"AA didn't work"...and other tall tales.
Updated: Jan 6
I follow a lot of FB pages related to sobriety.
There seem to be so many people constantly questioning whether or not they really need AA to get sober. In other words, is there an easier route? Is there an easier route? Is there a magic wand I can wave to get sober?
Then, it never fails that some people who have chosen another way to sobriety (or not at all) chime in to bash AA because
"It didn't work for me"
"I'm an atheist"
"Praying my problems away isn't going to magically make me sober"
"There are too many rules"
"I can do it on my own", etc.
Okay. Fine. Have it your way, and I'll just be here waiting for you when you are ready.
~ When you've tried to get sober by yourself.
~ When maybe you've drunk yourself nearly to death.
~ When you've finally hit your rock bottom.
~ When you’ve maybe lost everything.
~ When the resentments of your life still own you and you drink again to make them go away.
Ahhhhh, but maybe you've managed to stay sober without help. Maybe you were able to put the drink down all by yourself. Maybe you no longer want or need alcohol. Maybe.
I see various social media sites where lots and lots of people are able to take off the month of January to cleanse themselves of alcohol, and never need to walk into the rooms of AA. They probably aren’t real alcoholics!
And, good for them. Maybe they aren't the kind of alcoholic that I was/am. Maybe they just went through a rough patch and drank for a while. Maybe they’re just heavy drinkers and not really alcoholics. I don't know. I'm not here to judge and only they know the answers.
What concerns me are those who really ARE alcoholics and manage to get sober but have only managed to not drink. The "dry drunks". Those who haven't figured out WHY they were drinking alcoholically, to begin with. Those who don't drink, but still live with anger, resentments, self-pity, shame, and fear. I worry and pray for those people. There is a big difference between being SOBER and being in RECOVERY. Heck, anyone can be sober simply by stopping their intake of alcohol, but if you want to find recovery from alcoholism, you must stop drinking and "clear away the wreckage of your past" so that you don't fall back into the nightmare of alcoholism.
I would give anything to be able to *swoosh* magically give the gift of sobriety away with the dash of my magic wand. But, I can't. Only you have the power to find your own sobriety and recovery. Only you, with God's help. That's how I did it. That's how millions of other have, too.
Sobriety really is truly miraculous, but there will be hard, truth-finding, soul searching work involved to truly have peace along the way. Not just managing to stop drinking ~ but to be recovering.
Here's what I know.
AA literally saved my life. That's not a statement I make lightly. It literally saved my life.
In return, I have been blessed with a life far better, bigger, happier and more free life than I could ever have imagined.
The price for this gift: admitting that I had a desire to stop drinking, working the Steps (with a sponsor) and asking God, every day, to keep me sober. I take what I want from the program, and leave the rest. My recovery is my recovery.
This program takes work. “It works if YOU work it!” Your sponsor will suggest honest, gut-wrenching, deep, thoughtful, emotional work. It's not easy, but it is simple. I'm not going to short change it and say that it's going to be easy for you. It's not. It's hard and painful and once you get through the pain and hurt and shame and guilt and anger and resentments and fear, always fear, there is joy and light and kindness and gentleness and love and freedom. Who wouldn't want that?
Is AA perfect? Nope. Are there pros and cons? Sure. But, there is no denying that millions of people working the Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (and all of the dozens of 12-Step offspring programs) have forged on because it works when nothing else did.
Today, and every day, my dear friends, I pray for all of you. I pray especially for those who still are swallowed up by their addiction and simply can't find a way out, won't find a way out or don't want a way out. I pray for the alcoholic who still suffers. I pray that my words might help anyone who needs my help. I pray that God guides me and that I can be of service where and when I'm needed. I pray that you find the source of power that can help you find recovery.
That One is God...May you find Him now.
I'm not God. I don't have all the answers. All I can share is my "experience, strength and hope"...mostly hope. And love.
Blessings and recovery,
PSA: If you need help with alcohol, I'm here for you...AND, what I can promise you is that after we talk, I'm going to send you right to the same program (that I fought to stay out of) that literally saved my life (and millions of others), my family, my marriage, my relationship with my higher power, whom I choose to call God. www.AA.org #SoGrateful