Groups of people might fail you and leave you vulnerable to look after yourself.
Awhile back a friend in AA got himself into some difficulty, he had quite a few interpersonal issues, financial problems and it took quite a toll on his emotional well-being.
I reached out to him and tried to help the best way i could but being a friend instead of a therapist I didn’t have the same dynamics to make a real impact.
He told me he’d been going to a lot of AA meetings but he was beginning to find them useless. In fact, as far as I could see they were making him worse.
Pray to overcome issues?
He said he had been praying everyday for god to sort something out for him, it wasnt coming. He was spiralling into self pity labouring over his problems rather than trying to do something to over come them.
Life and wellbeing is valuable, dont entrust it to a group of dubious strangers, don’t gamble it on a prayer or transpersonal nonsense.
I asked him was he getting any support from AA, I sensed he wasn’t as he was going through an immensely difficult time.
Things got worse for him and I tried to get him to engage in something a bit more pragmatic and useful than going to a circle of chanting and moaning. He rejected it.
I don’t doubt AA and 12 step groups are useful for some, but that could be said for the weather.
“everyday i go outside the weather is always calm and warm” – someone living in more fairer climates could say, but thats more down to chance and circumstance than the weather providing them with any service.
I’ve seen many people from AA or other 12 step groups desperate to gossip that someone has relapsed but never there to call or support a person. One individual I have known in Chiang Mai was so desperate to tell me who had relapsed in the local fellowship it was almost like it was his hobby – pretty disgusting.
Any criticism of AA and 12 step programs and the maxim “principles before personality” will be waved in your face. Which, of course is true, the principals are indeed sound in many ways. Other than the transpersonal magic rubbish most of it is very good, however I’d caution people to rely on those groups or people to offer and real help – in a lot of cases I’d advise positively against it.
My friend put all his eggs in the basket that god will sort it out via the AA program, he did nothing to help himself out of his depression and his symptoms worsened. He didnt to my knowledge use any cbt skills or self reliance to help ease himself through his depression.
Now its a fact cbt helps deal with depression, fundamental proven fact!
There are countlesss studies designed to break cbt and prove it doesnt work, however its one of the only actual therapies that has stood up to these forms of tests and stand strong.
Nearly every other theoretical model of therapy has produced incredibly patchy results and 12 step models are amongst the worst. Not only do they fail so many people, the 12 steps puts people in way of danger frequently. Stories of sexual abuse and predatory behaviour are ubiquitous in all fellowships. There is an over emphasis that you must depend on groups and fellow members who are not going to be there for you in your time of need.
This is not just a unique aspect of 12 step groups, this is a common feature of most groups of people unless there is something very solid that binds them together – as in the case of most families.
I generally try to persuade people to be stronger by themselves rather than rely on groups. Its good to map out who can be an asset to you in moving forward but do the important stuff by yourself or with a professional.
Life and wellbeing is valuable, dont entrust it to a group of dubious strangers, don’t gamble it on a prayer or transpersonal nonsense. Plot, plan, write and focus on cbt and how your life can and most definitely will improve.
For more info on why transpersonal therapies are bad and why groups can’t be relied upon please read the Albert Ellis book “Why some therapies don’t work: The dangers of transpersonal psychology.”
Before responding to my blog! Firstly i am not going to publish personal insults. My blog is about the science of human behaviour and mental health. Its not a pit- fight for blow-hards to vent unfounded commentary. Put together a meaningful piece and change my mind if you think you can. Brain-dead fanaticism will not be tolerated.
Neither will excessive exclamation marks that make you seem like you are screaming.
– Dylan Kerr 2018