The 12 Steps of recovery are supposed to be a path toward redemption, embracing the complete experience of life, and realizing your full worth and potential as human being. Instead, this woman has distorted the 12 Steps into a self-loathing, racist message designed to alienate us from ourselves and teach us how to hate.”
That is how one recovering alcoholic with over a decade of sobriety characterized the work of therapist Cristina Combs who has created her own variation of the famous Alcoholics Anonymous Program that has been used by that organization and adopted by others over nearly a century for the purpose of helping people to escape from the chains of addiction. Ms. Combs program, being used as part of an indoctrination series of lectures at the University of Minnesota, is called “Recovery from White Conditioning.”
Our friends at the Daily Wire reported this story Thursday. The program is contained in a three-lecture Continuing Education series being promoted by the University’s School of Social Work.
Regarding her motivation for creating the program, Ms. Combs says on her website that she spent “years of struggling to navigate the role and presence of whiteness in her personal, academic, and professional journeys.”
Human Events News thought it would be interesting to solicit comments regarding this race-baiting revision of the recovery process from actual people suffering from addiction. These are people who have used the 12 Steps to help save and change their lives. The real 12 Step program, developed in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, is used today in Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, and Sex Addicts Anonymous, just to name a few.
Since participation in these associations is anonymous by definition, the names of the people who offered comments are not disclosed.
"I was blessed by what I learned from the 12 step programs of both AA and NA. Both of those programs directly impacted my recovery and gave me the tools I desperately needed to stay alive another day and free from my addictions. I cannot fathom the idea that we need a 12-step program to be deprogrammed from our heritage and race as though it were killing us. Being Caucasian is not a choice. All humans have the free will to make the decision to be decent, respectful and kind towards our fellow humans regardless of their "race". This idea is like apologizing for being born. "Whiteness" sounds an insult and an excuse for being an ass.” Offered by a woman with over 30 years sobriety.
“Sorry NOT sorry, but this article DEEPLY triggered, angered, and affected me due to my experience practicing and studying the 12 Steps and spiritual principles within my lifetime since age 22. I wasn’t going to get political anymore, only Christmas and happy things, but this has gone to another level. UW-Madison, the first university I attended, recently (since the election in 2016) started teaching a semester class about shaming Caucasian people for being white. TEACHING YOUNG BLACK, WHITE, AND LATINOS AGES 18-22 THIS INDOCTRINATION IS DISGUSTING. Offered by a Ukrainian business owner from a major U.S. city with decades of sobriety.
This whole article supports segregation not unity. We are all part of the human race, free to believe as we may. To bring a 12 Step structure into place to reverse racism is ludicrous. We are not responsible for our disease, but we are responsible for recovery. On a parallel of recovery and trying to be something you are or are not defeats the purpose of getting honest. It is up to an individual to get there, not because society says so. Just like getting clean you have to hit a bottom. If I were to say the whole world needs to get into recovery for drugs it wouldn't apply to everyone the same way as classifying black and white people. We are all human beings. Where is the choice and the bottom and where is the solution? Maybe in the process! And one important question, where is the Sponsor? We don't work steps alone, we need support. This is not support driven program. It's almost like trying to erase a person who is gay or a lesbian. Still needs to be a personal choice to recover.” Offered by a woman with 27 years of sobriety.
“My first thought is to be defensive. Rereading the article I think it is a sham on the concept of recovery. It paints a broad brush on the upbringing of all White people saying they were all raised with the same guidance as youth
Another thought I had was how harmful it is to the esteem of the 12 Step program that the University of Minnesota sanctions this.” Offered without description.
“Just another example of social justice warrior insanity. It is cultural appropriation though!” Offered without description.
“It’s too bad that our 12 traditions prevent our fellowship from getting involved in outside issues. We should be making a statement as a fellowship condemning our 12 life-saving steps being used for the purpose of generating hatred. If this woman were truly successful with what she is doing, we would see all sorts of white people killing themselves. I suspect that’s what she wants. Recovery is supposed to keep us away from jails, institutions, and death. I bet she wishes all three on every white person in America.” Offered by a Michigan man with 11 years sobriety.
“The 12 Steps saved millions of lives from the grip of addiction, not those ‘conflicted with skin color.’” Offered by a Reno, NV man with 12 years sobriety
“Cristina’s guilt and shame are no reason to hijack a 12 Step program of recovery.” Offered by a Texas man with eight years sobriety.
“After reading this nonsense, maybe the author should put down the pipe and get to an NA meeting.” Offered by a Reno, NV man with over 30 years sobriety.
“Racial sobriety? Really?” Offered by a Chicago man with over 30 years sobriety.
“The 12 Steps encourage us to look outside of ourselves as opposed to the self-centeredness that is at the core of our disease. We do this through the 12 Steps and loving caring higher power that is greater than us. We trust the process. We Trust our higher power and regardless of the outcome accept it. We no longer try to find ways to lie, cheat, steal, to further our own sick and destructive way of thinking and behaving. I do believe that the person that wrote this stuff probably needs a program herself.” Offered by a Chicago man with over 30 years sobriety and in a position of fellowship leadership.
“The 12 Step Fellowship is a support-based program…utilizing 12 Steps to recover from being white defeats the purpose of support based. Our 12 Steps help us to gain a relationship with ourselves and a loving Higher Power. We recover in unity, with spiritual principles as well as loving Higher Power, none of this was mentioned in the article. We also have 12 Traditions which guide us to have better relationships with people.” Offered by a woman with 28 years and who serves as a public relations chair for an area fellowship.
“If you’re an addict, you need a 12 Step program in order to stay alive. If you’re a racist, you just need to not be racist. Get these white-guilt dope peddlers away from my recovery.” Offered without description.
These reactions represent an alternative perspective to the use of the 12 Step program, designed to promote personal wellness and facilitate group unity, for the purpose of creating division. Voices like these are often not given a platform on which to share their views in today’s aggressive cancel culture environment.
The University of Minnesota did not return Human Event’s request for comment.