Twelve-step programs have been proven to be the most (and some might say the only) effective method for addiction recovery. This is evidenced by their global popularity and universal influence on treatment modalities. However, in addition to the long, difficult process of comprehending and completing the twelve steps, there are the addict's ego defenses, their suspicious and defiant attitude, puzzling program clichés, confusing jargon, various "twelve-step" myths, inaccurate information, and (very often) preexisting therapeutic issues. Interventions that support abstinence or the normalizing of addictive behavior, such as in work or sex addictions, often fail because of this profoundly complex constellation of symptoms and issues. What adds to the addict's struggle is the often-heard, fear-based, inaccurate, blaming statement: "Well, addicts who relapse don't really want recovery. They don't try hard enough."
With the drastic increase in the number of professionals and addictions-treatment centers, the huge influx of people into twelve-step programs, the many new versions and applications of the twelve steps, and too many false promises about what twelve-step programs can do, there's been a disastrous blurring of the boundaries between therapy and addictions recovery. The efficacy and spiritual integrity of twelve-step programs has not withstood this tidal wave of change. The spiritual solution presented in the original twelve-step literature is now virtually lost in this modern morass.
There are Abstinence Available Addictions (alcohol, tobacco, drugs) and Abstinence Not-Available Addictions (sex, work, relationships, anger, religion, etc.). The second category, because of the nature of the addiction itself, causes all manner of confusion and irresponsibility in both the twelve-step and professional communities. Addicts get lost in this confusion and too often the consequences are relapse or death.
There is a perennial philosophy at work in the twelve steps, but very sadly, most alcoholics or addicts, even though they have the instructions, miss it almost completely. Addictions are the self-destructive outcome of deep spiritual dislocation.
There's a beautiful synergy to the world and twelve-step people are part of that synergy. They add to it, but where do they fit? If they buy into the historical and cultural perspectives of additions, there's shame and isolation - they lose. If they buy into the twelve-step myth that they're unique and that "outsiders" can't help them, they're arrogant and isolated - they lose. If twelve-step people participate in the social hypocrisy rampant in the groups, they may be popular but won't become spiritual - they lose. Any of these take them out of the universal synergy.
This book is a detailed explanation, in real terms that people can understand, of how to escape these destructive and isolating traps; how to negotiate through the twelve steps and become spiritual (get recovered). This is not a quick-read book. It's an in-depth examination of the journey from addicted to recovered, and examines the myths and realities of twelve-step programs, psychology, culture, and spiritual transformation.