who here has gone to /going to AA
I have attended Al-Anon (for family members and friends of alcoholics) and ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics). The latter was of the best use for me since I was no longer living with an active alcoholic but needed to learn how to live my life without all the crutches I used when I was.
I find that you must hunt around for a group that meets your needs. A more experienced person usually chairs the group and each individual is treated with respect. You take turns telling your story if you want without interruption and no personal attacks. Some are more religious using God; others say Higher Power. Some say the Lord's prayer, some not. Hunt around. I found many self-sacrificing, honest people. Sponsors that you can call at 3 am when it gets bad; people who will tell you what you need to hear.
There are rehab groups but be aware that many of them do have an AA component if you are trying to escape the religious aspect. As a JW at the time, I was able to find a group that merely talked about a higher power and did not say the Lord's prayer.
Success in quitting any addiction means realizing it starts with you, not any group.
My experience is with NA (Narcotics Anonymous) which is more or less the same as AA but with an emphasis on drug abuse instead of alchohol abuse. I was 21 (and looked a good bit younger) and really just a kid when I was attending the meetings, and to a certain extent I felt like a poseur because by no means was I ever anywhere near being a hardened street addict. I just smoked a lot of pot as a teen/young adult, got tired of it (and the abuse that my stoner buddies heaped on me), and sought out a drug-free group to associate with. I really didn't fit in though. It was a weird time in my life.
I agree that it has some cultish aspects, i.e. lots of insider buzzwords and phrases that are repeated continuously, pressure to "keep coming back!", and emphasis that "this is the only way you can stay clean". I took it The Program? very seriously and after about a year I felt pretty disillusioned with it, it started to all seem a little hollow. But regarding any cultish aspects, I'd say they're pretty mild, not in the same ballpark as JW's, not even close.
I stopped attending the meetings when I got involved with JW's. LOL
While I agree that AA is not for everyone, it has saved my partner's life. I'm thankful for her involvement in AA. She has taught me so much, in fact I have used many of the principals in recovering from JW abuse. I consider myself a recovering JW. Not that I will ever go back to it, that much I know, but it had such devastating effects on my life and I was able to borrow these tools and work through them. Granted maybe those tools are available for other thing at other places, but this is what I had access to.
Anyway, try it, if you find a group you like it can be very beneficial.
Ballistic beat me to it!
qwerty - I guess it's an English thing.
When I first arrived in Tallahassee in 1989 the Outreach I belong to had formed a program for rehabilitation of drug addicts and alcoholics, including a half way house and a second living area in the main headquarters in 1988. So, I was introduced to AA right away. Although I don't do drugs or alcohol, I learned a lot from the meetings, just so I could relate better with those who had those problems. I also learned that other things can be just as addictive: power, greed, sex, food, religion, etc. As to the group I attended they allowed participants to choose whom they wanted as their "Higher Power." It could be God or the group or whomever or whatever they wanted. You just couldn't rely solely on yourself for recovery,
In 1996 we discontinued when the building we had been leasing was sold to Life Recovery, for the same purpose, a rehabilitation center for addicts. Using grant money they completely gutted and remodeled the building we had been using, converting them into offices and meeting rooms and added another building for sleeping quarters. They're still here today and doing great.
I my booze!
I my booze!
Very appropriate ..
While I intend to pick up the Langone book and see what he actually says about AA, my immediate response is that the difference between AA and cult is that, when you decide to leave AA, they let you. No shunning. Nobody chasing you down to find out what you're doing so they can disfellowship you. Oh, and they don't ask you to give them all your time and money, either. Most places, a buck a meeting is still the standard, and you don't have to sell anything.
Yeah, if you leave, some idiots will watch gleefully to see how long it takes you to drink, but there are idiots everywhere.
As a long-time AA member (18 years continuous sobriety), I recognize the danger of overzealousness among the "true believers." Perhaps it's having survived a JW upbringing, but the fervor of the zealous is crap no matter what they're zealous about.
That said, I was unable to quit drinking on my own. AA made it possible, and in addition, has taught me some skills that make my life successful. It works for me. I have real issues with court-ordering people to AA meetings because I believe it's a violation of the 1st Amendment. While AA makes the distinction between the spiritual and the religious, I'm a firm believer that no one should be forced to believe!
I also know plenty of people who've found their way out of alcoholic hell without AA. I, too, have heard the statistic that 5% of the drunks who make it to AA recover, and 5% of the drunks who don't go to AA recover. Cool. That's 5% of all drunks who find some way to stop drinking.
What we should really be doing is looking for treatment of alcoholism/drug addiction that has a success rate higher than 5%. While I'm glad to have enjoyed this much sobriety and look forward to staying sober until I die of something other than alcoholism, I'd really like to see an approach that will work for more people. I'm tired of seeing wonderful people who want to stop continuing to drink themselves to death. Alcoholism is the one disease (and even if it's a mental illness, it's a disease) where we blame the victim for their failure to recover. When someone relapses, we say, "Oh, he just hadn't hit bottom," or "She wasn't ready yet." (Well, actually, I don't say that--but some people do). We'd never say that about the person who had a recurrance of cancer.
So here's a vote in favor of more research and treatment options for those who suffer. Meanwhile, I'm going to keep going to meetings. And if you want to stop drinking and can't, for crying out loud, try something! Anything! And keep trying! And if you try AA, take what's useful and ignore the rest.