Currently, recovery from addiction breaks into three distinct camps:
- Conversion Experience: Working one-on-one, recovered addicts take the newcomer through the 12 Steps as instructed in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous facilitating a personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from addiction. Least popular of the three camps.
- Meeting–Makers: 90 meetings in 90 days, get a sponsor, join a home group. You are never recovered but always recovering. Most popular of the three camps
- Treatment: Discussion Groups, Frothy emotional appeals, therapy, open topic sharing about your feelings, supposedly alleviates the sufferer’s pain.
Conversionists vs. Meeting-Makers
Conversionists see Meeting-Makers as a watered-down recovery. Meeting-Makers are unwilling to make the “effort” so long as they can “get by” on meetings and fellowship. Going to meetings is a weak approach that keeps suffering addicts from getting “spiritual” help, turning the program into a place where addicts get “dry or clean” without getting better. Conversionists see Meeting-Makers as choosing an “easier, softer way” — approving non Big Book approaches such as interpeting slogans, reading poetry, celebrating medallions or sobriety birthdays, step discussions, making coffee, and setting up chairs.
Meeting-Makers perceive Conversionists, a.k.a “Big Book Thumpers”, “Muckers” or “Step Nazis” as having a reputation for being intolerant and righteous. Meeting-Makers point out that many addicts stay sober without having to “get religion” or work the Steps. Furthermore, Conversionists scare addicts away from the meeting rooms with all their “GOD” talk, turning addicts off the program, maybe even causing them to relapse. Meeting-Makers believe that “meeting makers make it”.
Meeting-Makers vs. Treatment
Meeting-Makers view Treatment recovery as having the wrong approach when dealing with addictions. While therapy might be helpful for many, an addicts’ recovery depends on the support of the group or fellowship–only those with first-hand knowledge of the disease of addiction can really understand the condition of a suffering addict.
Treatment Centres think the practices of Meeting-Makers are insufficient to help addicts recover. Meetings are ok, but going to meetings is often not enough to help addicts deal with the underlying psychological causes of their substance abuse.
Treatment vs. Conversionist
The Treatment view of recovery reacts strongly against the Conversionist notion that selfishness is the root of an addicts problems. Psychological recovery insists that suffering addicts need to be affirmed and nurtured, i.e. “hugs not drugs” — and should not be scolded or told that they are self-centered. Addicts already have a negative self-image and focusing on ones’ character defects can only increase that negativity.
Conversionists believe that Psychological treatment is insufficient to bring about the necessary personality change for recovery. Conversionists think Psychological treatment emphasis on “feeling feelings” and “expressing pain” leads only to a recovery environment dominated by narcissism and diseased thinking. Psychological recovery tortures suffering addicts by allowing them to obsess over their symptoms without offering a “real” solution to the basic problem of addiction.
Conversion, Meetings, or Treatment – How do you take your recovery…?