Court Ordered Faith Based Treatment

Sara - posted on 05/18/2010 ( 23 moms have responded )

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I've heard a lot of talk about faith based treatment for non believers. What do you think? Dr Bob founded AA on spiritual principles. Do you think it is appropriate for a faith based program to be court ordered?



Do you know anyone who has benefited from AA or NA or even SA and EA?



Do you think that the program works so well that it is worth the infringement on a nonbelievers rights? I am aware that the higher power issue can be resolved by using almost anything in its place, I have heard it said that a person has taken a fire hydrant as their higher power because the program demands they take something and God was just too much for them.



Thoughts?

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Jocelyn - posted on 05/18/2010

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My mom has been a member of AA for 12 years or so. She is agnostic. I was a member of NA (but haven't been to a meeting in a few years) and I am pagan. I think that it is all how you look at it. My higher power for a time was my friends, and at one point if was my drug dealer (surprisingly he called all the other dealers that I knew and told them not to sell to me, and he wouldn't sell to me either). Your higher power doesn't necessarily have to be a spiritual being.
I know quite a few people who have had great success with the programs and I think that it is totally appropriate for AA and the like to be court ordered. It is the staple program out there, and the religious aspect is so minute, it can easily be over looked.
Many things in our society where founded/based on some sort of faith, but that doesn't prevent people from joining or participating ie, the boy scouts (specifically the canadian boy scouts).

?? - posted on 05/18/2010

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Collect damages...? What are the damages?? I am so sick of people "collecting damages" for this kinda bullshit.

No, he should not have been sent there, yes they should have listened to him and moved him to a different program........

He doesn't deserve to collect shit for this though. He should be put in the proper program asap and then he can deal with his issues... I doubt his TIME is all that valuable, if it were, he wouldn't be in the predicament he's in - there isn't any property damage or possessions damaged so what the hell kinda damage is this douche collecting on, and from who?

Johnny - posted on 05/18/2010

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A good portion of my father's extended family were in AA and it worked for all of them. When I worked as a welfare advocate, I frequently assisted clients who were coming out the other side of addictions due to the support that they received in AA. I think if you do believe in a higher power, then it has a wonderful chance of working for you.

But since I don't believe in a higher power, be it God, the universe, mother nature, or a fire hydrant, I don't think the program would be the right fit for me. I've attended a few meetings to support people, and I would never have felt that it could do it for me.

So the idea of being told that I need to find help through a higher power would be stupid and offensive. What would be the point of forcing someone to follow practices that they don't believe in? How could that actually truly help them? Unless those making the rules are more interested in converting a non-believer than they are in curing his addiction.

Suzette - posted on 05/18/2010

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Jo,
I agree with you about people being sue happy, there are a lot of frivolous lawsuits out there and they should be stopped and punished for it. When it comes to constitutional rights... I think a precedent should be set in certain states.

On the other hand, I agree that it's blurred and even the Supreme Court is having a hard time making a definite line for everyone to follow.

While I think that they need to have a definition and precedent, I also think that they need to start completely over with these "vague" definitions and redefine things for the lower courts. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Amie - posted on 05/18/2010

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I don't know. It was my understanding if they didn't want to say the prayer that they open and close the meetings with, a person didn't have too. You could sit quietly and listen. Not like it's going to harm a person. Other than though, there really isn't much to do with God in the way of AA. They are tolerant of other religions and beliefs but still use the Lord's Prayer at the end and Serenity Prayer at the beginning because it's just become customary. It's been speculated that the reason for the prayers is because of the influence of the Oxford Groups (now called Initiatives of Change though in England Oxford groups are still easily found) in the beginning.



I found that just through goggling. The people I know who have gone to AA haven't had a problem with the prayers, in fact they never even mentioned them. Mostly because it is a regional thing, not all AA meetings say or include the prayers as a part of the meeting itself. AA is not affiliated with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution. Their primary purpose is to stay sober themselves and help other alcoholics get to sobriety.



I don't see or have knowledge of it being such an overwhelming religious experience that non believers would feel unwelcome or uncomfortable. I think it's absolutely ridiculous that so many people are taking this to the extreme that even a prayer can't be said out loud at a public meeting. /:) You don't have to join in but if you want people to respect your ways, you need to respect theirs.



As for the guy in California. That wasn't AA, it was an in patient treatment center that was pioneered by AA but not AA. There is a difference. He was in the right; if he was forced to attend a center that was faith based when he specifically request one that wasn't. He deserves whatever he can get.

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*Lisa* - posted on 05/21/2010

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I do think that man should have been able to make a choice straight up whether he went to a faith based treatment Program or not. But I also think that there are a lot of faith based programs that work, just as non-faith based ones do.
The Dream Centre (a church) in Las Angeles have such a great rehabilitation program that the Courts often send people there to be treated because they have such an outstanding track record. They are doing amazing things within the gang community there too.
http://www.dreamcenter.org/index.html

Lea - posted on 05/20/2010

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AA works for some people but I'm sure it isn't perfect. However, whats available is whats available, and as time goes by, just as with any other technology, I'm sure addiction treatment will continue to advance as other science does... (as long as Texas doesn't have its way with education and we all become stupid!). Anyway, all hail the great flying spaghetti monster.

?? - posted on 05/18/2010

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I have issue with people being rewarded for other people's bad behavior. I don't like it when parents do it with their children and I don't agree with it when it happens in society either.

"Oh Timmy kicked you? Well I'll put him in the corner and I'll give you his ice cream cone."

I don't agree with it and I think it's led to a society that goes out looking for trouble, just so they can sue the pants off someone that did them wrong.


Especially now a days where the idea of what is constitutional and what isn't is so blurred in the minds of WAY too many people.

Suzette - posted on 05/18/2010

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@Michelle,
People who use the universe and mother nature as their higher power are usually those who have religions leaning toward such beliefs. For example, Pantheists believe in the Universe as a higher power, to an extent. Mother Nature is believed in by Native Americans, Wiccans, and other religions.
A fire hydrant as a higher power, well if someone can take that and make it their higher power to get through something like AA, NA, etc. and not listen to other religions, I don't consider it a joke anymore than I consider other religions to be a joke. (Look at some of the other churches, they have one worshipping twinkies and something about star wars or star trek if I remember right.) Everyone has the right to worship what they wish if it helps them.

@Jo,
"I don't think money has any purpose or place in any case over rights. If it were me and my constitutional rights were taken from me, I would want punishment or reprimand brought against the people that allowed / made that happen - money isn't going to make one single bit of a difference."

Actually, a civil suit with monetary damages as the end result can make a huge difference. It lets those who did wrong know that they won't get away with it, depending on the damage amount it can also severely hurt them. Since this decision was made on appeal, it set precedent to the lower courts as well which is a huge step for others that are put in the same position.

As far as Hazle's time not being worth anything, he was incarcerated for longer than he would've been in the program because he wasn't listened to. He had been going to the program, while complaining, and because the program reported him for being disruptive in a congenial way, they sent him back to prison for three months on top of what he'd done in the program. The original sentence was only for 90 days in the program. Not only was he not listened to about his rights, he was lied to, and he was incarcerated for longer than the original 90 days.

I agree with Amie, regardless of his criminal act, he deserves to be heard and he deserves a fair judgment.

?? - posted on 05/18/2010

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I don't think money has any purpose or place in any case over rights. If it were me and my constitutional rights were taken from me, I would want punishment or reprimand brought against the people that allowed / made that happen - money isn't going to make one single bit of a difference.

The fact that people want money money money out of EVERYTHING - rather than just trying to make things right, and making sure the people who PURPOSEFULLY trampled someone's rights are punished for their behavior - is really disgusting to me.

If your rights are breached, then you should do what you have to do to make sure the people who breached those rights KNOW they did it and they should be reprimanded.... I don't see how MONEY has any place in that, unless you're a greedy slimball.

Amie - posted on 05/18/2010

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I'd say a breach of his constitutional rights is a pretty big damage. That could have further ramifications beyond that if it hadn't been nipped in the bud as it was by the judge. He ruled in his favor. It doesn't matter that he's a criminal, he still has rights. It's says in the first amendment "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Forcing anyone, no matter who they are, takes away their freedom to choose. Even if it that choice is atheism, which isn't really a religion but would still be protected by the 1st amendment.

A monetary figure hasn't been figured out. The suit was brought against officials at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. I suppose it depends on how it's worded. It will either come out of the pockets of the officials that were sued or whoever funds the corrections center.

No one has the right to breach a citizen's constitutional rights. Just because they were officers or enforcers of the law does not give them that power, no one should have that power IMO. It is there for a reason, to protect all citizens. From the lowest to the highest. No matter how much people may not like it.

Dana - posted on 05/18/2010

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Sara, I thought the article said that there weren't any in Northern California. I suppose I should double check but I don't have the time right this second.



Edited to add....

I did go look, I missed or forgot the part that said he was told wrongly. Anyhow, yeah, in his case total BS.

Christa - posted on 05/18/2010

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There are always two sides to every story, but if things played out the way he says then he is in the right. He shouldn't be forced and I'm sure most areas have a non-faith based treatment programs. I think this is probably an exception not a rule.

Shelley - posted on 05/18/2010

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Hi i do know of cases whereby AA has worked. I am also a believer so that sway's my oppinion. I think using a fire Hydrant as your higher power just shows a lack of commitment if its a joke from the start i don't see it working i have heard of people using the universe or mother nature.
Maybe they have in this case but its actually not illegal to be an alcoholic its what they do under the influence that may cause legal issues and being drunk is not an excuse so i don;t think that a court has a right to send someone to AA as if they don't want it it won't work.
The option may be taken if they say eg youcan go to AA or anger management ect and do 36 hrs community service or a small jail time then people may choose the AAect.
In short no i don't think that the courts should order people to a faith based program

Sara - posted on 05/18/2010

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If there are non-religious options available, which in this case there were, he should have been able to get placed in one of those, IMO. The state set themselves up for a lawsuit in this case. Whether someone is a criminal or not, they are still protected under the constitution.

Dana - posted on 05/18/2010

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So, what should be done in a case like that then? Should he be able to just forgo treatment or should the state be made to supply a non-faith based treatment for a drug offender or alcoholic?

Dana - posted on 05/18/2010

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That's true Christa, usually it's an alcohol abuse program, not necessarily AA.

Christa - posted on 05/18/2010

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Many people on my mom's side of the family have benefited from it. It also works for many other people so obviously something is beneficial with those programs. Now I've never heard of a court forcing a specific type of class, it's usually left to the discretion of the person. They must take some sort of alcohol abuse program. If a person has a problem with the spiritual aspect then they can choose a different program. So I don't think anyone is being forced "faith based treatment".

Caitlin - posted on 05/18/2010

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My mom went to AA.. it seemed to have worked for her (too bad it was after her kids grew up and left home..), but she is christian and probably had no problem with the whole god thing. I don't think it would work for me (if i was an alcoholic, which i'm not cause i can't stand the stuff) because i don't believe in a higher power...

Dana - posted on 05/18/2010

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I don't really know that much about AA really...My dad went to it, he didn't talk about God at all or accredit his recovery to God. It was more of him taking responsibilities of his actions, triggers and past.
I would imagine that each AA community is different in how much they rely on God. I do know the program helps a lot of people.

Until someone can come up with a program that is equally as good, I see nothing wrong with it being a court ordered program.

[deleted account]

I have a Buddhist friend whose husband refused AA because he did not feel right about taking advantage of a Christian program when he didn't follow the faith. But I guess he could have claimed the Buddha as his higher power. Anyway, he got help elsewhere.

But I know of one person who was successful in AA. I've seen a few people fall back into old habits after AA.

I guess a good way to get around the faith thing would be the court giving a choice to which program the person wants to attend. If AA is their choice, then so be it.

Jenny - posted on 05/18/2010

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I would have to say HELL no! I do not support pushing faith on people for any reason whatsoever. I do think it's way past time to develop a well received AA program without the faith componant though. There needs to be a viable alternative.

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