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Old 09-20-2013, 01:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Doing it without AA?


Hi, I am new to this site. I have had substance abuse problem for over 20 years, mainly being my drug of choice, with alot of speed added later years. I managed to get clean for a while but then became addicted to alcohol. I have now become clean and sober for over 2 half years and am wondering if I can just continue to stay that way without having to be in AA or NA. Atm I have turned a new leaf and am quite happy living life and am dealing with whatever life throws at me without having to resort to sunstances to self medicate. I do get periods of anxiety from time to time and just try to meditate to find that inner peace and calm. I do also have my bad days, and my friends in the fellowship tell me that if I stop going to meetings that I will pick up again. Is there anyone here that has managed to stay clean and sober without going to AA?
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Old 09-20-2013, 01:45 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi serendipity

You'll find a lot of people here happy and sober through the 12 steps, a lot of folks happy and sober through other programmes, and a lot of people happy and sober with no programme at all beyond this wonderful community

I'm in that last group and have been happy and sober since 2007

I think this really is an individual decision that goes beyond simple right and wrong answers...but if you're happy and you're sober I think you have a lot of the foundations covered

welcome aboard
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Old 09-20-2013, 02:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Im happily sober, attend AA meetings regularly and love the program. I also DO NOT think that everyone needs to continue attending meetings in order to stay sober. Meetings are not the program. All the best to you.
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Old 09-20-2013, 02:32 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Welcome serendipity, I Am not an AA attendee not am I opposed to their philosophies. I commend you on all your success. I think you have to do what is comfortable for you. A far as the hard times I'm coming to learn its part if being human. Without down times we could never really enjoy and embrase the really good times. If what your doing is working well then I say keep on doing it
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Old 09-20-2013, 02:41 AM   #5 (permalink)
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We each find our own pathway to sobriety. The only advise I have for you is that there will be times in your life when things get difficult, for one reason or another. A death, or a relationship problem, job worry. It can be anything. It can catch you off guard, and that's when having a program like AA or NA can be really useful. Is it required or mandatory? Of course not, but having these tools at the ready is always a good idea. You may never need them, but if you do, life will be much easier when times get tough.
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Old 09-20-2013, 02:57 AM   #6 (permalink)
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"Im happily sober, attend AA meetings regularly and love the program"

Me too!

Meetings are not the program it is the fellowship. For me, I could not do it without them. At the end of my career I was going for complete isolation so I need the people. I need the fellowship and that is where I give back. By being a secretary and chairing meetings.

I love my sponsor and the steps are important, real important, but the fellowship is what keeps me moving. I could not do the work of the steps without the fellowship to back them up.
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Old 09-20-2013, 03:22 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I am also opposed to the AA philosophy. I'm happy it's there, it works for people, that's awesome. But I'm an atheist, so me being there would be a lie. Which would be in insult to both our beliefs. AA is not the only way to get support through this. Coming here is a start.
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Old 09-20-2013, 03:35 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I celebrated my 11 month anniversary of 100% sobriety five hours ago. I've never been to an AA meeting, read any of their literature or subscribed to any of their steps. Eleven months ago, I simply said "I'm done" and never looked back. For me, sobriety was much more like the road to damascus.

A lightening bolt, if you will.

Personally speaking, I have always shied away from associating with people in large numbers. For there is not one of them that will not make some vice or another attractive to me or leave me bedaubed with it in some form or another.

These days, I find associating with people in large numbers strikingly similar to walking through the fragrance section of a department store. Even when you don't buy anything the smell of it still tends to rub off on you. I didn't notice this influence when I was stoned, or drunk or both. Yet, today, I feel like Sherlock Holmes when i walk into a room full of people. I can immediately sense e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.

One may presuppose this has no correlation to sobriety. I disagree. If you have found something that works for you, then the worst thing you can do for your recovery is expose yourself to a crowd that thinks differently.

Hope this helps.
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Old 09-20-2013, 03:43 AM   #9 (permalink)
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There are plenty of atheists in AA. When I decided to become sober, I was lost, demoralized, without purpose, and had absolutely no idea how to change it all. To me, the steps can provide me with a life purpose and specific actions I can take. When I work through those actions, I begin to address my problems and resolve them - in turn, I start to rebuild self-esteem, self-respect, and a sense of responsibility for my actions.

That said, AA is definitely not the only way. SMART has a completely different set of tools that you can use, or LifeRing has as "programless" approach. How much structure do you think you need to stay sober?
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Old 09-20-2013, 03:51 AM   #10 (permalink)
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My understanding is part of AA is to accept you are powerless and ask god for help. Maybe I've been misinformed.
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Old 09-20-2013, 04:03 AM   #11 (permalink)
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My understanding is part of AA is to accept you are powerless and ask god for help. Maybe I've been misinformed.
The origins of AA have a definite link to the Christian religion, but the meetings have evolved far beyond that. The powerless aspect is more about accepting that you are an alcoholic and nothing will change that. You always have the power to chose not to take the first drink. There are many well known work-arounds to the god part (e.g. good orderly direction, group of drunks) that work for people.

You will hear god talk, no doubt, but if sobriety is the priority then I would prefer to not drink and attend, rather than drink because my beliefs do not mesh up 100%.

However, there are many paths to sobriety.
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Old 09-20-2013, 04:07 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Then my understanding of AA is misinformed, I apolagise.
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Old 09-20-2013, 04:08 AM   #13 (permalink)
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My understanding is part of AA is to accept you are powerless and ask god for help. Maybe I've been misinformed.
There's nothing wrong, or repugnant with asking "God" for help. In fact, encouraging an atheist to exhaust every single tool in their arsenal before giving into a craving...including getting down on their hands and knees, is intelligent, not unintelligent thinking.
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Old 09-20-2013, 04:10 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Let's not lose sight of the original poster here guys.
Let's restrict ourselves to personal recovery experiences.

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Old 09-20-2013, 04:17 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Best not to get into a religious debate here. Whatever works for you I'm happy.
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Old 09-20-2013, 04:44 AM   #16 (permalink)
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When I got sober there was pretty much only one way to do it. With AA. I had no choice but to jump in completely. Had the internet been around back then and I'd been given a variety of things to choose from, my feeling is that I'd have floundered for a pretty long time trying to find what fit me best. I'm grateful that I had no choice, and that I was depressed, terrified and panic riddled enough to embrace it completely. I didn't want to, I wasn't comfortable in AA, it cut completely across the grain of my being... but as it turns out, I needed something to do just that.

My meeting attendance was pretty much every day for the first 2 years, then I slacked off a bit yet stayed connected. I also stayed committed to some sort of service or another. At about 5 years I drifted away... was making about a meeting a month. Things were going great in my life, and AA wasn't necessary. I had a good foundation in the steps, I was as they say happy, joyous, and free. Until the sheeeit hit the fan one day. Without going into lots of detail, I got dangerously close to picking up a drink, yet thanks to the friends I had in the program got myself involved in AA again. Never went back to a meeting every day, but managed 2-3 a week.

Fast forward... thanks to the 12 steps and AA my life began now to really take off in the direction of my dreams. I was living the fantasies I had as a teen, I was busy beyond busy, practicing a spiritual program (got involved with A Course in Miracles), and at around 20 years sober alcohol was not even a remote thought any more. AA eased it's way out of my life once more... and then one day, yep, the sheeitt hit again, in a different way. A way that shattered the image I had of who and what I was, and I found myself at ground zero once again. My foundation in AA and the 12 steps are what I believed saved me from picking up a drink, but it wasn't until I returned to AA that the pieces really started to fall into place again. And it took a while. And I can't tell you why that is, but it is.

I now go to about 2 meetings a week, and have a commitment where I bring a meeting to a rehab every other week. For the first time in a while I've been feeling consistently content and happy with my life. The time I spend connecting with people in AA is time I'd probably otherwise spend watching TV, playing a video game, or doing some other pointless thing. I get so much more out of AA. It comes down to 4-6 hrs time out of my week. And it's time I didn't always, but now enjoy. I have no desire to ever cut it completely out of my life again.

Feeling certain I will never drink again is something I've felt for close to 3 decades now. I never expected my thinking to go to the places it has during those dacades. I can't predict what I'll be feeling 5 or 10 years from now, but I can take my sober experiences and learn from them. I enjoy life much much more when I'm connected with AA and I'm happy and grateful to be a part of it.
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Old 09-20-2013, 05:00 AM   #17 (permalink)
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If its working for me i don't change it.
Tried this in the past and in a short time Gary takes over.
Gary don't always know whats best for him.
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Old 09-20-2013, 05:30 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I go to AA. I don't agree with a lot of what is on offer there as an atheist and sceptic. I have however found that I do far far better with a face to face group for support and that is the only option around here.

So I go and I enjoy it and take what I need and leave the rest as they say. I don't think I would have done as well as I have - little as it is at this stage - without my local group of AA mates.
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Old 09-20-2013, 05:37 AM   #19 (permalink)
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It is really to each their own. The largest study ever to determine the efficacy of different recovery programs, therapy, etc or none found that there was no one method or non-method any more effective. Personally, I think it primarilly and "inside" job.
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Old 09-20-2013, 06:37 AM   #20 (permalink)
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The vast majority of people formerly addicted to alcohol have done just as you have, Serendipity. They are content and happy, and dealing with whatever their life brings to them without a formal program. No steps, no meetings. They gave it up, moved on from their drinking using days, and got on with their lives.

I am sober too, as you are, without AA. And I have 'bad days' from time to time, as you do, and meditate too. I also stay active in as many different ways as I can. I think this is what people who have never been addicts do to stay happy in their lives do also. It is part of practicing good mental hygiene.

I believe the motivation for your question has nothing to do with your own sobriety now, but you are confused by your 'friends in the fellowship'. They can only speak of what they know, and for them, steps and meetings are essential to their sobriety. They think that this is essential to everyone's sobriety. They are just trying to advise you the only way they know how.

Thank your friends for their well meaning advice. Maybe you feel you can accompany them to some meetings without risking your sobriety, you might find something you like and enjoy there.

You got sober and clean by believing in yourself, by believing in your ability to stay sober and do just as you have been doing for two and a half years. My hat is off to you. This is an achievement that is envied by every addict, former and present, and it should be respected. You are AWESOME! Onward with your badass self.
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