Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Why do you hate AA/ Why are you trying to talk people into leaving their 12Step groups/Are you an addict, too? Tina Tessina answers the tough questions about The Real 13th Step: Discovering Confidence, Self-Reliance, and Independence Beyond the Twelve-Step Programs

 Why do you hate AA? Why are you trying to talk people into leaving their 12Step groups? Are you an addict, too? Tina Tessina, Ph.D. answers the tough questions about her book The Real 13th Step: Discovering Confidence, Self-Reliance, and Independence Beyond the Twelve-Step Programs

Why do you hate AA?
I don't. I think the twelve-steps are a brilliant path to recovery. They are psychologically sound. I frequently recommend that my clients attend twelve-step programs.

Why are you telling people leave their 12-step group?

I'm not. Moving beyond the 12-Steps is a gradual process which does not mean leaving one's group prematurely and does not mean abandoning one's own personal program of recovery, and does not mean abandoning the support of friends in recovery. What it does mean is developing the ability to stand up as a fully recovered human being.

Why do you talk people out of going to AA?
I never say people shouldn’t go to meetings, or go to twelve-step programs to get into recovery.  I know the twelve-step program works to get many people into recovery.  What the book does is show readers how to build on the 12-step program foundation of long-term recovery. My clients followed the program and felt it made them strong in recovery and were grateful.  But they desired more. Twelve Step recovery programs offer many benefits including a proven plan for overcoming old thinking and destructive behaviors but, for some people the program becomes a replacement for the addiction; in essence, an addiction to recovery. What the program does not provide is a way to progress beyond the 12-Steps.

Who are you? Are you an alcoholic/addict?
I am a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 35 years’ experience in   Sponsors refer clients who need more than the program offers to me for help. 
counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages. I have worked with alcoholics and addicts and their sponsors for many years.

Have members of Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) and other 12-Step programs really  substituted going to support meetings for their previous addictions?
At first, attending meetings is a substitution, but members who work the twelve steps also learn a lot about maintaining sobriety and changing attitudes
Can 12-Step members "graduate" and leave those support groups without backsliding into their old self-destructive behaviors?
When a person with a solid foundation of long-term recovery does the necessary work to resolve the emotional issues (such as PTSD, anger, grief and anxiety) that pushed them into alcoholism or addiction in the first place, they can complete recovery and move on to a full, autonomous life free of addiction and the fear of relapse.

How do you define self-reliance?
Self-reliance is knowing and liking yourself, being committed to taking care of yourself no matter what. It is being able to enjoy your own company, make your own decisions, and carry them out. It's doing what's important and good for you even when others don't like it.
It's enjoying others, but not making them more important than yourself.
It is making thoughtful decision, thinking clearly in a crisis, and being a competent adult who can play and be childlike, but always think like a grownup.
It's loving wholeheartedly, but still thinking clearly about yourself, your partner, and your relationship.

Can I drink again?
I am frequently asked this question. If your life is working and you are successful and happy, why would you need to drink?  To take the 13th Step into Autonomy a person must be able to self-regulate and set limits. They aren't even tempted to engage in old addictive behaviors. As former AA 12-stepper Richard O says, "I don't want, desire, nor have a yen for booze." Echoing that comment is Mary L., a graduate of OA support groups.  "The food I eat right now is right for me. It's healthy, delicious, and satisfying. I don't feel deprived at all. Why would I want to mess this up?"

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