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Why You Should Stay Away From Recovery Groups
Jack Trimpey

If you are addicted to alcohol or other drugs, there truly is no help for you. In order to have a better life than your addiction affords, you will have to discontinue - yes, quit! - your use of those substances entirely, and you will have to accomplish this on your own. Otherwise, your present problems caused by drinking or using will very likely worsen, and new problems will probably arise. You may have suspected for quite a while that you will inevitably have to completely quit drinking/using if you are to have a better life, but that decision is elusive, and making it is quite difficult. However, quitting an addiction is difficult only at first, when your memory of the pleasure is fresh, and when the idea of lifetime abstinence seems a horrible prospect. During this time, you will think up many reasons to revert to or continue drinking or using. Still, this is no reason to abandon your better judgment.

Inside the drunk or the junkie you seem to be, is the original, authentic person who hit this planet a few decades ago when you were full of wonder and excitement about the possibilities that lay ahead. But somewhere along the line, you fell deeply in love with a stranger among human passions, the exquisite embrace of intoxicated pleasure. Like an awakened romantic, you instinctively decided that the greatest pleasures that life affords would come from or along with the use of alcohol and other drugs, and you reordered your life to accommodate your new lover. You wedded to the pleasure of self-intoxication, pledging your loyalty to it, forsaking all other loves, until death would you part. Now, you see that your lover is a ruthless Beast, willing to kill you for the next drink or fix, that is destroying you. You must therefore turn against your lover and engage it in mortal combat in order for you to survive. Rational Recovery is your guide to victory, which comes quickly and easily.

There are a number of pitfalls common to self-recovery from addiction. Those who want to help you but were never addicted themselves have little wisdom to share on the subject, for their beliefs were shaped by reading books and listening to experts equally misinformed. Your addiction is a powerful survival drive run amok, and it doesn't want to die. You can call your addiction the Beast, so that you know better what you are contending with. It will exploit every opportunity to protect itself from the only thing it fears, which is your commitment to lifetime abstinence from alcohol and other drugs. It is perfectly at home in America, a society that worships addiction as a noble affliction, and denies that recovery by human effort is possible. Ours is a society that does not reward, and sometimes punishes, people who accept personal responsibility for abstinence. It loves the popular wisdom it has manufactured, that in order to avoid the pain of florid addiction, or to simply abstain from alcohol or drugs, you cannot "go it alone" - you need help, social support, and yes, moral guidance from other drunkards and junkies.

When you were a child, your parents warned you to stay away from certain kids who were prone to trouble, "bad company." They knew that groups of people will have their way with newcomers. Recovery groups of all kinds are bad company, for their members plainly are the drinking and drug cultures of America. They define themselves by the substance they once adored, and structure their lives around the desire to drink or use. They have far more than their share of personal problems, and they share the belief that they cannot independently behave themselves as normal people do. Their confessions of immorality are fearless because they squarely deny that their past and future drinking is immoral, even after they proved beyond a doubt many years ago that their self-indulgence caused misery and grief to all, including themselves. They stubbornly refuse to accept moral responsibility for their use of alcohol and other drugs. They dignify their drunkenness by saying it is caused by a disease, and by forgiving each other for what family and society will not. Thus forgiven by their peers, they preen their moral feathers by confessing every sin but the most reprehensible act of all, the single act from which all of their well-earned shame flows forth - the act of self-intoxication. Moral cowards all, they squirm free from the burden of complete, permanent abstinence. One-day-at-a-time, they evade the painful decision to quit drinking/using for the rest of their days. Instead, they try to please the eyes of their families and society with pious and humble attitudes, while they drink, drink, drink between meetings, any time they really want to, calling their binges "slips," or "relapses."

When you make your Big Plan, using the concepts of Addictive Voice Recognition Technique®, you will notice very quickly, probably within a few days, that you are firmly in control and feel more and more comfortable with total abstinence. Once you are free from mind-altering substances, some of your problems will begin to fade, and you will be better able to solve other problems. Gradually, you will forget the great unhappiness that brings you now to quit drinking or using drugs, but because of your irreversible Big Plan, total abstinence will be second nature. In time, you will not remember clearly why you quit, but you will always understand that hope and happiness depend entirely on total abstinence from alcohol and drugs. Life after recovery is a great adventure, and you are a pioneer in your own life.

Watch out for people who want to help you; avoid them like the plague. It makes no difference if they are members of a recovery group or sport many letters after their names. Those who get stuck in their addictions by acting like recovery missionaries have not really gotten better, and they have only their own insecurity and handed-down misguidance to offer you. Look where they are, and see how they live their lives, and decide if you really want to be like them. Recovery groups are bad company; they will pull you down to make sure your shadow does not eclipse their tiny accomplishments of refusing to drink for just one day, or confessing to every sin but drinking. If you want a better life than recovery groups have to offer, and I hope you do, you will have to define it yourself, and find it on your own.

Addiction recovery is a private struggle and not a group project. You live in a society that does not believe in you or in your ability to quit drinking or using. America is the birthplace of the 12-step recovery group movement, and its lucrative business arm, the addiction treatment industry. Recovery groups are big business, for they feed treatment centers with hapless members who are disoriented and vulnerable from the use of alcohol and other drugs, as well as by the crippling 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Recovery groups are a cause of social decay, family conflict, and a prime cause of mass, runaway addiction to alcohol and other drugs. Very few recovery group participants abstain for long; 95% drop out within a year, 50% in the first month. They leave with the grim prediction that they will drink again, and are told, "We will always be here for you."

Dissenters are told they have not yet "hit bottom," as if each of us has a built-in barrier against self-destruction that must be hit before the final truth of recovery group doctrine is revealed. Groupers are obsessed with the time since the last drink, which is only counting time until the next drink. Time is worn as a status symbol, all in awe of old-timers whose abstinence is seen as a miracle, a superhuman feat akin to firewalking. People who don't drink, however, have no purpose in counting time since the last drink, since they would only be measuring their longevity since they quit.

All recovery groups are public meetings where confidentiality is impossible. Even "closed" meetings are filled with people who value the group's interests more than yours. The group is glad to inform on you by playing the slip-signing game, in which people are forced to go to meetings where members will tell the court you were really there. When confronted with this duplicity, groupers claim they are innocent of what the courts do, victims of outside forces in the same way they view their own addictions.

The medical disease model of addiction is so silly that no one believes it at first, but millions have been taken in by this seductive idea. Addiction is ugly, and so are addicted people. The disease concept of addiction is medical absolution of immorality. A disease victim's behavior can be tolerated; how can we blame someone for having a symptom of a disease? Calling a common drunk a disease victim may seem ludicrous, but if your drunken family member now lies in the cemetery, it may be easier to put flowers on the grave of a disease victim than someone who drank himself to death after many years of preposterous drunken behavior.

The psychological disease concept of addiction is more believable than the medical model, and is also supported by learned professionals. Addiction is not only ugly, but unbelievable. Even addicted people sometimes wonder how they can behave so self-destructively, considering their upbringing and native intelligence. To everyone else, it is hard to believe that people will often trade very happy lives for the cheap thrills of getting drunk. So, it is very easy to read between the lines and find hidden reasons for addiction. After all, a skid row drunk who used to be a corporate executive wouldn't be in that condition simply because he loves to get drunk! Surely, he must be severely disturbed with mental conflicts stemming from childhood deprivations, right? And the barfly who drunkenly stumbles to the taxi every night must have low self-esteem, and she must be deficient in certain coping skills, right?

Wrong. Whatever personal problems you have are either caused or aggravated by your drinking/using, and not the other way around. Problems don't cause addiction; addiction causes problems! An addicted person finds many, many reasons to continue drinking/using, among them the many problems he/she is beset with. That connection in his/her thinking is what we call the Addictive Voice, arguing endlessly, arguing both sides of every argument, to continue the use of alcohol and other drugs.

There is no psychological problem that an immediate commitment to permanent abstinence will not help. Accordingly, resolving any problem you may have will not make it any easier for you to quit drinking/using. And, as long as you continue your addiction, the more pronounced will your problems be. Therefore, don't waste time and money by taking your addiction to a counseling professional. Solve that problem first, and then see if you still have any problems for which you need counseling. I would bet not.

If you are a religious person, stay away from the 12-step syndicate. AA is a false religion, a bad religion that won't even admit it is religious. AA's founders, both clergy, are rarely mentioned, for Frank Buchman and Samuel Shoemaker appear as mere footnotes in AA history. Rev. Buchman was a theocratic evangelist whose infamous admiration of Hitler destroyed his self-made cult, the Oxford Group. AA co-founder, Rev. Sam Shoemaker, was an Episcopal priest who ignored the rulings of all Christian churches of his time, which warned that the Oxford Group was a heresy, unworthy of assistance or endorsement. Rev. Shoemaker wrote the 12-step program, allowing Bill Wilson to edit his work to make it attractive to drunks. Bill later explained that the 12-step program was revealed to him by God, during a trance, through automatic handwriting. Bill's alleged 12-step epiphany is the core doctrine of the recovery group movement, and today, the medical and counseling professions administer the 12-steps to millions of people.

Ignoring authentic religious leadership, Bill and Bob endorsed Rev. Shoemaker's 12-step program and Rev. Buchman's theocratic evangelism, thereby creating an ersatz religion of their own founded upon the disease theory of misbehavior. No longer was the act of self-intoxication a moral offense against society and God, but a symptom of a mysterious disease that only the Great Physician could treat, with human doctors as His humble assistants. This religious salad was appealing to drunken priests and other clergy who abandoned their churches' moral doctrines in favor of the user-friendly doctrines of AA. Thus absolved, these clergy returned to their church hierarchies to plead the case of AA as a beneficial remedy for addiction that complemented Christian doctrine. Using very skilled language acquired in the 12-step cult, they were successful in silencing the warnings of the ecclesiastical sentinels who had earlier warned of the destructive potentials of "groupism."

Another AA co-founder, Bob Smith, was a drunken physician who bonded with Bill W. in a juvenile, dependent relationship in which they would both look over the other's shoulder to discourage drunkenness. They refused to discipline themselves and sought in each other the discipline they would not require of themselves. Neither could imagine a satisfactory life beyond their addictions, and so they sought fellowship in a social ghetto of their own creation, made up of the same people they drank or used with at the bar or the crack house - the recovery group movement.

There is little wonder that 95% of newcomers drop out of AA within a year, 50% in the first month. They are making the right move, but unaware that most AA dropouts will experience recovery group disorders, even years after the last meeting. The symptoms include increased drinking, depression, relapse anxiety, and feeling stigmatized by addictive disease.

AA denies free will, and substitutes the disease concept for sin. "We are all sinners," becomes, "We are all disease victims." The latter is quite a twist of meaning, and hardly in the spirit of the original. There is no mention of behavioral disease in the scriptures of any legitimate religion, for in religion as in nature, the wages of sin is death. All legitimate religions expect moral conduct of their members, and all legitimate religions regard drunkenness as a moral failing. The disease theory of misbehavior is a greater heresy against human decency than racism and Nazism, for the genetic mark of social discrimination is invisible and not worn on one's skin. Wearing the "A" of alcoholism marks you as one who does not know right conduct from wrong, and who cannot learn from past mistakes. You appear to all as a walking time bomb, an irresolute fool one drink from the gutter, one day at a time.

Don't do this to yourself! The stigma of addictive disease is far more damaging than the shame of drunkenness. Act responsibly, and put your use of alcohol and other drugs behind you. Follow the example of others who found within themselves the ability to quit drinking/using. AVRT is the collected wisdom of self-recovered people who have lived down their past mistakes in their families and communities.

You have everything you need inside of you to quit your addiction for life. We in Rational Recovery know something that is more important than all of the research ever done on the subject of addiction - how to quit drinking/using, right now, for life. We know we are the foremost experts on addiction, because we recovered on our own, and we know how to teach the ability to quit to others who want to recover. We do not pose as experts on how you should live your life once recovered, and we won't show you how to solve your problems or be a happy person. These are the challenges of all free people, to seek whatever meaning and happiness there is in life. They are your responsibilities, and you are endowed with ample wisdom and ability to rise above the messes you have created for yourself and others. All the opportunity and support you need to live a happy life will come from your family and society at large, provided you steer clear of the bad company found in recovery groups.

If you are now alone, your former partners fled, be at peace with yourself in the knowledge you are at least free from the addiction that bound you, and enjoy the private dignity and decency of abstinence. Certainly, you will become known as a more dependable and authentic person than you were, and with that recognition will come new acceptance into the human family.

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