Leaving AA - A collection of some posts about why I left AA to stay sober!
The idea of leaving AA can be rather daunting for many, even though they are struggling with the program. I left AA as I was no long comfortable with the 12 step ideology and the concept of powerlessness, and felt I needed more privacy and independence. I felt my recovery was being held back by the views of many in the groups I was going to and I was being asked to accept things that I did not feel were relevant to recovery. I was also having one on one treatment elsewhere and this was helping my self-esteem, while AA membership was actually damaging it.
I have written a few blog posts about this important subject for people who wish to Leave AA,and will be updating some of them soon. I have decided to group some together here to make them easier to find, as “leaving AA” or “leaving AA and staying sober” are often the search terms that bring people to this site.
Iam certainly not saying everyone should leave AA, and I continue to acknowledge that being in a recovery group, really helped me in my early days. I do feel that AA is not as effective as it could be because the program is fundamentally religious, and that more modern approaches to helping people beat addictions or alcoholism are ignored.
If you really enjoy being part of AA then you keep going, but please realise that not everyone responds to the steps in the same way and may be helped more if they were guided to another method. I found that the Lance Dodes book ”The Sober Truth” gives a great insight into the way the treatment industry has grown from the 12 step world and why this is a problem.
I certainly do not want to see AA destroyed, as many people undoubtably enjoy being members and have been helped by the fellowship. Although the 12 step world has a success rate that is similar to no treatment, most of those who are helped, tried to stop on their own and failed! However, I do not like the way the steps are used in many treatment centres as a substitute for proper treatment, and can see that this leads to people having false hopes about AA.
I left AA about seven years ago and found that life has improved. I am still in contact with people from AA, although these tend not to be hardcore “stepper” types who i feel are irrational. I do not agree with many of the extreme ideas that are pushed on some “anti AA” sites although I do agree that some of the things that are said are accurate and that there are problems due to lack of accountability.
I think it is best to keep an open mind in recovery and take a look at the different solutions that are on offer, to find one that will beat help you. It is sometimes a good idea to modify your approach over time.