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Top 7 Best Alcoholics Anonymous Alternatives List

Kathryn Patricelli, MA Updated: Jul 8th 2008

In several blog posts over the past two years, we have examined Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and a lively discussion has followed those posts. AA is a group that many have very strong feelings about - both positive and negative. For some, AA has truly been a life-saver and allowed them to manage their addictions, while for others, the experience has not been as positive. Based on that feedback, we wanted to take a moment and provide information on the top 7 alternatives that we've found on the internet for addiction support. We hope these will be helpful to those out there that are looking for a new (or additional) support group solution to managing addictive behaviors.

AA Alternatives Listed in alphabetical order, they are:

LifeRing Secular Recovery LifeRing is a network of support groups for people who want to be free of alcohol and addictive drugs. They are a group for people who have learned through experience that the only solution that works is to abstain completely. They see the power to get clean and sober inside each person. Through the positive reinforcement of the group process, that power becomes dominant in each person and enables them to lead clean and sober lives. The website provides information about the group, including frequently asked questions, publications, an online forum area for support, and links to local meetings.

Moderation Management Moderation Management (MM) is a behavioral change program and national support group network for people concerned about their drinking and who desire to make positive lifestyle changes. MM empowers individuals to accept personal responsibility for choosing and maintaining their own path, whether moderation or abstinence. MM promotes early self-recognition of risky drinking behavior, when moderate drinking is a more easily achievable goal. The website provides information about the organization as well as links to live meetings, online support options, and tools/publications for assessing and managing your drinking.

Rational Recovery Rational Recovery is a worldwide source of counseling, guidance, and direct instruction on self-recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs through planned, permanent abstinence. The group believes that individuals are on their own in staying sober, so there are no meetings or treatment centers as part of the approach. The website provides information about the method (Addictive Voice Recognition Technique® (AVRT®)), frequently asked questions, free information for those trying to stay sober, as well as their families, and information about subscription based services.

Recovery, Inc. Recovery, Inc. is a self-help mental health program based on the work of their founder a neuropsychiatrist, the late Abraham A. Low, M.D. Recovery, Inc. offers its members a free method to regain and maintain their mental health and the program is designed to work in conjunction with professional mental health services. The website provides information and background about the group, links to resources for group members and professionals, forum boards for discussions/support, and a directory of the over 700 group meetings in the U.S. and several other countries.

Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) SOS is an alternative recovery method for those alcoholics or drug addicts who are uncomfortable with the spiritual content of widely available 12-Step programs. SOS takes a secular approach to recovery and maintains that sobriety is a separate issue from religion or spirituality. The website provides more information about the organization, including the history and brochures about the group, as well as links to live meetings around the world.

Smart Recovery SMART Recovery® (Self-Management And Recovery Training) helps people recover from all types of addictive behaviors, including: alcoholism, drug abuse, substance abuse, drug addiction, alcohol abuse, gambling addiction, cocaine addiction, and addiction to other substances and activities. SMART Recovery® offers free face-to-face and online mutual help groups. The website provides more information about the group, as well as links to the 300+ face-to-face meetings offered around the world, 16+ online meetings per week and their online message board for additional support.

Women for Sobriety, Inc. Women For Sobriety, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women overcome alcoholism and other addictions. Their "New Life" program is based upon a Thirteen Statement Program of positivity that encourages emotional and spiritual growth. The website provides additional information about the group, the thirteen statements of the program, and links to find groups in your area.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

Recovery International - Joe - Mar 13th 2015

Just a quick note:  Recovery International is for mental health issues.  RI does not deal with any sort of addiction issues, but it might be helpful in a general way for those people if they develope mental health issues.

 

Response - - Nov 28th 2012

Celebrate Recovery meetings.Look up on web.

Raped by AA members, still need support - - Nov 26th 2012

I went into AA head on Feb. 12 of this year, stayed sober for a long time.  Was raped early in August by two AA members, still remained sober.  Stopped going to AA and went directly to therapy and have relapsed 3 times throughout all of this.

I need an alternative to AA.  I am not bashing them, I just can't go back, so does anyone have a good alternative for me to try?

Passing: - - Nov 19th 2012

Peaple that have had drug or alcohol abuse problems do sometimes overdose & die or mix drugs &or alcohol & die or go comatose or come out different than before.If yu have a history of problems dont play with fire,be very careful.

Spiritual Solution - Joanne Oldershaw - Nov 8th 2012

Having been in AA for 25 years and sober for 15, is that my belief in God had to come first before I could find any hope of using the tools of recovery.  AA is a well defined set of steps and Traditions and as far as I know hosts the best chance of recovery.  Having said that it is a tough journey at times and one needs to be putting one's recovey absolutely first and when needed, getting outside counselling, exercise, good diet, have a moral code that one totally is commited to as well.  I think everyone eventually becomes disenchanted with AA sooner or later, but it is not the 12 steps that are at fault, it is that we have to endure one another.  We can find a similiar experience at church as well, or any other group of human beings that we must come into contact with regularly.  If we don't develop patience, tolerance, love and acceptance we won't belong anywhere and this is true of AA, as it is anywhere we hang our hat.  It is by giving, that we receive; and receiving is not optional, as we need to keep on receiving to have enough to give!

THE WAY - - Oct 24th 2012

Strive for the narrow path.Not one that is broad and all inclusive.

AA - Linda - Oct 21st 2012

AA saved my life almost 20 years ago, and I have been sober ever since.  There was not much hope back then and today my life is great (albeit not perfect).  I would think anyone in AA with any humility would not suggest it is the only way, nor would they suggest one would die without it...12 steps are only suggestions.

Choice - Byron - Oct 8th 2012

My own passion around this issue is for choice of support. If an individual chooses their own method of recovery, the chances for success increase. If an individual is ordered or coerced into a support program without choice, success is diminished. I am active in the LifeRing Secular Recovery organization and believe very strongly in its effectiveness for me. For some people another support system might be better. A combination of support is best for others. Whatever works is the absolute best.

Godonlywise - - Oct 5th 2012

Faith operates by love,so let them go.

AA-NA saved my life - Tom from Pittsburgh - Oct 4th 2012

 tried everything to get clean>  I first hated AA and hated to be told what to do.  Drugs and alcohol nearly killed me, lost a business, 3 rehabs, etc, etc.  I finally went to AA and because I saw it work for others.  I admitted that I was to problem and I needed fixed.  That was obvious to everyone who knows me!  I am not religious and chose "Good orderly direction" as my higher power.  I worked the steps.  Quit being dishonest.  Made friends of other recovering people with lots of clean time.  Made many friends where I was hopelessly withdrawn all my life.  I love life now!! I am 5 years clean...  I have a great job, my family is happy.  AA and NA Saved me.  - Tom

Agnostifair - - Oct 3rd 2012

AA is a cult by Christian definition,since it is not Christ centered:

Moderate Drinking? - Mike Smith - Oct 2nd 2012

I drank moderately for all of my 57 year life until a year ago. I drank too much and made mistakes. I went to AA two months ago, attended 25 meetings, and relapsed. I've been drinking for 5 weeks moderately and wish to continue doing so. I haven't returned to AA as their thinking is absolute: sobriety vs alcoholism. Moreover analyzing the basic unmet human needs/cravings that cause addiction is of no interest to them. 80-90% of meeting time is just that behaviorally focused. That craving still exists, but I haven't gone beyond the preset amount of drinking that I do; also, I'm not doing destructive things when I drink. I seek help with working through my addiction and the ability to continue to drink in moderation. My sponsor will not speak to me as long as I am drinking, and he is a good, knowledgeable man, but he only knows the sober solution.

True believers, - - Oct 2nd 2012

dont acknowledge any other way/s,& seem to think there are 5 ways to God,or any numer

A true follower... - Shannon - Sep 8th 2012

A true follower of the AA program is not going to bash whatever works for anyone

Any AA member who states otherwise does not understand the program

I'm currently in a long term rehab program facility (94 days) and had numerous people tell me to my face I cannot do this without god. I'm not religious and was told by these people (chairman / chairperson) that I will "die" if I don't believe. I have a lot of respect for anybody who can overcome their addictions and I like what was said above. My father has been in AA and clean for over 40 yrs and it worked for him. I just can't believe actual AA members tell me things like this.

Do what works for you - - Sep 5th 2012

A true follower of the AA program is not going to bash whatever works for anyone who does not believe in or follow the AA program.  The AA program and its steps are meant to be suggestive only and AA does not proclaim to hold a monopoly on recovery.  As a member of AA, I am glad to see anyone recover from addiction and reclaim their life, no matter how he or she gets there.  Any AA member who states otherwise does not understand the program. 

thank you June! - rosey - Aug 22nd 2012

I completely agree with your statement " I need help with my drinking, not my scheduling."

I too feel as if I am "failing" AA because my long commute and family commitments that hinder my attendance at as many meetings as my sponsor suggested. This was creating stress and anxiety for me, and this week I told her I could not keep up. So now she is no longer my sponsor since I cannot do what she asked.

I am pursuing some other methods of recovery, including meditation classes. This page is a great resource!

 

Destiny and decisions - - Aug 6th 2012

You can do what the bible says you can do & you are what it says you are if you adopt it.Dont get sucked into that disease black hole.

What works for you. - - May 25th 2012

Try to find the what and where that works for you towards your goal.Churches have various groups and classes See if anything they have is beneficial or helpful.I got away from AA eventually and go to cr groups currently,which are held at churches.Celebrate Recovery.

To Clarify the Previous - Ernie Saker - May 23rd 2012

To clarify my observations contained in the previous post, allow me to point out that "The Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous" is not a monolithic entity. It is rather a collection of autonomous "fellowships" each with their own leadership and collective conscience. There are those groups - a tiny fraction of the whole - that do a fine job of teaching the practical application of the 12-steps. Though the ruin described in my previous posting is a broad generality, I do not back away from this observation. The vast majority of AA groups are so far off the reservation that they will never find their way back to the source. There is, however, a place for originalist AA...it is simply hard to find in the contemporary fellowship.

Program vs. Fellowship - Ernie Saker - May 21st 2012

These comments reflect my own experience and observation and therefore can be taken with a grain of salt. I am committed to the 12-steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and find the program effective; I have recovered from the disorder of alcoholism. The fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous is another matter entirely. Having traveled extensively and attended meetings in many parts of the country, I find the fellowship, generally speaking, fails miserably at carrying the message and teaching the solution contained in the 12-steps. It is worse than watered-down - it has been irreversably corrupted by approaches and tenets that have been grafted on to it by those who reject the spiritual basis of the 12-Step solution. Sadly, I do not believe this can be reversed. The fellowship of AA has been ruined.

What I am seeking is a setting in which the message of the steps; that one can be put in communion with a God of their understanding which will solve their problem can be carried.  I need such a setting in order to fulfill the first half of the 12th step.

 

A little less venom please, Patti - Patti Herndon - May 8th 2012

I visit a great deal of sites regarding support resources for those seeking help with their particular addiction journey. And, I'm grateful that -for the vast majority of us- the spirit and energy demonstrated on these sites in form of comments tends to be respecting of each person’s right and ability to make an informed decision about their own recovery -even when they have strong feelings about utilizing a particular approach.

And then... there are those 'few' people who just have a personal need to 'stir the pot' for the sake of drama. You can always spot 'em. They have a toddler-like persona.

Patti: don't imagine that you are somehow bringing enlightenment to anyone about 'anything'-especially not 12 step- when you choose to frame your opinions/ thoughts in such a disrespectful, hostile spirit. There is no reason for such a display. You're not helping anyone.

On the upside: I am thankful to have found this site today. It includes a comprehensive list of resources for those seeking support with their addiction journey. Keep up the good work, everyone! Best to you all in your own journeys.

Addiction is the journey. Recovery is the destination...We can get there. Sustainable recovery happens every day, for millions. Let’s all help one another get there in a spirit of collective hope and belief in our ability to make healthy change in our lives, as well as inspire hope and healthy change in the lives of those we love.

Patti (the less hostile ‘Patti’ on this comment section ;0)

 

AA Stinks! - patti - Apr 6th 2012

AA is full of soup, the lying began during it's formation, Bill was a pathological liar, never a stock broker among other lies & the lying hasn't stopped.  Bill Wilson was an immoral man, end of story.  AA has not helped millions around the world, that's just more AA PR & propaganda.  It is hard to estimate, due to anonymity  & AA's dishonesty, but currently there are only 2 million members world wide, of those 60% are forced & sentenced to attend, thus there are only 800 thousand voluntary members, that's all & it.  Only 3% of addicts are blessed with a spiritual sickness, a spiritual sickness is something Bill Wilson copied off of Frank Buckman, no medical or any other qualified entity recognizes a

Rest - Greg - Mar 24th 2012

Rest,rest,you who are trying so hard!

Dont - - Mar 20th 2012

Whether you go to secular meeting  or Christ centered,don't  put your secrets out there.

 

Conclusion - - Mar 20th 2012

I've read some of the posts and y'all have helped me to form an opinion as a result and because I've been exposed to diff recovery st stuff.Anyway,If yu really are a believer in Christ,yu don't need to be in a generic thing.Yu need the name brand,Jesus,&that's all I have to say

know the truty - Laura - Mar 4th 2012

In the Big Book of AA it clearly states that we have no monopoly on recovery.  That we have a way that worked for us and are sharing it with others.  The program of AA is contained in the Big Book.  Every organization has personalities that collide especially an organiztion full of recovering drunks.  We tend to become very selfish through our using and have difficulty sometimes changing that.  What the 12 steps our disigned to do is help us to get rid of the self centeredness that continues to cause us to drink and to abstain from alcohol so we do not put into motion the adverse reactions we have to it.  It is not for everyone but it does work for millions around the world.  AA has never been in the media or on the internet proclaiming it is the only way.  But obviously plenty of people feel it is o.k. to bash AA.  Whatever leads you to be a responsible, loving, generous individual is a good way.  Again, whatever that way is.

Another Alternative - Paula DeSanto - Jan 23rd 2012

I run a treatment program in Minnesota (yes, the home of the Minnesota Model) that does not use AA. Many people do well and appreciate the alternative.  Feel free to check out our information at www.mnalternatives.com

Put the focus in the right place - June - Jan 19th 2012

Thank you for this site. This very night I had extreme anxiety over what to do about AA and almost drank over it. Was I failing because I could not attend a meeting every day, or was I suceeding because I wasn't drinking? The pressure put on me to attend meetings stressed me out more than the absence of alcohol. I know I need help quitting drinking and AA does help people, but it is not for me. After reading these comments I now have the courage to leave AA and find a program that works for and supports me. I need help with my drinking, not my scheduling.

Whatever it takes - - Dec 29th 2011

Do what works for you. AA is, in essence, a "Whatever it takes program". That said, I like NA better, and NOBODY accuses you of being a dry drunk there.


With that said, a bunch of us started talking about not using controlled substances or anything, and one of the people I like with 20 years clean told us he's had to daily for the last four years, but his doc also knows he's an addict.  Nobody would ever erase a clean date for using medication that is necessary from a doctor.

Yes, there are bad stories, but I've yet to see any of them.  Does AA or NA solve all problems? Of course not. I wouldn't have made it thus far without my therapist, either. Whatever it takes, but please give AA or NA a try. There's good ideas there, but also elsewhere. Like, I've gone to Rational Recovery's site, there are some ideas there too.

THANK YOU! - Anonymous - Nov 15th 2011

Well, as I sit here with a drink in my hand, having just completed the 12 steps of A.A. to the best of my ability, I say ....Hallelujah! There are alternatives out there.....

A.A. has not been the way for me. I met some very nice people there and there definitely is a fellowship. However, the constant references to God and other religious concepts, in the end, does not work for me. I cannot hand my life over to someone or something that I cannot see, hear or feel around me. Believe me I really tried. I prayed, I meditated, I went to 4-5 meetings a week. I have a sponsor, I worked through all the steps with her. I was as honest and forthcoming as I could possibly be.

Then I prayed all the way to the LCBO this past Saturday after 3 months of sobriety. Guess what - god didn't stop me. "Thy Will Be Done"...I said. And so it was.

I am truly happy for those who have found sober living through A.A. Maybe I'm not desperate enough. Maybe some A.Aers would say that I wasn't honest and forthcoming enough in my step work so that's why I am drinking again. I don't believe any of that is true. When I saw the last writer on this posting use the word "cult-like"...I just felt that someone out there understands. And so Hallelujah...that's what I've been thinking all along.

My opinions matter not. They are just my personal experience, so my intention was not to deter someone else who is having some success with this program. I wish sobriety for all who want it. No matter how you get there.

As for me...I'm movin' on.

Thanks.

 

Glad to find alternatives to AA - - Oct 22nd 2011

I appreciate some of the information and comments I have read here. I have compiled a list of alternatives to AA to look into. I found AA to be contradictory. Having read some similar experiences here that others have had with AA helps me to feel not so alone in my feelings about the 12-step program which I do find to be cult-like. I found some really unhealthy people in AA which was not helpful at all. Some of them were okay, however, the language used (by those who were okay and those not so okay) was like a script - like a bunch of people running around reciting slogans. I found much judgement and higherarchy in AA. Whenever a large group of people being run by themselves as a group states that they're they only way for salvation when you've gone to them for a possible solution to your own unique situation - be wary, be very wary. And I don't like how they clap when you finally give in and say "I'm an alcoholic". Who are THEY to really KNOW? It's almost like they're clapping to "we got another one". Don't get me wrong - I am aware that I drink more than I'd like to at times. I'm not sure what exactly drives me to do so, but I do know that AA is not the answer for me - and I do not feel that AA is the ONLY answer for someone concerned about his/her own drinking. Furthermore, my experience with AA was that they had little regard for that second word: ANONYMOUS. The "Anonymous" part should be the most important. Instead, it seems, the emphasis is put on "Alcoholics" instead of the necessary anonymity to which anyone entering those doors should have a right.

is there a program to help me recover from AA? - raysny - Aug 5th 2011

For those leaving AA:

The Escape Plan

http://www.morerevealed.com/aadep/reclaim/escape.html

 

Online groups dealing with deprogramming:

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/without_aa/

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/EFTCoaa/

http://stinkin-thinkin.com/

 

Reading:

http://www.orange-papers.org/

http://www.morerevealed.com/

http://www.blamedenial.co.uk/

 

Slogans=put downs and groupthink - - Jul 10th 2011

I certainly acknowledge that AA works for individuals, but its 'one size fits all' attitude (and I've experienced it on numerous occasions) is appalling.

I am against its position that if you do not follow their 12 steps, you will be a dry-drunk and in denial, leading a white-knuckled-sobriety existence. I attended meetings in Akron for heaven's sake (ground zero) and was told that I either had to follow the steps, or I'd never stop drinking. I'm sorry to the posters who say this isn't so, but now I'm in Texas and tried AA again, and within FIVE MINUTES I heard the expression 'dry drunk' slung at a person who wasn't in the room by an individual who clearly loved the position of being in charge. Within 10 minutes a poor soul was sobbing because she had been told in another meeting that she could not EVER take the pain medication proscribed for her by her doctor for a slipped disc. She tearfully described the group ganging up on her and erasing her sobriety date from the board and starting it on the present date.

Does that mean if I have open-heart surgery I must forgo post-op pain medication?


 I really was ready to give AA another try, if for no other reason than my insurance wants me to fax (FAX!) my request for counselling and treatment for my alcoholism and they will fax me a permission slip (more or less). Dear God, when you're ready to admit to a complete stranger over the phone a personal problem like this and you're treated like a widget, so I tried AA again.

I've no problem admitting to being an alcoholic and I know I absolute must stop. However, I have not hit rock bottom, I've never driven drunk nor been in trouble with the law in any other way, I still do my job and maintain my life, family and spouse, so I cannot in all good faith believe what I'm told at these meetings. What, I've got to be at the end of my rope before quitting? I've known many people who've stopped drinking by other means.

I've even read the comment about AA that "No one's too dumb to get this, but lots are too smart to get it." That sure sounds anti-intellectual and group-think to me!

It's tragic that the medical community can't see past 12 steps. I've tried on four occasions to find an MD who would proscribe the alternatives recommended in the book My Way Out, and they've to a person said that unless I could prove I was participating in a 12 step program, they would refuse.

Thank you so much for posting these alternatives.

Thanks - Alicia - Jul 5th 2011

I am a social worker in search of alternatives to AA meetings per a clients request. Thank you for this list. I am going to present these and see what my client will go for. :)

thank you - BRIAN B - Jun 22nd 2011

I know and allways have that AA is not for everyone and there had to be other alternatives but for now it's the only one I know works for me for sure . I would love to do something with more positive support .

 What keeps me sober may get you drunk and what keeps you sober may get me drunk . Good luck to all . If your in rochester Ny look me up . Dan Buhr chili NY

brian fl i was begining to fell like i was the only one had some one try too call me on my stuff  i know he ment well 4 days back and been in and out for 8 years i lost it  but did not drink then found real drunk to hang out with sober for 3 1/2 years i never did care for preachers or teachers  thank you for your post if this redneck gets up to the big city i will look you up good luck to you DAN

Consider Advanced Hypnotic Technique - Celeste Hackett - Jun 3rd 2011

A 5-Path Hypnotist can help you maintain your sobirety.  Check us out. 

 

Celeste Hackett

the truth about treatment centers - Lynn - Apr 9th 2011

I  had a serious heroin and crack addiction for twenty years and have been off both for 9 years now...I have even worked in a treatment center for a while at the beginning, for the first three years...So I know the ins and outs... Let me say that NA and the twelve steps did not save my ass...The decision saved my ass...The decision that I couldn't have my cake and eat it too...either the heroin  and coke had to go or I would never do anything else in my life and time was drawing short....Maybe it was the midlife crisis I dont know...But let me say,  AA/NA  was good at the beginning because I needed somthing to believe in while enough time passed for the chemical obcseeion to leave my brain and the depression to lift...after that what kept me clean this time ( I had been thru rehab 5times before without success)  Was not the twelve steps or anything in that cult like organization...I am fully convinced that it is a cult and although a relatively harmless one...it propogates a lie..That you can not do it any other way..I have ... I have gone form homeless to a nice life with a good job and am actually happy...and I don't go to meetings...  The amout of hipocracy in the treatment center where I worked and the low success rate was enough to make me leave that profession,,,I truly believe new reasearch has to be done and new treatment altournatives found.

Danny Buhr says find what works 4 u - Dan Buhr - Mar 11th 2011

I had been sober thru AA 8 yrs . Moved to an area where the people were pompous asses and quit going . Stayed sober another 6yrs 9 . One night I decided to have a drink even though I knew where it would lead .

 After 4 1/2 yrs of drinking ( 1st 2 yrs really weren't bad at all ) I had met my match and alcohol was my master so I quit again . It was not easy to attend AA again especially with the same people who I didn't want to go to meetings with the last time . They get that superiority thing going on since you drank again although they claim that's not the case .

 The 12 steps of AA can make a real difference in my life if I apply them . There is nothing in them that is negative and the word GOD can be replaced with Good Orderly Direction . I am not going to say I don't believe in god but my god and your god is not the same and my god is OK with that .

 I got a DWI and can't drive now but will attend meetings here until I can drive and go somewhere I want and can enjoy them . I will also look into these other options but I need the human conact with people of the recovered alcoholic kind .

 I know and allways have that AA is not for everyone and there had to be other alternatives but for now it's the only one I know works for me for sure . I would love to do something with more positive support .

 What keeps me sober may get you drunk and what keeps you sober may get me drunk . Good luck to all . If your in rochester Ny look me up . Dan Buhr chili NY

very important - Samantha - Mar 1st 2011

It is very important that these alternatives are publicised.  If people know that aa is not the only way then fewer people will get damaged there.  Thank you for this page.

Balance - Jacob - Feb 22nd 2011

Addiction is an enormously complex issue, both personally and socially.  AA arose out of a vacuum that was most probably left by the crumbling of various spiritual and religious institutions (institutions like the church that offered a sense of connectedness and purpose to those who were psychologically less at ease in their own skin - the "devout" who chose religion over self-destruction (as opposed to those for whom religion was less dire and more just a mundain fact of existence).  There must be many ways to get sober, but the reason AA has grown in popularity has much to do with its ability to counter-act isolating behaviour and offer a community of those who long for positive change.  As in any community, especially a community of people who are constitutionally ill at ease and driven toward destructiveness (for which booze is only an expression and not the real cause) - there's a vast array of personalities within the program, and no one person represents the final word on Alcoholics Anonymous.  Like I said, AA developed in something of a spiritual void, at a time of disorientation for people who longed for a greater meaning from their life and it's absence found themselves bent on destruction through alcohol, drugs or any other indulgent escape.  Thus there are passages in the literature of AA that encourage participants to seek out a higher being or purpose, and thus any sponsor in the program is likely to encourage the same.  But, if you're like me - and like most drunks out there - you're not going to like being told what to do at all - and you're not going to trust any group (other than the group of drunks you pass your days with).  Nevertheless, if you're looking for a program of recovery, I highly suggest that among the solutions you consider - and consider thoroughly - that AA be one of them.  With help from the program, I have found a way back, without the use of poison, to being myself. 

yes luther - Carlton - Feb 11th 2011

Luther its called creating a life for yourself.  Life is full of many things to do instead of listening to somebody rant about their drinking.  Start a new life, its simple.  If you made AA your whole social life it might take some time to rebuild your social sphere.  Go join some new organizations or start exercising or whatever you enjoy doing.  AA is toxic, good luck.

recovery? - luther - Feb 10th 2011

is there a program to help me recover from AA? my 12 step needs a 12 step!

May be forced to attend 12 step rehab - Len Planiden - Feb 3rd 2011

I was in my late 20's when I first attended AA at the request of my spouse, I felt like a square peg in a round hole (I didn"t measure up to my peers in belief or committment) and I still don't at the age of 56 ...concurrent occasional attendance since age 40 confirmed this. An earlier comment by an atheist claimed success in this program despite the "god talk". I query how his world view of life, read "a purpose" can so readily co-exist with "turning life over to a god", seeking through prayer and meditation to seek a conscious contact", "keep it simple stupid", and then mentoring new-comers in the same.

 

Currently, I must attend a rehab in the near future. It may well be AA judging from the addiction specialist's response "Not good for you to isolate". God and Jack Trimpey help me.

No God. No Problem. - Richard - Jan 8th 2011

I have been clean and sober now for 15 years.  I am very active in AA and I don't think I could stay sober on my own.  I do not believe in god and never have.  Almost all me friends are in AA and they all know that I am an atheist.  I don't let god-talk get in my way and if I let my annoyance drive me away I would probably drink and use again.

AA is the mother ship of recovery.  It's where people who have made a committment to live without drugs and alcohol get together.  It is this association that helps me stay sober.

Thank You For Sharing ! - - Dec 29th 2010

Wow, this site and all comments herein have been tremendously educational and helpful to me. I too have been in and out of AA for almost 3 years, and I just cannot figure out why I'm "not really getting it". I've been thinking that for me, there has to be another approach, because I am not benefitting from the AA structure that many others have pushed me toward... however it seems to be just a lack of education regarding alternatives. I am going to try one of the other organizations mentioned on this page, maybe all of them, until I find something that clicks with me. This alcoholism is a crappy problem and I truly don't want it anymore. However I feel like what I've been trying to do is almost dwell in my problem and I don't appreciate that either - I hope to post some good results and positive feedback in the near future :-) Thank you to everyone who commented here, I appreciate you sharing because it really helped me clarify my thoughts.

AA not for me - Pamela - Dec 22nd 2010

My story is a little different from other blogs I have read so here goes. I was arrested for a DUI in June of this year in New Mexico...a state this is tougher than most because of the major ethicity that is here. I was sentenced to take the ATP (Addiction Treatment Program) at a detention center. For 67 days I sat through this program which is the infamous "28 day" program. First of all, the staff was awful and secondly the 28 day program equated to a total amount of 144 hours...far from 28 days. Mon-Thurs for 3.5 hours (maybe) and an hour at night for AA meeting The program there has been in existence for 25 years and 2 weeks after my release they shut down the program because it didn't work. There were people there that had been back 4-5 times. It does't work. What had occured is just the opposite of the intent. The main thing is that every day for 67 days I sat through an AA meeting. I went to an AA meeting 2 days ago and almost threw up because it reminded me of my incarceration. It was exactly the same. Serenity prayer, how it works, people discussing their lives ending with the Our Father and the stupid hand holding thing where you say "Keep coming back". It disgusted me and made me feel like it was a cult as others have said. So I am looking for alternatives to help with drinking too much. Yes, life is very hard and drinking makes it worse. What I learned was that I a don't feel that I am a full blown alcoholic (don't have the symptoms they discuss). Just wanted to post the fact that AA is not for everyone and there are alternatives that fit my situation.

What it comes down to... - Just Myself - Nov 25th 2010

No one can deny that "one size fits all" doesn't work in any aspect of living or learning. We don't all have the same belief systems, learning styles, or even brain chemistry. The fact that the healthcare system in America has so heavily bought into the 12-step system to the exclusion of all other philosophies should frighten you all. Forget Obama care, Medicare, or other socialized medicine concerns just look at addiction-care in America. If you can't assimilate into the AA religion, then you are in denile. This system teaches us that everyone must be forever tied to his/her addiction and live it every day. It is a system that feeds itself by keeping people "addicted." Alternatives are necessary. As no one approach to teaching or one approach to counseling or dieting can work for everyone, no one approach can work in addiction rehabilitation either. Just saying.

I will tell you like it was told to me - RobinG - Nov 19th 2010

I will tell you like it was told to me, "If you don't get the focus back on yourself, and quit trying to control everything,' You ain't going to make it'

The steps are in every Universal connection I have ever seen.  Other people, places and things are not the problem. Ever. The problem is Me. There is only One Solution. God.

The damage is done. - Mark - Nov 19th 2010
I was first introduced to AA in 1985 by the courts for a DWI. Life was good. I was on my way to living the american dream, had a minor problem with a woman I loved, my girlfriend... like something from a country music song and, foolishly, I had too much to drink. ... and I drove. No victim, no accident or ticket but a police officer smelled the alcohol and did his job. DWI. You would not believe what happened. Really! I thought a rehab was help but it was the most EVIL thing I have seen on this earth: AA. The story is too long and horrible for here but I've learned to refer to it as brain washing, cult indoctrination, MENTAL RAPE. Baically, The multi-billion dollar industry of AA managed to breach any and all sorts of privacy or confidentiality to get to my family, friends and employer because I had to "hit bottom"... and my insurance paid $1.000 dollars a day for them to do it. Within seven months in 1985, my excellent carrier, financial status, house, car, good friends and community involvement was gone... and I watched it all happen "sober". This is what they called help. The only thing good that happened in 1985 was that when the money ran out, so did AA except I still had to attend meetings twice a week for 5 years, or go to jail. AA had 5 more years to re-enforce the training they gave me to abuse stuff and screw up my life. Unfortunately, some of it worked. The damage is done. 25 years has passed. If I ever really had any real alcohol problem, I don't know. But my life was destroyed in 1985 and I cannot recover from that "recovery". I remember health, security, friends, love of my people and my country... the love of a good woman and the joy of seeing a smile on a child. I will never know those things again. It is not possible. People may think that Charles Manson, Jim Jones, Osama Bin Laden, other cults and extremists... and the rapists and murderers of our world are are bad. They are. But they don't claim to be good and helpful to us and our government is not promoting them. So on my scale of EVIL from 1 to 100, 100 being worst. all the evils of the world are below 10 except for AA who is at 100... they have more victims, they are worse than doing nothing and have proved it to all of us. We just won't look. My life cannot be salvaged but how many more lives will be destroyed by Bill, the founder of AA? A man that was more disgusting sober, by AA's own admission, than any of the drunks and addicts I've ever met.

Mr. "Really"? - M.G.P. - Sep 6th 2010

"Come see us when you have all had enough.  We'll still love you."

There some people that have gotten in touch with a Real God within themselves as a result of the steps through a Gift Of Desparation (G.O.D.) and that have come to realize that it's ok to say no to the sociopath, sex pred belittling crap you have to "offer" and recognizing what True Independance really is.

I, for one, have already had "enough" of seeing damage done to individuals, who don't know any better, when you have obviously forgotten just how sick you were when you first came into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous with your interviewing and turkey vulture "gratitude" waiting to pick clean the bones of the dead.

Yes.

Enough!!!

Please. Do yourself and the "fellowship" a favor.

Be careful what you ask for. You might not like the result.

Thank You.

Great to See Alternatives Here BUT...... - ATL-G - Aug 3rd 2010

Finally some alternatives to 12 steps but......Why are these alternatives in the SELF-HELP menu on this website!?.  Until sites like this break-away from this 12-step monopoly people are not going to find the programs that are right for them!

my brother is alcoholic - Louise Ndungu - Jul 3rd 2010

Please people help me to help my 30 year old brother who is alcoholic. He lives in kenya. Are there any rehabs in kenya?

Good work - Kristin - Jun 16th 2010

Hats of to you.  Alcohol is not the root problem.  Addressing the anxieties and true triggers,  plus the biochemical imbalances will work for you stronger in the future.  Hang in there- I can relate to a bit (one cannot truly and completely relate).

Another Alternative to Recovery - James - Apr 29th 2010

It is great to see that there is a lot of recovery programs out there. Here is one more program that has helped me tremendously in overcoming my addiction:

Celebrate Recovery is a safe place where people can come to recover from life's hurts, habits, and hang-ups. The program is set up to help people work through a number of addictions such as alcoholism, eating disorders, sexual addiction etc...   The program provides an opportunity for people to find hope, grace, and forgiveness in Jesus Christ and in return heal their hurts. This support group is currently being offered through various churches and locations across the nation. For more information and group locations go to 
http://www.celebraterecovery.com/

SMART Recovery Works! - Paul A. Toth - Apr 14th 2010

SMART Recovery is the leading self-empowering addiction recovery support group. Our participants learn tools for recovery based on the latest scientific research and participate in a world-wide community which includes free, self-empowering, science-based mutual help groups. If there's no meeting in your area, you can become a trained meeting facilitator and start one yourself. Visit http://www.smartrecovery.org/ for more information.

Alternatives - Mickey - Apr 1st 2010

This website has been an eye opener for me. As an anti-A.A. activist I have been posting in a couple of blogs on this website, Concerning Problems Within AA and Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) is a Cult?) and one thing I learned from doing so was that my negativity was a glaring problem within myself that needed to be changed. When I realized this I began to read other articles and noted the dates of the posts when I read them. One thing that became blatantly obvious by doing so is how the doctors on this sight have changed their views and taken some of the positive aspects of everyone’s posts and reached out to find alternatives to A.A.

It seems to me that the doctors on this site have listened to all of us and are trying to work towards finding solutions for everyone. They have listed the “TOP 7” alternatives and if you read the various posts here there are certainly a lot more to be found. If each program works for some, weather it be 3% or 50% it makes no difference if the numbers eventually equal 100% then the system will have met its goal; treatment for all.

If a particular program doesn’t work it will eventually fade out and hopefully be replaced by something different that will show potential.

It seems to me that I can no longer bitch about one program or another because I have now found choices. I now have a choice if I wish to abstain, moderate or even seek psychiatric help which I feel was an essential part of my recovery. I can chose to say I am in recovery or I have recovered and still be able to find support for my choice. No longer do I have to listen to half-truths such as “Never has A.A. said it was the only method.” The message I got was “If what we have to offer doesn’t work then we will gladly refund your misery.” A better alternative to that would be to say if our way doesn’t work then there is a list of alternative programs available at the door; feel free to pick one up on your way out. The day that happens with any program then I will believe they are being honest and only want to help someone with there problem rather than appearing to be recruiting members.

I applaud Dr. Dombeck and Dr. Schwartz who have been active in the blogs I have been posting in. They are indeed seeking alternative and trying to grasp a better understanding for everyone’s concerns. Keep up the good work, small changes over time effect big changes in the long run; what more can we ask for.

If anyone wants those changes immediately then I suggest you look into your impulse control issues, they were a definite glaring part of my addiction to alcohol. I wanted an immediate solution to solve all my problems and alcohol was the choice I made. I knew I had an alcohol problem. I wasn’t in denial. I needed real answers to my problems some of which were medical and no one was going to take my medicine away (Alcohol) until they gave me an alternative that worked. I only saw two solutions, keep drinking until I found what I really needed which oxymoronically was keeping me alive and killing me at the same time or just end it all. Alcohol just seemed to be the better choice of the two. There is a solution; I just had to find it. There are solutions to every problem; we just have to keep looking until we find them.

Sinclair Method - - Feb 27th 2010

It will be a long, tough journey before alternatives to AA are accepted.  The pricey rehab industry is almost all 12-Step based, and they have a huge stake in AA remaining the norm.  I'm so happy I learned about The Sinclair Method, which uses a combination of naltrexone and drinking to dismantle the neural pathways in the brain that are at the heart of alcohol addiction for most.  Although I have put my alcohol troubles behind me, I still drop in at thesinclairmethod.com to hear the progress of others and give some support to those starting out.  You might want to check it out.  Best to all in prevailing in the battle.

Book Recommendation - Mona Lisa - Feb 19th 2010

For people who are interested in alternatives:

AA: Not The Only Way, by Melanie Solomon

http://www.aanottheonlyway.com/

ML

eggs - hadenough - Feb 17th 2010

I have been in and out of AA for 20 years, I try, I really do, AA has lots of tools so i use them to the best of my ability but i still fall, I dont always feel comfortable in a meeting so sometimes i shy away but i have done my best with some result. at this point in my life i cant put all my eggs in just one basket. If nothing else 20 years in and out off aa has taught me that i may need more help than meetings and steps, Some meds help most dont. Where ever there is help i will take it. I wont say no to other idealisms that may help me stay sober or even meds if i have to. If i dont pick up every tool that is available out there, in aa or outside aa i would be fool. I would be dead all ready. I say use AA and whatever else helps us. Dont let the guilts of being perfect stop you from walking back in aa or to a doctor, church, bookstore, whatever helps. This does not go away. Dont say no to any help. No Matter where it comes from.

the right to choose - - Feb 11th 2010

I am glad to see this list of alternatives.  People have the right to choose the methods and groups that work for them.

Pros and Cons of alcoholics anonymous - jaune sonnier - Jan 22nd 2010

I will be the first one to admit that i love A.A. I have been sober for almost 12 years and it has helped me immensly. I have met some wonderful people in A.A and i have a great amount of respect for the principle and the steps.

I will also be the first one to say the A.A. has its downfalls. I dont believe that relapse is a part of recovery, i dont believe that i am powerless over alcohol, i have met alot of judgmental people, relapse is a choice, addiction is an addiction no matter if it is to alcohol or drugs, there is more to sobriety than A.A, Alcoholics Anonymous is not a mental health provider nor do they know anything about it and have no right telling anyone not to take their medications, not everyone is in denial, and although i do believe in a higher power, the power of the human soul and will should not be undestimated or denied.

I have chosen to believe these things and statement my opinions despite the criticism of others. Do you know that in Bills story he talks about his addiction to sedatives and int he story of acceptance was the answer, most of the chapter is about drug addiction, as a matter of fact, in the first three editions it was called Doctor, Addict, Alcoholic, and in the Doctors opinion and in some A.A. literature it talks about the importance of treatment and medications.

I have noticed that if i stick to my beliefs and opinions despite the opinions of others, the people that do agree and support me come out. My will to stay sober is stronger than the opinion of others and the 12 steps have helped me gained a new insight.

There are also a few other great alternatives to A.A such as reformers unianimous, celebrate recovery, and Social Reformers.

the god stuff - life j - Jan 11th 2010

I have been sober in AA for over 20 years, and I have always had trouble with the god stuff and just put up with it because I do know that AA has kept me sober, and still does, and it has given me a spiritual life without god which i think is inportant. I still do not like the god stuff, and think AA would be better off without it, but everyone in this country was bottlefed with the god concept and so the program is full of it and it will probably be impossible to rid it of the god stuff. it is designed around it, there are a billion bhuddists in this world, probably the most spiritual perople in the world and they do not really have a god, so why should I?

it was a bit hard in the beginning because paople would tell me if i didnt get a god i would get drunk, but now they don't tell me any more, becauser it obviously isnt so. but it is hard for a new person to get bashed over the head with slogans and big book scipture.

Ok, so if you don't get a god you won't get drunk, but here are a few things which seem necessary to me: don't drink no matter what. Seek support to help you not drink if youcant do it on your own. help others to not drink once you can. Get a spiritual life even without god, or maybe all the more so without god, it can be real simple - honesty openmindedness, willingness, humility, live by the golden rule, try help others in need etc, a spiritual life is something about how we act and conduct ourself with other people and ourself, not some nonsense about a god.

And go put up with the alligators in AA if AA helps you stay sober, and there ought to be someone at the meeting you can relate to. Even here in our small town of 2500, there are more of my kind.

A.A. (Another Alternative) - Still Trying - Jan 6th 2010

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you... I am so glad to have found this site and that I am not alone in my opinions on A.A.

 First of all I am not a doctor, psychiatrist, or anyone special - I am a person with the disease or problem of alcoholism which has cost so much which is dear to me in life.  At the age of 43, I am a software engineer. In my 30’s I went to jail twice for extended stays (9 months and 4 months), I have lost wonderful women, homes and possessions due to alcohol.  I am just a person who wants’ with all his heart to get better and recover!!!!!  I have been to court ordered rehab twice (6 months the first time and 60 days the second) as well as participated in an addictions program while in jail.  I was determined at all times to stay open and really try to make it work and recover.

Secondly I am not against A.A. in any way shape or form, it has helped millions recover and for the ones it has helped that is a blessing.  I can only speak for myself, so please what I am trying to say here is only my opinion and mine alone.  If a loved one or friend was an alcoholic and wanted to get help I would highly recommend A.A. do to their longevity and millions they have helped.   Because of the size of their organization they are able to immediately pick someone up, take them to a meeting, help them get food, support and even shelter.  My best friend of 21 years and the one who taught me to drink has now been sober a year (he had 18 months, but went back out for 4), my other good friend (who I met in one of my jail stays), just picked up his one year medallion.

I have tried A.A. on and off for about 10 years at various locations and meetings.  After recently trying A.A. again I managed to scrape up 70 days of sobriety, things started getting better with my ex-fiancé, who I owned the house with.  However one night after she told me she still wasn’t sure if she wanted me back, the pain was too much and I started drinking again for a couple of weeks.  I then tried quitting again and managed another 24 days, again more drama with her and my father passing this past Dec 21’st I started drinking again.  I was still trying to stop and managed to get off the hard stuff (vodka) and down to 3 glasses of wine a night with a few days off completely here and there.

For me I understand some of the principals in the steps of A.A., looking at and recognizing my character defects, forgiving myself and making amends to those I had harmed and letting go of the past, however every time I turned to someone in A.A. for help and to work the 4th step the response was always the same “you are still drinking, you are just not ready, you have not hit your bottom”, etc.  I have mentioned to them that I am seeking an alternative way to work at my disease on many levels – get to the core of the problem.  When doing so I am met with the A.A. “some of us have sought and easier softer way” and I will fail.  I have always had OCD tendencies and learned that many with OCD are also alcoholics.  I cannot help to wonder how many who have been diagnosed with the disease of alcoholism have been misdiagnosed from the underlying problem.  I have also discovered that I may have a chemical imbalance that may be part of the problem.  I am learning that natural remedies such as Folic Acid, Vitamin B’s, and things such as Melatonin, Chamomile, Valerian Root, Kava Kava and the like can help with the cravings and emotional distress which makes me want to drink.  I have found that issues in my childhood have caused me to find feelings to be painful, Even though I put others ahead of me I may not truly have a love of myself.  I am trying to get to the core of what really makes me predisposed to drinking instead of the problem of drinking.  I have been to over 300 A.A. meetings and I distinctly remember one who a member with 15 years sobriety had had 2 drinks over the weekend and relapsed.  It was like she was being chastised and had completely failed and was forced to pick up another “white chip”.  If I had 15 years of not drinking and went and had a couple I would still consider that a success, yet it seemed to me she was looked at as a failure.  What happened to “we seek progress not perfection” from the Big Book??  I can maybe come to the terms of I should never drink hard liquor again, but the thought of not being able to taking a mental break and time out (such as a glass of wine or two) forever is inconceivable and even painful to me.  I know A.A. is just “one day at a time”, but in my opinion that is just code for “forever”.

In summation it is my opinion Alcohol may be considered a disease and it can and does kill, however, unlike most diseases it has its own uniqueness, as it is a disease of the mind (psycho semantic predisposition to an underlying mental disorder), body (predisposition via genetics), and soul (lack of communication with source, our higher power and highest self, lack of self esteem).  Unlike cancer or a broken bone which is a malady of the physical body and can be treated or such, or a mental disorder such as schizophrenia, OCD, which is treated solely on a mental basis, it must be handled differently.  I truly must be treated on all 3 levels for it affects our self esteem; it attacks our body physically, and attacks our minds leading to misguided and misplaced judgment.

If A.A. works for someone I think that is great, unfortunately I have really tried and have found many concepts I can use from it, but It has not worked for me.  So I shouldn’t be chastised for finding something else in some form of combination that will work for me and maybe others.  I almost feel as though A.A. has pushed me away.  I apologize in advance if what I have written has offended anyone again these are only my experiences, thoughts, and opinions.  If anyone out there has anything else for me please feel free to comment I am open to all opinions and suggestions.  You may also email me directly at another.alternative@hotmail.com.

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts.

 

 

 

Sober New Year - john e - Dec 31st 2009

Any program CAN work, some even get sober without a program, some through their place or program of worship.

Yes the change has to happen inside to beat alcohol, unfortunately that change never came to the countless numbers who have died from this phenomenon. 

"It" does kill, but the word "disease" is a tad distasteful isn't it . To the woman from India: while you're shopping around for a program which uses a vernacular to your liking or to the others who irked the spiritual concepts AA. Keep shopping around, try to find something exactly right, take as much time as you need but remember the phenomenon is progressive and ultimately fatal.

By analogy: If I had a fatal disease I would go to the hospital which cures the most people, of said disease.  I would ask them what I had to do to get rid of the disease. I would follow their direction and if I chose not to (as is my option in this country) I would most likely die.

AA saved my life and ALL (repeat ALL) of the negative issues mentioned on this blog are idiotic when compared to the gravity of the phenomenon of Alcholism 

HAMS - Harm Reduction for Alcohol - Kenneth Anderson - Dec 23rd 2009

The HAMS Harm Reduction Network is the newest kid on the block when it comes to AA alternatives. The letters H A M S stand for Harm reduction, Alcohol abstinence, and Moderation Support. HAMS supports every positive change - including goals of safer drinking, reduced drinking, or quitting. HAMS is lay-led and free-of-charge. For more info please visit our web site http://hamsnetwork.org.

AA in my experience... - Max - Dec 10th 2009

has been pretty positive. Stick with the winners and you won't be harassed or talk down to or preached at. I am from a famous distillery town and we have great AA meetings every day of the week. Cliche's abound because they always contain a kernal of truth,otherwise they would quickly be forgotten. Why remember lies? The main thing is that recovery only comes to people who are willing to work for it and change their way of thinking about themselves and their fellows. Keep what you can use and ignore what doesn't seem right and eventually you see why so many people keep comin'back!

Beware the group-think - Tim C. - Dec 9th 2009

I have struggled the majority of my adult life with excessive drinking and self-defeating behaviors and mind-sets. 

In late 2004 I became willing to give AA an honest go.  For awhile it worked.  I took solace in the meeting in New York City.  Even considered myself lucky to be an alcoholic. But no matter how much I tried to keep an"open mind" there were certain things that I just could not adopt as my own. 

To be sure, I met some very decent, real people in AA.  But the ones I felt most confortable with were the free-thinkers.  Those who felt as I did that the AA  Program was not above criticism. But I met many more who seemed to lapse into AA-speak and with those I found myself feeling it necessasry to edit my speech lest I be called out as "one in denial". 

After reading the article and these posts, I've come to realize that maybe the real culprit is "group-think".  I am apprehensive of any ideology that comes together and forms a group. Before long, it becomes a run-away train that continually picks up more concepts and truisms no matter if they conflicted with the original idea or not.  AA is rife with this(just try meetings in different parts of the U.S and here the things that are givben as tradition even though some seemed to have been crafted out of whole clothe) and I believe, in time, any addiction support group will suffer the same fate.

Additionally, the founders of said groups are eventually imbued with such legend and are lionized to the point of near deity/prophet.  I find it increasingly necessary to surround myself with people of considerable diversity for my head and neck can only take so much nodding in agreement.

P.S. Please don't tell my sponsor you saw me here.  I still feel subversive for posting such comments.

Agnostic NYC Link - Bob W - Nov 30th 2009

Ed C's link, "http://www.agnosticaanyc.org/worldwide.html", does not seem to work any more.  However, "http://www.agnosticaanyc.org/" does.  For me, it is quite an interesting site and thank Ed C for posting it here.

rules verses suggestions - - Nov 23rd 2009

I have attended enough AA meetings to know that there is a message in the "fellowship" that it is the only way to stay sober. To not follow these "suggestions" will lead to relapse or death, to not embrace it's doctrine is to be in denial, to have questions, doubts, or concerns is to be entrenced in "alcholic thinking". I believe that AA does do more harm then good because it is far too rigid, fear based, and exclusive of additional support systems that help people who use alcohol as a coping mechanism. To label someone as diseased is ultimately unproductive. There are alternatives. SmartRecovery can be helpful, but don't expect to discuss your upbringing. That is unacceptable in that program. It is the here and now. Again, too rigid for me. Good luck to everyone who is struggling to find happiness and peace of mind without alcohol or drugs. A holistic approach is the best approach, in my opinion.

The Sinclair Method - Rapper - Nov 20th 2009

For anyone who wants a great way to help an alcoholic, look up The Sinclair Method. It may sound to good to be true but it is true. And it is good. If you know someone struggling w/ alcoholism this may very well save their life.

Look it up now!!!

This is not an advertisement, money scam, etc. The medicine used, naltrexone, is a generic drug. A book written about it costs like 10 bucks. No counselers to pay. It can be done by the individual. It is an easy method to follow. It will change their life.

I implore everyone that comes across this to Google "The Sinclair Method" read the wikipedia. If not to only use as an adjunct to other treatment.

Once again, save a life!

 

Some things people might be overlooking - Ed C (an Agnostic in AA) - Nov 15th 2009

I have at times been angry/disilluioned about AA because of all of the "god stuff."  (Still, I've stayed in AA and stayed sober 6+ years and truly believe I might have been dead or in prison by now without AA.)

However, there are meetings geared toward agnostics ( here's a listing I found:  http://www.agnosticaanyc.org/worldwide.html )

A couple of things that other posters may not know or have forgotten:

Any group of two or more people (as long as they have no other connection) can form their own AA meeting and run it however they want.  So, if your local meetings are "too heavy," "too Christian," "too late at night," or whatever... there's an easy way to fix that -- start your own meeting.

Also, some posters seem upset about various parts of the steps.  Much overlooked even among many of my fellow AA members is that the steps "are SUGGESTED as a program of recovery" (that's taken verbatim from the "Big Book", a.k.a. "Alcoholics Anonymous.")  Okay, so they're often STRONGLY suggested... but many newly recovering people are really full of themselves, are resistent to help/treatment, and NEED some strong suggestions.

One thing you might hear in and around lots of AA meetings is:  "Take what you like and leave the rest!"  You don't have to agree with anything in particular, and you don't have to like everyone.  (I certainly don't!)

The alternatives to AA all seem to be worse (paid "recovery" systems pushing expensive treatment centers, programs that really are geared to a particular religion, etc.), or continuing to drink, which, for anyone who's truly alcoholic, nearly always ends with jails, institutions and death.

And, like another poster has pointed out, AA has never claimed to be the only solution to alcoholism.  In any case, I hope every alcoholic coming to this site finds whatever they need to stay sober.

Blatent Sex harrassment in AA - - Nov 4th 2009

I have been in AA for almost a year, and I have been dogged and stalked by a sexual predator in that organization for almost the entire year.  I repeatedly said no to his advances and was actually handed the "Acceptance" speech to read out loud.  I've been fargone before, but I'm not THAT far-gone.  All that said to me was that I was supposed to accept his sexual advances, and be his friend against my will.  I've even had to call the police since the all mighty AA group won't do anything about him and haven't for 10 years.  I have started to go to other locations and sometimes he even follows me there!  The ones he hasn't been kicked out of that is.  I fortunatly have a great sponsor, and a few decent people in there who are friends, but this is ridiculous.  I'm too busy having to defend myself to concentrate on my sobriety, and most really don't care, as long as he's not doing to them.  I am stongly considering other alternatives to Keep Me Sober.  Thanks for the article!!

"It works if you work it!" - recovering AA'er for 13yrs - Nov 2nd 2009

AA is a "free" program for those that want sobriety.  AA only works for those who are "willing" to let it work.  The twelve steps were created as an outline of steps that need to be taken to know why we drink, whom we have harmed and how to forgive ourselves. AA is a program designed to free of us of ourselves and our selfishness.  Some have no desire to be free, or what that freedom would mean to them.  AA taught me a new way to live, one day at a time.  It took years for the transformation, but it took twice as long to turn into the person that I had become. I will pray for all of you.  "Keep coming back, it works if you work it!"

International Christian Recovery Coalition - Richard G. Burns, J.D., CDAAC - Oct 31st 2009

We have no problem with A.A. or alternatives. We do advocate that all in recovery should learn the Christian origins of A.A. and know that this alternative is available for those who want God's help.

Founder of St. Christophers Inn - Paul Dougherty - Oct 28th 2009

Father Pau, founder of St. Christophers Inn at Graymmor has on his tombstone "That one day we may all be one".

Much genuine, much very superficial - PJ McJorma - Oct 23rd 2009

If you've read the old testament, the levite priests job is to get his parishoners into the meeting tent with tassels on the corners of their cloaks (two cylinders firing) not in the grip of sin.  Catholic teaching is ailment, affliction, disease, disorder.  My drinking for a period of a few years was disease, but I do not believe that this means I'll be diseased for the rest of my life, particularly when I have stopped drinking.  Present problems are blood sugar control and depression.  Too much of aa has a protestant church superficial bent and I feel the solution will be acheived when the catholic church restores the priesthood to levite priest and six classes of priests free to marry.

The inscription on the tomb of Father Paul, the founder of Graymoor/St. Christophers Inn (oldest alcohol & drug rehab in the country) has "That one day we may all be one".

AA Made me Drink! - laosui - Oct 20th 2009

I know, anything makes an alcoholic drink. We'll take any excuse so that was a stupid thing to say but I swear, going into that sad and pathetic place surrounded by people who had transferred their addictions to meetings made me walk right out and buy a bottle. I have a life, an identity and friends and family who drink who are fine because it does not run in their blood like it does in mine. I don't want to lose them just because AA says they are "enablers" or whatever. Nobody can know how you are feeling unless you draw the line yourself. It's nobody's responsibility except yours to not accept the drink being handed to you. I need a program that allows me to exist on the planet with everyone else every day and stand strong and not have to run to a meeting every time I pass a liquor store. Thank you for posting these alternatives.

alternatives - - Oct 18th 2009

AA is just so much nonsense that is makes you want to die......

Knowing there are alternatives is a good thing.

Thank you.

To anonymous who says, "Really?" - Judi - Oct 16th 2009

We love when someone from AA, such as yourself, makes a comment like this.  You take the heat off - and make it effortless to shed light on the ignorance and delusions that runs rampant within the halls of AA.   

Really? - - Oct 15th 2009

Come see us when you have all had enough.  We'll still love you.

AA is to neg and religious - victoria - Oct 6th 2009

This concept is foolish most likely why it has a low success rate. I am so happy to see other ideas relating to this subject. To believe you are ill encourages you to be ill. To stumble in life with making judgement or decisions does not make me "disease ridden" , it makes me part of the world. Alocohol is evil and I do not want to cripple my life or cramp my style so I avoid partaking in it. It is that simple , to sit and discuss all my issues and why I am ill at these 12 step programs does more harm than good. The bottom line is don't drink and you will not be drunk. If you are not drunk you can find healthy ways to enjoy life, which is up to you. I am no different than any other person so perhaps we all have a disease? What about over eaters, self abusers, depressed You tell me where the perfect well rounded level headed person or family is it only exists in fairy tales. So just be yourself and find more positive things to do with your life instead of supporting bud

My Opinion Of AA - GB - Sep 29th 2009

I just got out of detox today. I feel great. The worst part was sitting through 5 AA meetings and listening to the party line.  In one meeting one of the patients I detoxed with disgreed with the speaker. He was told something like( I was sick for this meeting but the others told me about it later) " Maybe you shouldn't be here if you feel that way." Last time I checked it was still America.  The rigid worship of the 12 steps and the holier than thou attitude made me sick. When the prayer the our father  was recited by the group to close the meeting I was shocked. I was quite vocal with my detox staff about this and some agreed. it's not for me.

Thank you for the info - Tina - Sep 28th 2009

I am really glad to see this article.  While I'm currently actively involved with AA I'm having a difficult time with some of the fundamently concepts.  Someone earlier mentions that AA is not religious.  That isn't true.  It just isn't.  God is mentioned more times in the 12 steps than in the 10 commandments.  It is difficult for me to try to practice "rigourous honesty" when the program itself seems deceptive.

And, I'm a believer, but in God, not AA.  It just feels weird to me, like I'm supposed to worship AA now.  Its very uncomfortable sitting in meetings and hearing people say that the Big Book is divinely inspired. 

I'm an alcoholic because I drink too much, not because I am morally flawed.

Thanks for the article.

Alternative to AA in Des Moines, IA - Martha Varrs - Sep 23rd 2009

I enjoyed your article, I thought it was well thought out and thank you for it.  I appreciate the fact that people are starting to look towards non aa treatment programs.  12 step programs have so many problems, as you are aware.

One program that helped my teenaged daughter was the Life Process Program by Dr. Stanton Peele.  It is advertised as the most succesful alcohol and drug treatement program available.  all I can say was that I was very happy with it.  It changed my daughter's life and I will reccomend it to everyone who needs drug and alcohol treatment in Iowa http://www.stgregorycrt.com

In response to.... - Robin - Aug 18th 2009

In response to the person who wrote this: "while reading subjects on recovery i almost always notice it begins with the example of how AA has failed the person or persons writing in. sell your program of recovery on it's own merit. why does something that works ever have to be compared to anything else. it's only going to help those who want what you have anyway, just like anything else that works."

I'd like to point out that I searched the internet with the term "alternative to AA" and found this page. It had exactly what i was looking for and i will check out the links. If this article did not compare itself to AA, then it wouldn't have been top of the search results list, it would have been buried and i might not have seen it. So, i am glad it compared itself to AA because thats what i was looking for.... an alternative to AA. There are people out there that are not interested in joining AA for whatever reason but are still looking for solutions. Sometimes comparing it to AA is how those people can find these other solutions.

Thanks

Need rehab centre - NishaIndia - Jun 13th 2009

I live in India and my husband is addicted to alcohol. with limited resources I am doing my own research. I read the AA approach and quite shocked by the concept that alcoholism is treated as a disease and that the individuals are asked to surrender their control and told they are powerless. The 12 steps are almost a religious mantra and feel like a very outdated approach to treating what is a common problem. I believe that addiction is a massive issue that an individual can learn the skills to control.

My husband is a fun successful man and a wonderful father and hisband. He is simply addicted to alcohol and it is starting to destroy his health. I need a rehab centre that is not traditional for him to go to for some time to learn these skills. I have been looking into the Stanton Peele centre in Iowa, which puts the addict at the centre of his own recovery rather than this 'higher power'. I like his ideas, but this is all new stuff and as my brother in law is AA, I am not being offered alternatives to this in a circle of those who may know more.

love to hear your thoughts,

 

Alternative to AA - Terence - Apr 16th 2009

What is best Alternative to AA.?I have been to AA for almost 4 yrs & are unhappy many aspects of it.Pls let me know.Rgds,Skype: adaman1954Mobile:94-777-519420  Sri Lanka

Editor's Note:  We recommend you view our article, "Top 7 Best Alcoholics Anonymous Alternatives"

LifeRing Secular Recovery is another great alternative - Michael Walsh - Feb 22nd 2009

Bill W states, "the roads to recovery are many." However, several AA types I have come across would lead you to believe that AA is the only way which is really sad. There are a multitude of ways to successfully be in recovery and one of them that I found is LifeRing Secular Recovery.

There were no meetings in my hometown of Victoria British Columbia a year ago so I started the first chapter and now there are now five successful meetings going with more under construction.

LifeRing believes that everyone should have a choice in how and where they recovery — that people should choose recovery tools that fit each individual.

www.unhooked.com

AA - - Jan 31st 2009

I am a recovering alcoholic. AA has saved my life. However, I don't think AA has a monopoly on recovery. We of AA have never said we are the only way. What we say is that we have a way that works for us. AA in not religious in any way. What we do is follow a simple set of steps and principles that helps us change. You see, changing the person you are, the person who has to drink or drug is the key. Take it from this crack addict, needle junkie and drunk AA works, it really does

on your own merit - friend of all recovery - Jan 26th 2009

while reading subjects on recovery i almost always notice it begins with the example of how AA has failed the person or persons writing in. sell your program of recovery on it's own merit. why does something that works ever have to be compared to anything else. it's only going to help those who want what you have anyway, just like anything else that works.

Problem with AA meetings - In Michigan - Jan 10th 2009

I have been attending AA for 7 months.  The problem I have is sitting at meetings and listening to speakers make general statements along the lines of  " ... and we all have been through this."  At that point to feeling of commonality in the addiction starts to end. 

It might seem like a trivial point but it is repeated too often to be ignored by me.  If I should ignore that part of the sharing or presentation, well, what else should I ignore?  The demand for total abstinance? Attending meetings regulary or frequently?

So I don't think one size fits all, so to speak. I am looking for an alternative in the Detroit Metropolitan area.

Another option.. - Spencer Bright - Jan 8th 2009

I'd also like to add Allen Carr's methods to substance abstention.  I've been cigarrette free for over 3 years using 'Easy Way'.  It's simular to Rational Recovery but I like Allen's style a little more.  Carr also has a book on alcohol.  Of course, applying the 'Easy Way' method I learned from his cigarette book, I applied to booze and it worked the same.  Booze is progressive and sneaky --- also easy to leave behind if you get your frame of mind right. 

Heartbreaking diagnosis - - Jan 3rd 2009
  It was heart-wrenching to hear the counselor diagnose my teenage daughter with the disease of alcoholism - a progressive, incurable, life-threatening disease. I felt totally powerless to help her. All I could do was put her in a treatment program. This program was run by a very reputable, nationally known hospital. But when I started going to the meetings with her, I realized it was really just AA. Nothing against AA, but why was my insurance being charged hundreds of dollars for this treatment, when AA meetings are free? I hope the treatment helps her, but I feel much better knowing that maybe she doesn't have an incurable, life-threatening disease. Maybe she can get past this problem, and go on to live a normal life.

Alternatives to AA - JR - Nov 14th 2008

To Douglas Eby - thanks for the link.  This appears to be an interesting site, and I shall certainly spend a bit of time there when I get the chance.

To Ray Smith - for myself, I am a believer in self-actuated recovery.  In fact, my personal belief is (as I think is yours) that all alcohol recovery is really self-actuated.  That having been said, I have no particular argument with those who find AA, or any other approach or technique, in some way helpful to them in facilitating or supporting their recovery (note lower case).  My problem with AA and its program is that they present themselves, and are presented by much of the "treatment industry" as the only way through which "Recovery" (note higher case) can be achieved - and that "only way" is essentially a non-rational program of "spiritual" (actually "religious") practices that sits ill with very many people (including many religious believers) whose principles and beliefs are inconsistent with AA practices, and/or who require a rational approach to dealing with their problem.

As regards "alternatives", the pedant in me is tempted to say that since self-actuated recovery - even at its simplest - is an active process, this itself constitutes an "alternative" to the "AA One-Way".  Beyond that, I would be slow to reject the idea that other systematic approaches to promoting recovery may assist at least some people who find AA unacceptable. If somebody finds some form of group support, or of personal therapy, helpful, well, fine. 

I am not a "groupy" person myself, and have not been particularly comfortable with therapy as I have encountered it.  However, I have a lot of time for one of the "alternatives" mentioned in the head article - Rational Recovery.  RR presents itself as "an aggressive self-recovery program" involving the use of certain essentially rational and simple approaches and techniques.  Accepting that some people, at least, find AA useful as a means of support to their own resolution to quit, RR is certainly an "alternative" means of support, and does present itself as such.  Given that the RR approach could hardly differ from AA more than it does, and that its founder, Jack Trimpey, is notably and fundamentally hostile to "Steppping" and "Recoveryism", it is a bit hard to accept that giving credence to this "alternative" in any way implies giving credence to AA.

Not, mind you, that the rather harsh, relentlessly individualistic approach of RR will prove helpful to all, any more than does AA.  But for some (including myself) it has, at least as an "assist", been a helpful "alternative".

With my very best regards,

Alternatives - Ray Smith - Nov 13th 2008

Just the word 'alternatives' is giving credence to AA.

AA's most successful lie is that people cannot get sober without AA. Forget about all the people who have gotten sober on their own for thousands of years before Bill & Dr. Bob got together.

I see the alternatives useful for those who have left AA yet still have many AA beliefs internalized. Learning that one is powerless, that one has a disease, and that one cannot stop without a group make stopping by yourself difficult if not impossible.

Empowering people to believe that they can, in fact, the only one who can, overcome addiction means tossing away everything that AA has been telling the public for decades.

AA works no better than no treatment. Telling people that if they do not use AA they must use 'alternatives' is repeating AA's lie. 5% of people who try on their own are successful when it comes to quitting alcohol. 5% of people who join AA are successful. But most people never get around to trying AA, 80% of all people who quit for a year or more do so without any program.

5% of all smokers quit each year. Should we start telling them that they need to have a spiritual awakening in order for them to quit? That they need to find God, go to meetings, pray for a daily reprieve? Do we tell them that they cannot stop on their own and that while God cannot cure them of this addiction, He might grant them 24-hours of not smoking at a time?

More alternative resources - Douglas Eby - Jul 17th 2008

These groups can be very helpful in recovery from addictive or self-limiting behaviors. For additional help: the AddictionInfo site was created to bring together the most current and progressive thinking in non-12-step, research-based approaches to drug, alcohol and other behavioral addictions. The site includes over 2,500 articles and news reports, self-help oriented books and products, and a directory of alternatives to AA and 12-Step treatment in the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe.

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