Merry Christmas to everyone in recovery from Recoveringfromrecovery.com

I just thought I would wish everybody who drops by here and who subscribes to my blog, a merry Christmas, and I hope you have a great 2015. It is a couple of days before Christmas, but I can’t imagine that many people reading my blog on Christmas day so I will put it on now! Most people who get in contact with me, seem to be doing well in recovery, and do not seem to have major issues with worrying about drinking or drugs these days. That is a really positive thing to see, and it is great to see how different people are managing their lives, in a way that makes them better.
drunk santa
I think getting the message out, that you can return to a pretty normal life, after addiction is really important, and helps those who are in their early days, or still struggling. It is also important to tell our stories of recovery and the alternative methods we have used, so that other’s can learn from our good and bad experiences. Most people who use this site have been members of AA, which reaches greater numbers than any other solution, but most of the people here have found “12 step” limiting, and have preferred a more rational approach in the long term. I think that although AA can reach a huge number of people, its effectiveness is limited by an out of date approach.

I do think of those who are less fortunate at this time of the year and who struggle with addictions. I do think many of them could be helped, if they were given access to something such as the Sinclair method, which I believe could really help street drinkers as well as many others. Near where I live, there is a large church hall, which gives the homeless shelter at night in the cold (and is also ironically used for one of the celebrity type AA meetings, as well as a major all day Christmas meeting). This is in a very expensive street to live in, and so it is quite odd to see the homeless in line by parked Bentleys and Ferraris, waiting for this hall to open. Some of the people in the area are annoyed by them but they have always been polite and well ordered, when I walk past and I have chatted with several over the years. I am glad they have a place to go that is safe and welcomes them, and it is quite chilling to think that I could have been amongst them now, if I had not decided to change my life.

I have talked to some who have obviously had long-term drink problems and tried to point out some different ways to get well, but they do not seem interested or want to engage in the recovery process. Some have been put off by AA, but others are not interested trying things such as Smart or looking at the Sinclair method. I can understand that some would not want to stop drinking, even though it is killing them, as drinking seemed like the only solution to me for some time, but I do wonder if they would think differently if they were given proof of solutions that can really help, which don’t require joining a group or talking out loud, which is something that puts people off. I think that people who run the overnight shelters, could really help if they were given more information about alternative recovery methods. It is such a shame that people do not seem more engaged, in getting the message out. There are a few AA critical sites which talk about different methods, but these are not going to be found by people, searching simply for recovery methods or treatment.

I feel sorry for all the people who are going to attempt stopping drinking on New Years day and who have a hard time. those early days can be tough and many give in to cravings. Many will not get far, if my experience of stopping alone, is anything to go by. New years day is a generally big day for AA, as many look to it for help. I am sure that online groups such as Soberistas will also have an influx of new members at this time, as it is starting to get a high-profile. It is such a shame that something such as the Claudia Christian film “One Little Pill” is not shown a few times over the holiday period, as this is a time when people would be looking for a solution. We will probably just get another rant by Russell Brand. Many people will attempt a sober January, and some of them will find it hard, and realise they have an issue with the booze, and will look for solutions. They will often not find one that suits them – I certainly put off going to AA for years, as I did not want to go, but gave in eventually. I think I would have joined something, such as Smart earlier if I had found out about it, as it is more in line with the way I approach life.

I think these are important things to blog about, and if enough people do it we can make a difference. I doubt AA, will modernise in the near future, but I do think that many treatment centers, will have to change, from being simple detox facilities with some poor quality 12 step work, pushed as a treatment, to being more focussed on individual needs, once people realise that the old solutions are not effective and are a waste of money. Although I am not a member of AA any more, it does have a part to play, and many enjoy being members. I wish them well, but hope that they also tell newcomers the truth in the New Year about other solutions that out there if people do not take to the programme.

I originally started this blog, to talk about moving on from AA, and I will revisit and update some of the earlier posts on the site from time to time, but I now feel more inclined to try and bring attention, to alternative recovery methods and point out some good books that can help. I have learnt a lot by doing this blog, and hope that others can find some good information here, not so much by what I write, but in the links that I make to people such as Lance Dodes . The fact that we are nearly in 2015 and the main solution that is pushed for beating addiction is based on praying and religious practice is stupid, but things will only change people demand something else, and this will be slow to happen.

Anyway I’m rambling a bit as usual, but I really do hope all the people I have met here, and elsewhere on blogs, have a great time over the Holiday period, and those who struggle, find a solution soon. It looks like some of us may actually manage to meet up in person soon, in London, which will be interesting. If anyone is struggling on Christmas day or needs a break from the relatives, Smart Recovery does hold online Christmas meetings http://blog.smartrecovery.org/2014/12/23/spend-the-holidays-with-smart-online/

Here is a scientific view on Santa for the evidence based fans!

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  1. Hi and thanks!

    Yes this is the year I move on from AA. Its been good to have the support of others who wish to give up drinking, but in honesty that is about all I got from it. I have read and re-read the steps and frankly some of them help a bit and some of it doesnt help at all. I have had four sponsors and whilst I didnt drink they all seemed like pyramid selling to me – spouting what they were lemming like enough to spout. I have done three meetings a week, service and put up with people telling me to get on my knees and pray. I have been told that if I “want what they have got” then I should read chapter 5 of the big book and stop asking questions. The last meeting I went to a week before Christmas had an “old timer” (35 years “sobriety” – clearly AA doesn’t work if you need to keep going for 35 years and be as bonkers as this guy) tell me that unless I did it the big book way – his way – then I should not come back….so I wont bother!
    I have had three years now not drinking from a previous chronic addiction of a bottle of spirits a day. As I say, being with others helped, but time to move on. Thank you AA for what you did but I cant cope with more tub thumping big book fundamentalism any more!
    Great stuff on here and I am glad I have the strength these days to go through the festive period and simply choose to not take alcohol. This has been a tough journey and I only wish this type of site was available to me three years ago…..but hey, glad it is now and its time for me to move on and look forward to reading all the things here during 2015. Well done to this site and very best wishes to all who face up to sorting out life without addiction. My advice is to use the method that works for you and keep open minded about everything and wiht that, I wish you all very well for 2015.

    • Thanks for your comment, i agree that the big book thumping and blind belief in chapter 5 can really get on your nerves after a while. I am not religious at all so was not fully taken in by some of the stuff that is repeated parrot fashion day after day, meeting after meetiung. I still think AA has a use in the recovery world, despite being out of date, because of the number of meetings that it provides which give people some place to go. A few people are badly affected by it, and they often come from a religious background and actually seem to sit in meetings waiting for a miracle which sadly does not happen.
      I think it is a good idea to at least look at other recovery solutions, as they may contain things that are helpful, and keep an open mind about recovery. I think quite a few people simply move oin from AA after a few years when they have got some sober time and life has settled down. If they have been fully engaged in recovery and have changed things and dealt with underlying issues then they can grow with some independance.
      Good luck in the future and I’m glad you found this site helpful.

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