Why is it that people trapped in a hopeless state are against a 12 Step program of recovery?
They confuse Spiritual Path with Religion. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous has many references that sound religious. While religion may provide the necessary belief in a power greater than one’s self in practice, a 12 Step program has nothing to do with religion. I have heard it said that “religion is for people who are afraid to go to hell, spirituality is for those who have been there”. A 12 Step program only requires that one develop a belief in a power greater than themselves. Where they find this belief or what they believe to be that power is not as important as having the belief itself.
“Well that’s exactly what this book is about. Its main object is to enable you to find a power greater than yourself which will solve your problem. That means we have written a book which we believe to be spiritual as well as moral. And it means, of course, that we are going to talk about God. Here difficulty arises with Agnostics. Many times we talk to a new man and watch his hope rise as we discuss his alcoholic problems and explain our fellowship. But his face falls when we speak of spiritual matters, especially when we mention God, for we have re-opened a subject which our man thought he had neatly evaded or entirely ignored.”
– Alcoholics Anonymous (“Big Book”) Page p. 45
Unwilling or unable to be honest with themselves. Addicts and alcoholics are notoriously dishonest. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are intentionally deceiving as many times they actually believe their own lies. Deception becomes a way of life and a way of coping with incomprehensible demoralization they create on a regular basis. The harm to themselves, the people they love and the people who love them becomes unbearable. It is very difficult for them to take responsibility for their current state.
People are desperate for a solution when they start a program of recovery. Very quickly life gets good after detoxing and people lose that desperation. People tend to forget how bad it was. Although they are no longer drinking or using, their thinking doesn’t change. The same flawed reasoning that got them where they are continues unabated. The same anger and resentments remain unchanged. Until the addict and alcoholic can change their way of thinking, the chance of success is slim.
Drugs and alcohol are not the problem! They are the solution that these people have used to cope with their feelings. The problem is that the solution stops working rendering these people wholly unable to deal with life. Even worse is the fact that most alcoholics and addicts are unable to realize any of this on their own. It is a disease that creates insanity.
Most alcoholics and addicts have to hit a bottom painful enough to beat them into a state of willingness.
A 12 Step program of recovery will provide the tools to deal with the insanity.