Note: This is an excerpt from an excellent Wiki article I stumbled upon on the 'net. Many pagan people find the language of most 12-step programs, like AA for example, doesn't work with their spiritual values. For one, those of a pagan path often like to acknowledge a goddess, as well. Secondly, pagans tend to like to think of themselves as sovereign beings working with the forces of nature (including, but not limited to, gods and goddesses) to heal themselves. They don't tend to view themselves as being eternally condemned by some vindictive god "out there" if they don't get it right. But this condemnatory vibe tends to be the norm for the three Abrahamic religions, though, so (as I learned from this article) many pagans have just organized their own recovery groups. I love working with the recovery community, and this information gave me a wider range of options to present to people, people whose spirituality doesn't fit an "Abrahamic paradigm." I hadn't even thought of this before I read this article! Cool.
Below the excerpt there is a link to the full article, and then links to related resources. Hope you find this information helpful for yourself, for a friend/loved one, or if nothing else, just informative --it's good to know there are options.
Many Pagans are uncomfortable with traditional twelve-step meetings because of the use of Christian prayers, the difficulty in finding supportive sponsors, the assumption that a person's Higher Power is male, etc. Some Pagans find the 12 steps themselves too reminiscent of Christian theology to be applicable to their belief systems. Pagans have been "ousted from A.A. meetings or shunned" when members of that A.A. group discovered that they were Pagans. However this type of conduct would not be approved by A.A. itself as any person who "has a desire to stop drinking" may declare themselves a member of A.A.
In 1992, Dr Charlotte Kasl, an addiction counselor and author, and past member of Alcoholics Anonymous published a book titled Many Roads, One Journey: Moving Beyond the 12 Steps, a work which has greatly influenced the Pagan Recovery Movement. In her book, Dr. Kasl notes that Bill W., Dr. Bob and the other men who helped them put together the A.A. program and the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous all came from similar backgrounds, they were all privileged, white males who wrote the bulk of these influential works in the middle of the 20th century.
Kasl argues, the focus of the traditional recovery movement is rooted in a white, middle class, heterosexual mindset, steeped in the teachings of Abrahamic religions and greatly influenced by the conservative U.S. culture of the 1950's. She claims that the well meaning but patriarchal attitudes inherent within the program, coupled with Judeo/Christian teachings which focus strongly (some say exclusively) on guilt and shame are deeply problematic for many who attempt to find a place at 12 Step meetings. She also points out that while the program is held to be perfect, Kasl's own viewpoint is that the A.A. program is simply a guideline...
Read the full Wiki article here: Pagans in Recovery
Other helpful, related links:
* Pagans in Recovery Message Board
* Nine Step Pagans
* The Spiral Steps
* Pagan ODAT group for overeaters
* a Wiccan 13 step path