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The Three Most Toxic Aspects Of The 12-step Movement by mikeblamedenial

The Three Most Toxic Aspects Of The 12-step Movement

by mikeblamedenial

Much has been said about all the unhealthy aspects of steppism–  its bad psychology; thought-stopping slogans; parroted gibberish; disengagement with the real world and real problems, etc, etc. While all valid, and certainly worthy of discussion and consideration,  the qualities I find most toxic about steppism are these:

1) Its self-denying religiosity, based solely upon its need for coercion  from  the legal, medical, and human services industries to maintain a fresh supply of potential indoctrinees;

2) The diseasing of its membership, first contrived by Marty Mann, to legitimize that coercion and referrals from those industries;

3) Its false doctrine of powerlessness, designed to foster a sense of dependency on the movement, and to make the commitment to steppism by its practitioners life-long, and deeply ingrained.

Without referrals/coercion from outside agencies, AA membership would likely have flat-lined, then began to diminish, in the 1970s. The Hughes Act made the addiction industry profitable. The war on drugs began over-taxing the judicial and prison systems, and made the options of treatment in lieu of, and sentencing of offenders to AA more and more attractive.  A “religious” label on the 12-step movement would remove these sources of new members.

The “addiction is a disease” ruse further legitimizes the addictions industry, and gives AA a nearly-endless source of new and recycled chair-warmers in its never-ending cycle of short-lived individual memberships. With the typical referral staying in the rooms for less than one month, the need for fresh court slips and half-way house vans in the parking lot is never-ending.

Powerlessness  is, of course, the biggest hammer in the 12-step tool-box. Without it, who would want to stick around the rooms very long?  Sadly, along with powerlessness comes the sense of disempowerment, and a very real dependence  upon a model which does little to serve as an inspiration for self-empowerment, self-improvement, or much else beyond the admiration of one’s co-indoctrinees. Powerlessness is right beside hopelessness in the catalogue of delibilitating emotions, and AA has staked its very essence upon instilling it in its practitioners. Toxic, untheraputic, and unhelpful as it is, it is the very core of steppism.