Not my flavor - finding sobriety outside of Alcoholics Anonymous
For the record, Mike and Glenn are pro-sobriety. In our journeys, we have found several effective ways to move from drinkers to nondrinkers - from users to nonusers.
The podcast has invested in researching and relaying information on many non-AA programs and has acknowledged that people can change their lifestyles independently or through self-help materials.
As this blog and the podcast result from our desire to pass along our experience, Alcoholics Anonymous is the program we know most about. We know first-hand that AA has worked for us and have seen, with our own eyes, that it works for countless others.
We wish we could provide you with statistical analysis on what the best solutions for recovery from alcohol or drug abuse are. We can assure you that there isn’t any formal research that we have been able to find.
Unless we've missed something, we have found that we are left with three approaches that could lead to sobriety:
Sober “On your own”
We have experience in this area - with zero success. For decades we tried to conquer the drink problem with the same brain that caused it. We would muster all the commitment and self-will that we could, and the result was nil until we let it go – completely - that it's just our story.
Conversely, we know several individuals will have successfully tackled the demon of alcoholism and other damaging addictions on their own or with the aid of supporting tools or resources.
A search on Amazon for books on recovery or sobriety returns thousands of viable options. Additional online searches come back populated with many coaching programs that support independence, or moderation, from addictive behaviors.
In this category, and the other two covered below, professional counseling could be included as the area of addictive care has grown over the years, and those specializing in corrective treatment have expanded immensely.
Sober through a 12-step program approach
Originating in the 1930s by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, traditional 12-step programs come with two requirements that scare many people off; abstinence and spirituality.
For this post, we reiterate that sobriety, by our definition, refers to a lifestyle rejecting any mind-altering substance. Therefore, abstinence is required in any 12-step program. If the reader of this blog thinks that moderation is their solution, they should look to self-moderate or use one of the available moderation programs.
Likewise, the founders of the 12-step recovery system rely heavily on a “greater power” (any God-like deity that possesses ultra-natural abilities) as the ultimate rescue source. This is not to be confused with a religious commitment to any specific denominational affiliation, as the spirituality that is encouraged is mysticism defined by the addict.
Sober through Non-12-step program approaches
This area has exploded in size over the last few decades, and there are now a dozen or so viable organizations with a global presence. We list most of them in our resource room.
In addition, there are thousands of alternative paths to recovery found through deep searches of the Internet; We have yet to get our arms around a large number of up-and-coming recovery systems available.
This area demands personal research and possible customization, which could be modular inclusion of several programs.
In conclusion, we leave you with a question and a potential answer: the question is, “am I an alcoholic or an addict?” If you honestly believe that you do not fit into these categories, we recommend trying to moderate your intake levels. This is possible through the many approaches that are available online and offline.
Suppose your drinking or drug use has become problematic in your life, and you have no control over moderation. In that case, we recommend you try one of the organized or independent approaches available today.
From our experience, we know that if alcohol or drugs are our real problem, causing destruction or devastation in your life, then giving a 12-step program a shot could be your best shot. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous have a long history of success, as do the other approaches we have laid out above.
If today is the day you want to learn more about 12-step recovery, we invite you to go back and listen to our podcast or read our past posts in addition to getting at it online and researching what could be a life-altering change.
Whatever path you choose, know that we are here to support you. Reach out anytime to email@example.com.
Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from sober.coffee podcast #103 Alternative – Refuge The podcast dropped on 3/15/2023. Click here to hear the podcast.
Alcoholics Anonymous and AA are registered trademarks of Alcoholics World Service. Inc. References to AA, the 12 steps, and 12 traditions does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. This publication is intended to support personal growth and should not be considered a substitute for healthcare professionals' advice. The author’s advice and viewpoints are their own