November 12, 2019 10:17 am at 10:17 am #1799728
I’m thinking of going to a 12 step meeting to overcome my coffee addiction 😜
What are your thoughts about it (and the 12 steps in general)November 12, 2019 11:03 am at 11:03 am #1799800
Just go to Alcoholics Anonymous. The principles are the same at any of these Anonymous places.November 12, 2019 11:58 am at 11:58 am #1799856
I wanted to know what people in the CR thought about it (not specifically coffee addiction)November 12, 2019 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm #1799870
An alcoholic must refrain from going to places that serve alcohol, e.g. bars and taverns. Some recovering alcoholics must even give special consideration to attending simchas where there is alcohol available.
I would assume that a coffee addict should refrain from coffee rooms.November 12, 2019 2:12 pm at 2:12 pm #1799887
Virtually all 12 step programs are yoshke based. They all talk about following a higher power, but most have distribution of pocket sized cards with pictures of xtian saints and payers on them.
In the 1980s I went into the CT courts with two other Jewish lawyers to ban judges from ordering attendance at 12 step programs for drunk driving offenders. Now they are ordered to attend group therapy.
Personally, I do not believe group/public confession and absolution is a good thing and the sponsors can become too intrusive in an attendee’s life. They mean well, but are not trained professionalsNovember 12, 2019 2:12 pm at 2:12 pm #1799893
NO!!!! DON’T DO IT!!!
Look what happened to me…. ever since…November 12, 2019 3:39 pm at 3:39 pm #1799912
The Little I know.
you have the facts wrong. an alcoholic that is working the program and is doing well may even work in a bar.November 12, 2019 3:40 pm at 3:40 pm #1799914
CTLAWYER. the 12 steps are based on basic rules which is according to the torah. the 12 steps are approved by many rabonim and frum therapists.November 12, 2019 6:38 pm at 6:38 pm #1799951
“NO!!!! DON’T DO IT!!!
Look what happened to me…. ever since…“
You went to a program and got sober?November 12, 2019 6:54 pm at 6:54 pm #1799971
CA – yes! CTL couldn’t be further from the truth! It is one of the most effective and long lasting options when followed sincerely and Rabbi Twerski has several awesome books that go thru the steps in the context of Torah and Yiddeshkeit. AA is not the same as GA and OEA but there is crossover. Check out his books for more clarity. I can get you titles if you’d like.November 12, 2019 6:54 pm at 6:54 pm #1799968
There is a big difference between theory and practice.
The 12 steps as laid out in print and as applied in these meetings vary by the person running the meeting. They are all volunteers with addictive personalities.
Most of these Rabonim and frum therapists (unnamed by you) have never attended such a meeting as they are not open to the general public.
My initial involvement in court was because a client came to me about his 18 year old grandson who got a DUI ticket and was sentenced to 9 moths of meetings. The grandson kept coming home with these saint/prayer cards and saying the leader kept trying to convert him. Since they have the higher being premise it is not the place of a civil US court to order attendance.
In Brooklyn there may be frum 12 step meetings, but in most of America there are not.November 12, 2019 8:16 pm at 8:16 pm #1799985
CA, No. I got unaddicted to the Coffee Room (or did I, OOPS, I’M BACK!!!)November 12, 2019 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm #1800059
CTLAWYER, what you are describing seems very unusual at the 12 steps meetings,November 12, 2019 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm #1800060
CTL; Thanks so much for being part of the CR. Your vast knowledge and life experiences are always interesting and your comments are on point.November 13, 2019 9:35 am at 9:35 am #1800245
There is no ‘usual’ in 12 step meetings. These organizations have meetings that pop up all over and are run by volunteers. there are virtually no paid staff, they collect no dues and do not run by a set of rules/regulations.They are easily hijacked by the beliefs of the meeting leader.
Outside of the biggest cities they usually meet in churches. The attendees have addictive personalities. What the 12 step leaders do is substitute one addiction for a another harmful addiction. Many local church leaders see these meetings as a source of new recruits into their congregations.
I often limit just how much I say about myself and am open about my opinions. My adult children are approaching the point where I plan to retire from the active practice of law in the not so distant future and they will take over my firm
In anticipation of this, and having seen so much heartache while practicing family law, I went back to school part time a couple years ago and have completed a degree and certification in couseling. As part of my required practical hours and internship I attended many hours of 12 step meetings as an observer and worked with addicts/alcoholics who attend. My comments here are anecdotal, but the details of the push to yoshke in these meetings is chronicled in my degree thesis with documentation.
Life outside the self imposed ghettos of the frum world is quite different. Most American Jews live outside these ghettos and we have an obligation to see that they are not led to yoshke while attempting to fight other demons.November 13, 2019 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm #1800304
Many 12 step programs are steeped in Christian culture, and many secular programs work with basic assumptions that are alien to the Torah world. There are often frum equivalents.November 13, 2019 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm #1800307
CTL – Somewhat of a sidepoint to your comment, but most frum American Jews live in, what you called, the ghettos.November 13, 2019 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm #1800315
CTL – If you want to present the facts as you experience them in your town, or even as the handful of people you spoke to present it than you obviously have the right to do so. But don’t think that that translates to the thousands of other 12 step programs out there. When people are looking for self help, there is always a danger of giving them a tipping point with which to say “never mind”. The smart thing to say would be that in your finite experience of a fraction of 12 step groups there was a very real danger of missionizing etc as many used to be held in churches etc etc and be wary. But to write it off as a group led by sick dysfunctional people wanting to convert you or control you is just wrong. Sorry for your experience, but many cities have moved forward eons from there.
Also, I have never doubted any of your experiences or your personal presentation of your life (which, by the way have not been quite so limited as you seem to think), but the idea of a retired lawyer who owns his own firm, lives and breathes legal life and is training generations to continue this legacy taking counseling courses certainly gives pause.November 13, 2019 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm #1800392
So if I found one in Boro park or Monsey you would find it acceptable?November 13, 2019 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm #1800397
There are separate questions being raised here, and they should not be confused.
1 – The philosophy of 12-step programs is accused of being of Yoshke origin. Should that be acceptable or permitted to a Torah Jew?
The premise is incorrect. Just read the Big Book, and you will not find a single reference that recommends or suggests anything about any specific religion. The wording, when referring to G-d, is always qualified with the phrase “as we understood Him”. Religion is not meaningful to 12 step programs at all. What they do push for is “spirituality”, something that we Jews need to make part of our Yiddishkeit. “Judaism” without spirituality is not compatible with Torah. There are a great many articles and other publications that draw distinct parallels between Torah and Mussar and the codified 12 steps. Books by Rabbi A. Twerski are packed with proofs of this, and others have also published on this widely.
Some years ago, there was psak from Rav Elyashiv ZT”L that was disseminated everywhere that 12-step programs should be considered avodah zoroh, and that it is ossur to attend their meetings. It turned out that he was misled by one or more individuals. Several frum therapists brought material to him that refuted the opinions of the original trouble makers. He issued a psak that rescinded the earlier issur.
Much is written about the history and origins of AA. It is not religion, nor based on any religion.
2 – Can information specific to other religions be spread in the rooms of 12 step programs?
Yes, it certainly can. And it can be circulated in the streets, the supermarkets, and in publications. The rooms of 12 step programs are composed of imperfect people who are on a mission to improve themselves. The program does not advocate the giving of advice, and even the “leaders” of groups are volunteers who are also recovering from addiction, not professionals. Suggestions are to be couched in the frame of, “This was helpful for me,” and not as recommendations. Could one benefit from hearing that a recovering person was helped by connecting to his faith, even if not Jewish? Of course. The greatest of our tzaddikim recognized that the truly observant goy is not the same creature as the thugs in the street, not the terrorists and criminals that hurt us. The program teaches to “Take what you need and leave the rest”. We should recognize this as תוכו אכל קליפתו זרק.
Spreading religious literature at a 12 step meeting is against the program. So is relapse. But it happens. And if anyone wants to get riled up about the imperfections of the program, save the energy for those who attend our shuls, talk through davening and kriyas haTorah, get wasted in Kiddush clubs, and limit their observance of Torah to wherever they are seen by others. Stopping these disgraces to our מקדשי מעט and restoring observance of Torah law to בסתר ובגלוי will do wonders for us and our children.November 13, 2019 1:55 pm at 1:55 pm #1800423
Because of the anonymity of 12 step meetings there is no accurate way to measure their success. I spent a few years going to Alanon meetings and attended a number of open AA meeting over the years. With both groups I noted lay people with no degrees or training handing out simplistic advice. The groups do not deal with the underlying reasons why a person chooses to self medicate with a substance. I also noticed that a large majority of individuals who have followed AA and claim AA is responsible for their sobriety don’t own their own efforts to overcome their addictions. Many do make AA the focus of their own lives and those of their family, literally trading one dependency for another.
There are many paths up the mountain.November 13, 2019 3:09 pm at 3:09 pm #1800446
The “program” does not condone advice. It is recognized that the members are not professionals. What does occur, officially, is the sharing of suggestions, as I stated earlier, the likes of, “This helped me.”
In the addiction field. therapists can easily fill a caseload, and are not necessarily pushing to increase the clientele. But it is widely recognized that the support systems, such as the 12 step groups, do not constitute therapy, and that professional help is still needed much of the time.
I do disagree with your contention that it is little beyond a replacement or substitution of dependencies. If that was your experience, thanks for sharing. The support is invaluable, and plays a greater role in the lives of the newbies to recovery. Even the veterans with longevity of recovery have the times where they need to connect to those who can offer support. If you step back and look at life, the infant is completely dependent on others for its existence and survival. As the child grows and matures, that dependency diminishes. And when the older years are reached, the dependencies once again creep back in. Recovery can also require periods of greater need for support. That’s not a substitute dependency. It’s a mature and responsible way to deal with a problem.
You have a valid point that individuals need to give themselves credit for their efforts to arrest the addiction and maintain sobriety. One does not need to minimize the benefits of the support systems.November 13, 2019 3:37 pm at 3:37 pm #1800452
@ctlawyer….rather than refute your nonsense…i would rather you show me one rav anywhere today that says 12 step programs are yoshke based or that they are innapropriate in any way….in fact alot of meetings are held in churches and jews are allowd to attend even there because of how heloful they are. You base your opinions merely on some distorted view. If you in fact attended more than even one of these meetings then you would know what your saying has no merit
I hope for your sake that not even one person reading your comments was turned off from attending a meeting they need.November 13, 2019 4:05 pm at 4:05 pm #1800456
The 12 steps were not designed to replace religion and of course, a Jew is always expected to fulfill all requirements in Halacha. For example, although the mitzvah of teshuva is supposed to be done in a very specific manner as defined in halacha, this still does not make step seven “wrong” in any way by not requiring amendments to be done in this manner-one is not exclusive of the other. Similarly, if our Torah requires daily Torah study, this still does not make the 12 steps wrong by not requiring it as one of the 12 steps. Don’t forget-only Jews are required to observe Halacha, while non-Jews are expected to observe only the 7 mitzvos of Bnei Noach. There is no reason why the 12 step program should require Torah study. In fact, if they did require Torah study, it would be a problem in Halacha!
Here’s the bottom line: If the AA founders told people to abandon their religions of origin and exclusively
observe the 12 steps, the critics would have a point-but the exact opposite is true. The AA literature exhorts its members to still observe their religion of origin & consult with their Rabbis.November 13, 2019 4:27 pm at 4:27 pm #1800467
To the little I know
Your post is very thorough
Sort of like someone who has some experience with itNovember 13, 2019 4:34 pm at 4:34 pm #1800472
Yes.November 13, 2019 5:56 pm at 5:56 pm #1800579
The Little I know, you should try to get your hands on a first edition of Bill Wilson’s bio “Pass it On”. He was pretty clear about supporting the xtian version of god and sin. Oh and in that volume he also advocated for the use of LSD. His experience with LSD led him to believe it was a shortcut to sobriety. The highly edited second addition left out the part about LSD.
In my years of attending meetings, I spent a lot of time at a CA Alano club that was home to first generation AAs, my Alanon sponsor was first generation, all supported the xtian version of a deity. Most of us who have been to a meeting are aware that ‘even a tree can be your higher power’, is an oft repeated mantra.
If AA works for you, and you’ve found meetings that are sensitive to the spiritual needs of a non xtian, good on you. But understand there are many paths up the mountain. The treatment of addictive diseases has progress substantially since the early days. Many people who suffer from addictions do not respond to a spiritual program for sobriety and cannot maintain long periods of sobriety without professional help. And many do required medically supervised withdrawal from their substances of choice.
Again there are many paths up the mountain, don’t close your mind to other positive means of conquering addiction, someday you may find they work for you.November 13, 2019 8:14 pm at 8:14 pm #1800602
“Again there are many paths up the mountain, don’t close your mind to other positive means of conquering addiction, someday you may find they work for you.“
Care to cite examplesNovember 13, 2019 9:42 pm at 9:42 pm #1800658
Off the top of my head there is SMART recovery, Women/Men in Sobriety, Secular Organization For Sobriety, Rational Recovery , Celebrate Sobriety, Refuge Recovery and Life Ring. Im sure there are many more, I’ve been out of the A&D counseling community for sometime now. All programs have their pluses and minuses. Some have documented success rates, others like AA don’t have documented success rates. But simply put there are support groups for sobriety that do not have a religious bent and don’t use the 12 Steps. It’s up to and individual to choose which they think is best for them.
Support circles have proven to be important to recovery and moving back into sober living. AA isn’t for anyone. Today most recovery professionals recognize support groups to be necessary for sobriety, and are willing to give their clients multiple options, including 12 Step programs.
I would think a persons local Rabbi could direct a frum man or women to a program suited to their faith.November 13, 2019 9:42 pm at 9:42 pm #1800683
I think in all your years attending meetings you obviously missed the point.November 14, 2019 12:42 am at 12:42 am #1800734
Realistic gu I’m not biting. I’m still full from dinner.
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