I Love 12-Step Programs

In the past, I’ve often made fun of 12-step programs because I don’t believe that addiction is a medical illness as much as a failure of moral will.

But after some first-hand experience, I’ve come to think that everybody should go to 12-step meetings. It’s a great way to take a fearless moral inventory of your life and to begin making reparations to those you’ve needlessly hurt.

The sharing is amazing. We all get a few minutes to talk and the quality of the personal disclosure is unlike anything I’ve experienced. Twelve-step programs are the one place I know of where people are likely to discuss their own responsibility for their problems. What a pleasant change from listening to people blame everyone but themselves for their woes.

I’ve gotta say that in my experience, women are the least likely sex to own up to how they abuse people. Every healthy man with half a clue knows he has a rapist and a murderer inside of him and that without self-control this monster will erupt.

You ask women about their moral struggles and you usually get answers like, “I’m too nice. I give too much. I’m too loving. I care too much. I try too hard. I’m too interested in other people. I can’t sit by while innocent people suffer. I’m too vulnerable. I share too much. I’m just too wonderful. I’m a victim. Let me count the ways.”

I know several men whose adult children stopped speaking to them when they remarried. Why? Because the ex set the kids against them. I don’t know any situations in the reverse. Men are much less likely to set the kids against the ex-wife.

Men are used to competition and they they tend to play by the rules. Women don’t like competition. It frightens them because it threatens their connectivity. So when women are forced to compete, they don’t play by the rules. They’ll turn the kids against the ex. They’ll try to get a man fired from his job. I don’t know any man who’s tried to get a woman he had a fling with fired from her job. I don’t know any man who has faxed the woman’s family or employer or other vulnerable connection to try to destroy her life. Only women do this.

It’s not worth getting into a fight with a woman because she’s likely to fight dirty in ways that would never even occur to you.

I remember when I broke up with a girlfriend in 1993, she proceeded to call Dennis Prager’s office to tell him I’m a jerk. She wrote my parents a letter that destroyed my relationship with them for many years. She did everything she could think of to wreck my life.

Not only have I never heard about any man doing anything like this, I’ve never even heard of any man considering doing things like this. It’s just not the way we men think.

If a boy behaved like a whiny little bitch, he’d be punched in the face right quick and would be unlikely to repeat the behavior, but girls can behave badly and unfortunately no one is going to punch them in the face for it, even when they deserve it.

So I love 12-step programs because you hear about real moral struggles. There’s very little aggrandizement. It’s men and women admitting that they have out-of-control compulsions that have repeatedly destroyed their relationships and that if they continue as they are, they’ll doom themselves to isolation and unhappiness.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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