Anybody that says “Dunamis Effect” is anti-AA, obviously hasn’t read the book. There must be at least a dozen times where AA is described as a divine gift, and its members a national treasure of wisdom. While Dunamis Effect (formally Him and Them) is designed to be a stand-alone program, throughout the book one is encouraged to attend AA or other _A meetings and read their literature if one so desires. Also, to be clear for those who have formed an opinion about AA without ever attending a meeting, AA is NOT anti-Christian. It tries to be religion-neutral but is obvious to most (and not well hidden) that it was written by Christian men after being exposed to the principles of the Christian Oxford Group.
Dunamis Effect was started for those who are tired of being “politically correct” and wish to state out loud that their higher power is Christ Jesus without any disclaimer. They want the healing 12 step principles but think the only book to be honored as the sacred text that was breathed into existence by God through hundreds of people over thousands of years, and despite various translations still maintains the sole title of The Word. Putting the big book, “Dunamis Effect”, or any other text in the same category is just asking for confusion in your life. It is also healthier to think that “the church” is not a building, but a body of believers that lean into each other’s pain, and celebrate each other’s achievements.
That being said, while the 12 steps are still considered as a divine gift and at the core of Dunamis Effect curriculum, there are differences. AA was when written in the 1930s, a very forward-thinking view of addiction. The founders boldly named alcoholism a disease decades before the American Medical Association caught up to them. They are, however, saddled with the medical understanding of the times, and their ongoing decision to leave the program “as is” is totally theirs to do. Rather than alter a single word that Bill W. wrote, they resort to all kinds of footnotes, and other side appendices that actually lead to more confusion rather than less. Once again, that is AA’s decision, and no one says it is wrong, just not the way we wish to go with Dunamis Effect. We look for clarity of thought above veneration of an individual, and will always be open to changes as new concepts prove themselves better than what is currently understood.
As an example, Dunamis Effect recognizes that the current standard of care in treating addiction includes some kind of relapse prevention planning (RPP). There is simply no reason to ignore this important tool, nor does it need to only be done under the supervision of a paid professional. Their experience can often add wisdom to an RPP, and if an addict is seeing such a professional, they should go over their RPP with him or her to gain added insight but your Recovery Partner can work through it with you as well. This single tool alone is a game-changer.
The traditional structure of AA is that one goes to meetings until they feel comfortable enough to ask someone to be their sponsor. It has been witnessed that, too often, either the ego says, “I don’t need help.” or the sense of inferiority says, “I don’t deserve help.” As a result, months go by as the addict slips in and out of relapse. This can be life-threatening. In Dunamis Effect, the basic unit is a mentoring relationship of the newly sober, recovering addict, and the Recovery Partner (RP) either chosen or assigned right from the beginning. An RP should be someone with experience in the 12 steps, and can obviously be changed at any time, but waiting to find just the right person is often a game of the ego to reserve the right to keep fighting on one’s own behalf rather than surrendering completely. Meeting as a community is encouraged and serves a valuable tool as well.
These and other items are part of how Dunamis Effect differs from AA. But to remain consistent, let me be clear – AA has been a national treasure for many decades, and should continue to runs itself as it sees fit to do. We both see the world as a better place when folks are relieved of the burden of addiction, and allowed to live a life free to worship God.
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