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What to do when there is no secular support in your town

Old 01-22-2009, 09:42 AM
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What to do when there is no secular support in your town

I have tried AA and don't like it, but there is virtually no secular support where I live. I am very frustrated over this. What do you do when there are no secular meetings? How do you stay sober?
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:48 AM
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It's a challenge! I rely very heavily on my participation here at SR. Welcome to Spectacular Connections!
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Old 01-22-2009, 09:52 AM
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Hi Katie, secular face to face help is thin on the ground everywhere.

We have one none AA support group in my area and they still have to push the old give AA a try line.

Like Doorknob I rely on SR and I go to AA if there is no other option just to see a few faces with the same problem as me.

This place is helping me a lot, although I fear I may be becoming a bit addicted to it. lol
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:08 AM
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Thanks both. I never knew how good I had it when I lived in the SF Bay Area - with lifering meetings all over.

I've tried AA down here and don't like it at all. I was in AA many years ago up in MN and this was in the late 70s when one didn't have to get a sponsor, work the steps. It was truly take what you need and leave the rest. I didn't pick up a drink for two years because I wasn't surrounded by people telling me what to do.

It's different now. I've been shunned at meetings as I don't see a need to label myself, say how much TIME I have, pick up chips, get a sponsor, work steps, read the Big Book, etc. I just want to be with a group of people who are happy without a bunch of rules and let me be me or the me I want to be - a non drinking me. It's so frustrating. Thanks for letting me vent.

Having said this and since AA seems to be the only game in town here, there is a 3 p.m. meeting I can go to. I don't have to say anything and I guess I will just sit there and hope for the best. At least it will get me out of this house.
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:17 AM
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I grew up in Oakland, CA, but had already left by the time I started trying to get sober. I did have a chance to attend some LifeRing meetings when I came home to visit once, and they were absolutely a perfect fit. I have an atheist & agnostic AA meeting that I go to on occasion, and it's not bad, but it's still no LifeRing... Have you thought about trying to start one?
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:01 AM
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LOL katie...I remember when aa was different....and it still is from place to place.

I like DKs suggestion of starting one, but if you want to have f2f interaction, you may find AA the most viable option for a while even if you start meetings.

You can still take what you need and leave the rest...I'll say no more as i want to leave room for all those non-AA options to come out....

If you do decide to attend aa you might also check out the secular 12 step section below. I try to post there occationally, although there are not many of us

glad to meet you:ghug
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Old 01-22-2009, 12:27 PM
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No offence - and i'm not bashing aa - but an agnostic / atheist aa meeting to me seems a contradiction in terms! If they're true to the bb, then it seems quite clear on atheism - convert or die basically!

But most aa meetings i have attended have been ok with people being unbelievers, or agnostic, i think perhaps because "each group should be autonomous" so you do get some easy going groups that don't push the religious angle.

However there are certain groups i avoid because there is a definite push towards belief in a supernatural creative intelligence - they are clear about that, i don't really blame them, they are after all following the big book literally.

There are also people i avoid as they are quite fundamentalist in their religious views and quite intolerant, even defensive, towards an atheist.

But i know of no other group support network that works as well as aa - we don't have any lifering face to face meetings in the uk. I think it's a case of finding ones you're comfortable with.
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Old 01-22-2009, 12:50 PM
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sparky! tut tut.....who says the big book IS aa....

I consider aa to be as what the preamble describes....a group of alchoholics sharing the methods of recovery that works for them....but then i'm a liberal AAer


oooops ok sorry this is the secular not the secular 12 step thread....the line is so blurrrrrrry sometimes....

forgive me
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Old 01-22-2009, 12:52 PM
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Hi, I'm in the same boat as you. I do online SMART Recovery meetings, hit up a 12 step and sit quietly in the back when I need the f2f, and come here.

The great part about SMART is that the important part is applying the tools once I'm out of the meeting room. That is what keeps me on the straight and narrow.
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Old 01-22-2009, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by ananda View Post
sparky! tut tut.....who says the big book IS aa....

I consider aa to be as what the preamble describes....a group of alchoholics sharing the methods of recovery that works for them....but then i'm a liberal AAer
heh! Yeah that's kinda what i mean, the traditions allow each group to develop along it's own conscience, so you do get some easy going groups, but there is also a tendency for some parts of aa to think it's being "watered down" or "losing the message"... Again, this is not a criticism of the aa program or it's founders, just an observation by one human of some other humans!

I've met people in aa who got sober on the fellowship, haven't touched the steps (and are in double figures in years of sobriety), and have been quite shocked by some other aa people's (more hardcore aa'ers) attitude towards those people and their sobriety- "it's not real", "they're not really sober", "they're not aa" etc. Shocking - to me anyway.

The liberal aa'ers are my choice too!
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Old 01-22-2009, 01:40 PM
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Atheists & Agnostics in AA. Google for these meetings, they are hard to find. Here is the best site I have found:

Worldwide Agnostic A.A. Meetings

Or you could start an AAAA meeting yourself.
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Old 01-22-2009, 01:41 PM
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Hey Katie! I attended aa for 10 months early in my sobriety...after a few months I split from my sponsor and became the person you see sitting quietly in the back of the room. Just like Alera. Plenty of people in the program tried to convince me I would drink again since I had rejected the bad theology but I knew better. I stayed as long as I felt I needed the face to face after that I simply left. This is your sobriety, let no one lie to you about how you must achieve it. If you feel you need f2f go to a meeting or 2, when you feel stronger leave...take any action to keep sobriety a priority and you won't fail!
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Old 01-22-2009, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by dgillz View Post
Atheists & Agnostics in AA. Google for these meetings, they are hard to find. Here is the best site I have found:

Worldwide Agnostic A.A. Meetings

Or you could start an AAAA meeting yourself.
aaaa - i like that!
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Old 01-22-2009, 03:35 PM
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Face to Face contact is overrated anyways. If I didn't have to deal with people I wouldn't have to drink in the first place.
If you do need this though I wish You good luck in finding it.
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Old 01-22-2009, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Fubarcdn View Post
Face to Face contact is overrated anyways. If I didn't have to deal with people I wouldn't have to drink in the first place.



That made me chuckle...I've said that before...and it's so true.




I don't do face to face meetings...but I do hang around SR a lot.

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Old 01-22-2009, 04:23 PM
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Me too Bam. I am a newb at SR but so far so good. I post a lot to keep myself amused so I am sure some people are already sick of me. Oh well, they were sick of me at the bars too so no biggie for me.
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Old 01-22-2009, 04:53 PM
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Thanks, everyone. I feel less like an oddball now. I guess I have a problem with the entirety of AA overall and the "machine" it's become - with rules, sponsors, chips, constant focus on "how it was" drunkalogues that go On and On and one of my favorites "who was a worse drunk?" The core idea was ok, if you are into doing the HP stuff. Too, AA was slanted at men way back when and I can't imagine anyone recommending medicine out of the 1930s to treat an addiction today. I sure wouldn't go to a Dr. for a cure whose knowledge was based on a 1930s physician's desk reference.

Anyway, I don't mean to diss AA as it has done a lot of good for many people and truth is, as individuals go, there are many great people in AA. It's just when groupthink takes over and you've got someone going on and on for 20 minutes quoting the BB, and all I want to know is "how do I deal with emotions without alcohol?" I do NOT want to hear, call your sponsor, read the BB, go to a meeting. However, a few people mentioned I might attend a meeting just for a bit until I get on my feet, so I will give that some consideration. I would kill for LifeRing here, but I am not the person to start a meeting here.

Anyway, it's so easy to feel so alone when dealing with something like this when it seems like there is no one else who thinks the kinds of things I think. That's why it's great to meet y'all here!
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Old 01-22-2009, 05:17 PM
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Katie...my advise to you is to stick to newcomers meetings...after I decided that the "program" of aa was not something I wishes to adopt, as I already have a religion, I stayed away from meetings that were bb studies. I found that newcomers meetings kept everything really green for me.

Your not alone and you never have to drink again.
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Old 01-22-2009, 05:20 PM
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Well said Katie, do keep posting here and pleased to meet you!

it's quite interesting - there's a sort of parallel i see between aa and christianity in that regard.

My mum was a preacher, and along the way began to question her faith. She learned about evolution, questioned things such as her mum dying of parkinson's disease, and learned more about the fact of the bible not actually being history.

She got to a point where she was unsure about what god meant to her and saw the bible as fable, and things like the virgin birth as a metaphor (which as you probably already know only came from a mistranslation of "maiden")

she was quite surprised when i told her she wasn't actually a christian. Bottom line is, if you don't accept the virgin birth and christ's resurrection, you're not a christian!

There's something.... static about religion. It seeks to provide answers and is extremely resistant to change or questioning.

It is almost exactly like the groupthink you describe - very orwellian!
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Old 01-22-2009, 05:29 PM
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Sorry - ran out of text space!

So there is this dependence upon a scared text which is considered perfect, unquestionable, unchangeable.

To me anything that wants to be static, unwilling to be progressive, is unnatural. Life is all about learning, about change, about growth, about evolution,

the tendency of some (i underline some) aa groups to rely on dogma and be unwilling to progress and evolve concerns me, it is pseudo-religious to me.

There's a tendency to religiously follow the big book, no room for questioning or doubt, no room for progression.

Technically anyone who strays from the big book isn't "proper" aa. But in my opinion, progression is a good thing.

However i gave up trying to change the things i can't - along with the drink! I just avoid those particular groups.

The serenity "prayer" (mantra?) is one that i find very apt - i just try to change the things i can, and aim for the wisdom to tell one from the other!

Bit of a waffle but hope it makes some kind of sense!
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