A few weeks ago I had a strange conversation with a guy after an AA meeting. Ok, I know that strange conversations after meetings are more the norm, than the exception. However, this was almost surreal, because this gentlemen really hated almost everything about AA. First, he told me about his disgust with any Christian based religion (nothing too shocking there). Then, he explained that “people” in the United States should “pay” the price for their “Christian war crimes”. Hmmm. I did notice that he refused to hold hands and pray after the meeting, choosing instead to stand by the door with his arms folded. Next, he went in great detail, about what a crook Bill W. was. He said that Bill W.’s mistress and family had made millions of dollars from the publishing of AA’s “Big Book”. He said the book was plagiarized, and so on and so on. He was just getting started. I quieted walked away.
Why would this “long-time sober” and “regular attendee” of AA, talk my ear off, about how AA is terrible and corrupt? I respect people having different experiences and opinions, but dang, why waste your time with something that is so repulsive to you?
The next time I saw him, I told him that there are dozens of alternatives, for people who don’t believe in 12-steps, God or Bill W. I emphasized that being in a fellowship that doesn’t reflect your beliefs, is kind of sad — especially given the abundance of options available.
Here are 2 options for people who want to cut back on their drinking, because they are not alcoholic (side note: I find it strange that anyone who is not alcoholic would want to cut back on their drinking)
Their alcohol harm reduction program -meets people “where they are at” with their drinking. They do not label people or require them to identify themselves as “diseased” or “alcoholic. The program empowers people to choose their own goal — safer drinking, reduced drinking or quitting. And, engages people with realistic goals that they can actually accomplish.
A group for non-dependent problem drinkers who do not necessarily want to stop drinking, but moderate their amount of alcohol consumed to reduce its detrimental effects. MM encourages members to follow certain drinking guidelines by setting limits and goal setting techniques. They have a 9 step change program.
If you don’t like 12-steps or AA:
Rational Recovery, founded in 1986 by Jack and Lois Trimpey, is an abstinence-based approach to recovery that is “antithesis and irreconcilable arch-rival of Alcoholics Anonymous.”
At the core of the Rational Recovery (RR) program is the Addictive Voice Recognition Technique® (AVRT), which appears to be a training exercise in simple will power. A crash course in AVRT is presented on the Rational Recovery as a “public service” in the form of 28 flash cards.
Head’s Up. The vast majority of the Rational Recovery web site is used in an apparent effort to prove that RR is right and the rest of the world is wrong. Trimpey launches lots of attacks on not only Alcoholics Anonymous, but against treatment centers, chemical addiction counselors, and any other governmental, medical, and professional organizations that do not agree with him.
If you are not religious
A secular network of support groups for living free of alcohol and other addictions. It is an abstinence-based and has an emphasis on non-religion style recovery.
A Web site for Agnostics in Alcoholics Anonymous. By the way the are having a World Convention in Santa Monica November 6th.
Described as “A space for AA agnostics, atheists and freethinkers worldwide”, it presents the A.A. steps from an agnostic perspective.
SMART Recovery program
It is based on a four point process.
Point 1: Enhancing and Maintaining Motivation
Point 2: Coping with Urges
Point 3: Problem Solving
Point 4: Lifestyle Balance
The meetings follow a standard structure which includes both teaching and participant input.
The SMART Recovery program teaches self-empowerment, self-reliance, and tools and techniques for self-directed change.
The SMART Recovery program takes a non-judgemental view of appropriate medication use.
The SMART Recovery Program differs from 12 step groups, but many people choose to be involved in both groups.
Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS)
A non-profit network of groups to help alcoholics or drug addicts who are uncomfortable with the spiritual content of 12-step programs achieve and maintain sobriety.
SOS Behind Bars
A component of Secular Organizations for Sobriety that addresses the needs of prison inmates and provides volunteers to work in prisons.
Women For Sobriety
A nonprofit self-help organization helping women to overcome alcoholism and other addictions.
Specific Faith-Based Programs:
Buddhist Recovery Network
An organization that supports the use of Buddhist teachings and practices to help overcome addictions.
Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically Dependent Persons and Significant Others
A mutual-help group for Jews in recovery from alcohol and other chemical abuse that helps recovering Jews and their families connect, explore their Jewish roots, and discover helpful resources.
An Islamic fellowship of men and women supporting recovery from alcohol and drug addictions.
National Catholic Council on Alcoholism and Related Drug Problems (NCCA)
A body affiliated with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops that promotes greater awareness and acceptance of alcoholism and other chemical addictions, and prevention issues.
An organization run by the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints that sponsors addiction recovery meetings and offers program recovery guides.
If all of this confuses you – consider going to: