Addiction Class V:
Many theorists, including Anna Freud, Alfred Adler, Carl Jung, Karen Horney, Otto Rank, Erik Erikson, Melanie Klein, and Heinz Kohut, built upon Freud's fundamental ideas and often formed their own differentiating systems of psychotherapy. These were all later termed under a broader label of psychodynamic, meaning anything that involved the psyche's conscious/unconscious influence on external relationships and the self. Sessions tended to number into the hundreds over several years. Behaviorism developed in the 1920s, and behavior modification as a therapy became popularized in the 1950s and 1960s. Notable contributors were Joseph Wolpe in South Africa, M.B. Shipiro and Hans Eysenck in Britain, and B.F. Skinner in the United States. Behavioral therapy approaches relied on principles of operant conditioning, classical conditioning and social learning theory to bring about therapeutic change in observable symptoms. The approach became commonly used for phobias, as well as other disorders.
The botched revolt began one rainy morning in Dr. Howard’s addiction recovery class. Alli Breadsley was tired of the same speeches and information in the class. She didn’t agree with what was being said in the class. The girl wasn’t even convinced that Dr. Howard was skilled at what she was doing. So, Alli decided to try and test her out. The girl expected to overthrow the teacher. But sadly, well… read on.
1. We admitted we were powerless over (fill in the blank)—that our lives had become unmanageable.
Dr. Howard began writing all of the twelve steps on the board. This met her students with confused looks on their faces. The steps were new to them. What was all of this?
Dr. Howard turned to her students smiling.
“Good morning class!” she greeted them.
“Good morning, Dr. Howard!” the class all grumbled out. Alli read the board quietly to herself. She saw this as her chance to start the revolt.
So she raised her hand and asked, “Dr. Howard, what the hell is all of that on the board?” The psychologist turned to the board and looked at her information. She turned back to her students smiling.
“This,” Wendee replied. “Is the Twelve-Step program. This is one way to get off of addiction. Take notes if you need to.” The students all did so. Something just didn’t sit well with Alli. Her takeover plan was coming into action.
“I don’t get it!” she announced loudly. Dr. Howard looked at her oddly.
“Don’t get what?” she asked. Alli sat up straight.
“Why do with have to admit that we are powerless?” she asked. “I can quit any time I like!”
“That may be true,” Dr. Howard replied. “But not everyone has the will power to quit on their own. Sometimes it is out of their hands.”
“Why is that?” Alli challenged.
“Denial and genetics!” Dr. Howard replied.
“So you are saying that we are defective by default?” Nathan’s girlfriend challenged.
“Not defective,” the teacher corrected. “It just happens that way sometimes.” Alli sat back in silence. “Lucky guess!” she thought pestered. It was time for round two.
2. We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
“What do you mean ‘that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity?’” Alli challenged again when she was ready. Dr. Howard was ready to go for this one. She had come to know Alli Breadsley too well over the weeks she was in the class.
“Sometimes,” the teacher started up. “There are forces that can steer us home again.”
“How can they restore us to sanity?” the girl bit back. “I don’t buy that shit!” The doctor shrugged harmlessly at her student.
“That depends on how you perceive on how you want it to help you.” she replied. “Sometimes, it does all of the work and others time it helps in small ways. You might not even notice that the power is helping you or not. You just have to trust your instincts.”
3. We have made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Mike shuddered at that one. Painful memories came flooding back in his mind. The word “God” always made him flinch in misery.
“What’s with God all of sudden?” Alli challenged.
“How do you mean?” Dr. Howard asked back.
“I don’t believe in him!” the spoiled princess yelped out.
“Neither do I,” Edward replied.
“I am aware of that,” the teacher replied.
“So why throw in God?” Alli asked.
“This is just one method of recovery you all can take,” Wendee replied. “You don’t have to follow the twelve-step program, but if you want to, go ahead.” They all went quiet again.
4. We have made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
“What does that mean?” Tina asked.
“Fact-facing and fact-finding, so to speak.” Dr. Howard answered. “For this one, I want you all to write down what triggered you to start these addictions.”
“Why?” Alli challenged.
“So we can see what the problem is and try to fix it.” Wendee answered.
“And what if that doesn’t work?” Doug questioned.
“It’s worth a try.” the teacher replied. All pondered that one for a moment.
5. We have admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
“Are you trying to make us believe in God or something?” Alli questioned.
“No, why?” Dr. Howard replied.
“You came adding in God in these steps!” the spoiled princess pointed out.
“Again,” the doctor replied. “You don’t have to follow these to better.”
“You seem to be saying that we are defaults again!” Alli called out.
“No,” Dr. Howard said. “It’s saying you are admitting that you are human. No one expects you to be perfect or anything. Everyone messes up from time to time. Even I do.” She had everyone’s attention now. Alli still wasn’t fully convinced.
6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
“You know that’s next to impossible, right?” Alli asked.
“Not necessarily!” Dr. Howard argued.
“Oh?” the student asked. “How so?”
“Just set yourself some goals and work hard towards them,” the teacher replied.
“And what if that fails?” Alli asked.
“You won’t know until you try,” the teacher answered. “But if it does, keep reinforcing yourself to try harder.” Alli sat silence. So far, the teacher was winning. The girl’s revolt was weakening fast. She had to come up with something or she would have to admit defeat.
7. We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
“Let me guess,” Alli barked. “We’re only human and not defects!”
“That’s right!” Dr. Howard replied.
“Okay,” the spoiled princess grumbled. “I get it! We are not defects!” The doc smiled again.
“That’s it!” she called out. Alli sighed in defeat. This wasn’t working at all.
8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Alli burst out laughing at that one. Wendee caught her on that one.
“Find anything funny, Ms. Breadsley?” she asked. The spoiled princess looked up at her smiling.
“What if they don’t want to forgive us?” she questioned. Everyone looked at Dr. Howard looking for a reply. The teacher smiled at her student.
“Just be content on knowing that you tried to make it right with them,” she admitted. “The people you wronged won’t always forgive you, but if you at least go out of your way to make things right, you’ll have some peace with you when you die.” Alli sat their scowling at her. “You just have an answer for everything, don’t you?” she thought in mounting annoyance.
9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
“Remember,” the doc said. “You’re intentions to set amends may be good in the beginning, but sometimes they can go awry. But don’t worry, it happens sometimes. Don’t get frustrated when things go south. Take a minute to see your mistakes and fix your ties in a different approach.” Alli just rolled her eyes. She was running out of ways to argue with the teacher.
10. We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
“Even when you set out to do good,” Dr. Howard went on. “You can mess up. Don’t be hard on yourself. Just take responsibility for your actions, learn from them, and do better in the future.”
“Is it really that simple?” Nathan asked.
“Not at first,” the doc replied. “But once you do it a few times, it’ll be second nature to you.” Alli just looked away crossed. “Gee thanks, Nate!” she thought trying not to get pissed. “You’re not helping my cause at all!” This revolt was next to dead now.
11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His Will for us and the power to carry that out.
Alli couldn’t help but to smirk at the eleventh step. It caught Dr. Howard’s eye.
“Again with the God and the prayer thing, eh?” she asked. The doc smiled.
“You can do that,” she replied. “The main idea is to take time out for yourself and clear your thoughts at least once each day. Alli went quiet again. She was defeated yet again.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
“What is the point of that?” Alli asked aloud.
“One may want to try and help other addicts overcome their trials!” the doc answered. The spoiled princess prepared herself for her biggest question yet.
“Why are you helping us?” she asked aloud. Everyone, including Simone, turned to her to hear the answer to that one! The doc just simply smiled.
“Because,” she replied. “I have a passion to give help to addicts that really want it. Succeed or misstep, the whole journey with them to recovery is all worth it end.” The students looked at her with a new light. Edward and Alli didn’t seem to believe her. Oh well. Their loss if they didn’t understand it. They will pretty soon if they finally took that first step. Dr. Howard smiled to herself a small smile. She knew how to keep order to the skeptical.