AA Isn't for Me. What Are My Alternatives?
I’ve been going to AA on and off for about six months now. I just can’t seem to get into it and it certainly hasn’t done anything to help me stop drinking.
There’s all this talk about God and High Powers, which I just don’t buy into because I’m not religious at all. And having to introduce myself as an alcoholic every time I want to say something just seems juvenile – of course we’re all alcoholics, that’s why we’re there!
I’ve been to rehab and that obviously didn’t seem to work for me. AA isn’t working and I know I need to do something, but I’m running out of ideas as to what. Can you offer any suggestions?
I’m going to be honest and blunt with you here because I think you need to hear this so please don’t take this in the wrong way because I’m just trying to help.
What screams out at me is the first thing you need to do is change your attitude. It sounds like (and I could be wrong) that you have an expectation that treatment and AA somehow are there simply to ‘fix’ you without you having to do anything.
That’s not how it works. What you get out of treatment, AA or any other program is directly proportionate to what you put in. Only YOU can overcome your alcoholism. Rehabs and AA provide you with the tools if you like, but it’s up to you to use them.
Now another key and critical ingredient in overcoming an addiction like alcoholism is keeping an open mind and having a willingness to learn. Can you honestly say that you’ve taken those qualities into AA meetings with you because the message I’m getting from you sounds more judgemental than open-minded?
Because if you do take an open-minded and willingness to learn attitude into your AA meetings, I’m sure your experience will be totally different – and you’ll then also realise that AA in a non-religious program that is supporting of all beliefs.
AA is first and foremost a spiritual program that doesn’t have any religious affiliations. They use words like God and Higher Power because those are concepts most people can relate to. If those don’t work for you; maybe Force, Energy or Universe are concepts you can more easily relate – so don’t let that stop you.
Having said all that though – some people do sincerely try AA and realise it’s not for them. That’s okay. Alcoholism is ultimately a disease of mind and spirit – so try programs that help you develop those areas.
Spiritual programs and practices like Yoga and meditation can be very powerful and effective, self-help groups and organisations like 'A Course in Miracles' can make a difference, and anything that looks at holistic healing from a mind, body, spirit perspective can help tremendously - because alcoholism is a complex disease that affects us on all these levels so you need to work at all of these consistently to create lasting change. For further ideas take a look at this alcoholism self help
piece and this article on alternative alcoholism treatment
That means finding what works for you and may require some trial and error. But remember what I said earlier – whatever program you choose, you will only get out what you put in. There is no quick fix. Overcoming and recovering from alcoholism just doesn’t happen – you have to make it happen – and that takes work.
You can do this. Just consider making that attitudinal shift and begin taking ownership of your recovery - and I’m sure that’ll set you on the right path.
All the best and take care