Nagy advises that a summary knowledge of the 12 Steps can be helpful, in particular the business about “making amends” to people one has harmed.
Forgiveness is a touchy and ongoing bit of business.
Her life and the beginnings of Al-Anon were the subject of a Hollywood motion picture, and she is often considered one of the most important women of the 20th century. founded Al-Anon at the suggestion of Bill W., she decided that it should closely follow the proven 12-Step philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous.
While the controversial disease model of addiction continues to provoke heated debate, Nagy discovered that “knowing addiction is a disease has helped me to confront and get over my past prejudices about alcoholics and drug addicts, and to better understand why they might think, act, and react the way they do.” “Change is tough for all of us,” says Nagy, “but it can be especially hard for an addict” because of the strong tendency to rationalize and resist needed change.Addicts, she adds, “are also known for ‘wanting it now,’ a trait that could be related to their brain chemistry and addictive cravings.” (Or, as non-practicing addict Carrie Fisher memorably put it, “instant gratification takes too long.”) Her summation of the notion behind the AA/NA concept of a higher power is a common one these days: “Some might call their Higher Power God; others might define it as nature, the positive energy of their group, or an unnamed sense of spirit.” While that may sound naïve to some, what the addict must grasp is that white-knuckle notions of triumph through personal will may have to be abandoned along the way, if we are talking about chronic, active addiction.Not long after Al-Anon launched, in 1957, a teenage son of AA/Al-Anon parents started the first meeting for children of alcoholics in California.Alateen was started, and was promoted through Al-Anon.Today, there are more than 2,000 Alateen groups around the world.
Much like Al-Anon, Alateen welcomes youths dealing with alcohol addiction among their family or friends and allows them to share their stories.
But if dating people who participate in AA or NA is not your thing, than Nagy suggests dating people from SMART recovery, Secular Organizations for Sobriety, church, mental health peer support programs, therapy groups, and so on.
Her own experience, however, appears mainly limited to men in and out of 12-Step recovery programs.
And she correctly points out that the AA Big Book is “written in an old-fashioned style that hearkens back to the 1930s,” when the amateur self-help group known as AA was founded.
It’s easy to forget that there are common experiences that most recovering addicts are heir to.
Al-Anon Family Groups, or simply Al-Anon, address these issues.