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  1. #1

    Default 12-Step Meetings Confrontation.

    I am writing everyone tonight to see what you think about 12 step meetings. After the experience I had tonight, I am feeling very frustrated and in need of condolence.

    I have been attending an online program (stepchat.com) for a while now and decided to share a concern tonight that was very close to my heart, and apparently the administrator/moderator of the room/site did not like the controversial topic i brought up and blocked my IP address. I can now no longer assess the site and am restricted in all areas.

    This is what I shared tonight in the chat:

    I am genuinely concerned about those who are actively being
    abused who attend al-anon (for support) and are just taught to
    "detach;" that the qualifier has a 'disease' that they can't
    control. This does not provide much hope
    for the individual (‘victim’ at this point) who is being abused, NOR is it demonstrating
    to the victim that that the qualifier should be held RESPONSIBLE for his/her actions
    (behavior); rather, it would seem as though it is providing a justification instead.

    Obviously if we have had to “detach” to begin with then it is implied that something is wrong. Detachment, by general characterization is a
    means at gaining perspective. It is a tool used to help us step back and see
    our situation more clearly. I think
    that it can be dangerous however if not explained properly. I feel like, in this case, it can be used as
    an excuse for inaction, which can pose a serious threat to the victim themselves.

    Lets say that I’m in an abusive relationship with Eric who’s
    an alcoholic. I go to al-anon and am
    taught to “detach;” moreover, that Eric has a disease that he cannot control. (This is impounded into al-anoner’s minds
    again and again: “Alcoholism is a
    disease,” etc etc; we must ‘forgive’ the alcoholic, etc). Basically al-anon has taught me that Eric is
    not responsible for his disease (actions
    included) and that my best bet/solution would be to just “detach.” Since al-anon cannot provide SOLUTIONS (offer help0, no one would legitimately be able to help this
    desperate individual who rightfully deserves help. The individual would not be advised to seek
    further help (ie: outside al-anon) since solution-offering is denied (It is
    against rule # ___).

    So what happens is that the victim keeps coming back to al-anon
    for support, in search of safety and understanding; however, they are not getting
    the true help that they need. Al-anon
    themselves would be acting as an enabler for this individual by avoiding the
    real issue. In al-anon we are taught not
    to be in denial and ways of undoing this, etc, yet by not offering proper
    advice to an individual when necessary, we are going against our very own best
    judgment and putting an individual in harm.
    Argument could be made over whether or not an organization (al-anon
    itself and its creators) could be responsible for endangering an individual once
    the individual enters its premise.

    If anything, the victim is being mislead and harmed through
    going to al-anon. I am proposing that
    the dynamics of abuse be taught in these meetings and an awareness surrounding
    the issue be created.


    I think it's funny how I bring this up, openly and honestly, and I am kicked out of a chat forum! These groups are supposed to be supportive... I was under the impression that we are allowed to share our feelings. Why was I kicked out just because I brought up a legit concern about the meeting itself?

  2. #2
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Default

    I'm sorry that this experience has contributed to your sense of frustration and rejection, it sounds like you were offering your thoughts sincerely and not in a way meant to cause trouble.

    I can't really evaluate why a mod might have bumped you, there's no context given here.

    Were you in situations before, so this was viewed as part of a longer chain?

    Are there specific forum rules that ban this sort of discussion? Is it considered an appropriate topic for this particular forum? Do they ask that you just assume their proposed way of dealing with the situation is the best way, and don't want to get into challenging the established process in this particular forum? Should this have been handled behind the scenes?

    Have other members before you brought up similar things and caused more dissent, which means you might have been summarily lumped into that category?

    Without knowing the context of the discussion, it's difficult to know why the admins might have acted as they did. And you might never know. Sometimes admins are unfair, if they have personal pet peeves or biases against certain bits of information; they might also be reacting to a larger context of events and dialog that you unwittingly played into.

    This comment in particular could have been taken as stirring up trouble on the site:

    In al-anon we are taught not
    to be in denial and ways of undoing this, etc, yet by not offering proper
    advice to an individual when necessary, we are going against our very own best
    judgment and putting an individual in harm.
    Argument could be made over whether or not an organization (al-anon
    itself and its creators) could be responsible for endangering an individual once
    the individual enters its premise.
    It might have been wiser to avoid passing a public judgment over al-anon, and just focus on the issue at hand. Here you sort of branched out from criticism to going as far as saying al-anon is endangering the people they're helping, and that's sort of a slander of character they're not required to permit in their own home environment.... it would have put them on the defensive unnecessarily. Your statement here comes out and sort of openly accuses them not just of making a mistake but of wrongdoing.

    Whether right or wrong, they don't want to be wasting their time arguing over their methods, they want to be spending their energy applying the process they've already decided is effective.

    * * * *

    You are free to discuss this topic here, of course. I bet some people have experience and might offer their opinions.

    I think from a practical standpoint, it's very helpful to realize that we cannot force another person to change. We can only control our own choices. Freeing ourselves from unwarranted responsibility for another's behavior is a positive thing.

    Also, addiction is nasty in the sense that it is both chosen AND imposed. The person chooses to swallow the lure, but then the lure hooks them and leads them to making the same choice over and over. So it's applicable to call it a "disease" for which someone might have special vulnerability to; but it's also applicable to call it a choice. It's got elements of both sides. The person is both choosing to not free themselves or even to indulge and is also a victim of their own choices.

    (I say all this as a child of an alcoholic parent for the last 40+ years.)
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I'm sorry that this experience has contributed to your sense of frustration and rejection, it sounds like you were offering your thoughts sincerely and not in a way meant to cause trouble.

    I can't really evaluate why a mod might have bumped you, there's no context given here.

    Were you in situations before, so this was viewed as part of a longer chain?

    Are there specific forum rules that ban this sort of discussion? Is it considered an appropriate topic for this particular forum? Do they ask that you just assume their proposed way of dealing with the situation is the best way, and don't want to get into challenging the established process in this particular forum? Should this have been handled behind the scenes?

    Have other members before you brought up similar things and caused more dissent, which means you might have been summarily lumped into that category?

    Without knowing the context of the discussion, it's difficult to know why the admins might have acted as they did. And you might never know. Sometimes admins are unfair, if they have personal pet peeves or biases against certain bits of information; they might also be reacting to a larger context of events and dialog that you unwittingly played into.

    This comment in particular could have been taken as stirring up trouble on the site:



    It might have been wiser to avoid passing a public judgment over al-anon, and just focus on the issue at hand. Here you sort of branched out from criticism to going as far as saying al-anon is endangering the people they're helping, and that's sort of a slander of character they're not required to permit in their own home environment.... it would have put them on the defensive unnecessarily. Your statement here comes out and sort of openly accuses them not just of making a mistake but of wrongdoing.

    Whether right or wrong, they don't want to be wasting their time arguing over their methods, they want to be spending their energy applying the process they've already decided is effective.

    * * * *

    You are free to discuss this topic here, of course. I bet some people have experience and might offer their opinions.

    I think from a practical standpoint, it's very helpful to realize that we cannot force another person to change. We can only control our own choices. Freeing ourselves from unwarranted responsibility for another's behavior is a positive thing.

    Also, addiction is nasty in the sense that it is both chosen AND imposed. The person chooses to swallow the lure, but then the lure hooks them and leads them to making the same choice over and over. So it's applicable to call it a "disease" for which someone might have special vulnerability to; but it's also applicable to call it a choice. It's got elements of both sides. The person is both choosing to not free themselves or even to indulge and is also a victim of their own choices.

    (I say all this as a child of an alcoholic parent for the last 40+ years.)
    Next day: Yeah, I don't really know what to say anymore... I am still hurt. I just tried getting onto the site, and it says "Access denied to your IP address." I'm really upset that people can't face the truth and that I brought up a LEGIT concern and they wanted to just dismiss it and continue being in denial... isn't one of the POINTS in 12-step to NOT deny?! ...to RECOGNIZE our denial?! (Sorry if I am yelling). Really though... how hypocritical! Wow, talk about lack of self-awareness... It's like, "Hmm, lets just stay in our little 'circle...' our 12-step group and 'pretend' everything is okay; lets not question the litature even when a legit concern has been brought up... lets just keep going... lets not worry about anyone else.'" Well, I am sorry (sarcasm) that I am worried about other people, similar to myself, going into this program the way I did and harming themselves!

    Does everyone sort of get what I'm saying, and what I'm upset about? I think that every voice should be heard; we should never deny anyone the RIGHT to speak. Just because we don't like to hear something, does NOT mean that it should be ignored. "Our common welfare comes first" 12-step says... Okay, fine, and I was ginuinely looking out for the common welfare of members! God forbid I say it like it is, rawly... but honestly and nicely!

    That's the thing... I have been going to face-to-face 12-step groups over and over and you honestly can't say anything negative or members look down on you. You can't share your *true* feelings... they get upset, because (sarcasm), remember, the "common welfare" comes first.

    Hell, all my life I've felt like I've had to shut up... like I've just had to keep silent. I am NOT going to do that anymore. It's not fair. And it hurts.... literally, it hurts my heart, and it is not right. In order to heal, I believe we must get to the ROOT of the pain... I often feel like 12-step sugar coats it... they just gloss over it... it's like "Yes, all we can share is POSITIVE wisdom!" What about the negative, which is JUST as valid?! You know? You must balance both negative AND positive... it seems color, candy-coated. I am really upset.

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