The organization known as Alcoholics Anonymous is widely known for the great help it renders to people with alcohol addiction problems. The organization carries out the program through a foundation referred to as the 12 step program. Numerous addicts attributed their successful battle with alcohol to the program. And as a result of its phenomenal success, a lot of people have included the 12 step program to help them combat other forms of addictions apart from alcoholism and drug. Generally, the 12 step program is beneficial to anyone who desires to have control of their lives and behavior.
The program consists of twelve levels, the first being surrendering power. When alcohol, drugs or other dangerous elements are present in a person’s body, there is a tendency for the individual’s life to spin out of control. And at this stage, such people feel the situation can still be controlled, but this is usually not true, as there are certain cases that simply can’t be controlled, and accepting this fact is the initial step.
Both the second and third steps encourage the individual to look up to a superior power. And this is where lots of critics of the 12 step program spotted a flaw, claiming the procedure is too religious in nature. In fairness to them, they are not far from the truth, because the second step states that belief in a power by the individual is important, while the third preaches that an individual must place his entire life in the hands of the Supreme Being- God.
The next step, (fourth) is all about moral inventory and this too has a religious undertone, and no one knows this better than anyone who has sat in a confessional. The fifth level of the 12 step program urges the person to admit his guilt personally, his relatives, friends and colleagues, and lastly God.
The next step bears a very close resemblance to the first- surrendering power. However, instead of being helpless to the dangerous element, the person becomes helpless to God. The Supreme Being is saddled with the task of eliminating the unpleasant sides of the person’s personality. This approach is obviously passive, and not surprisingly has come under the hammer of critics.
The next successive three levels can be summed up as consisting of atoning for the inequities of the person. This takes us to the tenth and eleventh levels. The former seeks another moral inventory, while the latter urges devotion and close ties with God. The last level of the 12 step program offers spiritual rebirth, and urges the person to proclaim his achievements.
Predictably, critics of the 12 step program are having a field day tearing the program to shreds. From claims of it being too religious, to assertions that the person is rendered powerless, because the situation is no longer under his control the instant he places everything in the hands of a supreme power.