claim or express that openly.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. Romans 1:16
It is God who can get and keep you sober and we shouldn’t be afraid to express that.
AA’s “Big Book”
Most of the 12 step program taught in AA. Comes from what is known as “The Big Book.” A book written by the organization’s founder, Bill Wilson.
While I’ve observed, what appeared to be people worshiping this book and hanging on every word in it. There is only ONE BIG BOOK, The Bible, which can be trusted and is the source of life, freedom, and peace.
Again, with all due respect, I could care less about what man has to say about me when I can open and read a book on what God says about you and me.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5: 17
I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
And many other great things.
NA 12 steps
NA, also known as Narcotics anonymous. God love them. They were quite energetic and talkative out of all the 12 step programs.
I would have to describe the NA meetings in which I attended as group talk therapy. ( With lots, lots, and lots of cussing) Not judging. Just preparing you if you ever decide to attend one of these meetings. People sharing stories from their life and blowing off steam. Talk therapy, also known as ( Cognitive Behavior Therapy or CBT) can be and is very therapeutic. If you have never experienced it you may want to give it a try.
NA meetings also have a 12 step guideline which they follow and always close with the Serenity prayer.
The thief cometh not but to steal and to kill and to destroy. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10
History does show that the various 12 step programs work. However, YOU have to work them… No matter WHAT you do it’s going to take effort time, and commitment. Every group I mentioned will tell you this as well. It’s also a process.
When you apply some of the things I’ve shared you are still going to have to fight and work for your freedom and sobriety. You are going to have to put in the effort to learn God’s word, go to church, and resist the temptation to drink or use. It may not be a bed of roses, but you can do it!
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7
The greatest miracle God will ever do in your life is to save you from your sins and hell. If he can save your soul, can’t he help you and set you free?
“Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. Jeremiah 32:17
“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” Mark 9:23
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