After being a member of Alcoholics Anonymous for 21 (almost 22 years) I’ve made a decision to walk away from AA.
I don’t have a desire to drink – really I don’t.
This is really about the AA programs “suggestion” that you believe in a power greater than yourself that will help you to stay sober. The Big Book itself states about itself:
“Well, that’s exactly what this book is about. Its main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem.” We Agnostics p.45
That idea and notion don’t work for me and I’ve tried.
I’m going to try to have this be a post about me – it is not my intention to bash AA or insult those of you that happen to believe in a power greater than yourselves – some of the people I love (my sponsor, best friend, family) have very strong faith and it doesn’t make me love them less… it’s just a part of them I don’t relate to… I happen to like men, many people don’t understand that but still love me anyway… many people hate me that don’t know me simply based on that one little thing….
When I first arrived in AA the notion of believing in God was an an anathema – I wanted nothing to do with the Christian idea of God (and being from a small town in WI that’s all we were exposed to). AA taught me to be open-minded and tolerant of such and idea. You hear newcomers told frequently “Fake it til you make it” or “pray to the God you don’t believe in” or even “be willing to be willing to believe”.
And I tried to believe, I wanted to believe for many, many years… but then other AA ideas came into focus that seemed more important than praising someone else’s imaginary friend. I even write about it well – this blog is 11 years old and I’ve written several posts about recovery and believing look at my archives…
Honesty is the big one – knowing there wasn’t anything there for me but continuing to do the same things over and over again expecting a different result (that’s the definition of insanity in AA). I needed to be honest with myself and with others… it wasn’t until a few years ago I even came out as an atheist. Coming out though gave me a better feeling about myself.
The foundation of AA is the carrying of it’s message one alcoholic to another. Its message is that a power greater than yourself is necessary to recovery. As a non-believer it’s hard to carry that message, difficult to speak from the podium or in a room of drunks and emphasize that it’s “God” that got me through it. I can lie about it, I can share about it, but inside it isn’t true.. and again, honesty is important.
I did attempt to go to some agnostic/atheist AA meetings, but those meeting all came across as AA or God bashing. If that’s what keeps you sober have at it, but I need something more.
So I’m going to see what else is out there – believe it or not many people have left AA and found happiness outside the rooms without alcohol or other drugs, just because they don’t hear about them in meetings doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Here’s a blog post from another that I liked:
I’ve been to a couple of SMART (Self-Management and Recovery Training) meetings online already – there is a lot of AA bashing and a lot of rules about what not to do… there are in larger cities real meetings and I plan to attend some and see what’s going on. It may or may not work for me, but I’m open-minded about it (AA taught me that).
I do not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it (I hate that over-read part of the book) and know that AA will likely always be there if I decide I need to come back – and I have thousands of people that I met there and love… well, like at least.
AA has given me some important tools to live that I continue to use and treasure:
- Honesty (if at all possible)
- Help Others (get out of self)
- Meditation (center yourself)
- Self-Supporting (pay your own bills)
- No opinion on outside issues (mind your own business)
- Love (certainly not everyone – just those special gems that shine brightly… maybe this is really greed)
Maybe if I can’t find an acceptable alternative to keep me sober I’ll start my own group of heathens out to stay sober together. I just know that right now my path is leading away.
My thanks to Flo and Suzanne for loving me and supporting me – they both believe in something and still love me. I’ve shared with them in a general way of my intention to leave and they support me.
I’ll write more about what I find on this alternative path and maybe people like me, who struggle with that part of the 12 step program can find something that works for them.
I copy pasted the below from another site:
Here are some links to other related posts on leaving AA
Here is a link to a piece about alternative methods of recovery
The categories in the side bar also lead to solutions such as the Sinclair method and Smart Recovery.