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Atheist Awarded $2M in Settlement After Being Refused Secular Rehab Treatment

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posted on Oct, 27 2015 @ 03:07 PM
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I have a number of friends who have turned their lives around with AA. And more power to them. I don't "hate" Christians generally. But AA is religious as practiced by most groups and the government shouldn't force people to participate.

When I first tried to deal with my heavy drinking problem years ago I was presented with AA by a licensed counselor from a clinic. Based on the issues I had with my harsh Christian childhood I had problems with the "helpless without a higher power" aspect. I was given the "Big Book" and told to read the chapter "We Agonistics" which would explain how to work the program without the religious aspects. The premise of that chapter is that alcoholics who are agnostics or atheists shouldn't be because they will never be able to control their drinking without believing in some sort of God. I couldn't understand why a mental health professional would have given me that book to read claiming it would explain things. He also talked about your higher power being anything, like an oak tree. Which made even less sense to me. I was supposed to admit I was powerless without the help of an oak tree or a rock on my desk? And the phrasing "God as you understand him" doesn't really have the neutrality people claim. That's assuming "God" is an entity separate from yourself and a male. Which I suppose is just words and many people can work around but having been terrorized as a child with tales of the vengeful bearded old man in the sky it presented problems for me.

End of story, I just quite drinking on my own and have been sober for a very long time. I suppose I'm a "dry drunk" according to AA but I don't really think about any of it much anymore.




posted on Oct, 27 2015 @ 03:14 PM
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a reply to: Southern Guardian

If the only requirement was he had commit to a higher, unidentified power, then why couldn't the higher power have been his higher self?

Obviously his lower self was not up to the task.



posted on Oct, 27 2015 @ 06:52 PM
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a reply to: jrod

No, it is true. Religious refers to a religion. AA, from the very start, was non-religious spiritual. It was conceived that way. You don't have to agree or understand it, but it has worked for lots of people.

How anyone can the scenario of him being given 2 mil for receiving help is beyond me.



posted on Oct, 27 2015 @ 06:54 PM
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originally posted by: LoneCloudHopper2
AA, from the very start, was non-religious spiritual. It was conceived that way.


You should re-check your history of AA.



posted on Oct, 27 2015 @ 07:28 PM
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a reply to: Annee

Look up "Oxford Group" ... Bill Wilson, AA's founder was a member. The Oxford Group. I'm on my phone right now so I have to keep it short until later.

Much of what AA espouses is what you would find in a narcissistic relationship.



posted on Oct, 27 2015 @ 09:14 PM
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originally posted by: Lucid Lunacy
a reply to: Atsbhct

why is he entitled to 2 million dollars

He was subsequently thrown in jail for 100 days because he wouldn't attend the program [he requested a secular one]. More than 3 months in jail. I'm fine with this settlement.


he might just spend on more methamphetamine?

'Might' being the operative word. Lets hope 100 days was long enough to kick the habit.



Whats interesting is that trials with classic psychedelic drugs coupled with psycho therapy are way more succeful at treating addiction than AA treatment centers of any kind...



posted on Oct, 27 2015 @ 09:40 PM
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originally posted by: LoneCloudHopper2
a reply to: jrod

No, it is true. Religious refers to a religion. AA, from the very start, was non-religious spiritual.


How are you defining "non-religious spiritual"?

The main premise of the program seems to be turning over personal control to the supernatural intervention of God. Renaming God as a "higher power" doesn't really change the concept.

Of course, one of the founders of AA was supposedly a hard core agnostic and there are atheist/agnostic AA groups. I'm not familiar with how they work. Seems like it would have to be a fundamentally different approach.


edit on 27-10-2015 by DelMarvel because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 27 2015 @ 10:27 PM
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I can see that many here do not have a clue one of what they are talking about.

I can say that I have personally experienced this first hand.

Yes as an atheist and an alcoholic, I have sat through and engaged in many AA meetings. As an atheist it makes you 100% uncomfortable when you are constantly being bombardes by the "higher power" and surrender yourself talk.

I went there to try to relate with people and attempt to better myself. Because my views and beliefs did not correspond with the other "cult" members beliefs and views, it just caused more turmoil and.misunderstandi.g about how I should go about figuring out how to combat my problem.

Thankfully for me I took it upon myself to figure out what makes me tick and sought enlightenment from a professional counselor.

I have been sober for 2 1/2 years now without Jesus or God.

They do make you feel obligated to seek a "higher power" which means God in their minds.

If you are not athiest and have never went to AA, then you do not have a clue as to what this experience is like.



posted on Oct, 27 2015 @ 10:41 PM
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a reply to: liejunkie01

And when you don't "buy in" (or at least pretend to) I bet you get iced out pretty quick, don't you?

AA isn't treatment or rehab -- it's a social support system. If you don't go along with the crowd, you'll be made into an outsider...and what good does that do for someone who wants help?



posted on Oct, 27 2015 @ 10:59 PM
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originally posted by: MystikMushroom
a reply to: liejunkie01

And when you don't "buy in" (or at least pretend to) I bet you get iced out pretty quick, don't you?

AA isn't treatment or rehab -- it's a social support system. If you don't go along with the crowd, you'll be made into an outsider...and what good does that do for someone who wants help?


You are very correct.

Pretty uncomfortable really.

I went to several meetings and decided it wasn't for me.
edit on 27-10-2015 by liejunkie01 because: Ps, sorry for all of the grammar mistakes about. my phone is slow and im calling it a night.



posted on Oct, 27 2015 @ 11:06 PM
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originally posted by: MystikMushroom
a reply to: Annee

Look up "Oxford Group" ... Bill Wilson, AA's founder was a member. The Oxford Group. I'm on my phone right now so I have to keep it short until later.

Much of what AA espouses is what you would find in a narcissistic relationship.



My brother was a very serious alcoholic.

AA did save his life, and probably someone else's.

But, once he got a handle on it, and took charge of himself - - he was out of there.

He thinks its important that you leave AA at some point. He doesn't think its mentally healthy to continue to hang with a group of that type person.



posted on Oct, 27 2015 @ 11:19 PM
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And I have a major problem with people being court ordered to AA specifically. As I already mentioned, AA is "anonymous". They don't keep records on their members, anyone can walk in. When the court orders people to these meetings, you never know who you're sitting next to. Some of those people might be sex offenders or have violent backgrounds -- no one is compelled to disclose anything to anyone.

The real scary part comes when you get a "sponsor". A sponsor is someone who's been in AA longer and has worked through all 12 of the "steps" themselves. They're sort of like a life-coach. You have 1 on 1 meetings with them, call then on the phone, and they are supposed to help you with your "step work".

From what I've seen, predatory people with huge egos can really take advantage of that power and go nuts with it.

I knew a woman that was in AA. I asked her if she had a sponsor, and she said she sure did. Her sponsor required to call her every night at exactly 8pm, after reading the same 3 pages of the "Big Book" and repeating a prayer 25 times. Yes, you read that correctly.

She was perfectly happy to do it too. I asked her how long this person was making her do this -- she said, "Oh, I've been doing it for like 4 weeks. My sponsor says she'll tell me to stop when I get it. I guess I haven't gotten it yet".

That's just my experience relayed by a friend. I was serously worried for her, as she seemed to loose all sense of identity and individuality. It all became about AA for her. Her sponsor even went as far as to tell her to cut ties with any non-AA people in her life. Even though not everyone she knew drank or did drugs, they were "normies" (what AA people call non-AA people) and didn't understand them.

She'd always have her book with her, and she'd show me some of the "prayers" that go with specific parts of the book she'd read or whatever before having to do something she found difficult. I was surprised at how many prayers were in that book she lugged around.

And from reading blogs and forum posts, it seems that my friend's experience isn't unique. I'm sure your mileage may vary, since each "group" is independent and has a lot of freedom to organize as they see fit within the AA framework.

What I saw, and subsequently read sure seemed like indoctrination of religious beliefs to me. My friend wasn't particularly religious before AA -- and the last time I heard from her she'd relapsed and gone back to AA and was asking for people to pray for her and asking God to help her. She did a complete 180 degrees in less than a year. It wasn't long that she dropped off my radar, and I haven't heard from her since.

When you're down and out, broken and feeling miserable -- it feels good to fit in with a group of nice people. Many people that end up in AA have been abandoned by their families and friends from their screw ups. It can be very tempting to "people please" and compromise one's convictions in order to not be rejected all over again just when you think you might have found a place to belong.



posted on Oct, 27 2015 @ 11:41 PM
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a reply to: Annee

Agreed, there's something about pining over the loss of the ability to drink for years and years that isn't healthy. For most people, just attending some meetings to SEE they have a problem, that they aren't a "special case" (every addict has denial issues it seems), and that sobriety is attainable.

My father drank for 25+ years every single day, usually a 6 pack or more. He went to a few meetings and stopped cold turkey when I was 6. He hasn't had a drink in over 30 years now. He made a firm commitment to stopping, cut that part of his life away. He started hiking and mountain climbing now that he was sober and wouldn't kill himself and hasn't looked back. He's in better shape than I am today.




So at least it seems that AA is better than nothing, right? Not so fast, says Deborah A. Dawson, a respected epidemiologist at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. In her 2005 article in the journal Addiction, Dawson pointed out that many health problems often improve on their own through what’s known as "spontaneous remission." Everyone gets over a flu or a headache, sometimes even without Nyquil or common aspirin. She calculated that the natural rate of recovery for alcoholism was 24.4 percent. In other words, over the course of one year, a quarter of alcoholics got tired and just gave up. No meetings. No treatment. No nothing. They just woke up one day and said, "Enough."

thefix.com

And the thing is, AA takes credit for those people. AA doesn't have very much data anyway to support itself, as they rarely take surveys of their members.

And the little evidence that does exist isn't that great. Dr. Lance Dodes has made a career in treating addiction, and has compiled some pretty interesting information:



The psychiatrist has spent more than 20 years studying and treating addiction. His latest book on the subject is The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry. Dodes tells NPR's Arun Rath that 12-step recovery simply doesn't work, despite anecdotes about success. "We hear from the people who do well; we don't hear from the people who don't do well," he says.


And why are we court ordering people into AA when we look at the numbers?




There is a large body of evidence now looking at AA success rate, and the success rate of AA is between 5 and 10 percent. Most people don't seem to know that because it's not widely publicized. ... There are some studies that have claimed to show scientifically that AA is useful. These studies are riddled with scientific errors and they say no more than what we knew to begin with, which is that AA has probably the worst success rate in all of medicine.

It's not only that AA has a 5 to 10 percent success rate; if it was successful and was neutral the rest of the time, we'd say OK. But it's harmful to the 90 percent who don't do well. And it's harmful for several important reasons. One of them is that everyone believes that AA is the right treatment. AA is never wrong, according to AA. If you fail in AA, it's you that's failed.

NPR

If you know anyone with alcohol problems, Dr. Dodes has a few books that are really worth reading. He's done an amazing amount of not only looking at studies, but looking at the methods used in those studies (sample size, duration, ect).

This is a serious health problem in our society today, and the fact that we court order people into a "religious-themed social support group" is criminal in my eyes. If the courts and government really cared about getting these people better, they'd be funding new studies on addiction and opening detox and rehab centers -- and educating the people better. To me, AA seems like it's a cop-out, and a half-hearted attempt to appear caring, all the while serving as an indoctrination camp for vulnerable people who may not want a religious-themed treatment.

Remember, Bill Wilson who founded AA did so after he had "religious experience":



Earlier that evening, Thacher had visited and tried to persuade him to turn himself over to the care of a Christian deity who would liberate him from alcohol.[20] According to Wilson, while lying in bed depressed and despairing, he cried out, "I'll do anything! Anything at all! If there be a God, let Him show Himself!"[21] He then had the sensation of a bright light, a feeling of ecstasy, and a new serenity. He never drank again for the remainder of his life.

Wikipedia

Well, accounts say he did demand a glass of whiskey on his deathbed -- but I digress.

I think if you're already religious (especially Christian) and want to honestly stop using/drinking -- AA will be MUCH more effective for you.

And despite everything I've said -- it doesn't matter HOW someone gets sober and maintains it, it's that they DO get sober. Whatever works for you is the best treatment course. AA isn't for everyone, nor should it be touted as the "best/only" way to quit drinking. If it works for you, great -- but don't argue with me that its the best and only way for everyone who wants to be sober and clean.
edit on 27-10-2015 by MystikMushroom because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 27 2015 @ 11:47 PM
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The article was very misleading comparing the place to A.A. The people who run this place were family acquaintances of sorts. I also unfortunately know a few people who stayed there for treatment. It is VERY RELIGIOUS. Like speaking in tongues and "Miraculous healing and such.



posted on Oct, 28 2015 @ 12:53 AM
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a reply to: DelMarvel

Really..? Native peoples often worship God (the Creator or whatever,) as do many, many cultures around the world. There are many different outlooks of what God is exactly. That's why it is non-religious to say "The God of your understanding."


edit on 28-10-2015 by LoneCloudHopper2 because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 28 2015 @ 12:54 AM
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a reply to: calstorm

Do they use AA literature and the 12 steps? If so, it's AA.



posted on Oct, 28 2015 @ 01:00 AM
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a reply to: LoneCloudHopper2

They're asking people to admit they are powerless and to submit to a "higher power". The thing is, to an atheist, that goes against their beliefs -- as they are the ones with the power to run their lives. Submitting to a power that is "external and greater" is indeed some kind of spiritual practice, and the fact that is is framed with a "Big Book" (not Good Book, anyone notice that?) -- starts and ends with prayers, and 6 of the 12 steps mention God specifically...makes it organized. Religion is just organized spirituality.

Then we take into account how AA started and the Oxford Group -- who were seriously fundamental Christians -- And the founder of AA's "miraculous spiritual encounter with God" that inspired him (sounds similar to other prophet-style stories).

No, AA is a religion with a doctrine, "holy documents", and belief in a mystical-all-powerful force that controls their destiny.
edit on 28-10-2015 by MystikMushroom because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 28 2015 @ 01:05 AM
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What's HILARIOUS is the melodrama Atheists thrive on...

"OMG Christianity... WOE IS ME, I'M SCORNED... I DIDN'T SURVIVE A BIBLE CLASS, I BURST INTO FLAMES. OMG, he's wearing a cross, omg hiss hiss!!!" Next...

Yeah, you survived it, buttercup, but your guilty conscience didn't, hence you suing...
edit on 28-10-2015 by Kromlech because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 28 2015 @ 01:09 AM
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a reply to: MystikMushroom

They may utilize some things from A.A. I don't know, I just know they force people to pray to Jesus, say the sinners prayer, encourage being filled with the holy spirit, laying of hands to heal the sick, and force people to go to christian church services.



posted on Oct, 28 2015 @ 01:31 AM
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a reply to: calstorm

I wonder why they left that out of the reporting? Seems odd to me, it would have made the case for the lawsuit seem a little more ... founded?




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