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Re: 12 step programs » mi nación malvada

Posted by JLx on October 13, 2004, at 12:02:31

In reply to Re: 12 step programs » JLx, posted by mi nación malvada on October 12, 2004, at 23:16:26

> Without digging up the literature, I can offer that the most successful approach is brief motivational interviews.

Briefly reviewing some of the sites that came up on Google, it appears that this is used most often with people identified as problem drinkers, such as college students binge drinking or others who come into Emergency Rooms with alcohol related accidents and so forth. I can see how this might be effective with this population.

One other purpose of the interviews appears to be to screen people for traditional treatment, which is a good idea as I think that there are important degrees of dependency and attendant problems.

>What hasn't been tried or tested, to my knowledge, is self-help groups such as AA where individuals enjoy specific training (aside from participation in group processes) in how to converse with individuals suffering from self-destructive behavior.

I'm not sure what you mean by that. Self-help is self-help, the responsibility to get better is personal and all are equal in the problem. Introducing the idea of one person having specific training to interact with another for a specific purpose centered on the other person getting better would change the dynamics of the group considerably, imo.

>there is no evidence, to my knowledge, that self help groups that appeal to faith are any more effective than self-help groups that rely purely on social and behavioral considerations.

Hmm...I wonder how that could even be studied. I do think it's great that there are other options.

> It was not easy for researchers to compile and weight evidence for various treatment modalities, either, but by using the best of scientific procedures, and by exhaustively reviewing the available research, at least two major meta-studies have reached more or less consistent results. They did succeed in creating a well-designed comparitive analysis relative to the behavior in question - self-destructive consumption of ethyl alcohol. They did not attempt to measure spiritual growth, nor in these studies, social integration beyond destructive alcohol-related habits.

Various treatment modalities as well as selected populations? Iow, did they recognize degrees of dependency? I think there are some people who can successfullly reduce their drinking, for instance and others who have to stop entirely becaues it's all or nothing for them. These are two different treatment populations, imo.

>But I would advise anyone with a public health budget to spend to invest my tax dollars in training professionals who come in contact with those suffering from alcohol consumption - probation officers, social workers, physicians, teachers and even cops - in the specific tactics of breif motivational dialogues.

Yes, that seems like an excellent idea.

> That is beyond my area of expertise. I don't know anything about being among people who REALLY KNOW my kind of pain. The older I've gotten the more isolated I have become with my particular suffering.

Well, one reason why I come here to this site is because there are people with shared problems who I feel I can relate to. Is your particular suffering beyond the scope of this site?

> Well, the "inner voice" angle works for several AA members I've met who don't embrace monotheistic faiths, and it has been accepted among AA groups I've encountered in a few states. Neurobiologically, there is some basis to the value of getting beyond the ego to listen to an inner voice. The ego is related to our social context. The "inner voice" can be informed by deeper experiences beyond the realization of our ego - that is where we map the voices of our ancestors, which some faiths hold to be our connection with whatever they describe as deity.

Sure, I was just noting that the idea of a spiritual "inner voice" has a different context/source than our usual mental chatter.

>the correlation of faith with recovery doesn't mean faith was the causal factor.

Of course.

>In the end, the question of whether faith is the cause of cures in faith-based modalities is irrelevant to the question of whether there is merit in faith. Faith holds that the object of faith is true, regardless whatever obstacles intervene.

Hmm...I have to quibble with that last, at least when it comes to 12-steps. The uniqueness of its approach to a "higher power" is first in acknowledging that it's self-chosen and can be "anything". And secondly that you don't have to FIRST believe, but just act as if you do. It's that action and your own experience that validates the "faith". Of course, it requires a willingness to try it in the first place, which may involve some degree of faith in the group otherwise it just sounds like nonsense. But if you're desperate and have tried and failed over and over and over with other approaches (which is the population that I think AA works best for) it can seem worth a try.

From what I can see, many people who believe in God, such as within Christianity or Islam, who then pray to God and receive benefits of some sort (peace of mind, guidance, comfort) then believe that that means that their image of God is real. "I asked Jesus Christ to come into my heart, I felt him, accepted him as savior and became born again...Jesus is Lord". (The subjective comes to be seen as objective.)

What AA says is that believing in *A* higher power, any higher power as you chose to define it, also has those benefits. (The subjective is acknowledged and stays subjective). This is an important distinction and is why the program can work for atheists and agnostics. It's like Buddhism in that it says this is experiential -- do it and test the belief yourself.

The 12-step program opened the spirituality door for me, but didn't subsequently convince me that there is a deity so much as persuade me -- through experience -- of the desirability of living a life with a spiritual dimension, something I had no interest in before when I knew I didn't "believe in God".

>I am offended, hurt and put down when people associate my atheistic and agnostic tendencies with a lack of faith.

I don't blame you. The use of language in describing spirituality/faith/belief is very problematical.
I see you've been given a one week ban (unfairly for that particular comment, imo). I hope you come back to this board, as I'm enjoying the discussion.





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