Sober without Alcoholics Anonymous
Some people in A.A. would say that if you can get sober without A.A. then you must not be a real alcoholic. These same people would say that unless you join A.A., and you are a real alcoholic, then you will not get or stay sober. Others would say that if you don’t go to A.A. meetings x times a week, you’re bound to relapse, thus proving that one cannot stay sober without Alcoholics Anonymous. No matter how it’s sliced, these different opinions all point to A.A. being the final authority, the alpha and the omega on sobriety. This article is going to prove how the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, itself, refutes that idea.
“Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.” [Copyright by The A.A. Grapevine, Inc.; my emphasis]
This statement differentiates between the program of Alcoholics Anonymous and the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. Typically when we hear “I belong to A.A.” this would mean we go to meetings and consider ourselves part of the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. The program of Alcoholics Anonymous is considered to be the explained and discussed text within the first 164 pages of the “Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous” where one would find, also, the 12 Steps.
Personally, after getting sober using the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, had I not taken a well needed break from the meetings of fellowship I was attending, I may have gotten drunk.
This break helped me to differentiate many things about Alcoholics Anonymous, primarily that the program of A.A. is very clear on the matter that A.A. has no monopoly on God or sobriety.
Page 45 in the Big Book when asked how do we find a Power greater than ourselves which will solve our problem answers, “Well that’s exactly what this book is about. Its main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem.”
Now, if you can find a Power greater than yourself to enable you to stop drinking, the program of A.A. would seem to applaud that as it also says regarding this being the only way to get sober:
Referring to someone with a drinking problem who is being approached by an A.A. member, “If he thinks he can do the job in some other way, or prefers some other spiritual approach, encourage him to follow his own conscience. We have no monopoly on God; we merely have an approach that worked with us.” [Pg. 95, Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous]
So getting back to why I feel with all of myself that I would have started back drinking again had I not had a break from the fellowship aspect of A.A.
“This is not to say that all alcoholics are honest and upright when not drinking. Of course this isn’t so […].” [Pg. 141, Big Book]
I could offer numerous to countless areas in the text of Alcoholics Anonymous where it is simply not so that the people in the fellowship have been endorsed by A.A. World Services to tell you you cannot get sober without A.A. You are the only one who can say you may have a drinking problem and you are the one ultimately responsible for it.
The program of A.A. has given me the opportunity to be reintroduced to my self. My self has reintroduced me to my life. As a result, I have an intuitive voice, today, that I can listen to or not. And when it tells me to back out of particularly sick meetings or it tells me to call someone, or it tells me to carry the message of recovery to all people regardless of their afflictions or spiritual ideals, I try to listen.
God, of my understanding, got me to A.A. and I got sober that way. This does not mean all paths are created equally; it just means that that was what worked for me. Here’s to sobriety and recovery in all flavors and an embracing of all paths leading to the same serenity. Namaste.