I have navigated the 12-step community for nearly two decades, and in that time I have witnessed countless people and families being returned to health. These many life changing events have placed me in a position where I can never doubt the efficacy of the 12-step process as a harm reduction option in preventing drug deaths.

Recently I read an article that attacked the fellowships and left me with a bad taste in my mouth regarding the motive and intention of the person writing it. Was he writing it to warn people away, or to educate us on how we could make it better? Or was it just to justify and rationalise their reasons for leaving the programme. You decide!

It was obvious to me it was a hit piece on the fellowships, which is unfair because it was not an accurate representation of the programme. When you sell half-truths to the public in can create prejudice in people’s minds which could block them from another lifesaving harm reduction option in overcoming drug addiction and its harms!

Given that this individual was a member of the 12-step fellowship and claims to have had many years sobriety working the 12-step programme it left me wondering what programme he was actually talking about as I did not recognise the one he spoke of!

I am not writing this to defend the fellowships, as basic harm reduction does not need to defend itself, anything that helps people recover health is a blessing in a world that fiercely misunderstands drug addiction and recovery.

The truth is the 12-step fellowships do have many shortcomings. But they mostly come in the people who don’t understand the programme of recovery. The original manuscript of the 12-steps states: “Nothing would please us so much as to write a book which would contain no basis for contention or argument.” Yes, It’s not perfect!

The programme also tells us, “we do not take any medical point of view, to co-operate with men of medicine, to not disregard other human health measures, never to hesitate in taking our problems to doctors, psychologists, and practitioners of various kinds. That there should be no hesitancy in consulting a doctor or psychiatrist. Outside help is welcomed and encouraged by the programme.”

Our process also tells us, “In all probability, we shall never be able to touch more than a fair fraction of the alcohol/drug problem in all its ramifications. Upon therapy for the person himself, we surely have no monopoly.” So any help is necessary!

If you are going to write a hit piece on the 12-steps don’t litter it with half-truths to further a personal agenda because people may get the wrong half and that could potentially be “harm enduring NOT harm reducing”.

If I ever did betray myself and act out the lie that I can control drugs again, it would never be because of any shortcoming in the programme. That one’s on me!

  • Anonymous Member