Addiction & Treatment
2005 - The 10th Edition of the Jude Thaddeus Program Published
Answering the God Question
The 10th Edition of the Jude Thaddeus Program was released for use in January of 2005, which included BRI researchers' assessment of some of these terms and the research for rejecting the use of these terms. January 2005 also marked a new direction for BRI researchers. Although debunking these negative terms was a step in the right direction, the 10th Edition promoting the "God solution" for the cessation of drug and alcohol use perpetuated the false "God solution." For example, in Chapter 3: God, The Evidence presents the following:
"A belief in God is the very culmination of faithâ€¦The control you have attempted to exercise in your life has led you here, looking for a solution. An essential part of the solution is letting go, allowing yourself to believe in something outside yourself and believe that with God's help you can and will succeed."
For years before the release of the 10th Edition, Baldwin researchers struggled with the "God solution" as "THE" solution for drug and/or alcohol use problems.So why is it that individuals wanting to stop drug and alcohol use turn to religious beliefs versus belief in oneself? The exact origin of this idea, i.e. God's intervention is required to stop drug and/or alcohol use, probably predates the Bible.Nonetheless, the Bible makes numerous admonitions against strong drink. For example, in the King James Bible, 1 Corinthians 6:10 - "Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."Thus, the connection is made between God and sobriety.
In the earliest years of the New World, settlers were predominately Protestant and Roman Catholic.Alcohol consumption varied along religious lines and in some cases variations were observed within a religion.For example, Roman Catholics from southern Europe accepted the consumption of alcohol (wine) as a normal beverage to enhance meals, so much so it was commonly served to children.Unlike the southern Europeans, Roman Catholics from northern Europe, especially the Irish, developed severe alcohol consumption problems.So in Ireland during 1838, Irish Roman Catholics (Father Theobald Mathew) established "The Pledge" that later became part of the Sacrament of Confirmation, where Irish Confirmation Candidates pledged not to consume alcohol until their 18th birthday.As time went on it became common practice for Roman Catholics (particularly the Irish) having problems with alcohol to go to a Roman Catholic Priest and recite the pledge not to consume any alcohol for a certain period of time, e.g. 3 months, 6 months or a year or more.Remarkably, more often than not, those who "took the pledge" actually kept the promise. However, the point to be made here is not whether the pledge worked or didn't work, but to observe the fact that God, among Roman Catholics, became an integral part of the alcohol and/or drug user's solution.
While Roman Catholics, some Protestants (e.g. Presbyterians, Lutherans and Episcopalians) and Hindus tend to accept the use of alcohol (and other intoxicants), Muslims and many Protestant denominations (such as Baptist, Methodist, Mormon, Pentecostal and Christian Fundamentalist groups) consider any alcohol consumption as evil and sinful. Buddhists are taught to refrain from the use of any and all intoxicants. Of interest is the observation that the major religions of the world have staked out positions with respect to the use of intoxicants.Roman Catholics, for example, do not believe it is sinful to use alcohol or other intoxicants.In fact, the Roman Catholic Church uses wine, containing alcohol, ritualistically. Still, the Old and the New Testaments are filled with admonitions against the use of strong drink, as is the Hebrew Bible and the Quran. Considering all these religions take formal positions with respect to alcohol use and the use of other intoxicants, these positions are integral to one's belief in God. Furthermore, it is not a stretch that if one is having drug and alcohol problems, one might turn to God for help.
Enter Frank Nathan Daniel Buchman, an ordained Lutheran Minister. In 1921 Buchman began an evangelistic cult then known as the First Century Christian Fellowship which later became the Oxford Group and later still (1938), became the Moral Re-Armament. The basis for this cult, aka Buchmanism, was public confessions, especially in sexual matters, surrender to God and become totally controlled by God's will. In c. 1934 first one drunkard was attracted to the Oxford Group, then another and another and by c. 1936 there were several drunkards and drug users attending Oxford Group house-parties (meetings) in an effort to stop using alcohol and/or drugs. In 1939 these Oxford Group drunkards and/or drug users broke away from the Oxford Group forming an organization of their own known as Alcoholics Anonymous. The new organization for drunkards and/or drug users was no less a religious cult than was the Oxford Group. In fact, the tenets of the Oxford Group became the program of Alcoholics Anonymous often in a plagiaristic way. For example, the 12-steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, according to William Wilson, the claimed author of the 12-steps, were merely a combination of the Oxford Group's 6-steps and a codification of the Oxford Group's tenets. Consider the content of Alcoholics Anonymous' 12-steps:
So there you have it. the 12-steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, each and every one, derived from the Oxford Group.Granted there are textual variations, but the ideologies of all 12-steps are the product of a First Century Christian cult.
One of the Baldwin researchers had firsthand knowledge of the Oxford Group doctrine and practices. In 1979 a Baldwin researcher attended an Oxford Group weekend officiated by an ordained minister who was a member of the Oxford Group during the 1930s. The meeting was held during the winter of 1979-1980 at a Protestant summer camp facility. According to the minister, it was reminiscent of the Oxford Group's small meetings held in the 1930s. The attendees were the minister and his wife, a husband and wife pair of psychologists, a pizza shop owner and his wife, a dental hygienist and her husband, and a researcher and his wife. Throughout the weekend, Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday until about 2 PM the attendees participated in witnessing (public confession), quiet time, prayer, group meals and social time. The weekend was torturous, an emotional rollercoaster, for the pizza man, the hygienist and her husband. Upon returning home, the following week the pizza shop owner and the dental hygienist returned to alcohol and/or drug use. To say the Oxford Group techniques were not very effective would be to understate the abysmal result.
This was William Wilson's (an Alcoholics Anonymous founder) result, too. Wilson was a member of the Oxford Group in New York City and reported that he "had worked hard with many alcoholicsâ€¦but he had succeeded only in keeping sober himself." Yet, knowing the poor results of the Oxford Group's God techniques for the cessation of alcohol and/or drug use, Wilson, et al. based their entire program, Alcoholics Anonymous, and their book by the same name, on the tenets of the Oxford Group. Hence, the God solution for the cessation of alcohol and/or drug use was woven into the fabric of the American culture.
For the first few years, the Baldwin researchers, with some doubts, accepted the God solution for the cessation of alcohol and/or drug use. As time went on, the Baldwin researchers' uncertainties increased with respect to Alcoholics Anonymous' God solution. In 1994, in their search for clarity, the Baldwin researchers turned to the Roman Catholic Bishop for the Diocese of Albany. In a letter to the Bishop, the Baldwin researchers queried, "Can God cure alcoholism?"A few days later the Bishop responded with one sentence: "God does what God does." Initially, the Baldwin researchers were disappointed by the Bishop's response. The Bishop's response seemed to be politically expedient without, directly, answering the Baldwin researcher's question. However, the Baldwin researchers would not fully understand the wisdom of the Bishop's response for another eleven years.
Throughout the 1990s and during the early 2000s the Baldwin Program continued to use the book Alcoholics Anonymous, specifically the God solution, as its text. But with each passing year the God solution, first offered by Frank Buchman's First Century Christian Fellowship, then by the Oxford Group, then by Alcoholics Anonymous and then by the Baldwin Program became more and more problematic. The nagging question was the question of the ages: What is the realm of God vis-Ã -vis the realm of man? Theologically, God gave man free will. But what value is free will if man can't use it because man must always strive to do God's will. Would God gift man free will and then expect man not to use it?The text of Alcoholics Anonymous counsels that humans must make a decision to turn their will and their life over to the care of God. If God really does want man to do His will, would He not have given man His will, instead of giving man free will?
If humans are, indeed, only to do God's will, how are humans supposed to recognize when and if they are doing God's will? Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. Is that God's will at work? Consider that the Jews, according to Scripture are God's chosen people, yet the Holocaust happened. Millions of innocent men, women and children were tortured and killed. Is that God's will at work? Here in America, and throughout the world, children die of starvation, AIDS, and cancer, every day. Is it God that wills these tragedies? Then there are the alcohol and/or drug users. The book Alcoholics Anonymous says this:
"â€¦our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:
So here is the conundrum: God didn't save His chosen people from the Holocaust, and He has not saved His children of the world from starvation and the unspeakable pain and anguish of horrific diseases, but according to the book Alcoholics Anonymous God can and will save an alcoholic from alcoholism if He is sought. Certainly Baldwin researchers are not the first to juxtapose these horrific events to the use of alcohol or other intoxicants. Nevertheless, the Baldwin researchers were confronted with the question of the necessity for God's intervention to relieve the excessive use of alcohol and/or drugs. So, is God's help really required for someone, anyone, to stop using drugs and/or alcohol?
Let's put that aside for a moment and just suppose the Holocaust was not God's will; suppose it was Adolf Hitler's will. Suppose that it is not God's will that children die of starvation and fatal diseases; suppose the dying children of the world is man's will, or the lack thereof. Just suppose that God doesn't give a wit whether or not man uses alcohol and/or other drugs; suppose the choice to use or not use drugs and/or alcohol is completely within the free will of the users. If that is true, users could pray and meditate to stop using drugs and/or alcohol until their asses fell off, after which they get drunk, high and/or stoned. Truth be known, most people who attend Alcoholics Anonymous, i.e. try the God solution, do pray, ask for God's help, and end up drunk, high and/or stoned more than 90% of the time.
As thinking people we must ask ourselves, do we really believe that God willed millions of Jews to be tortured and killed in the Holocaust and that God wills millions of children of the world to die of starvation and disease? At the same time do we really believe that drug and/or alcohol users need only ask God to relieve their drug and/or alcohol use and, presto, God does what drug and/or alcohol users ask. ("God could and would if He were sought."Alcoholics Anonymous) [Emphasis added.] And, if that were true, would not God relieve everyone who asks, instead of only a few percent of those who ask? And if that were true would not the starving and diseased children need only ask to be saved from their desperate plight and expect God would do for them what He so readily does for drug and/or alcohol users? As researchers, the Baldwin researchers could not reconcile the incongruence between God's responses to not saving a child from starvation but saving alcohol and/or drug users from users' habitual use of drugs and/or alcohol.
These questions surfaced before, during and after the writing of the 10th Edition.But, after the 10th Edition was released in January of 2005 the God solution for the cessation of drug and/or alcohol use haunted Baldwin researchers. Had they, the Baldwin researchers, been duped, as millions of other people had, into believing that because Alcoholics Anonymous' solution was God based, such a solution must not be scrutinized? The short answer to this question was (and is) "yes." Would not such scrutiny be questioning the Mind of God? How can man question the Mind of God when, in fact, human beings cannot explain or comprehend the existence of God, where God exists, where God came from and where God is going?
The point here is not whether Alcoholics Anonymous is or is not a cult, but rather is AA's claim to know the Mind of God true or not true, i.e. what God will or will not do in the circumstances AA describes? Inasmuch as 95% of those that try AA's God solution don't succeed in achieving their desired goal, it is clear that AA's God solution offers little (or no) help to those wanting to stop using drugs and alcohol. That being true, why then was the Jude Thaddeus Program reporting abstinence rates seven to ten times greater than Alcoholics Anonymous and drug and alcohol treatment programs
Prior to and including 2005 the Jude Thaddeus Program offered the God solution, but through the years evolved away from the specific text of the book Alcoholics Anonymous. From the very beginning, 1977, when the first Baldwin researcher set pen to paper to make a happiness list, the message of Alcoholics Anonymous and drug and alcohol treatment was changed forever. The difference was much more than a philosophical change; it was an internal restructuring of oneself. This restructuring was not spiritual, nor was it logical; it was the mind becoming aware of the self and the self becoming aware of the mind, while seemingly one in the same, but each conflicted one with the other. Still the question was a simple one; what makes the self happy? For this researcher, at 35 years old, happiness had been an illusion since early childhood. Once the question was answered nothing would ever be the same, again. Happiness became the dominant motivator. Hope became the essence of the mind. At 37 years old the researcher abruptly stopped using drugs and alcohol, and never used again.
Months later this researcher would be introduced to Alcoholics Anonymous. The researcher was overwhelmed by the negativity of the Alcoholics Anonymous message: You are powerless; you have a lifetime incurable disease; you can't help yourself; you must verbally re-live your past; you must go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings the rest of your life and so on! At this time the researcher had read, literally, dozens of self-help books through the 60s and 70s. And, based on all the existing research, the negative message of Alcoholics Anonymous wasn't likely to help anyone stop using alcohol and/or drugs. Therein explains the disparate results between Alcoholics Anonymous' standard negative fare and the Baldwin researchers' positivity, which was several times more successful than Alcoholics Anonymous.
Even though the Baldwin researchers continued to use the Alcoholic Anonymous' God solution until 2007, since 1979 Baldwin researcher(s) had promoted the positive message that people do recover from drug and/or alcohol problems and stay recovered for the rest of their lives. And, since 1979 the Baldwin researchers have promoted the positive message that people are motivated by happiness pursuits and hope, not powerlessness, guilt and remorse. Today, January 2015, it all seems so obvious: negative thought beget negative results and positive thought beget positive results.
Albeit the success rate remained high and more and more people came to the program, real questions surfaced as to the effectiveness of the God solution.Many guests were disinclined to accept the God solution and were equally as successful as those that did accept the God solution. In late 2005 this led the Baldwin researchers to the conclusion that the God solution was not a requirement for the successful cessation of drug and/or alcohol use. Based on this conclusion the writing of the 11th Edition began which was copyrighted in 2007and released for use in 2008.