Saturday, 21 January 2012

Where is the Desperation?

Can I work the 12 steps on my own?

by Dov (See all authors)

I am a nobody. The guys who wrote AA would also admit they are nobodies, I think. All we have to offer is our own experience, nothing more. Because of what I have seen and experienced in recovery so far, I have accepted that as soon as I set myself up as some sort of "expert" on recovery, I am in big trouble. So, may Hashem save me from the Yetzer Hara to make pronouncements like piskei Halacha or medical decisions, regarding Recovery. The only Recovery I know anything about is my Recovery! And it basically boils down to letting G-d into my life, because I came to see that I have made a royal mess of my life doing it my way. The constant, bitter struggle. It gets quite romantic after a while, but goes nowhere. In my case it only got worse, in the long run. I believe that I failed miserably at it primarily because I was doing the Recovery stuff my way, too! How can a "chavush matir es atzmo mibeis ha'asurim - a prisoner release himself from prison"? For me (and many others I have met), learning to live a new kind of life was only possible with outside assistance. Particularly when it comes to lust and sex, my judgment was just plain ruined. Perverted, to be more exact. It's still a bit goofy, though getting better along with everything else be"H. But I digress...

So, who am I (or is anyone, I wonder) to tell you that it is simply not possible to work the 12-steps on your own? Just because I couldn't is no proof that you can't succeed that way. But please bear in mind that your true emotional motivation for why one chooses to do recovery work without a group may matter.

The main issue to my heart is this: Where is the desperation? If one had cancer, would they change their schedule to make treatments? Would they meet with face-to-face doctors, or would they really be satisfied with web or phone meetings alone, for their treatment decisions? When I came to SA, I was not itching to "finally" join a 12-step group. I just saw that my life was not working at all and it was gonna get only worse on my present course - and my present course was by far the very best I could muster! I needed help. It was a priority. It was not a luxury. I was dying.

No judgmentalism here. I just hope to G-d that the people who have valid reasons for going it alone are not doing it that way out of emotional convenience. Indeed, most of us are terrified walking into our first meetings - even the guys who want to go. Why? I believe it is shame. Shame in admitting who we are, in the faces of other real people. It means the game is over.

I may have the "right" to use weak tools like only my own judgment or perhaps the help of a person who can't see my face when I talk... but what would my wife and children have said about me choosing second-rate treatment for a thing that may destroy their lives?

I am really not judging, just hoping this issue is considered in the soup.

And I still feel it may be possible for one to work the steps successfully without a group. But I can't relate to it because of what I experienced, that's all. But I'm a nobody!!