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Old 05-04-2009, 07:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Anti AA?

Hi all!

I was thinking of attending my first AA meeting on Thursday, although I have been sober now for over a year now, and have never been. I have reservations about the emphasis on a "Higher Power" in the 12 steps. I was pleased to find that I have done some on my own without even knowing it. I am not an atheist, just think that God or my higher power did not get me into this mess. I only pray for the health of others, have prayed for my own health and sobriety, but prefer to do it alone. The AA meeting is scheduled at a church and I have read some really interesting/disturbing viewpoints of anti-AA types. I have also looked into SOS, RR, and MM (which the latter is not for me.) I am limited in Las Vegas (wonder why to just AA it seems. I also forgot that this website has been a fantastic resource and comfort to me as well. So, I would love some viewpoints from you all on what I should do. I have a great support system already, my parents for one (father sober for 30 years and mother who is not a fan of the bottle because of this . I had a doctor tell me that I would surely not succeed if I didn't go to AA, I think I've been doing just fine, but that is still an echo in my mind it seems. He is an arrogant man, so I just chalked it up to him not looking hard enough into my situation. Any thoughts would be appreciated, I would love to hear of any good/bad experiences with AA. Thanks you guys, and as always, keep an open mind and a closed bottle!
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Old 05-04-2009, 08:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You will find that most of us here in the 12 step forum are enthusiastic about AA. I have a home group that I look forward to going to, a few others around me that I like very much and attend when I need a meeting...

Bad experiences with AA, IMHO, are often when a prospective member attends a particular meeting at a particular place and it is not a good fit... I have been to some meetings only once or twice... they were not a good fit... so I go elsewhere.

Try SEVERAL different meetings before you make any assumptions as to whether or not AA is for you...

Welcome to SR!!

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Old 05-04-2009, 08:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Good to know you are here again and doing well with your sobriety.

When a meeting is held in a means only that the AA
group has rented a space for a meeting. It has absolutely
nothing to do with that particular religious sect.

You never have to join AA members if they have a group prayer.
Being quiet and respectful is enough unless you want to join in.

There is a place I enjoy going to in your city.
It's the T.i.E. Club and has many different meetings.
Call your local AA number in the phone book
to find meetings near you.

Yes....I do find AA meetings immensley helpful and interesting.
I do hope you will check them out.....

Here is a link for you to explore on AA

And for other programs....

Find something that you want to use and get involved and
not everyone who is sober uses a structured program.

SR does not allow any members to bash
any program of recovery.
Post that do.. are removed.
Each Day Sober Is A Victory!!
Joy In AA Recovery!

Last edited by CarolD; 05-04-2009 at 08:49 PM. Reason: Added Links
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Old 05-04-2009, 08:47 PM   #4 (permalink)

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You are right, God didn't get you into this mess, but have you considered that maybe you might need God's help to get out of it?

The deal with AA is that we don't give a conception of God. Whatever conception you have is good enough to start. It is vital though, that one be convinced that they are alcoholic. Then we move on to the God thing.

So you live in Vegas? I have some AA connections there and can find out some good meetings and people to hook up with. Send me a private message or email if you'd like that info.
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Old 05-04-2009, 09:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Especially if you live in a large city like Las Vegas, it's a good thing to remember that there is more than one AA home group to chose from. You may find certain groups are more to your liking. Ask around, find out for yourself, and use the recommendations from SR members to help you.
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Old 05-04-2009, 09:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I live in Las Vegas also; have been to meetings all over the west side of the Strip, and further north and south. I can recommend a couple if you want to check them out.

Please PM me for further input. I'd also be happy to chat with you on the phone if you like.

Congrats on your year of sobriety. That's fantastic!

Peace doesn't require two people; it requires only one. It has to be you. The problem begins and ends there. Byron Katie

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Old 05-04-2009, 11:04 PM   #7 (permalink)

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Yeah, I liked the Vegas meetings I went to. There was this one by a drive through Mexican restaurant and the Carnitas burritos were awesome! You'd slap your grandmother I tell you.

Near Charleston and Maryland, I think. This one dude described himself as ruthless and toothess. That was funny.

Ummm... maybe you don't need AA. That's cool too.
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Old 05-05-2009, 05:29 AM   #8 (permalink)

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LOL Dog..... just hope that Grandmother never gets ahold of you...
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Old 05-05-2009, 06:23 AM   #9 (permalink)
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My question, what are you looking for that you don't feel you have already?

You're sober a year. Sounds like things are going well for you. About all I can tell is that one person told you you needed AA.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I'm not saying to not go to AA. AA saved my life. I attend regularly, have a sponsor, work the steps, etc... I'm just saying, if there's no problem, then what's the problem?
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Old 05-05-2009, 07:12 AM   #10 (permalink)

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We merely have a way that worked for us. We have no monpoly on God, or recovery from alcoholism for that fact. But AA has worked wonders for many of us here.

It works-it realy does
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Old 05-05-2009, 07:25 AM   #11 (permalink)

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Actually, I think that's pretty funny about your doctor. If he was really informed about alcoholism and wanted to encourage you to attend AA, he might have had better results from telling you to avoid it like the plague!

But seriously, 12 Step meetings are often held in churches because the rent is cheap. This does not mean the groups are affiliated with the church or with any religion. In fact, the Traditions of AA specifically advise against any such affiliation. From my own experience in 12 Step rooms, I'd have to say that it is the only place I've found where the vast majority of the people involved really mean it when they say that you can take what you like and leave the rest and/or that you not only can, but have to, find a HP of your own understanding.

And you've been reading the opinions of people who have something against AA. Why? Why not read the opinions of people who have something for it? Better yet, why not check it out for yourself -- with an open unbiased mind? By reading the opinions of those who have something against it, you would seem to be deliberately biasing your mind against it. I'm not sure what you would expect to get out of that except maybe contempt prior to honest investigation. In my experience, that is not the approach that anyone who is seriously interested in learing about something takes.

Also, if you are seriously entertaining the idea that AA in any way encourages the idea that "God got you into" your mess, whatever you have been reading and whomever you have been talking to clearly has no understanding of AA whatsoever.

Personally, if I were you, I'd give AA all I had for 90 days and see what happens for me. If you don't think your life is getting better at that point, I hear they absolutely guarantee that they will refund your misery!

Working the Steps isn't about me acquiring power; working the Steps is about removing the things that block me from being a channel for God's Power.
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Old 05-05-2009, 07:56 AM   #12 (permalink)

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Originally Posted by freya View Post
...he might have had better results from telling you to avoid it like the plague!
Well that speaks to our human nature. If the doc would have told him that, he'd be at every AA meeting, making coffee, setting out chairs and greeting people at the door.

Back to an AA meeting I went to in Vegas that was in a club... they have these chairs that face the front like class and the chair person looks like a school teacher who sits up at a desk... not knocking this, they have this in some meetings in Colorado too... and when I raised my hand as an out-of-towner, they gave me a newcomer/visitor packet complete with meeting list, copy of 3rd and 7th step prayer, a 24 hour Just-for-today type chip. It was pretty cool. I'd have to imagine they have a lot of visitors too. I wish they had some daily meetings right there in the casinos on the strip, but I couldn't find one. I think there was one near the Mirage on a certain day/night of the week.

I hear from time to time that there are people who are/were bad drunks and can get and stay sober without AA. That's fine, I'm sure. I've always enjoyed AA even back when I was sent to the treatment center at 18 and it was a part of nighty routine; they had a meeting right there in the treatment center. I always feel like I've gotten something out of a meeting at some level. Just sitting down with an other alcoholic after a meeting is sometimes even better. I just feel like, these are my people. They get me. I get something from it and I think they do to. If you drank anything like I did and are having a blast in sobriety despite circumstances, why would you want to miss this? And circumstances are really pretty dern good... or at least my perspective of them are.
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:47 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I did fine staying sober for 10 years without AA.

But in going to AA for 5 years after that I can proudly say I am about 1000 times 'finer'.

If your sole, only, minimal goal is to stay sober, just keep doing what you're doing.

But if you want to see what life REALLY has to offer, try AA.

Just my opinion.
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Old 05-05-2009, 11:03 AM   #14 (permalink)
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""I would love to hear of any good/bad experiences with AA.""

how long do you have??? try real hard to give you a concise version..

I drank since i was progressed to chronic alcoholism mid twentys.

ive tried help from the doctor.......pills
ive tried treatment of sorts.......
ive tried conselling....privately......paid for by my mother.
Ive tried acupunture.
ive tried controlled drinking............that was the worse.

getting sober in jail didnt work.........or on mental health units.

so i went to AA with an....HONEST desire to do anything to remain sober.

And guess what....i havent drank for 8and a half years.

my whole perception of life has last i found contentment in my own skin.

thats my experience in the shortest possible reply i can

god be with you...........
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Old 05-05-2009, 01:18 PM   #15 (permalink)

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I have had both good and bad experiences in AA however it is still where I direct people who need help, although I no longer attend myself. You need to make up your own mind. Some people love it, some people hate it.

Personally I have been sober 15+ years.
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Old 05-05-2009, 07:34 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Thank you so much for all your comments. I really do appreciate it. I have gone through about a month of depression and anxiety, not sleeping, so I am now seeing a different doc. She knows my situation and put me on Wellbutrin, which I have stopped taking as it made me feel a little unstable, unconciously maybe, but nonetheless . . . I am not the type of person to judge anything when it comes to sobriety, therefore have also looked at the good things that have come out of AA. In fact, in my research I have found nothing but good things. When I stumbled on some negatives, it's in my nature to explore further. I know that what applies to others does not necessarily apply to me. I appreciate this site and getting input from all of you, what a wonderful place to have an outlet. I just go from being proud and confident to asking "why me" and start to regret the things I've done and why I'm this way. That statement alone prompts me to believe that I have more work to do. I wish it wasn't so hard sometimes, but I haven't been drinking! I have a strong willpower that sometimes turns into a complete hatred for anything alchohol, so I think I have more to learn. To let that go would be bliss for me, and I do often feel alone in my struggle. Maybe I do need to reach out and get some advice by attending a meeting. I am also pretty proactive so sitting around and dwelling gets me no where. After over a year, I'm still hanging on to the past apologizing to my parents, husband and son frequently. I don't know how they picked me up after the hot mess I have been in and continued to do so for 11 years of my life. I have regrets, then I'm ashamed. I know my past continues to reinforce my future as I did not drink today, not have I fallen off the wagon. On tough days, and I find they are becoming more frequent, it sucks. I feel like I'm going backwards, where I should be progressing. That is what I'm looking for, a release of all this anger, depression, anxiety, and sometimes downright reclusiveness. I guess I still need some work and going to a meeting can't get me anymore down than I already am. Thank you again for all your advice, besides looking into private couseling, AA sounds like something I SHOULD explore. After all, maybe I won't feel so alone . . .

Thanks again everyone!
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Old 05-05-2009, 07:38 PM   #17 (permalink)
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By the way, I am having a blast in sobriety MOST of the time . Everyday I don't drink is the most important, above all, then it just seeps on downward to every good thing in my life, and I often wonder how in the world I missed out on so much living.
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:47 PM   #18 (permalink)
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When I did my formal AA Steps 4&5
all the shame and remorse vanished.

I do hope yoou will find that true too.

Glad you decided to check out AA.
Each Day Sober Is A Victory!!
Joy In AA Recovery!

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Old 05-06-2009, 07:40 AM   #19 (permalink)

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Originally Posted by Asherah View Post
I have reservations about the emphasis on a "Higher Power" in the 12 steps.
Well, I get a little tired hearing myself tell the same story, but the short version might be useful to you. I'm an alcoholic of the hopeless variety described in AA's Big Book. I experienced the craving when I ingest alcohol; I had a mental obsession when not drinking. I could not stop for any significant length of time. As my alcoholism progressed, and the consequences put more pressure on me, I tried many different ways of getting and staying sober. I tried anti-depressants, counseling, outpatient treatment, rehab, fear, self-knowledge, willpower. I even tried going to AA meetings without working the steps. All of these kept me drunk.

I spent all of my adult life believing that faith in a higher power was kind of a crutch for weak minded people who maybe needed a little fantasy to make life bearable. And religion was nothing more than a social tool of control. I scoffed at both and was fairly comfortable with the certainty that there was no such thing as a higher power.

But, I hit a day when I could not go on in my alcoholism. I felt like I couldn't survive another day. And the only solution that I had left was to take AA's steps with the desperation of a drowning man. I was terrified of the higher power idea, because I knew that I wouldn't be able to get past that prejudice. Guess what? I took the steps one by one, one after the other, following the directions as best I could, willing to believe in the possible existence of something.

I recovered and a central fact in my life today is certainty that something has entered my heart and transformed me. As a side bonus, I live a life better than I've ever known, including prior to my drinking days.

Lack of belief in a higher power is not incompatible with the AA program of recovery. If you take the steps, you will have a spiritual awakening that will solve your problem.
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Old 05-13-2009, 06:09 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Thank you all again, I will be attending my first meeting on Thursday. I'm even missing my son's hockey practice (wow, I am a control freak and over protective - do they address that as well? I will take what I get and ask questions when I don't get . . . Keith - special thanks to you, I feel like you get me. In some ways all of you do but Keith the most. I'm nervous and excited all at the same time. On to better things I surely hope!
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12 steps, anti-aa

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