I suppose it was bound to happen eventually… one of the true believers in NA, who accept all the nonsense that I disagree with, found their way to my blog. You can see her second comment here. It reads as follows:
Are you an addict? Have you ever tried to get off of dope without the support of the fellowship? I am sure some people can be a “dry drunk” and stay off the dope without a program, but they will not learn about the behaviors that need addressing and the learning how to control the obsessive compulsive thoughts. My guess is that you are not an addict and have no clue what you are talking about. Real addicts know we are sick in the head and need daily therapy in order to recover. But please just sit there blindly if you will….does not bother me.
Firstly, she calls me two contradictory things:
- A dry drunk.
- Not a true addict.
Make up your fuckin’ mind… Both can’t be true.
The “fellowship” doesn’t teach you anything useful. It teaches you about asking god to guide you, to fix your character flaws, and to help you. None of that is based on any evidence that it works… Rather it’s based on 50 years of out-dated ideas that harm, not help, most people. So even if I accepted that I was sick and needed therapy, I’d not attend NA meetings, but rather get some actual therapy such as CBT – Cognitive behavioural therapy… and actually treat the behavioural disorder.
They (NA et al) don’t teach you about your behaviours, but I do remember one of the steps being about asking god to help identify my “character defects” and the next was about asking god to help fix those defects. I’m not an addict and have no clue what I’m talking about? Well, then, I guess I must have totally imagined those eight or nine years when I used methamphetamine night and day, which ended over three years ago.
Here’s the thing: I don’t claim that my way of doing recovery is the only way. Whatever works for you, works… But I do know that the NA approach is not based on evidence. I do know that the 12 steps are based on absolute nonsense. It might not be so easy for everyone to notice that, since most people believe in a deity. I was able to reject it based on common sense alone, but that’s not easy to do when you first get into recovery, since you are treated like a child and might assume that the people who tell you this know what they are talking about. Yes, who are you, a junkie who failed at life, to say that entire industry is wrong? But they are wrong. If you’re a critical thinker, you should be able to figure that out. And it is difficult to see the wood from the trees when you first enter into recovery; after all, you’ve just failed at life and are at your most vulnerable, and probably don’t have much confidence or self-esteem. That alone is reason enough to buy into the NA bullshit at least at first (I did for a while), but to continue doing so, especially after a relapse or two, or seeing others relapse and then die, is foolish.
But I do know this: To accept what you are told and believe what is presented at face value, is a sign of gullibility. And then, when presented with a view that contradicts what you have been told, to then claim that the person who makes it is not a true addict (is a No True Scotsman fallacy and) is incredibly stupid.
One of the reasons I stopped attending NA meetings, apart from it all being bullshit, was that I saw people using that fallacy over and over again. Whenever anyone relapsed, they’d return and “I wasn’t truly in recovery” or “I didn’t work the steps properly”, and so on. The true believers in NA are like members of a cult. When the cult’s teachings don’t work, rather than seeing that it didn’t work, they take it as a sign that the program does work, and that they, the individual, must have been doing something wrong. So in a nutshell, evidence that indicates that the 12 steps failed someone are somehow perceived as evidence that the program does work. i.e. the opposite of what it really means.
(Aside: Actually people can claim correctly that I never followed the 12 steps. Yes, I rejected them all, because they are based on beliefs that I do not have. Those steps cannot possibly work for me. That didn’t stop me from going to meetings and trying anyway. The first time I cleaned up was in October 2009. By trying to follow a program that I did not and could not believe in, I was bound to fail. I relapsed from the end of 2010 to September 2013. I can’t blame the program or the “fellowship” for my failure, but I can say that it did not help me, and could not help me at all. It could not help me because I am not a gullible idiot or a theist. I can not follow something that’s based on woo.)
So I shouldn’t be surprised that someone who read my writing, which contradicts the nonsense she believes, must assume that I was never really an addict. Way to dismiss an opposing view… (Here’s what I do when I see evidence that what I believe may be wrong: I consider that my opinion may not be based on fact. Then I change my opinion. I don’t deny the opposing view. The fact that I, and others like me exist, is evidence that what she believes might be incorrect. At the very least, it means that her approach is not the only approach.)
Is this so difficult to imagine? Someone (such as myself) reaches a point in their life when the drugs are doing so much harm, there is no reason to continue using. In addition, they have motivation to stop using. (If I used any longer, I would have lost my son forever, and I had an opportunity to prove that I could raise a child, by looking after his half-sister.) So I stopped. My “therapy” was in the past. All the harm that came to myself, and others… That was my therapy. I don’t need one millisecond of your stupid program, or guidance from your imaginary friend – all I need is to remember where my addiction led. I live my life, and it wouldn’t even be fair any longer to say that drugs are not “on my radar”. Using drugs is something that is simply not part of my life anymore, in any way whatsoever.
Additionally, I do not accept that once you are an addict, you are always an addict. I am as I was before I ever used drugs, and I see no reason not to be. To be fair, I did still crave meth in the first few weeks of being clean, but not after that. I can’t remember when last I craved. It just isn’t something that enters my mind, and in fact those years of addiction – the details of what I did day to day – are a distant and unpleasant memory now. I know it happened, but it was like another lifetime, and I struggle to imagine or put myself back in that mindset. The chance of me ever using again, is less than zero. That is, while in the past I was agnostic about drugs (i.e. I had no opinion), these days I am anti drugs.
Much of what people like that stupid girl believe, was drummed into them by repeated statements. For example, “Keep coming back. It works if you work it, so work it, you’re worth it.”, is repeated ritualistically at the end of each meeting while holding hands, right after saying the serenity prayer. Repeating something doesn’t make it true, it merely gives the sense of familiarity, and helps indoctrinate you into clinging to a false comfort. They believe it, although they have never seen a scrap of evidence to support what they believe. I’m sorry, but mindlessly repeating bullshit like that and like step-work, is not good for everybody. If it works for you, that’s great, but don’t come here and tell me that I wasn’t a true addict because I don’t believe the shit that you believe. It reminds me of this meme, which I normally use against theists, but which applies here too:
Update: I Googled that “It works if you work it…” statement and found this. False hope and the placebo effect goes a long way, and those are examples of what I call true believers. They’ve gone so far down that rabbit hole, they will never understand that it’s not the steps themselves that have helped them. What gets to me is that when one first goes into recovery, one is exposed to these kinds of people. When one is at one’s most vulnerable, one is exposed to this as if it is the only way to stay clean. And many do accept that, then continue teaching it to others, which they do regardless of whether the program works or fails. When anything relies on blind faith to continue, there is surely something wrong.
In working the steps, they’re keeping themselves busy, distracting themselves from their real issues. Maybe they eventually deal with their issues by accident, maybe they don’t… I don’t know. But I do know that it’s an awful lot of unnecessary work, and even worse, they believe that such work must continue for life. I would honestly rather spend that time with my son, or anything else useful; I’d rather live my life instead of having my life be predicated on repeating 12 steps over and over again – the repetition a necessity only because the steps don’t actually do anything.