What the 12 steps are really about.

After reading a friend’s Facebook statuses and reminding myself how much I hated 12 step programs, I felt inspired to write this. It may not be my most eloquent post, but it is truthful as fuck.

  1. Step one: Bullshit.
  2. Step two: Bullshit.
  3. Step three: Bullshit.
  4. Step four: Bullshit.
  5. Step five: Bullshit.
  6. Step six: Bullshit.
  7. Step seven: Bullshit.
  8. Step eight: Bullshit.
  9. Step nine: Bullshit.
  10. Step ten: Bullshit.
  11. Step eleven: Bullshit.
  12. Step twelve: Bullshit.

Next month I’ll finally be five years clean. Yippee! No bullshit.

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Heads up… Although I often write about addiction, this isn’t just a recovery blog.

Recently a commenter was angry that I compared snorting to smoking meth, and wrote an angry, rambling, partially coherent comment expressing her rage. She tried to convince me that I was arrogant and irresponsible by claiming that smoking meth is better than snorting, on a recovery blog. She also claimed that smoking is worse and will lead to addiction. (Lead to? If you’re commenting while high as a kite, you’re already crossed that line.)

First of all, if you write a rambling, single paragraph of run-on sentences and CAPSLOCK for emphasis while you’re high (or mentally ill – it’s hard to tell the difference sometimes), you’re not making a great case for not being an addict. (Full disclosure: I did not read the whole comment.) Secondly, she missed the point of the post, as it was about some effects of meth on users and it pointed out that smoking is better in terms of drug absorption. Thirdly, there is no “good” way of using meth. Whether you smoke it, snort it, or inject it directly into your veins, you’re still a tweaker, and I don’t encourage anyone to do that, ever.

And most importantly, this is not a recovery blog. I might write about being clean verses being on drugs often, because I used to use meth and I don’t any more, and it’s been more than four years now. I identify as a former addict, and do not recognize that recovery, at least in terms of 12 step programs which is what people generally mean when they say “recovery”, is necessary. I categorize posts with “recovery” simply for lack of a better word.

I did partake in a 12 step program more than two years ago though… I had to comply with a court order to get my son back, and one of the requirements on there was that I complete an outpatient program at a local SANCA (a rehab approved by the local court system), so I did that. However, I waited until I was already about 15 months clean before starting that program. I was already certain of my sobriety when I started, and simply went through the motions to get that piece of paper so I could eventually get my son back. It didn’t happen right away, but this was an important step to have completed, so that the court system and social development system could continue. And on the 15th of next month, it will be two years that I have him back. But I finished that program, and have not been back to an NA meeting, since two years and eight months ago.

Funnily enough, since I went into that program knowing that my lasting sobriety was already a given, and it was held at a place with inpatients too, I think they sensed how sure I was of myself. Shame… One guy even asked me to be his sponsor. I had to refuse, but I couldn’t tell him I was only pretending to believe in what he believed in, and could not possibly be that for him. I really couldn’t. Heck, I reject every single step starting at step one, and have never agreed with the idea of “just for today”. The difference between their approach and mine is too great.

Anyway, getting back to this blog… “Skeptical ex addict”. That’s what I put in the title. That should tell you enough. It all about me, baby! (Who else would my life be about? That’s another bit of NA literature bullshit I despise, but I digress.) I identify as a former addict, someone who used to be an addict, who used to have a problem with addiction but doesn’t any more. So this blog will often be about my approach to “recovery”, though I loathe that word because my way is so different to theirs, and it will also be about whatever else I feel like writing about, including skepticism, atheism, sometimes computer programming, some reviews of TV shows and superhero and horror movies, and whatever else tickles my fancy.

I’m not going to get deeply into what my approach to sobriety is, not here, not today. But I can say it has nothing to do with powerlessness, or god, or any other higher power, and has everything to do with accepting that I loved using meth but was never powerless, and rather taking full responsibility for all that I did to get it and all that I did while I was high. I do not and never will “work my recovery” in the way that 12 steppers do. I live my life, focusing on my work and my son, and have no time for nonsense like 12 step programs. I wish I could tell you that being so vehemently anti 12 steps helped me stay clean, but it didn’t really. I’m clean because I no longer have any desire to use meth. I’m anti 12 steps because I hate bullshit.

On practicing powerlessness

Just a quick one today. When I did that outpatient program a few months ago, whenever I mentioned all the things at home that were wrong and were out of my control, the therapist who ran the group session said that I wasn’t “practicing powerlessness”.

How the fuck do you practice powerlessness? Practicing is active.  Being powerless is passive. One cannot actively do something passive. It’s one of those recovery jargon answers that I learned to hate.

It follows from the 1st step: Admission that we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable.

Except I was never powerless over my addiction. Never. After I became addicted, I chose to continue using despite the horrendous consequences, because the drugs were still giving me something that I thought I needed. I wasn’t powerless when I got in my car, drove a few blocks, called the dealer and waited an hour for him to show up and give me some substandard crystal meth. I wasn’t powerless when I built a trust relationship with that dealer, so that I could talk him into selling me thousands worth on credit. And I certainly wasn’t powerless when I decided that the drugs were no longer giving me anything that I wanted or needed, and that it was time to stop.

A week from tomorrow I will be 23 months clean, then a month after that, two years. I did not fucking get here by being powerless.

On my old blog, I wrote a series debunking the 12 steps, or maybe not debunking but writing in detail why and how I disagreed with them, starting at step one. I only got to around step 8 before giving up, because they get more nonsensical and idiotic as they progress. Each step requires belief in the foundation set by the steps before it, and that foundation is built on shaky, credulous ground.

I’ve never bothered to republish those posts here, because I’m not so passionate about them anymore. Nobody is forcing me to attend 12 step bunk anymore, and I am better off without it.