AA Saved my Life – now I’ve lost my faith
AA piece in the Observer
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.
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!
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.