I have been asked a few times what I think about AA. Many people who learned about my sobriety, assumed I was in AA. I would like to address that here.
Spoiler alert: I am not in AA.
A little background: I am not in AA, and I don’t work the program, personally. Therefore, I am not an expert on AA. At all. I studied AA in a Drug and Alcohol class in college while earning my Social Work Degree. I also worked at a halfway house with criminal woman who had drug and alcohol issues. I drove them to meetings, and I assisted their counselors with their individual treatment plans, all of which included the 12 steps. This is to say, I have some personal experience and knowledge of the program, perhaps beyond the average population.
What do I think about AA? I think its a program that works for a lot of people. If I had to say what I think in one sentence that is it. So you can stop reading right now, if that is what you were wondering.
It is not something I turn my nose up to. It is something I deeply respect. I agree with many of the philosophies. A sense of community and belonging is incredibly valuable in recovery.
Having a sponsor is a huge benefit and will contribute to your success. Making amends and finding a higher power are wonderful tools for everyone.
In some ways, my own recovery, mirrored the 12 Steps.
The 12 Steps, however, are not the only tools. AA is not the only way. There are many alternatives to an AA program. I personally, am not a fan of Step 1, admitting you are powerless over alcohol, because I am not powerless over alcohol. Don’t @ me, this is just my opinion about what I believe and what works for me.
What you need in order to recover is a tool kit chock full of things that work for you.
This does not look the same for everyone. It took me many fits and starts to find the right combination for me. I had to try more and try different but not try harder. I was also trying hard. I just needed to add more tools and different tools until I had the magic combination of supports in place that worked for me. If you have attempted sobriety before (congrats) and then went back to drinking (super normal), it was not a failure. It was another step closer. If you want to try again, I would suggest adding in more and different tools to your collection.
To be successful in recovery, you need to find your magic combination of tools and support. AA might be part of it. Nature walks might be part of it. Heavy metal music might be part of it. A fishing trip, the Bible, and an internet best friend could all be part.
It is not a one size fits all solution.
As a Life and Recovery Coach I guide you, to your specific tool box. We will create customized resources, just for you. If you are in AA and its working, stick with it! That is a great tool you already have in your box! If you need more or different supports you can add in a Recovery Coach. Its ok to have a Coach and a Sponsor. You can utilize both and more support.
If you know AA is not for you, then you know AA is not for you. I will not try to tell you otherwise.
Together, we will find alternatives to the 12 step program. Many clients have been referred to me because they are looking for an alternative to AA. AA is not a requirement to work with me, so if that sounds like a relief to you, then we might be a match.
So there you have it, I don’t use AA, I have an idea about AA, and I am neither for or against it. It is either for you or its not. I support all healthy tools that support everyone’s recovery.
Everyone is unique, so their road to recovery will also be unique. You know what is best for you.
I think its important to take a stand on something and not fall for everything. I don’t think you can always be Switzerland and neutral. I am neutral on AA though, for the most part, because who am I to turn anyone away from a program that has helped so many?! I wouldn’t. Will I ever go to an AA meeting for myself? Never say never, but probably not.