For or Against 12-Step Groups?
The GYE forums are often breeding grounds for heated discussions / arguments for and against 12-Step groups, whether or not they are in accordance with the Torah, and why or why not the Torah hasn’t been enough to stop the struggling Yid from his behaviors.
Dov, who is clean in SA 12-Step groups for 18+ years was recently asked to comment on such a discussion on our Yiddish forum. Since he doesn’t know Yiddish, he replied in English as follows:
The main object here is to reduce the arguing instead of finally agreeing on one truth. For how can we come to one truth when so many people are talking about different things? This one doesn't actually believe addiction really exists; this one uses the word addiction but means something very different than the 12 step people mean; this one thinks SA is the only way anyone can recover; this one is afraid because the first person he ever met in recovery became less frum so he thinks it is the way all recovery is; this one thinks that the 12 steps are actually Torah themselves; this one believes addiction has little if anything to do with the yetzer hora; this one believes that alcoholism is totally different because the drug itself is not a sin; and others believe even alcohol addiction is purely and only the yetzer hora...and each will have a different thing they are trying to prove against someone else probably because they are each talking about different problems to begin with
Questions that will usually clarify and stop these arguments before they start, are:
1- You, chaver, with the opinion either way:
a- Are you clean, or not?
b- Do you know yourself to be an addict, or not?
c- If the problem debated here were an alcohol addiction, would you get into the same exact argument, or not?
2- If you answered all 3 questions with a "No," then it is very possible that you are just a well-meaning debater. Why argue with people now? Please think about saving your (and everyone's) time. I do not think it is nice to play with other people's lives in a problem that you do not understand. Get and stay clean first, then share what you have learned.
3- If you answered "Yes," only to question a, then personally I think it's smarter to do the humble thing and just sit back and enjoy the debate. Pick your side after you see all the sides. Participating in it at this point without knowing your answer to b or c will probably just reinforce a mistake. We all make mistakes and we all have agendas (things to prove). It is sad when people come into recovery with something to prove right from the very start. Often, things that you and I 'decide' on before having any experience in the issue ourselves are usually just dictated by our kin'ah, our tayvoh, and our kovod. And this is the same in religious matters as in any matters. Just a suggestion.
4- If you answered "Yes," to all of them, then it's a great discussion to have! Hatzlocha! ...But I bet the majority of the people arguing the most hotly, do not really answer any of the questions with an honest "Yes".