AA Saved my Life – now I’ve lost my faith

AA piece in the Observer

The piece is now online http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/nov/29/alcoholics-anonymous-saved-my-life-but-i-lost-my-faith

Regular readers of the site will know that I have a lot of time for the site https://jonsleeper.wordpress.com and that I have done a few podcasts with Jon who writes it, over the past couple of months on the Steps of AA. Today he tells his story of recovery and how he feels he could have done it better, to the UK Sunday News paper “The Observer” in a piece by Eleanor Margolis. It is a very interesting piece that talks about how his drinking increased over time, during the period he was playing guitar in the UK band called Sleeper, and how he started in AA, in LA after the band split up.

observer_AA_Piece

Religion in AA

Like myself, Jon is not religious, but he describes how he accepted the religious / spiritual side of AA, and how he was inspired by meeting people who were 10 years sober. I was also inspired by Alcoholics Anonymous members, I thought, if they could do it, so could I, but I had no faith in the God side of AA and pretty much ignored any of the religious concepts, such as prayer. I left after 18 months and started using CBT techniques, which helped me become more independent, and able to stay sober without the aid of a support group. Jon stayed for many years, and while he managed to stay sober, he did have problems in later sobriety which are similar to those I observed in a friend when I was in AA. He left AA, and also benefited from CBT treatment, which really helped him. He got in touch with me via the website and we have become good friends (twenty five years after first meeting in a studio!), and we often talk about recovery. Jon does some excellent talks on the subject at Skeptics in the pub meetings and at other venues. Below are a couple of CD’s given to me by Jon and Lousie, who was the singer in Sleeper, in a studio in Notting Hill! I was also working with Take That at the time but did not bother keeping a memento of them!

sleeper_CD

Alternatives to AA

Jon also talks about other methods that he feels could be more effective than AA such as “The Sinclair Method” and “Smart Recovery”.  and mentions the Film by Monica Richardson called “The 13th Step” which we both saw in London in the summer, which describes problems that people can face in the 12 step world, especially women. The film was received well in Mayfair, by both those who are current members of the fellowship and those who have moved on. I feel it is important that the current effectiveness of AA is questioned, compared to more modern solutions, as it is still the one that people are often sent to, even though it is not treatment, and only works for a fairly small percentage that try it. Jon Talks about the excellent Lance Dodes book called “The Sober Truth”

Podcast about Observer piece

I will be discussing the piece with Jon a little later today and will record it as a podcast for my site www.alcoholism-recovery-radio.com and I will add it to this post here after lunch.

 

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  1. Interested in finding g out mire

  2. Interested in finding g out more?

  3. Hi Mike,

    Thank you so much for your website/blog and series of podcasts on AA and the 12 Steps. I have checked out Jon’s site as well 🙂 I have been clean and sober since 7/18/14 and was sober from 4/11/94 to somewhere in March 2015. You can tell by my clean date qualification that, like Jon, I have had extensive experience in AA and NA. Just curious if you or Jon have read “Sober For Good” by Anne Fletcher? It was an eye opener for for me. I am currently going to NA meetings in the San Francisco Bay Area in the States and have attended a SMART meeting in Oakland. I feel like I have been making a transition away from an exclusive 12 Step-based and meeting attendance solution to recovery to a broader, more personalized understand of recovery. Your and Jon’s sites have been a great help. Thanks!

  4. Hi Mike,

    Thank you so much for your website/blog and series of podcasts on AA and the 12 Steps. I have checked out Jon’s site as well 🙂 I have been clean and sober since 7/18/14 and was sober from 4/11/94 to somewhere in March 2015. You can tell by my clean date qualification that, like Jon, I have had extensive experience in AA and NA. Just curious if you or Jon have read “Sober For Good” by Anne Fletcher? It was an eye opener for for me. I am currently going to NA meetings in the San Francisco Bay Area in the States and have attended a SMART meeting in Oakland. I feel like I have been making a transition away from an exclusive 12 Step-based and meeting attendance solution to recovery to a broader, more personalized understand of recovery. Your and Jon’s sites have been a great help. Thanks!

  5. Sorry for the double post. Don’t know why that happened.

    • Hi George, there is sometimes a slight pause before something gets posted on here as the site checks for unpleasant language etc and occaisionally a comment gets held up for a bit until the cache resets. I am glad you found the sites helpful as well as the podcasts. I hope to do another one with Jon soon about the Observer piece. I have not read the book you mention but will try to look it up. I am glad you are looking at a variety of methods for support. I found this really helped me decide on what was best for me. We may end up going back to our orginal group, but will not find out if other methods are helpful if we don’t explore them! Good luck for the future!

  6. Thanks Mike. Best to you as well. Looking forward to future blog entries and podcasts!

  7. Hey

    Congrats with what you are doing. Can you direct me to some pod casts/ links that tie in with spiritual non mystical, non religious. Growing in consciousness work? Energy = science 🙂 ..AA on many levels is not overall helpful for me anymore. i am excited to be on my true path

    • Hi Hannah, here are the podcasts we have done so far and hopefully there will be mopre to come over the coming months. I will hopefully cover leaving AA and also talk about issues with depression etc. http://www.alcoholism-recovery-radio.com
      Here is my links page which has links to lots of resources and blogs that are generally not 12 step but are based on more modern solutions. There are also categories in the sidebar on this page that group pieces that mention Smart Recovery or the Sinclair method Etc.

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