The statement by Jose Guillén that "all references to 12 Step have been removed" is incorrect ("Step by Step," July 11). The newly revised Participant's Guide to Drug Court says, "regular attendance at group self-help meetings such as a 12 Step program or other alternative programs." Alternatives are not listed anywhere in county literature and are not mentioned specifically in this document. Guillén "likens the choices in Sonoma County to a cafeteria menu, where defendants are encouraged to choose their mode of self-help," but there are zero options listed anywhere in county literature.
After reading your article about Mr. Kerr's successful "crusade" to allow more secular options for those who have been convicted of either drug or alcohol related offenses, I was impressed, first, at how easy it seemed to be for this one fellow to have the courts capitulate to his threat that they were violating the First Amendment. And second, that the courts were not willing or able to find out that what Mr. Kerr was claiming is not entirely accurate.
While it is true that Alcoholics Anonymous does come from and suggests that you find a way to accept the religion-based form of God, it is not a requirement. And, yes, they pray before and after the meeting. I was a member of AA for more than a year and left for the very reason complained about in this article. As someone who actually participated in and practiced the 12 Steps, I was turned off by the concept, because I could not stomach the constant references to the "great old white guy in the sky" idea of God.
I was told constantly I didn't have to believe in God but that I should find some sort of "higher power" for this 12 Step process to work. But the direct references that appeared in the book and in the meetings themselves to the religious dogma were too much for me. That was AA. What I wasn't aware of at the time was the sister program Narcotics Anonymous.
In NA, references to any religious dogma are forbidden. While the book uses the word "God," it is truly just a word used to describe a higher power. A higher power is something greater than yourself, plain and simple. The other advantage to the use of NA as a source for recovery is that they don't discriminate between substances; a drug (alcohol) is a drug, as opiates or any other substance (more than 200 identified addictions) is a drug.
The 12 Step process is just that, a process, and one that has proven itself for many years as the most successful recovery tool there is today. It is worldwide for a reason. This one fellow who has taken it upon himself to discredit a process that has saved many lives and families, based on an uninformed belief that this process is a form of indoctrination into religion and, as such, is a violation of the First Amendment, is truly doing those in need of serious help a great disservice.
Jay Scherf writes, "The entrance to the Bohemian Grove has become a soapbox for 9-11 conspiracy theorists, protesters of fluoridated water and SmartMeters, and those claiming club members are Illuminati or practice satanic worship" ("Bogus Bohemian," July 11.)
Wait a doggone minute. I'm on that same soapbox right up to and maybe (someday) including the Illuminati bit. Ridicule is easy. Royalty once laughed at the idea of people electing their leaders.
Ever since COINTELPRO and Iran-Contra, it's been clear that something beyond mere greed and testosterone wants to run the world, in oblivious domination of millions of hard-working, honest people who just want to take care of their families.
Yeah, we don't need no stinkin' Illuminati for sociopathic people in high places to wreck things. They are not the smartest guys in the room, just smart enough to avoid being stabbed in the back by their peers, lucky enough to be born into wealthy families, and mentally ill enough to see the rest of us as subhuman. We don't need them to be secret Reptilians to explain their penchant for poisoning us all, stealing our resources and indebting future generations in order to get private jets and multiple houses.
Remember, 15 percent of Americans have less wealth than six members of the Walton family. Laughing at SmartMeter and 9-11 activists is as narrow minded as the 1% wants you to be. Not that they'll ever thank you.
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