Stop Drinking Without Alcoholics Anonymous

Submitted by on Tuesday, June 3, 200822 Comments

Yes. You Can Quit Drinking without Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous is where judges or intervention programs conditionally send some people in order to avoid jail or other unpleasant penalty when the alleged crime involves alcohol or drugs. Alcoholics Anonymous Symbol - Cirlce and Triangle - Unity, Service, and RecoveryAlcoholics Anonymous is also where hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people have learned to stay sober from alcohol for either a significant period of time, substantial periods of time, or for forever. “Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other and help others to recover from alcoholism.”

And because I am an A.A. member and practice the 12 steps daily and particularly the 12th step [12th Step – Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.] on a daily basis in some fashion – or try to – I am here now to try to carry the message of recovery to people in search of it. With this message of recovery, I also hope to share some truths about A.A., recovery, or alcoholics.

So here is some experience, strength, and hope I want to share with you with regard to the following questions…

  1. Is Alcoholics Anonymous the only way to get sober or stay sober?
  2. Will you really die (an alcoholic death) if you choose another way to stay sober?
  3. Will you die an alcoholic death if you keep drinking and don’t stop?
  4. Does A.A. have a monopoly on sobriety?
  5. Is A.A. religious?
  6. What is an alcoholic?
  7. Can’t alcoholics just stop anyway?

These are questions I am going to answer emphatically and without hesitation. However, any information you receive here will of course be up to you to use as you wish. As a matter of ethics, I have to say that these are my own opinions based on my own research, education, knowledge or experience. I am not speaking on behalf of anyone or any institution or company and I do not get paid for anything I share with you. EVER. Thanks.

#1 – Is Alcoholics Anonymous the only Way to Get Sober or Stay Sober?

Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book 4th Edition - The basic text of A.A. are within the first 164 pages - Buy it new or used at Amazon or get it at cost from an A.A. meeting!No, Alcoholics Anonymous is not the only way to get or stay sober. Period. And yes it’s that simple. For some A.A. members, they will say A.A. was the only thing that worked for them. But it’s because they were at that point to want to stay stopped drinking. So they looked for a support system and tools to help them stay stopped and found them in A.A. [The Twelve Steps are a tool. A network of people who understand and who are trying to recover are a tool. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is a tool. Sponsorship is a tool.]

In 2002 when I wanted to stop this last time [again], a series of synchronicities happened in my life that led me to Alcoholics Anonymous [again]. At that time I, too, believe that A.A. is what enabled me to stay stopped from January 04, 2003 til today. And even while continuing to attribute my sobriety in part to what Alcoholics Anonymous taught me, I need to share how it was I stayed stopped at an earlier time in my life without A.A.

#1A – My Experience on Getting Sober without Alcoholics Anonymous

I worked on an article recently discussing manifesting our reality and I referenced an incident in 1996 where I needed this this “miracle” more than anything I had ever needed. The miracle I needed was to quit drinking.

From my article, “Manifesting Reality“:

When I had done everything I could do. When I had tried to fix, manage, control, or even suffer enough. When I had tried every trick to manage something well and it was still a walking cumulative disaster. When I had clung, justified, re-arranged, explained When I had gone through every last resource known to humanity; From willpower to magic, from bargaining with God to the Devil, from self-knowledge to psychic mediums and collegiate academics. When I had exhausted all of it – every single last one my limited brain was capable of discovering; Only then was I finally at that place where I was left trembling and humbly before my Divine Creator whispering, “It’s up to you.”

That night I went out and ordered my usual, but for some reason I had no desire to drink it. It seemed almost as if I’d lost the taste. I drank it anyway. I ordered another one. I left half of it. This was around March of 1996.

For the next almost year and a half, I discovered myself. I was happier than I had ever been. I had regained my integrity. I was making healthy decisions. I was self-supporting. I was growing into my own and life was grand. I knew a peace I had never known and it was called heaven. Spiritually, I had never known such fulfillment and [the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous talks about the “Fourth Dimension“] I was in the Fourth Dimension , without even necessarily having the term for it.

Everything I would later discover as being “9th Step Promises” from Alcoholics Anonymous was occurring in my life without the need of A.A. I was on my path and I was whole and complete and…

Phenomenon of Craving. Huh?

I wouldn’t have another drink until August 1997 to celebrate my birthday with friends. Because I’d had no “A.A” at this point – a couple of meetings years before excluded – I had no idea that this drink was going to prime me for another bout of hell.

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous by way of Dr. Silkworth’s “Doctor’s Opinion” calls it the “phenomenon of craving.” That “thing” that makes a so-called alcoholic [I say so-called because some people dislike labels] or alcohol dependent need to drink after the first bit of alcohol is ingested.

Later in my eating disorder recovery I would understand that I am also, as well as alcohol sensitive, sugar sensitive, so that when I ingest the smallest amount of pure sugar [candy to simple carbohydrates] I lose all interest in regular food and go anorexic save for sugar at night when no one is watching. So, I don’t eat sugar either.

So it did prime me and less than five months later I was drinking daily again, whereupon I wouldn’t get to the next “surrender point” until January 2003. That’s five years!

How I quit drinking in 2003 was much the same way I’d quit in 1996: New bottoms and new lows and finally with being at the end of my rope after countless humiliation I, again, had a conversation with God. This time it wasn’t a whisper. This time it was my going out to my back porch and looking at the moon and almost screaming, “Well you’re going to have to do something now because I am done! I can’t do it!” This time I was a lot angrier than before.

#1B – Getting Sober Again with Alcoholics Anonymous

The Synchronicity: Manifesting the Release of Alcohol Abuse

About two days later, a couple happened to be walking by my house and we somehow felt inclined to chit chat; Talking about my landscaping and my flowers when it began to rain. I apologized for holding them up and could I offer them a ride somewhere? “We’re going to a meeting on such and such street.” I had remembered it from years earlier that an A.A. meeting was there when it all came to me that I was in the middle of a most Divinely synchronized event. It flashed in my mind that they were going to an A.A. meeting – just like that! So I said, “An A.A. meeting?” They said, “Yes!” I gave them a ride and I stuck around too.

So which is better? Without A.A. or With A.A.?

That’s like asking if a wool jacket is better or a windbreaker. It depends on who you are, where you are, and what you ultimately need. At the core of both processes is the “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Even Alcoholics Anonymous literature states that A.A. does not provide initial motivation. The common denominator with all people who stay stopped drinking, irrespective of how, is that they want to quit more than they want to continue feeding their addiction. They have had a moment of clarity; of sanity; and realize in one instant that this is do or die time. They are at a crossroads and this happens in a flash. So, in this window of opportunity, is when some psychic shifts can occur.

At the core of myself recovery was dependence on a Higher Power. Personally, I call this higher power God. I had always had a connection [a feeling] with this higher spirit; ever since I was about 5. [That’s one of my HSP characteristics.] So, it was not hard for me to get sober and stay that way for a period of time without anyone’s help. I was happy, peaceful, and serene. I made some life-changing decisions that were positive for me and it was all good. Again. The reason I would have a drink that would start me off for another five years again, is because I did not know of the phenomenon of craving. I did not know that alcohol triggered me. I guess that at the core I did not know I was chronically allergic to alcohol. [See #8’s “Can’t alcoholics just stop anyway” for more information on this.]

At the core of A.A. recovery is dependence on a Higher Power. Click here to see Samsara's Adapted Twelve Steps in a new windowThe Twelve Steps are simply tools to help you effectively get past the garbage of hating yourself so you can stay in touch with the “sunlight of the spirit” the Big Book calls it. Staying in touch with God would enable you to stay away from the first drink. This is the foundation of A.A.’s message.

What I didn’t know before joining A.A. and reading the textbook of Alcoholics Anonymous referred to as the “Big Book” is that alcohol, once ingested by the former alcohol dependent, sets up a term I’ve referenced in this article as the “phenomenon of craving.” This was my folly in 1996. I didn’t know that that would happen. It’s not like I had just started desiring alcohol again and [contrary to A.A. ramblings from some members] “was on a dry drunk and then just had to have the drink!” No, I really thought that because I had “broken my past alcoholic habit” that I would be fine this time. And I wasn’t. It may have taken a few months to get back to where I was a year and half earlier but the fact that it happened tells me I am of the “alcohol dependent” variety. So, for me personally, I needed to understand this so I would internalize and get that, for me, there is no such thing as a nice friendly one drink in a blue moon. A.A. taught me that and I am grateful.

#2 Will You Die (an Alcoholic Death) if you Choose Another Way to Stay Sober?

That doesn’t even make sense does it? But being an A.A. member, I hear it all the time. I hear members shooting their mouth off, contributing to the idea that A.A. is a cult by espousing lies that are not in the Big Book or even in their own truthful experience!

This is when I get angry. I get angry when rational common sense flies right on out the window and cult-speak takes over. First of all, we’re all going to [probably] die. :) Second of all, if you are sober, how can you “die an alcoholic death”?

What they’re meaning to imply with this statement is that if you leave A.A. you will relapse and die. These morons do not tell you this based on their experience because they are alive. These morons do not tell you this based on the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous because it’s not in there. No. They are using scare tactics because they want to look like the *powerful oldtimer* who “knows everything.*

Want to know some REAL stories? I have known people who have voluntarily KILLED themselves WHILE in Alcoholics Anonymous! Yep. Died sober. Killed themselves sober! Alcoholics Anonymous egomaniacs won’t tell you that though. I have also known people who went to meetings every single day and would STILL relapse. STILL relapse on alcohol or drugs but yet they “stayed in the rooms” and pretended all was well. These folks died an “alcoholic death” but were yet “still in the rooms” as these A.A. self-appointed gurus put it.

What A.A. Nazi’s May Tell you on the Other Hand

What I really have never appreciated about Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are the jabbers who tell you that if you don’t do A.A. you’ll not get sober. They also seem to cover their asses well when they add:

“But if you do get sober then you weren’t really an alcoholic!” [or] “You’ll be on a dry drunk if you quit going to A.A. meetings!” [or] “Well they’ll either go to jail, an institution, or die.”

Well with logic like that, A.A. seems to be the Higher Power doesn’t it? And these statements here are part of the reason that dissidents call Alcoholics Anonymous a cult. [Nevermind the opposite message is in the actual Big Book.] But because A.A. does not censor its members, those people who twist the message are as free to twist it, just as people who share the authentic message. And that is that A.A. has no monopoly on sobriety. [Secular Organizations for Sobriety or SMART Recovery or Rational Recovery are three examples of abstaining programs, not 12 step related! These links will appear, again, at the bottom of the article as resources.]

Contrary to the message in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, some people in A.A. will continue to try to put forth that A.A. is the only way to get sober. I say some because I am a member and fight these misconceptions often.

But think on this for a moment: A room full of the sickest functional people in society infamous for their ego’s [the Big Book discusses at length the ego that needs deflating and the grandiosity that resides in the mind of the alcoholic] are really going to tell you that the organization they belong to may not be the alpha-omega? Well. You can truly separate the humble [recovering] people from the conceited [the ones holding on or not at all] people by asking them that one question, can’t you? :) “Is A.A. the only way I can get sober?” Check their answer. If they say, “That’s not what the Big Book says” or if they say, “Well for me it works.” or “I don’t know, my experience is only A.A.” then ask that person to be your sponsor if you’re thinking of sticking around! :)

#3 Will You Die an Alcoholic Death if you Keep Drinking and Don’t Stop?

It’s absolutely not a given. That’s another “scare tactic.” This depends on how much you drink, what you drink, what your lifestyle is and genetics and a slew of other factors. [Do you smoke, drive fast, have a lot of stress or skydive? Well, take heart then!] ;)

What, with heart disease being #1, and cancer and freak tsunamis and hurricanes and earthquakes and boats capsizing 50 miles offshore, drive-bys and bar brawls…heck. I can see many more ways to die rather than liver failure or anything else associated with daily alcohol imbibement. [PS. If you’re still or currently drinking, you know not to take acetaminophen right? Take ibuprofin for headaches or pain instead.]

But I can imagine a worse hell: NOT dying and living to 300 yrs old while drunk; which had always been my fear. I used to pray for death and it never came. I knew for a fact I would probably live well past the average age of death and drunk at that. I knew it and I felt it. I could imagine nothing worse but I knew it. I would sit there, drunk, and know for a fact I was going to die drunk.

Besides all that. Does death REALLY “scare” an alcoholic? Not this one. Life is what scared me. So if you’re currently alcohol dependent, rest assured you may have a very very very long life still ahead of you.

#4 Does Alcoholics Anonymous have a Monopoly on Sobriety?

First, let’s define monopoly so we’re clear on what that means. From the FreeDictionary, monopoly means “exclusive possession or control” or “Exclusive control by one group of the means of producing or selling a commodity or service” and in this case, sobriety.

Although the government is wrongly trying to make A.A. a monopoly by sending DUI offenders or other people to A.A. in exchange for no points or in lieu of jail time, I am glad to see the American Humanists challenging the government on this. And from the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Traditions, “Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues, hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy”. [Tradition 10] This nonsense is the government’s doing. In my opinion, a person should be able to choose whatever recovery modality he wants in lieu of jail time.

The answer to the original question is no, A.A. does not have the monoply on sobriety OR GOD or else no other ways would exist. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous even says on Page 95, last two paragraphs, within the context of speaking with someone who has a drinking problem and in trying to help…

“If he is sincerely interested and wants to see you again, ask him to read this book in the interval. After doing that, he must decide for himself whether he wants to go on. He should not be pushed or prodded by you, his wife, or his friends. If he is to find God, the desire must come from within.

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. But point out that we alcoholics have much in common and that you would like, in any case, to be friendly. Let it go at that.” [Pg. 95, Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Read it online.]

I feel safe in drawing from just these two paragraphs that the A.A. Big Book is emphatically asserting here that A.A. no monopoly on sobriety and neither is interested in forcing A.A. on anyone; much less being interested in using scare tactics. “We merely have an approach that worked with us.”

#5 Is A.A. Religious?

Zen of RecoveryAlcoholics Anonymous is not religious. But first we have to define religion because to some people, and particularly those antagonistic to any *God* idea, this program will be viewed as religious. From the FreeDictionary and their definition of religion:

1.a. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe. 1.b. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship. 2. The life or condition of a person in a religious order. 3. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader. 4. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.

Pertaining to #1A. Step #3 in Alcoholics Anonymous suggests that we, “Make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understand God.” [The emphasis is in the actual step.] This means that since I understand God to be natural order and following my conscience for my highest good, that is my version of God. There is nothing supernatural about that. I know plenty of A.A.’s who hold great disdain for religion – as I do. I even know plenty of atheists and agnostics in A.A. and who are successfully sober. A.A. makes no claim that our personal God be supernatural, creator of the universe or governor of the universe. What good would that do an alcoholic anyway? Seriously. If religion worked, I’d have found a church to get me sober. :)

Pertaining to #1B. Therefore, A.A. does not fit the criteria for #1B and especially with the “worship” idea. We worship nothing in A.A. [Some people worship A.A. and others do worship God, but it’s against the A.A. Traditions to bring that into meetings.] Although, I remember that as an active alcoholic, I worshiped alcohol. ;)

Pertaining to #2. Nothing here.

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions A.A. Conference Approved Literature or the nicknamed 12 and 12Pertaining to #3.We have no leaders in A.A. and in accordance with our Tradition #2: “For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority– a loving God as God’s expression may be found in our group conscious. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.” [See the Traditions on A.A.’s website.] Seriously. There are not even “Rules” in A.A. much less leaders to tell anyone what to do.

Pertaining to #4. “A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.” Like when I hear people joke and say, “Alcohol used to be my religion” or “Work is my religion” or “She’s religious about her studies.” I suppose, then, in this way A.A. could be construed as a “religion” if people chose to worship A.A. [as some do]. But that’s as close to religion as A.A. gets.

#6 What is an Alcoholic?

An alcoholic is a person addicted to alcohol. An alcoholic is a person who cannot stop drinking and even against her/his own will s/he drinks. An “alcohol dependent” suffers from what the “Doctor’s Opinion” calls the phenomenon of craving, that after the first drink is imbibed, a cycle of craving is spurred which leads the alcoholic to desire and crave more alcohol. The only way this craving is quieted is to feed it. An alcoholic suffers from a body that is different than social drinkers. Read more about the mind of an alcoholic in “Help an Alcoholic to Stop Drinking.”

I have heard social drinkers say that when they have a drink and get to that “I’m starting to feel out of control point,” they dislike it and so stop drinking for the evening. An alcoholic cannot relate with that mindset. An alcoholic drinks to feel that “out of control” feeling, and usually will then continue drinking with even more fervor!

#6A – My Own Feelings as an Active Alcoholic

If you don’t know of my drinking story, I’ll briefly share it here for the sake of understanding and brevity. My complete story can be found at the above link and the below will not be a reprint so I may emphasize certain features or divulge information I had not emphasized or divulged before.

I was always an outgoing kid with my family and friends but in front of strangers I was painfully shy. We moved to another state at a critical time in my life and my parents would divorce at this time also. I started running with “cool kids” and smoking pot and drinking and skipping school at 13 years of age and that’s the 8th grade where I come from.

A Double Life at 13 to 15 years of age

I was the “nice girl.” I was the girl that parents would approve of their sons “liking’ because I was pretty to look at, subtly fashionable, wore only little make-up and quiet. This secret life of skipping, pot, and drinking was something even my parents had no idea of! Speeding this along that by the time I got to High School and in the 9th grade I was smoking pot every weekend with other *girls who looked like me.* By the 10th grade I discovered the easy access to alcohol and discovered I liked this more! To the exclusion of everything else I would drink alcohol regularly on the weekends.

I did this because it helped me to feel not so shy. I felt confident and secure. I could talk to anybody and be okay in my own skin. Alcohol did for me what I could not do for myself! There was only one problem that was happening at even 15 years of age; Once I had my first alcoholic beverage for the night, I could not stop. I noticed this straight-away and begin bribing my sister to not let me have more than 3 beers or more than 3 drinks. She was never successful and this point is important.

After three beers or drinks, for me, is when the now-known physical craving would set in. Although I would ask “whoever I appointed in charge of me” to stop me at three at whatever cost, they never could. I would become inordinately “sober-sounding” or “normal acting” or bribe them or, if all else failed, threaten violence if I was in such a mood. I did whatever it took to feed that crave.

It was becoming a serious problem because I quickly degraded into the “not so nice girl.”

Alcohol was Solving Problems and Causing Problems

I would stay out all night, meet guys, shoplift for fun, throw up on myself, threaten fights, fight, and engage in other actions that was normally the opposite of who I really was.

I degraded quickly into full dependence on alcohol. It began solving problems I did not know it could solve! It began solving not just my shy problem, but my “fear” problem. It solved my “anxieties.” It solved my “scared of responsibility” problem. It solved my “bored” problem. It solved my “Mom’s new marriage problem” and “Missing my other dad’s” problem. It solved so many problems for me and yet it was beginning to cause bigger ones. Still.

The Downward Unstoppable Spiral I Suffered

I felt like I was on a wild and crazy spiral downward and I was out of control but knew not how to stop. This is the truth. It’s not like I knew I could get off at any time and chose not to. I really knew nothing else to do but to continue on how I was going! This is part of the insanity of alcoholism. “Non-Alcoholics” stop drinking if they realize it’s causing them problems. Not alcoholics. Alcoholics continue on. Alcoholics may *try* to stop drinking if they see the problems occurring because of drinking, but without a psychic change, they will inevitably drink again, start the cycle again, and spiral downward again as if they had never stopped.

Parental Intervention – The Rehabilitation Program called “Straight”

Straight, Inc is what my parents did to me when I didn’t show up after school one day at aged 15. Straight, Inc was supposedly a rehabiliatation center for kids. I won’t get into it here because it’s not germane to this article, but if you’d like to read the abuses that founder Mel Sembler’s Straight, Inc inflicted on me and other kids, read my Newsvine article.But the immediate point here is that my parents took me to the emergency room at the hospital after I showed up several hours later than expected with blood on me and talking out of my mind. This scared them. So when the kind doctor – in believing he was doing a good thing – told my parents about Straight, my Mom had an appointment for me the next morning.

After 3 or 4 months of in-house “Straight’s version of therapy” I escaped. I would now engage in anorexia and self-mutilation. Yay! BUT. What Straight did do, besides bestowing Post Traumatic Stress onto me, is introduce me to the 12 Steps. They also introduced to me the concept that there *was* a way to stop.

The fact my parents were so scared for me and probably so sick of my actions too that they would spend money out of pocket [it was not covered by our insurance] and rumors are insane on those figures; That alone told me they were genuinely noticing my problem.

From all of this, I hope you’re starting to see, then, the answer to #7…

#7 Can’t Alcoholics Just Stop?

Alcoholics Anonymous Big BookNo, alcoholics or the alcohol dependent cannot “just stop” [short of physical restraint naturally].I don’t mean to argue the disease concept of alcoholism here, because although the American Medical Association does classify alcoholism as a disease, some people just don’t believe it and I can understand that.An alcoholic – once again, you can read about it in the “Doctor’s Opinion” which is in the in the A.A. Big Book – suffers from an allergic reaction to alcohol that sets off a craving once the first drink is taken.

The way to satisfy, then, the craving is to drink more.

From there, due to more and more alcohol and more and more tolerance building up, all sorts of things in the life of an alcoholic can begin to go terribly awry. OR, like some poor people, they can remain quite functional in day to day living.

If alcoholics weren’t suffering from a real malady then it seems that all the negative consequences in the world that many alcoholics go through would be sufficient reason to quit wouldn’t it? Think of these examples from the weirdities of my mind…

You’re fond of breathing. But every time you exhale, someone hits you over the head. Why don’t you just stop breathing? Because you can’t.

You LOVE to eat ______ [chocolate?]. You love it so much that when you get a Whitman’s Sampler, you can’t just eat one. You must eat until you have satisfied the sweet tooth. Now, if your teeth were rotting from your head and you gained a pound every time you had three pieces, could you stop? If not, you would be an addict because you would be dependent upon the _____ . [What if you always told yourself you would just have 1 today, brush your teeth and also work out for 30 minutes? But then found you could not?]

If you’re a smoker and if you’ve tried to quit, you know that if you never have that first cigarette you’d never go back to smoking right? Well. Something eventually may trigger you to smoke that one cigarette again. Then you’re back to puffin’ a pack a day in no time. Same theory for the alcohol dependent.

It’s very easy and ignorant for people to say “Just stop drinking” because they just don’t know. They are coming from the only place they know how – their own perception and experience. To them, drinking is no big deal; they could take it or leave it. For the non-alcoholic, just stopping is a good prospect once she figures out her life would be better without alcohol in it.

For me though, I had to get thoroughly and completely demoralized. I had to first try every conceivable way in order to moderate. When all methods failed and I was truly at my bottom and sick and tired of being sick and tired; That was when all would change.


Alcoholics Anonymous has helped me stay sober. Often, too, I have gotten fed up with the propaganda and lies that some members espouse regarding A.A. Yes, it can be treated like a cult by some members, but so can any religion or social organization for that matter. A.A. is not a cult. A.A. is not religious. A.A. makes no demands. A.A. has no monopoly on sobriety or spirituality or God. Yes, it can help some people get sober just as it can not help some people get sober.

The main message I hope to share in this article is that whatever it takes for you to get your life back from the grips of alcoholism, every solid A.A. member would be for; and that is the message of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Whether it’s A.A.’s fellowship, the A.A. program itself (12 Steps), religion, Buddhism, a spiritual strength, Secular Sobriety, Self Management and Recovery Training (SMART) therapy, Rational Recovery, or praying to the noodly appendage of the flying spaghetti monster, as long as it suits what your internal consciousness needs in order to stay away from drinking, Alcoholics Anonymous is for it.All that and you can still be considered an A.A. member because all you need in order to be an “A.A. member” is a desire to stop drinking. That’s the only membership requirement. Meeting attendance is not mandatory or required. Reading the Big Book is not even required. In fact, even the 12 Steps are just suggestions! ALL that is required is “a desire to stop drinking.” [Third Tradition of the Twelve Traditions.]

And that concludes my 12th Step work at this time.

If I can help in any other way, please leave a comment at the bottom of this article.


Alcoholics Anonymous Resources

Non- A.A. Resources



  • The Success said:

    I think we must avoid alcohol

    The Success

  • ssgreylord said:

    I admire your strength and desire to share steps and programs toward recovery. Your post gave me a better insight into A.A. which was a bit of a mystery to me beforehand. While I am fortunate enough not to struggle with this issue (I certainly have plenty of others to worry about), I do have friends who have and this is an insight into the road ahead of them.

  • samsara (author) said:

    Thanks SSGreylord – that was my intention. I really did not expect it to turn into a layperson’s guide but with your feedback I am excited if it could be construed as such. Well…good! :)

    I hope your friends understand that there is help available for when [if] they want help. Whether by A.A. or something else, thank god we’re in 2008 where help is freely available, the stigma is a lot more demystified and where people don’t have to die, go to jail, or get institutionalized.

    Thanks you so much.

  • Rick said:

    I love your blog. I love your insight. After writing on my blog I need a quick pick-me-up so I visited a friend – you! Great share and I like the way you addressed some of the REAL fears people have.

    I know whomever is in your life now, they are truly blessed.

  • samsara (author) said:

    I love you Rick!

  • Rebecca said:

    This blog really stood out because I have a son who is drinking and having problems and I just don’t understand any of it. I myself have no desire for anything addictive…uh…well except sugar, and until I read this I couldn’t understand any of this. Ok, so what do you think of hypnosis? I downloaded a hypnosis mp3, from steve g jones, i use his recordings for other stuff and they worlk VERY well, I played it for my son when he was passed out , I don’t know if any of it sunk in. I’m just thinking that it works on the subconscious mind to get over cravings, (it works well for weight loss) and it’s all I have to offer at the moment. He is not interested in going to AA. I’d like the opinion of anyone who has tried hypnosis if possible. THANKS!

  • samsara (author) said:

    Hi Rebecca. If he is not interested in going to A.A. – which I understand – did you see the non A.A. resources listed at the bottom of this article?

    Non- A.A. Resources

    Or have you seen this article? It might help: Help an Alcoholic Stop Drinking

    I think…no. I KNOW you are well ahead of the game to recognize that he has cravings for alcohol. Good for you.

    Otherwise, I hope the hypnosis works. Would you post back if you notice any changes for the positive? If so, I might have to research and report on that as a potential source of help.

  • ruthi said:

    It does make sense. Alcohol addiction is just any kind of addition. It all begins with a habit. I am not an alcoholic but I did smoke big time in one point of my life. Knowing what it would do to my health I made the decision to stop. I did not do anything special. I just said one day, “this is the last cigarette that I will smoke.” Then, after the last puff, I stopped and never smoke again. Maybe I just have a strong self-control or conviction. I believe that it is what it should be, the person who wants change should make a drastic decision and be firm. Well, not everybody is like me, or I would say “good for me”. I do believe too that there are people who do need help and they should try to ask and get the help they need if they wanted to live a healthy life. Nice post. Keep it up.

  • samsara (author) said:

    Thanks Ruthi. I think it’s a simple matter of the scales getting tipped. But somehow for the addicted [physically, emotionally, mentally, etc…] the scale has to somehow not be just a tiny bit tipped to the favor of quitting but all the way. I think it must be this way for any clarity of mind and resolve to be achieved. [This is another way to call “hitting the bottom.”]

    Notice that social drinkers who may find themselves in a bit of trouble [dui] can just make up their minds to quit so slight tippage is enough for them. This is how I look at it anyway. :)

    Thanks for your comments.

  • banji said:

    I am not an alcoholic. And I am not that familiar with AA, However I’ve heard about it in some series in tv.

    Personally I think getting out of an addiction is never an easy thing. And usually it will need a lot of will power just to even think of doing that. Thus the support group.

    This support group is meant to help the person begin their journey. In time, he will have to train to master his willpower and slowly pulling away from the support. Not discarding all friends, just the support.

    If he continue to depend on the group to overcome his addiction, he will eventually go back to being addicted, because there’s no way the group can provide lifetime support.

    Just my 2 cents :) FYI I now know AA better from your post

  • edu temple said:

    well i meet some persons who dealt with alcohol almost their entire life but now they are renewed.alcoholics hates what their doing but they cant stop i.the given steps on how to stop drinking alcoholic beverage will help them. i think it is effective for a time.the most effective way to eliminate that what is alcoholism is with the faith unto the Almighty who is willing to help us if we really want to

  • samsara (author) said:

    @ Banji – Thank you for your perspective. I agree that support is important. But you’re right in that one group of people offering supoort is not the “answer” [for me anyway].

    I know that people are fallable and taken as a group, perhaps the wisdom is more collective and therefore less prone to criticism. But. Ultimately, for me, it had to rely on a psychic change. My brain had to shift focus from the problem [drinking] to the solution [abstaining].

    A.A. provided these tools, but so did other books, people, and ways of thinking. Thank you.

    @ Edu – Thank you for your comments. And so that is the common denominator for all people who want to end this reliance on alcohol or drugs; the pain of the addiction has to exceed any fear of stopping the addiction. And ion this small window of opportunity is when I learned new tools in order to stay stopped. :)

    Thanks for your perspective on this; both of you.

  • mom811 said:

    I’m blessed to have come across your site…thanks for advertising in “the lighter side”, and thanks for Entrecard too!

    You are surely a writer, and I admire you for your intention of helping others. Keep on to be the good person that you are. You have so much to thank God for! Even your pains can be turned to something good, others can now relate to you, as you talk about the subject from a personal point of view.

  • samsara (author) said:

    Oh thanks Mom! That’s so kind of you! I have been working on another article lately but life’s been getting in the way…Hopefully tonight will be the night. :)

    I will come see you shortly! I heart Mom!

  • Regular Guy said:

    Hey Samsara,

    You’ve recieved an award… see my blog for details


  • samsara (author) said:

    Wow! What an honor! Thanks. Thank you!!
    I am so honored you have chosen me for this prestigious award. What a moment…

    I do think it’s the first time I have ever won anything online! [Gambling sites and day-trading inclusive!]

    Oh and keep your awesome blogging. What a treasure you are!

    Isn’t that neat? I didin’t even know I was in the running for anything! What an awesome Friday this is turning out to be. :)

    Gratitude & Love,

  • rajesh said:

    good blogging keep it up get commenting everyone.

  • Bradley said:

    Excellent post, Samsara. As a recovering alcoholic as well, the heading had me concerned that this was going to be an AA bashing past. It is straightforward and honest. I appreciate that.

    Thank you


  • samsara (author) said:

    Hi Bradley. How are you doing? [Did you get your money yet from the British email person who was so generous?]

    Yeah I’ve had my articles of various critiques of certain non-helpful aspects of *A.A* and hopefully it’s never critical of the program that saved my life but critical of the false pretenses that could drive people away.

    Besides. Bashing a program that saved my life is bad form. Attempting to correct the preconceived aspects that almost drove me away is essential, though, I think.

  • samsara (author) said:

    Hi Alan :)

    For me, what i discovered as the common denominator -without AA or WITH AA – is my conscious contact with a higher power in conjunction with the dispelling of my false self/ego.

    For me, this was the combination. However, some AA meetings [in line with what you said about getting tired of it] and some of the personalities therein almost require me to adopt an ego and when this happens I take a break.

    Mine is a male god because I have daddy issues. LoL…Not kidding. I vaccilate between a new age philosophy, my native american roots, and concept to Mother Earth and to a MALE God. Yeah…but it works! LoL

    So I say…whatever works! Alan. I am so glad you stopped by!

  • June from Video Scrapbook Tutorials said:

    I worked as an addictions counselor for many years. I agree that AA is not the only way for a person to get and stay sober. No two people are exactly alike, and no single approach is the answer for all. Having said that, I believe that the 12 steps are a beautiful, spiritual way of life and no one would be the worse off for practicing them. When I became interested in the Law of Attraction and spirituality about a year ago, I was impressed with the way those practices fit with the 12 step program.

  • joey said:

    People at Alcoholics Anonymous will not tell you whether you are an alcoholic or not. So it is up to you to judge if you are one, in case there are any doubts. If you feel the urges or cravings to lay hands on your favorite poison, always end up drinking more than what you wanted to, or are physically dependent on alcohol to get you through the day or the night, then you are what can be termed an alcohol dependent or alcoholic person.



    Drug Treatment

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