Non 12-step Recovery

Sometimes being in recovery gets old. A few years ago, back when I was seeing Father M. the wonder therapist, one of the many books I read was Stanton Peele’s book, Love and Addiction. It was informative, but not terribly helpful to me. Gee, I wonder if the bad therapist I was seeing had anything to do with that. Of course, without the therapist I wouldn’t have been interested in the book since my life didn’t unravel without his help.

Recently I’ve taken to reading Peele’s blog, which more often than not pisses me off. I get the feeling that he looks down on people like me, people who just couldn’t (wouldn’t) stop, people who want to be disempowered, or if not want, at least acquiesce to powerlessness.

Feeling defensive certainly affects how I read him. Maybe he’d be quite compassionate if he was my therapist. He’s devoted his career to helping addicts, that’s demonstrably compassionate. Plus I’ll hazard a guess that he doesn’t email sexual fantasies to his clients, always a bonus when it comes to a healthy therapeutic relationship! (Yeah, I know that’s not taking my responsibility for my actions. As a friend of mine recently pointed out, even though he was wrong, I’m not a child. I wasn’t coerced. I got exactly what I asked for. And he did pay a terrible price for his mistake.) Besides, surely fighting the status-quo of the treatment industry gets old, which would explain the often sarcastic tone in Peele’s posts.

Here’s the thing: what if the only reason I’m even interested in his opinion is because my addictive thinking is creatively working overtime to find yet another rationalization?

What if he’s wrong.
What if he’s right.

This, my friends is where fundamentalism begins. When stuff is so confusing or overwhelming you just pick something to believe in and reject further input. If nothing else, fundamentalism gets you off the hamster wheel. That puts me between a rock and a hard place. I don’t want to rationalize but I also don’t want to turn my brain off.

But hey, all this shit can be a worry for another day. Just for today, I’m going to put it on the back burner. I have a new audio book, Spin and it’s loaded on my new super cool ipod that I got for Mother’s Day. “Just for today,” that part of 12-step recovery is well worth keeping, regardless of what I do about the rest.



  1. well ive been in various recovery programs for nearly 20 yrs and although they annoy me at times,they work,u sound like your are analyzing your self into a stupour,i know for myself when im in pain i can start looking around to see whos at fault,when actually the best thing to do is sit with it,stop fighting it,and realise again that life bloody hurts sometimes and thats the deal,i hope this helps……

  2. Thanks for the comment on my blog. It’s been nice following back and getting to know you.

    And is it Spin by Robert Charles Wilson? Amazing book, I loved it. I’ve been dying to read the sequel for ages.

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