I am coming up on 7 years sober this April. I remember when I first quit, the advice was immediately to start attending AA, and after a few months the response turned to shock that I never went to AA, and then expectation that it is just a matter of time before I start drinking again. Why does it necessarily follow that if you are trying to get sober then you must go to AA? I am sure this is over generalizing, but that’s been my experience.
When I quit, I hadn’t even fully identified as an atheist, I was more indifferent to god at the time so it wasn’t just the spiritual aspect of AA that didn’t sit well. It was the way you must come to regard yourself—powerless and hopeless without the help of a higher power. And at every meeting this message of being ‘less than’ seemed to be reinforced. It struck me that this type of negative thinking would tether one to their lowest potential rather than set them free.
I think this idea is relevant because it translates to the world at large. When I check out Christian websites, a prominent message is that as humans we are worthless and lost if we don’t accept god. I see invitations to see the light, as though I am in the dark. I feel that as humans, we need to restore our faith in ourselves as a first step towards breaking free of religion.
So I am curious to know your reasons for taking a different path to sobriety. Why did you reject the 12 step program?
I did not like Al-Anon because it continued the notion of dependency on some outside power. That is utter nonsense. My strength for living with an alcoholic was to become more clear in my communication and firm in what I would and would not tolerate. That worked best for us both. Sadly, my son sobered up to take care of me during chemo & radiation for cancer and he died a very few years later from esophageal cancer at the age of 53.
Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart. Too Soon Alt, zu spät klug.
I will be forever grateful for those few years we had with him as a sober man. He was able to stand tall and proud knowing that he had what it took to overcome his addiction.