To AA, or not to AA

I love that little button at the top of the page that says, “Write.”  Such a gentle little prod.  “Click me if you need to.  Or don’t.  I’ll be here.”

The thing is, I love, love, love to write.  I keep a journal and a gratitude journal and I used to keep one baby book and one journal for each kid.

But on here, on the internet which will last forever and ever, amen, I have to be careful pushing that “publish” button.  So I removed one post because it came too close to my family.  (And because I had a zillion more things to say on that topic and am not ready to write them.)

My little blog is still in a dusty, unused corner of the internet. In its infancy, it is easy to miss and therefore I don’t get a lot of views or comments.  And that’s ok. I’m new here. 🙂

But I got a comment the other day about AA, and the author was rather ticked about the way I incorporate AA in my life.  So, here we go:

Rather than rewrite the brilliance that is Jon Sleeper’s blog post about getting sober without AA, I’m just linking it.  There are dozens of ideas and resources there.  I hope it’s ok to do that.

My take on AA has already been spelled out in other posts, but I’ll reiterate and maybe expound on it here:

AA is a great system for folks who want to spend time with other people struggling with the same issues.  It offers camaraderie, some wisdom, and a chance to be of service by making coffee or cleaning up or whatever.  It has a buddy system in the form of sponsors and sponsorees.  That’s all great.

AA is not magic.  It’s not the obvious answer to alcohol use disorders.  It’s one way.  There are tons of other ways, and whatever keeps us sober is what we need.

For me, my sobriety hinges on radical honesty with a few close friends (two of whom are AA atheist, just like me, and don’t “work a program,” just like me).  I do show up for AA twice a week and am secretary/chair for one of those meetings.  As I said, I enjoy the camaraderie, the common problem, the discussions, and the ideas.   My AAA group is very different from “normal” AA, and that suits all of us who attend it.  A common language of recovery is important while we learn to live life sober.

I have a toolbox full of things like podcasts, sober blogs and websites, Smart Recovery, a wall of recovery and CBT and general wellness books and memoirs.  I blog and I journal, I  meditate daily (sometimes 3 times a day), and I exercise whenever I can, usually 5 times a week. I am changing my eating habits and keeping better track of my moods and hormonal shifts so that i can be better prepared for surprises in the form of PAWS, HALT and cravings.

The author of the reply, after chastising me for “not working a proper program,” and “being surprised I’m having cravings,”  *then* went on to say that cravings are normal and it’s not unheard of to still have them 20 years on.  Sigh.

Look, folks.  I know I’m different from the folks who leave booze and take up AA.  I am ok with that. I have a lot of ways to stay sober, and so far I’m ok.  I have cravings and I talk about them.  I figure out where the cravings are coming from-what’s triggering them-and sometimes I just have to stare them down.

AA is one way.  I’m very happy for the folks who love it.  That’s great.  It’s just not the be-all, end-all of sobriety.


On another note, I’m feeling pretty good.  It rained like it was time for an ark last night, so my gardens are greeeeeeen and growing.  I made ginger cookies at 2 a.m. and am making honey-oatmeal bread right now since the sun is hiding.  Yum!

I stood on a scale yesterday and my weight hasn’t moved one pound in a month.  I guess that’s better than continuing to add to it!  Back to the gym and grocery shopping (oh, so much grocery shopping!) this afternoon. Teenage boys should come with an automatic savings account that you have to keep adding to until they’re 13, just for the food they’ll eat in their teen years.  I swear my 16yo has grown an inch this month.

I had a horrible, stressful, anxiety-attack-provoking dream this morning about drinking.  The only good thing about drinking nightmares is that there is relief (eventually) when we remember they are not real.

I have to find a place to do community service, preferably at night because of the kids.  I just can’t afford the whole fine for my DUI because as a stay-at-home mom I don’t have an income.  And no, my husband won’t help me with it.  I’ve put up a few things for sale but no bites so far.  Anyone need a great compound bow with all the stuff? 😉

So I’m off for my day.  Have a wonderful 4th, American readers, and a great week, for everyone else.  🙂

Keep kicking addiction’s ass!





21 thoughts on “To AA, or not to AA

  1. Yeah, either I didn’t explain myself well enough in my comment or you missed what I was trying to get at. Too bad, either way.

    I would never claim that AA is the only way or the be all end all. Nor could you claim it’s not for you if you don’t actually work it. I am the opposite of you. I like the meetings fine, but I only go once a week any more. I work the steps HARD though. The point of the process is to make me a better me, because I have no desire to be the guy I was when I quit. I was a morally bankrupt piece of shit.

    Beyond that, it’s water under the bridge. I didn’t mean what I wrote the way you took it though, and for my part in not explaining my point well enough, I apologize.


  2. I think it’s easy when we have so much in common… you used to drink? Me, too. You want to stop? Me, too. You have internal dialogue between the voice of reason and the voice of addiction? Me, too. Your family doesn’t “get it”? Mine, too. You made rules about how and when and where to drink? Me, too. You broke them all? Me, too. That when we get to our differences… AA worked for you? Oh, wait, it’s not for me. Journaling helped you? Not, me. I think we forget that our journeys have common waypoints, common beginning and common goals, but the roads we travel are our own.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Brilliant. I got a little excited when I read this and that might seem strange, given that my demon is not alcohol. I have a demon though and THIS is how I deal with it TOO. Surely everyone has to find their own way? I mean, it’s great that their are agencies that work, they are tried and tested, sure. But sometimes they’re just a good stepping stone to start from.

    I love writing too. I took down a blog too, just the other day, for what sounds like, a similar reason to you. I saved mine. Emailed it to myself and then just deleted it from here, because it upset me…it just being there.

    Anyway. I am glad you’re on WP. I’ve been on and off here for years, but I’m still the new girl too. It’s quality, not quantity that matters re. followers, I feel.
    Have a good 4th July. X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for responding! Yes, AA has been the biggest kid in the playground for a long time. But science, medications, and other therapies like CBT and REBT are helping more and more people with great effect.

      AA gave as a group a voice. It helped us come out into the sunshine. I am not knocking it. I just enjoy experiencing the wiDe and wise array of other options.



  4. For me it’s really the steps of AA that have given me a lasting recovery, and I need other people to work those. I don’t “like” meetings and I’m most definitely an introvert, but I tried many years to do it on my own and I’m just lucky I survived. I know AA doesn’t work for everyone. It hardly works for anyone, just the fortunate few. And people do recover in other ways, and that’s great. I’m glad there are many roads to recovery. I’m also really glad I “needed” AA to recover because following the program has given me a most wonderful life I wouldn’t have gotten any other way.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good for you working out what works for you and writing about it.
    It really helps others as many times what we write EXACTLY matches how another reader may feel.
    You mention a toolbox with SMART, CBT and many other things which is fantastic – as Lotta Dann writes in her blog Mrs D going without (NZ author) it is all about the toolbox!

    Congratulations on being brave and posting and sharing.
    Michelle xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. OK I am going to be brave too.
    In NZ there are no daytime AA places where I live, and you can’t take kids so that leaves me out for night meetings.
    So I drove into the city and went to a meeting about 5 months ago when I was desperate for some support. I went to coffee after the meeting with the group and was advised by most of the people to join a group “nearer” to home. I explained the problem re: kids and they said just take them. I said I had called and couldn’t – they just said look it is really better for your to be in your local area as you will be better supported.
    I walked away feeling totally unsupported, out of place and stupid.
    I tried another location and similar response. AA may work for some, but is very “location” clicky from my experience.
    I know that local support is very important, but no support is equally dumb. Looking back it was obvious I was struggling – I was crying at one point.
    This does not change the fact that AA is an incredible organisation. I have two friends who belong to our local AA group and they don’t have kids at home anymore, they love it and go each week. However, one of them after 15 years of sobriety had a fight with her group last christmas and left. She felt lost without the group and started drinking again. She has found another group 5 mins further away and has started again but still hurts that she lost her “group”.
    It does leave me with the question mark about how we need to find our tools from within and it would scare me to rely on a group, club, association anything that could potentially put me at risk to drinking again.
    These are just my thoughts and do not in anyway belittle, undermine the great success and incredible good done and is being done by the wonderful AA.
    M xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No support must feel awful. Is there any way you could start an AA meeting yourself? Churches and free meeting halls tend to be popular places. Maybe ask on an AA forum?
      Or if you like it, you can look into Smart Recovery and facilitate one of those.

      I hope you’re getting enough online support. There are lots of online meetings, podcasts, etc. I listen to HOME, The Bubble Hour, and Recovergirl podcasts all the time. There are a ton more. And you can watch speaker meetings (in AA, when a person tells their story of drinking and recovery, it’s a speaker meeting) on YouTube.

      Lots of luck and hope coming your way!


      1. Thanks so much Penelope – yes it was around Christmas through to around March that I was desperate and I listened to many online Smart Recovery meetings and logged into their 24 hour chat line every day for about a month. There was a wonderful man in New York that really helped me so much – I must go back and thank him as I think he is a trained Smart counsellor. Very grateful.

        Yes this forum gives me the support I need right now and have really come to love many of the people here – aren’t we so very lucky xx
        Michelle 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m with you – I don’t believe AA is the be all and end all either. I briefly looked into it when I first quit drinking but didn’t like their approach. So like you, I just meditate, eat healthy and have a few strong family and friends who have helped me out.
    Different strokes for different folks, thank you for writing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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