Saving Addicts

From “Is Addiction Really a Disease?  A Challenge to Twelve-Step Programs,” by Nicholas Grant Boeving at Tikkun:

Let me preface this by saying that I write as someone who has struggled with these issues both as an academic and as someone who has lived in the prison of chemical dependency. I have experienced the despair of finding out I had an “incurable disease,” as well as the despair of being told it could only be arrested by a Protestant-by-proxy twelve-step program. I know as well the process through which disease-identity is cultivated within the walls of Narcotics Anonymous. I experienced firsthand how the disease of addiction is a cipher for all sorts of projections and even, to a certain extent, a symbolic transformation of the Devil himself into the language of medical discourse, echoing the ancient struggle of God, or a “Higher Power” with the Devil, or “the disease of addiction.”

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A 12-Step History? Not so fast.

Amy Levin: When religion in the news bestows a chance to show how complicated history can be, I’ll take it. Rabbi Shais Taub recently published an article in HuffPost Religion on Judaism and addiction recovery, explaining just how spiritually high some steps are in the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program. Taub has some compelling insights into the very spiritually fragile nature of recovering addicts, but what his post arguably lacks is the rich history of 12-step programs in America’s expansive and vivid religious landscape. Continue Reading →