Go Back  SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information > Secular Recovery > Secular Connections
Reload this Page >

Why is it so hard to find real life secular support groups?

Blogs


Notices

Why is it so hard to find real life secular support groups?

Old 11-20-2011, 04:58 PM
  # 21 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 56
Although I am an atheist I haven't minded most of the AA meetings I have attended because I get comfort in being with others who share my problem, even if their solutions aren't entirely the same.
TimFoot is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to TimFoot For This Useful Post:
Tosh (11-29-2011)
Old 11-28-2011, 11:13 AM
  # 22 (permalink)  
Shape-Shifting Super-Hero
Thread Starter
 
HuskyPup's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Eating Tofu!
Posts: 882
Huh, well, I found it got harder and harder to sit still as the months went by, and I was taken less and less seriously. It felt less and less like fellowship, and more and more like being talked at, and not to.

So why is it so hard?

What gives AA such a monopoly on groups? I mean, any number of therapists I have seen can not think of any reasonable alternative groups, and they are all equally as puzzled.

I guess part of it is the convenience factor and the sheer number of meetings: You can always find one.

It is harder to blaze a new trail that might help those who fall between the cracks, and yet, I feel this would be among the most helpful things that could be done in the addictions world today.
HuskyPup is offline  
Old 11-29-2011, 08:40 AM
  # 23 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Chepstow
Posts: 359
Originally Posted by HuskyPup View Post
What gives AA such a monopoly on groups?
There have been other organisations; the Washingtonions were forerunners of A.A. and big in their day:

Washingtonian movement - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

But they fell apart because of various reasons; hence A.A. has the Traditions so it doesn't fall foul of the same mistakes.

But starting a new group is a commitment. You have to find a place, pay the rent, buy literature, and hope you get enough members for it to be worthwhile. You may even be out of pocket, having to support the meeting yourself (I knew a guy who did this), while waiting for people to start using the meeting. Not to mention that you have to turn up, week in, week out, until new members can take over the running of the group.

It takes people who want to give something back to do this kinda thing; people with real love in their hearts. I'm always impressed when a new meeting starts up; that's gratitude in action.

Oh, new groups also start with resentments too; someone gets cross at the group, picks up 'their' coffee pot and says, 'stuff you, I'm gonna start up a proper A.A. group!', and marches off and starts one up.

So what makes A.A. a monopoly? I guess because it works (not for all; I know I know); and some members, driven by compassion and gratitude, they branch out and start new groups where they perceive a need; and others just get a 'resentment' and start a new group up.

It's all good!

I think that's how it works.
Tosh is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Tosh For This Useful Post:
keithj (11-29-2011)
Old 11-29-2011, 10:32 AM
  # 24 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 3,095
Originally Posted by HuskyPup View Post
What gives AA such a monopoly on groups?
Success. People recover, and stay recovered, and are able to pass their experience on to others. My home group has grown geometrically because of this. Somebody sponsored me and I recovered. I sponsor others and they recover. They sponsor others, who also recover. And on and on. This is how a certain well known fellowship was built, and how it exists and thrives all over the world.

Any number of groups could do this as well. The only thing required is that members of those groups stay sober and pass along their message.
keithj is offline  
Old 11-29-2011, 11:22 AM
  # 25 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 1,146
SOS is one of the biggest alternative groups...they've been active around 25 years now.

Perhaps they have a meeting closeby and at the right time for you. If the meetings listed are still open they have at least 1 meeting in 21 of the US states. Several in CA or NY state.

They maintain an online meeting list...might be worth a quick check.
langkah is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to langkah For This Useful Post:
simian66 (11-29-2011)
Old 11-29-2011, 11:33 AM
  # 26 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location:    USA                        Recovered with AVRT  (Rational Recovery)  ___________
Posts: 3,680
Originally Posted by keithj View Post
Any number of groups could do this as well. The only thing required is that members of those groups stay sober and pass along their message.
This is true, but the secular recovery groups don't have "carrying the message" built in to their programs. The fact is that groups need members to survive, and if people simply sober up and leave, the groups will necessarily atrophy. The Rational Recovery network, which took about seven years to build, had a good run while it lasted, and no other non-12-Step group has yet to match its former size.

I doubt that any viable, prevalent alternative will materialize anytime soon, either. Personally, I am glad that RR shut down its meetings, though. They had degenerated into amateur therapy sessions, where the focus was on anything but quitting. With the advent of AVRT and the proliferation of the Internet, there was simply no need for them anymore. I call that progress.
Terminally Unique is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Terminally Unique For This Useful Post:
DrivenHeart85 (11-29-2011), topspin (11-29-2011), Zencat (12-03-2011)
Old 11-29-2011, 12:25 PM
  # 27 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 1,146
TU, that's something I'm curious about. After Trimpey sobered up in AA he founded RR in '86 and some time was thereafter involved in getting the members enough time sober to start the meetings...which he declared were worthless in '99.

During the time they were worthwhile, how many were there nationwide at their peak? Though I was sober a while then in a large city near Trimpey's ranch I heard nothing at all about RR or RR meetings among the sober crowd.

Your comments regarding their degeneration sounds like actual personal observation over time instead of going by rumors. Did you go to more than a few?
langkah is offline  
Old 11-29-2011, 01:50 PM
  # 28 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location:    USA                        Recovered with AVRT  (Rational Recovery)  ___________
Posts: 3,680
Originally Posted by langkah View Post
TU, that's something I'm curious about. After Trimpey sobered up in AA he founded RR in '86 and some time was thereafter involved in getting the members enough time sober to start the meetings...which he declared were worthless in '99.
Trimpey did not sober up in AA, although he does acknowledge having attended about thirty meetings.

Originally Posted by langkah View Post
During the time they were worthwhile, how many were there nationwide at their peak? Though I was sober a while then in a large city near Trimpey's ranch I heard nothing at all about RR or RR meetings among the sober crowd.
I don't know the exact numbers, but RR had meetings in over 1,000 cities by 1994.

Originally Posted by langkah View Post
Your comments regarding their degeneration sounds like actual personal observation over time instead of going by rumors. Did you go to more than a few?
Yes. RR invited professional psychologists to facilitate their meetings, which led to many of them having more focus on CBT/REBT than on AVRT. Many did quit and moved on, but others kept coming back for years, and the focus shifted away from quitting for good to broader concerns. Interestingly, a very similar thing happened to AA on account of the expanding treatment industry and the Open Discussion meeting format.
Terminally Unique is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Terminally Unique For This Useful Post:
onlythetruth (11-29-2011), topspin (11-29-2011)
Old 11-29-2011, 02:22 PM
  # 29 (permalink)  
Member of SMART Recovery
 
onlythetruth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,722
Originally Posted by Tosh View Post
So what makes A.A. a monopoly? I guess because it works (not for all; I know I know); and some members, driven by compassion and gratitude, they branch out and start new groups where they perceive a need; and others just get a 'resentment' and start a new group up.

It's all good!
Well, no, it's not good, when the result of the monopoly is to essentially shut out other pathways to recovery.

I think we all agree that when it comes to recovery, one size does not fit all. But when only one size is available, only people who fit into that size get helped. Those people see the situation as good, but what they don't realize is that people of other sizes often have nowhere to turn. And what's really sad is that such people are often told that they are hopeless, "constitutionally incapable of being honest", and that if they try a different way forward they are "signing their own death warrant".

What's even sadder is how deeply this message has become embedded into our addiction treatment system due, in large part, to the efforts of one group to "carry the message", often in contravention of its own stated traditions ("attraction rather than promotion"). It's tragic, but the reality is that most rehabs in the U.S. still will not let their patients even KNOW that they have a choice of what recovery path to follow. It's mighty hard to spread the message that different paths are possible, when that message is being actively barred by people who have an economic interest in maintaining the status quo.

One nice thing about SR, though, is that it's a place where people of different recovery paths come to gather, where people get to see the breadth and variety of experiences that people have, where it's impossible to continue to spread the myth that there is only one "right" way to recover. I further think that the more this message gets spread through places like this, the more interest there is going to be in bucking the system and actually starting meetings of different recovery groups.
onlythetruth is offline  
The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to onlythetruth For This Useful Post:
HuskyPup (11-29-2011), lostbutterfly (11-30-2011), simian66 (11-29-2011), soberlicious (11-29-2011), topspin (11-29-2011), Tosh (11-29-2011)
Old 11-29-2011, 02:40 PM
  # 30 (permalink)  
Member of SMART Recovery
 
onlythetruth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,722
Originally Posted by Terminally Unique View Post
I don't know the exact numbers, but RR had meetings in over 1,000 cities by 1994.
1,000 cities or 1,000 meetings?

There was a meeting in my area when I quit drinking.

My rehab counselor discouraged me from going to it. Said it wouldn't really help and was too far away. Also there weren't ENOUGH meetings...I was supposed to go to a meeting every day, and RR only had one a week. He said if I really WANTED to, well, that was ok, but he didn't recommend it. He only knew ONE way that really worked.......

I never went. I wish I had.
onlythetruth is offline  
Old 11-29-2011, 03:19 PM
  # 31 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location:    USA                        Recovered with AVRT  (Rational Recovery)  ___________
Posts: 3,680
Originally Posted by onlythetruth View Post

Originally Posted by Terminally Unique View Post
I don't know the exact numbers, but RR had meetings in over 1,000 cities by 1994.
1,000 cities or 1,000 meetings?
1,000 cities, meeting count was much higher, although I don't have the figures.
Terminally Unique is offline  
Old 11-29-2011, 03:19 PM
  # 32 (permalink)  
Poison Eater Extraordinaire
 
freethinking's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: East Coast, USA
Posts: 1,031
Originally Posted by Terminally Unique View Post
Personally, I am glad that RR shut down its meetings, though. They had degenerated into amateur therapy sessions, where the focus was on anything but quitting. With the advent of AVRT and the proliferation of the Internet, there was simply no need for them anymore. I call that progress.
Meh, I disagree. I initially needed some face-to-face interaction and am so grateful and glad that there were SMART meetings nearby. The facilitator of my meeting was simply there out of the goodness of her heart I believe. She explained how SMART worked, stuck to the topic, and helped new people understand how it worked.

At any rate, Trimpey recalling the whole RR meeting thing is one of the very reasons I don't buy his program hook, line and sinker. He's human, fallible, and very capable of making mistakes in judgement on this...him discontinuing meetings is an example of that IMO. I think maybe amending the guidelines for RR meetings would have been a better solution, personally.
freethinking is offline  
Old 11-29-2011, 03:55 PM
  # 33 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: "I'm not lost for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost ..."
Posts: 5,272
Meetings of any kind are quite a sore spot for Trimpey...he reacts pretty vehemently when poked on that spot LOL This leads me to speculate that this involves some personal feelings for him surrounding his experience in group recovery, and his opinions may not be based solely on findings from those that are self-recovered.
soberlicious is offline  
Old 11-29-2011, 04:42 PM
  # 34 (permalink)  
Always, Never & Forever
 
DrivenHeart85's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Midwest
Posts: 313
I can definitely understand Trimpey's sore spot about meetings...if anyone would've told me I needed three RR meetings a week for the rest of my life like AA did, I would've ran away from RR too. lol
DrivenHeart85 is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to DrivenHeart85 For This Useful Post:
lostbutterfly (11-30-2011)
Old 11-29-2011, 04:51 PM
  # 35 (permalink)  
Shape-Shifting Super-Hero
Thread Starter
 
HuskyPup's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Eating Tofu!
Posts: 882
Originally Posted by onlythetruth View Post
I think we all agree that when it comes to recovery, one size does not fit all. But when only one size is available, only people who fit into that size get helped. Those people see the situation as good, but what they don't realize is that people of other sizes often have nowhere to turn. And what's really sad is that such people are often told that they are hopeless, "constitutionally incapable of being honest", and that if they try a different way forward they are "signing their own death warrant".

What's even sadder is how deeply this message has become embedded into our addiction treatment system due, in large part, to the efforts of one group to "carry the message", often in contravention of its own stated traditions ("attraction rather than promotion"). It's tragic, but the reality is that most rehabs in the U.S. still will not let their patients even KNOW that they have a choice of what recovery path to follow. It's mighty hard to spread the message that different paths are possible, when that message is being actively barred by people who have an economic interest in maintaining the status quo.

One nice thing about SR, though, is that it's a place where people of different recovery paths come to gather, where people get to see the breadth and variety of experiences that people have, where it's impossible to continue to spread the myth that there is only one "right" way to recover. I further think that the more this message gets spread through places like this, the more interest there is going to be in bucking the system and actually starting meetings of different recovery groups.

What a nice post, and I very much agree, and wish there were more SR meetings.

I admit: I like real life, social support. I am an extroverted, intellectual and highly social person. These kinds of things help me.

I would be happy if I had just one non step-only meeting to go to a week, overjoyed, really. There is something powerful about being with others as you recover, especially early on, and talking face to face.

The whole life-time of meetings thing is weird to me, and what was weirder is in all the months I went to those one meetings, I might have seen a new face maybe once a month, out of hundreds of people...it was always the same people, talking and kind of cliqu-ish, so that, too, was hard.

Anyway, I am just expressing that I would like a local secular discussion group, a place to go, a place to be.
HuskyPup is offline  
Old 11-29-2011, 05:01 PM
  # 36 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 1,146
'Trimpey did not sober up in AA, although he does acknowledge having attended about thirty meetings.'


Wow, I didn't know that. So he says he sobered up without AA and then went to some AA meetings? I'd heard the story differently. He doesn't strike me as a guy who would hang out on the fringe of AA by choice just for the coffee. That's practically asking for endless stream of angry yelling from the wife.

A friend had a 5 minute meeting with Jack at The Ranch, but when he didn't want to shell out $600 to pay Jack to take an hour to share with him the secret formula Jack immediately pretended my friend was invisible and he was quickly ushered out. He was taken back, but I do understand that business is business.



'I don't know the exact numbers, but RR had meetings in over 1,000 cities by 1994.'


Were the meeting lists destroyed, or is there a list still available? I'd be curious about which 1000 cities had meetings. I still can't understand why I never heard a thing during all that explosive but (per JT) ultimately worthless meetings growth.



'Yes. RR invited professional psychologists to facilitate their meetings, which led to many of them having more focus on CBT/REBT than on AVRT. Many did quit and moved on, but others kept coming back for years, and the focus shifted away from quitting for good to broader concerns. Interestingly, a very similar thing happened to AA on account of the expanding treatment industry and the Open Discussion meeting format.'


Getting psychologists to donate their time is no small feat. I wonder what could have possibly been in it for them to talk with a group of RR attendees? The material from one early member I read indicated that lay people led them, but it was probably different in different areas and times.

So you went to the old RR meetings. That's really something special. Getting the message that long ago has no doubt been a positive for you. Good you're still involved helping others. Truth is you're the first long term RR person I've 'met'. Probably lots of other 15-20 year RR members on SR too I've not yet noticed.

People like you and the others show how well it really works.
langkah is offline  
Old 11-29-2011, 05:20 PM
  # 37 (permalink)  
Shape-Shifting Super-Hero
Thread Starter
 
HuskyPup's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Eating Tofu!
Posts: 882
Well, I sure hope I find a secular group.


It gets lonely, this internet thing.


Better than nothing, but nothing like a human voice, face, set of expressions...somehow, I feel more and more disconnected, the farther the digital age has gone on. In ways, I have connected more with niche interests, but overall, I'd say I feel more lonely.

Anyway, really hoping to find some people and maybe start something. Maybe I can hand out fliers after those other meetings, and snag some of the disaffected.
HuskyPup is offline  
Old 11-29-2011, 07:07 PM
  # 38 (permalink)  
Always, Never & Forever
 
DrivenHeart85's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Midwest
Posts: 313
I guess I'm lucky for being an introvert in this case. I think people are exhausting and can only handle them via text message, Facebook or forums...you can make 'em shut up whenever you want to then by just shutting off your device of choice.
DrivenHeart85 is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to DrivenHeart85 For This Useful Post:
lostbutterfly (11-30-2011)
Old 11-29-2011, 08:13 PM
  # 39 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 1,146
HP...Passing out flyers as the crowd is exiting a meeting is a great idea. I hope that you decide to do that.

Many are compelled to be there because of various offenses or parole after prison time and they'd often much rather be in any small group where they can act as they'd like to act.

Line up about 10 and you've got the makings of a good group session.
langkah is offline  
Old 11-30-2011, 07:18 AM
  # 40 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location:    USA                        Recovered with AVRT  (Rational Recovery)  ___________
Posts: 3,680
Originally Posted by langkah View Post
Getting psychologists to donate their time is no small feat. I wonder what could have possibly been in it for them to talk with a group of RR attendees?
Referrals. Addiction recovery groups provide an endless stream of potential clients. It is the same principle that the addiction treatment industry uses, and like rehabs, professional offices often provide space for meetings. Needless to say, the professional advisers were not very happy about losing their alternative recovery group meetings, which is why they splintered off into SMART recovery.
Terminally Unique is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Terminally Unique For This Useful Post:
RobbyRobot (12-04-2011)

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:27 AM.