I have a love/notsomuchlove relationship with AA. It’s the THING for sobriety, you know? No matter how or when you begin to think about not drinking, AA is going to enter into the fray. And not all of AA’s philosophy sits well with me.
First off, I’m an atheist/humanist/freethinker. The “god bit” in AA absolutely, unequivocally, was never going to work for me. I will not “fake it til I make it.” I will not pretend to pray at the end of meetings or hold hands and believe that a higher power can turn my life around. I’m not going to bother finding that higher power-because my belief, my *understanding* is that what I would call a higher power is actually the better parts of myself, coming to fruition.
So it’s a good thing I found an atheist/agnostic AA meeting. Because AA is likely to be the only actual human meeting available for sobriety in many places, it is good that it’s more approachable and a little more malleable these days than it used to be.
I don’t have a sponsor, and don’t want one. I am not working the steps. I am, however, voluntary secretary for our Sunday meeting. That’s a job I took on when it was offered to me, as a way to force myself to show up, so that I could stay accountable in my newly minted sobriety, because I found that isolation was a BIG factor in my drinking. I need people. I suspect we all need people, even when we’re scared of them, tired of them, annoyed by them. Of course we do. It’s part of the human condition.
And that is what AA has to offer me for now. A connection with people who have had similar problems in their lives, and who have different ideas on how to solve those problems. It’s not dissimilar to going to a support group for folks with cancer, or a moms-of-many park playdate. We all have similar adventures and problems and a vocabulary in common. Whether we’re talking about medication schedules, the benefits of sling vs. Ergo, or how to make it to midnight one more time, we all speak the same language. That’s what AA has for me right now. You can look for atheist/agnostic/nonreligious AA groups here.
But a huge part of my sobriety these days is sober memoirs, blogs, and meditation. The IOP I’m finishing up had daily meditation, yoga, naturopathy, cognitive behavioral therapy, REBT, brainspotting, individual counseling…phew. You name it. My tool box is filling daily with new ideas and ways to approach this recovery thing. I’m using SMART recovery, as well, and find Jon Sleeper’s blog an incredible treasure trove of alternatives to *just* AA. My book pile is growing and shrinking daily because I keep finishing great books and finding more great books to gorge on.
I’ve recently finished “Bottled,” “Dry,” “Drunk Mom,” “Blackout,” “Wishful Drinking,” and “Smashed.”
I’m currently reading “This is How,” “Drinking: A Love Story,” and “Carry On, Warrior.”
I should link on the side to all the blogs I’m reading. It’s a LOT.
My recovery plate is full. And that’s a very, very good thing.