Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

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Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby danieLion » Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:30 am

Hi,
Since I don't want people to think I'm engagind in an ad hominem attack on bodom's fine topic
Buddhism and the 12 Step Model of Recovery, I decided to create a new topic to critize the article he posted about their called 9 Essays: Buddhism & the 12 Step Model of Recovery. I've done so in the form of a blog post:

http://inthelion.blogspot.com/2013/09/t ... sm-12.html

I hope you like it; or, if you don't, I hope it at least helps you think more critically about this important issue.
Kindly,
dL
Last edited by danieLion on Thu Sep 05, 2013 7:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby lyndon taylor » Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:34 am

That's why the 12 step program might be better called "irrational recovery"
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby dagon » Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:53 am

Hi Daniel

Thanks for your post and all the wok behind it.

A very interesting read to say the least, to be honest i had never even heard of SMART Recovery before. :embarassed:

My very limited exposure to 12 step programs had run into the "god shaped hole" and seen how the program appeared in the cases i knew of to be little more than a state funded recruitment of converts by certain organisations. Now i have a direction that i can steer other towards that i feel comfortable with where i don't feel that they will be exploited as a resource by an organisation.

metta
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby lyndon taylor » Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:11 am

I think he's refering to rational recovery, based on the teachings of psychologist Albert Ellis, went to one meeting, made a lot of sense, unfortunately the cult members at AA have waged a ruthless war against Rational Recovery to where now you're lucky to find any RR meetings anywhere. How the court system can order people to go into a religious program, AA, beats me, and you are allowed to go to other recovery groups, except thanks to AAs BS there are no other programs, best thing is to get yourself sober and stay the hell away from AA.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby dagon » Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:29 am

SMART Recover link
http://smartrecoveryaustralia.com.au/

metta paul
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby dagon » Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:30 am

SMART Recover link
http://smartrecoveryaustralia.com.au/

metta paul
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby bodom » Wed Sep 04, 2013 12:53 pm

I'm sorry AA hasn't worked for you. It has for me personally and countless others. Use whatever program keeps you sober. I wish you well in your recovery and may we all stay clean and sober with whatever program we work!

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby m0rl0ck » Wed Sep 04, 2013 5:10 pm

AA works. The reason the organization appears theist is that due to the "higher power of your understanding" step, if most of the members are theists it appears theist. If most of the members were buddhists it would likely appear buddhist.
Its not for everybody tho, only those who are sincerely desperate are likely to be able to achieve the degree of surrender required. The proud wont make it and maybe need to take a few more runs around the block :)
"Even if you've read the whole Canon and can remember lots of teachings; even if you can explain them in poignant ways, with lots of people to respect you; even if you build a lot of monastery buildings, or can explain inconstancy, stress, and not-self in the most detailed fashion ... The only thing that serves your own true purpose is release from suffering.

"And you'll be able to gain release from suffering only when you know the one mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby m0rl0ck » Wed Sep 04, 2013 5:41 pm

danieLion wrote:Hi,
Since I don't want people to think I'm engagind in an ad hominem attack on bodom's fine topic
Buddhism and the 12 Step Model of Recovery, I decided to create a new topic to critize the article he posted about their called 9 Essays: Buddhism & the 12 Step Model of Recovery. I've done so in the form of a blog post:

http://inthelion.blogspot.com/2013/09/t ... sm-12.html

I hope you like it; or, if you don't, I hope it at least helps you think more critically about this important issue.
Kindly,
dL



Looking at the blog post my opinion of it is that if you are an alcoholic you really need to talk to your sponsor and if you arent, you are suffering from some basic misunderstandings about alcoholism. Misunderstandings that may only be cleared up with first hand experience.
Just as a for instance, i know a guy who cant believe in much but has managed to stay sober by adopting as his higher power G.O.D. (Group Of Drunks) in other words AA and his home group.
I really think the only people who can speak with authority about alcoholism are recovering alcoholics themselves, others can at best only indulge in speculation.
"Even if you've read the whole Canon and can remember lots of teachings; even if you can explain them in poignant ways, with lots of people to respect you; even if you build a lot of monastery buildings, or can explain inconstancy, stress, and not-self in the most detailed fashion ... The only thing that serves your own true purpose is release from suffering.

"And you'll be able to gain release from suffering only when you know the one mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby bodom » Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:49 pm

AA works. The reason the organization appears theist is that due to the "higher power of your understanding" step, if most of the members are theists it appears theist. If most of the members were buddhists it would likely appear buddhist.
Its not for everybody tho, only those who are sincerely desperate are likely to be able to achieve the degree of surrender required. The proud wont make it and maybe need to take a few more runs around the block :)


m0rl0ck wrote:Looking at the blog post my opinion of it is that if you are an alcoholic you really need to talk to your sponsor and if you arent, you are suffering from some basic misunderstandings about alcoholism. Misunderstandings that may only be cleared up with first hand experience.
Just as a for instance, i know a guy who cant believe in much but has managed to stay sober by adopting as his higher power G.O.D. (Group Of Drunks) in other words AA and his home group.
I really think the only people who can speak with authority about alcoholism are recovering alcoholics themselves, others can at best only indulge in speculation.


Thank you mOrlOck. Well said.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby Viscid » Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:34 pm

I'm not sure how important being technically accurate about Buddhist philosophy actually is when appealing to it in an attempt to recover from an addiction: your philosophy should be that which best supports your recovery. Alcoholics, I imagine, are desperate to find some philosophical stability.. and if they are alienated from the concept of God, then a quasi-Buddhism, which is less accurate but perhaps more effective than 'actual' Buddhism, would be of greater benefit.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby danieLion » Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:49 pm

Hi lyndon,
lyndon taylor wrote:I think he's refering to rational recovery, based on the teachings of psychologist Albert Ellis, went to one meeting, made a lot of sense, unfortunately the cult members at AA have waged a ruthless war against Rational Recovery to where now you're lucky to find any RR meetings anywhere. How the court system can order people to go into a religious program, AA, beats me, and you are allowed to go to other recovery groups, except thanks to AAs BS there are no other programs, best thing is to get yourself sober and stay the hell away from AA.

Rational Recovery was not started by Albert Ellis. It was started and terminated by Jack Trimpey.
Rational Recovery claims that "AVRT has made recovery groups obsolete." In 1998, Rational Recovery announced, "The Recovery Group Movement is Over!...Beginning January 1, 1999, all addiction recovery group meetings for Rational Recovery in the United States, Canada, and abroad are hereby canceled and will not be rescheduled ever again, it's just a waste of time and is completely unproductive." Despite those remarks, there are still some groups in existence today, although the numbers are dwindling....

SMART Recovery split from Rational Recovery just after this research and continues to offer these same groups.

Furthermore, Albert Ellis did not start SMART Recovery, but they do extensively use his philosophy--but not to the exclusion of other approaches. SMART is sort of a "middle way" between the extremism of AA and Rational Recovery. SMART utilizes a reasoned interpretation of evidence and, following REBT's emphasis on not imputing musts and shoulds where they are not called for, advocates remaining scientifically flexible to past, current, and emerging data.

As such, it has been recognized by several experts as a viable and effective option to the 12 Step Model.

SMART is recognized by the American Academy of Family Physicians ["Substance Abuse--How To Recognize It". American Family Physician 67 (7). 2003-04-01. Retrieved 2007-12-12.], as well as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) ["Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research Based Guide". National Institute on Drug Abuse. Archived from the original on 2007-09-10. Retrieved 2007-12-12.] and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) ["Alcohol and Drug Information". US Dept of Health and Human Services. Retrieved 2007-12-12.]. NIDA and NIAAA are agencies of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Source

Kindly,
dL
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby danieLion » Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:23 pm

Hi Bodom,
bodom wrote:I'm sorry AA hasn't worked for you. It has for me personally and countless others. Use whatever program keeps you sober. I wish you well in your recovery and may we all stay clean and sober with whatever program we work!

Thanks bodom,

I would never tell someone dealing with addiction not to try the 12 Step Model. I would have to engage in inflexible, rigid, overgeneralized, all-or-nothing thinking, feeling and behaving to do that. Participating in a 12 Step program will help you see for yourself. I could be wrong, but that's the best way to discover why or how the 12 Steps are not helpful to most people most of the time--or, if you're in the small minority, to discover how and why it can help you. I spent three years in 12 Step Recovery, so my knowledge is not merely academic. Parts of the 12 Step Model have and still do work for me, but they are not the sole domain of AA, NA, etc.... I don't have issues with the fact that 12 Step Models supplement recovery for some people some of the time. I have issues with the party-line reasons given why it works, and, more crucially, with the deep spin put on how it works. The current evidence suggests that there is a mis-attribution phenomena occuring within 12 Step Model communities; that sobriety is much more about self-reliance and self-control than the 12 Step model and its adherents are willing to admit. We might ask if 12 Step approaches are not just placebo like effects? If this is the case, and I think it is, it connects well with the Buddha's teachings on Right Effort, self and Dhamma Refuge, and self-reliance.

Has AA helped "countless others"? I'm not so sure. I might be wrong, but maybe they helped themselves and attributed it to something else?

As Lance Dodes, M.D., pyschiatrist and Harvard professor notes in his book, The Heart of Addiction:
Two studies cited by Fingarette that looked at eighteen-month followups of people in AA found that at most, 25 percent of people were still attending meetings, and that among regular AA members, only 22 percent consistently maintained sobriety. Taken together, these numbers indicate that fewer than 6 percent of people both attended and stayed sober [Fingarette, H. Heavy Drinking. Berkely, Calif.: University of California Press, 1988] (p. 9; Harper-Collins: '02; my in quote italics)


And this more current data summarized by Scientific American suggests that self-efficacy (a la Bandura) is probably the primary cause of sobriety and that 12 Step Models are no more effective than a placebo like effect: Does Alcoholics Anonymous Work?
Kindly,
dL
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby danieLion » Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:33 pm

Hi m0rl0ck,
m0rl0ck wrote:The proud wont make it and maybe need to take a few more runs around the block :)

Did you overlook my critque of the rock bottom hypothesis?
Kindly,
dL
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby danieLion » Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:19 pm

Hi m0rl0ck,
m0rl0ck wrote:Looking at the blog post my opinion of it is that if you are an alcoholic you really need to talk to your sponsor and if you arent, you are suffering from some basic misunderstandings about alcoholism. Misunderstandings that may only be cleared up with first hand experience....

I really think the only people who can speak with authority about alcoholism are recovering alcoholics themselves, others can at best only indulge in speculation.

Recovery does not require sponsorship or exclude help from others who have no personal experience with addiction and recovery. We all have dukkah in common.

"When he's ready to get sober, he will...."

This idea of essentially blaming the patients for not benefiting from the single treatment approach they were offered was very different from customary medical practice. In the rest of medicine, treatments are changed if they are not effective. It seemed that for alcoholism, and I later learned for addictions generally, somehow the treatment had become stuck. Because of a widely held belief, even faith, in the correctness of their standard approach, people--both those suffering with alcohlism and those trying to help them--stayed with it whether it worked or not* This left nobody but the patient to blame.

Clearly it made sense for those people who did well in traditional AA-oriented treatments to continue with them. But for the majority of people who have not benefited, or not benefited enough, I have found that it is essential to pay attention to exactly those aspects of their emotional lives that are routinely ignored in standard treatments....

MYTH 6: YOU SHOULD BE TREATED BY SOMEONE WHO ALSO HAS HAD AN ADDICTION....
To the extent that this has any merit, it would be because some people have trouble trusting anyone who has not gone through the identical experience....

[T]he people best suited to treat [addictions] are those who are trained and knowledgeable about the psychology of addiction. Of course, people with addictions are as suitable for providing treatment as anyone else. But unfortunately, as is well known, there are many people presenting themselves as therapists or counselors in the addiction field who have limited or no training. Their principle qualifications in their own minds is their personal status of being in the process of recovery.... Too often, they believe this credential suffices to provide professional assistance to others. Consequently, what they offer consists of little more than sharing their personal experience, or of a review of the twelve steps.... Naturally, it is good to hear of others' experiences, and when AA is helpful, mutual support is a major reason. But if you are seeking professional treatment, you deserve a lot more--someone trained to help you learn what you need to learn about yourself. And beyond this, sometimes such peer counselng is directly harmful, as when people are badgered to accept...one way.

[T]herapists who are expert in psychology of addiction have no more need to have an addiction themselves in order to help you than your medical doctor needs to have a cold in order to treat your cold. Naturally, any therapist should be compassionate, respectful, and empathic. But that has nothing to with whether the therapist has an addiction himself.

This brings up another troubling part of this myth: it is an insult to people suffering from addictions. Believing that one has to be treated by a fellow sufferer implies that people suffering with addictions are so different from the rest of the human race that anyone who does not share the problem could not possibly understand them! What an awful idea. The truth of course is far from this. Addictions are human conditions like many other common problems with which nearly all of us suffer. It is perfectly fine to seek treatment for them from someone without an addiction.

[*Two studies cited by Fingarette that looked at eighteen-month followups of people in AA found that at most, 25 percent of people were still attending meetings, and that among regular AA members, only 22 percent consistently maintained sobriety. Taken together, these numbers indicate that fewer than 6 percent of people both attended and stayed sober (Fingarette, H. Heavy Drinking. Berkely, Calif.: University of California Press, 1988).]

From: The Heart of Addiction by Lance Dodes, M.D., pyschiatrist and Harvard professor (pp. 8-9, 97-98; Harper-Collins: '02; my italics)

Kindly,
dL
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby danieLion » Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:24 pm

Hi Viscid,
Viscid wrote:I'm not sure how important being technically accurate about Buddhist philosophy actually is when appealing to it in an attempt to recover from an addiction: your philosophy should be that which best supports your recovery. Alcoholics, I imagine, are desperate to find some philosophical stability.. and if they are alienated from the concept of God, then a quasi-Buddhism, which is less accurate but perhaps more effective than 'actual' Buddhism, would be of greater benefit.

I'm pretty sure, despite my best efforts to date, I've only approximated a technical accuracy of the Buddha-Dhamma, and I have serious doubts that such accuracy is possible.

The rest of what you said corresponds very well to my personal experience.
Kindly,
dL
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby mirco » Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:34 pm

danieLion wrote:Recovery does not require sponsorship or exclude help from others who have no personal experience with addiction and recovery. We all have dukkha in common.

So, that means, you get along equally with anyone around you?

danieLion wrote:
MYTH 6: YOU SHOULD BE TREATED BY SOMEONE WHO ALSO HAS HAD AN ADDICTION....
To the extent that this has any merit, it would be because some people have trouble trusting anyone who has not gone through the identical experience....
From: The Heart of Addiction by Lance Dodes, M.D., pyschiatrist and Harvard professor)

Here it seems, he doesn't know much about addiction and recovery.

Having trouble trusting people is not a shortcut of some addicts, it's one of the fundamentals addiction (and personality disorders) is build upon.


Best Wishes,
:-)
I get what I give
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby mirco » Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:47 pm

danieLion wrote:
Naturally, it is good to hear of others' experiences, and when AA is helpful, mutual support is a major reason. But if you are seeking professional treatment, you deserve a lot more -- someone trained to help you learn what you need to learn about yourself.
From: The Heart of Addiction by Lance Dodes

working the steps is the trained help.

Best Wishes,
:-)
I get what I give
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby m0rl0ck » Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:23 pm

danieLion wrote:that sobriety is much more about self-reliance and self-control than the 12 Step model and its adherents are willing to admit.
dL



Having been sober more than 20 years this is one of the funnier things i have read today :) Thanks for the laugh. :clap:
"Even if you've read the whole Canon and can remember lots of teachings; even if you can explain them in poignant ways, with lots of people to respect you; even if you build a lot of monastery buildings, or can explain inconstancy, stress, and not-self in the most detailed fashion ... The only thing that serves your own true purpose is release from suffering.

"And you'll be able to gain release from suffering only when you know the one mind."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: Problems with "9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Steps"

Postby chownah » Thu Sep 05, 2013 2:44 am

Different people learn different things in different ways. I learned this when studying Education at Uni. To the extent that different people who indulge in different intoxicants for different reasons need to learn something to control their indulgences is the degree to which different educational approaches should be made available to them.

Bottom line: There is no single approach that will work for everyone.......we need many different approaches available.
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