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I ask because I have found my commitment to myself through the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, I do not condone most of what I see in the rooms, now that I know myself. But i still go to meetings, despite my certainty of never drinking/using again. I also met someone there who is going through the same self actualization I am, so most of my reasoning for still showing up is an excuse to converse with him. Our conversations tend to try to relate the Objectivist ideal to the 12 steps. I want to get some feedback to justify my time spent on the steps, or to help me stop considering them altogether. Yet I think I already know...but i would like some different ideas to consider.

BTW, I am aware that most of this program is clearly full of social BS like anything else, I do not need help seeing that. I am interested to know if anyone has specific things that parallel Ayn Rand's ideals. Also, I know any Howard Roarks out there would be unlikely to use a mind altering substance in the first place.

asked Jan 21 '12 at 15:39

JonSnowDanEF's gravatar image

JonSnowDanEF
6015

edited Jan 22 '12 at 10:05

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦
1002425618

I'm struggling with the same issue. The club I go to isn't highly spiritual, but there are members who are, and the God concept, group think, and other issues come up frequently that make me uncomfortable.

I continue to attend meetings because of the lack of alternatives.

Last week I almost left a meeting half-way through because a person referred to atheists and agnostics as "smug" (ha!) and that they were constantly disrupting meetings by complaining about references to God and Jesus Christ. I've never witnessed this myself.

(Feb 17 '13 at 12:15) Ripside Ripside's gravatar image

(continued)

I have been told, and have read in "the Big Book" that eventually anyone who "keeps coming back" will "come around" to the "right way of thinking", stop being selfish and egotistical, and find God.

I've been researching alternatives to AA, such as Secular Organization for Sobriety (SOS) and others. There aren't any clubs in my area that I've found yet that have a secular sobriety philosophy, so I'm considering organizing a group myself.

Best of luck to you - and don't give up your beliefs.

(Feb 17 '13 at 12:15) Ripside Ripside's gravatar image

Let me try answering a different question: "What would an AA 12-steps look like if Objectivist principles were applied to it?"

Actual AA 12 steps:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Possible Objectivist 12 steps:

  1. We admitted that alcohol has negatively affected us base on objective facts (e.g., job loss, family loss, DUI, etc.) and that we need to change it instead of operating under the "feeling" that it's not really a problem.
  2. Believe in our own abilities to restore ourselves to sanity.
  3. Make a decision to take 100% responsibility for our own happiness. This means no more blaming others or evading reality.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. (Original is fine)
  5. Admitted to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to ourselves remove all these defects of character.
  7. Work toward the removal of defects by refusing to evade reality and address our problems head-on. If we did something bad, accept that it's done but change our viewpoint so that we do not make the same mistake again. If we took on unearned guilt, then throw off those shackles and stand tall.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. (Original is fine -- I say this fit in with Justice)
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. (Original is fine)
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. (Original is fine)
  11. Sought through meditation to improve our conscious awareness and mental focus so that we can live a conscious (vs. unconscious) life.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. (I'm actually OK with this)

answered Jan 21 '12 at 15:55

Humbug's gravatar image

Humbug
5181285

edited Jan 21 '12 at 20:41

If you remove the God steps (2, 3, 6, 7 and 11), the rest is okay. Even some of the non-God steps need a little modification. For example, step 1 isn't completely true--even if one is addicted, one is not powerless, even if you need help from others that does not mean you have no power yourself. However, the insight that one must admit that one has a problem, is addicted, and needs help (which I take to be the core of step one) is perfectly valid. Independence does not mean never needing help from others, but rather that one's primary orientation to reality is first-handed.

The focus on searching oneself, taking moral inventories, etc., is extremely beneficial.

The commitment to righting past wrongs is also excellent.

As for helping other alcoholics, this is perfectly acceptable, as long as it is not a sacrifice according to your hierarchy of values--helping other people is not contrary to Objectivist principles.

You may enjoy Rand's article "The Metaphysical vs. the Man-made" in Philosophy, Who Needs It? where she draws inspiration from the AA credo, giving them credit for making a key insight in an eloquent fashion.

answered Jan 21 '12 at 16:18

ericmaughan43's gravatar image

ericmaughan43 ♦
944619

Thank you, I will look into the article... I just need to finish rereading Atlas Shrugged(which i am only just starting), it is the last one i need to catch up on.

(Jan 21 '12 at 16:38) JonSnowDanEF JonSnowDanEF's gravatar image

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Asked: Jan 21 '12 at 15:39

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Last updated: Feb 17 '13 at 12:15