all offer sound moral codes by which to live by. Altruism, empathy, compassion, do unto
others…, the commandments, forgiveness, etc… are all ideas that benefit mankind and are
hard to dispute. Some might argue that you can live a secular life and incorporate all of the
above attributes as well and that is certainly true.
There are certain areas of religion, however, that are promoted by some devout hardliners and
that can be very dangerous to those who suffer from addiction and that are looking to climb
out from undertheir dire circumstances. The very first step of the AA religion states that we
should declare ourselves as being powerless. That is the last thing that someone who is feeling
down and out should be talked into doing! The exact opposite, developing fortitude and a sense
of empowerment to dictate the choices and direction of one’s life, is what the goal should be.
Then there’s the 3rd Step command to surrender your WILL and your LIFE over to the care of
God! Some people believe that willpower is the result of evolution while others believe it to be
a gift from God or the universe. If it was a gift from God, do you think that he would want us to
turn around and hand it right back to him? I think not. Logic would dictate that he would desire
for us to use it to question things instead of just accepting everything carte blanche. Sure we will
make our mistakes but then hopefully we will learn from them and evolve.
Contrary to popular opinion or belief, the phrase “God helps those who help themselves” is not
to be found anywhere in the Bible. It’s origins actually go back all the way to ancient Greek fables
(See Aesop’s fables-Hercules and the Waggoner). It is actually the polar opposite of Bible teachings.
The fact that so many people think that it is attributed to the holy book is probably due to the fact IT MAKES SENSE. Of course that thought goes against the whole surrender thing and would weaken
the authoritative grip of religious leaders if it were endorsed. Hence why AA tells you to shut up
and listen. The Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous) is not to be questioned!
So in going the 12 Step route, you are basically expecting someone or something to fix you
(God, AA or preferably both). You are essentially exchanging one dependency for another. When that happens, you can’t live without it and that is NOT a good thing.
Isn’t learning how to make sound decisions and to improve on our abilities to handle the conflicting
internal conversations and motivations that take place within us a much better path to follow? In The
Freedom to Recover, you will learn various ways in which to strengthen your ability to use your willpower (wherever it came from). Decision making is something that you can learn to embrace instead of fearing
and loathing it. Anxiety will become a much smaller issue when you learn how to live in the present with intent, put the past in its proper perspective and embrace your future.
Anything that helps you remain sober is better than doing nothing and living in that eternal Hell. Like so many things in life, the methods that you employ to confront your issues are yours to choose. Some solutions are just simply more productive and empowering than others.