One Year Old

I realised last week that the site has been online a year!

I realised over the weekend that my site has been going for a year now, when a little congratulatory icon popped up in the WordPress control panel, which I use to build the site. I was actually remaking the front page, which I guess is probably appropriate for a year anniversary. I have learnt quite a bit about running a blog over the past year, and hopefully the site should now be easier to navigate and load faster, with its new configuration.

Anyway I thought I should reflect a bit on the positive side of running a blog like this, and what benefits I feel as a result.  I also thought about why I bother to do it, as it does take up a certain amount of time, although I tend to use travelling time or downtime at work to write or research it. It has been a really good experience for me and has allowed me to make contact with some really good people.

I have actually learnt a lot about recovery techniques in the last year, because I decided to read a few books and review them on here. I did this because, finding books on Amazon really helped compared to the out of date literature that you find in AA meetings. Some of them have been really surprising and I probably would not have read them if I had not been working on getting a site together and needing some content to put on it. There is always ways that you can improve your life, and I feel blogging has helped me do this.


Good recovery books from the past year.

The first one that really impacted with me was the “Recover” by Stanton Peele and Ilse Thompson, which I feel could really help people struggling with substance issues. I have actually used many of the techniques mentioned in the book, but there is always room for improvement, and this book inspired me to slightly change things, with a really positive effect. I had talked to Ilse about mindfulness, when she was actively running the Stinkin Thinkin blog, and she was talking about writing the book. I came across it some years ago in a pain management class and could see how it could be used to help addiction and I read some books that Ilse recommended. The great thing I got from this book is the emphasis on “Metta Meditation”, or “Loving Kindness” as they describe it. I tried doing it on a daily basis for a couple of months, and still do it regularly and have found it really helpful. I actually used it to get rid of some bad feelings towards certain people from AA, and a few other idiots that have annoyed me in the past. Overall it makes me feel calmer, and helps me get life in perspective.

Another great book, that got a lot of interest on the site in terms of several thousand page views, is “The Sober Truth” by Lance Dodes which is a great read if you wish to find out about the background of AA and how the treatment industry became heavily influenced by the 12 step ideology despite a lack of evidence that it works. This is a far more rational and balanced account, than you will find online, on some anti AA sites, which have far-fetched ideas, that most people laugh at, and this detracts from a very necessary discussion.  I have also read two other books by Lance Dodes which are aimed at dealing with addiction and would recommend them. They are mentioned in my “Books” section.

Good People.

I have met some great people as a result of having this blog (and cut off a few idiots!). I am pleased to see that there online communities, being set up with the aim of supporting people, using a variety of techniques which appeal to alcoholics today, rather than people in the 1930’s, when drinking was not a social norm. I am a fan of the Soberistas movement which has had a fair amount of publicity in the UK and has about 30,000 members. There was nothing like this when I began my alcohol free life, and I feel that these people can help people for years to come, with their approach that embraces all recovery methods, but puts an emphasis on CBT, and taking back control.

Good Recovery Films from the last year.

I am also pleased to see that people are making good quality films about the recovery world, rather than the little YouTube videos which are often just “Nutters” ranting!. I watched “One Little Pill” earlier in the week and will put a page up about it very soon. It is well worth watching, and raised some interesting questions for me. It was narrated by Claudia Christian, who is a big fan of the “Sinclair Method”which could help so many, if they were to hear about it. I am definitely going to push it on the site as well as, elsewhere. Monica from LeavingAA, is also hard at work on her film talking about problems about the 12 step world and has nearly finished it. I have heard it is well worth watching and could be really powerful if presented along side the “One Little Pill” film, to people in the treatment industry,or to people who need to decide which path to follow to beat addiction. I certainly know how hard it is to make these films, and the amount of work that goes into them, along with the stress involved with working on a subject that is close to home. I really respect people taking the time to do this, to help other people. They set a good example to the world, about people who have beaten addiction.


Bloggers in Recovery.

I have also met some great bloggers who are pushing a positive message about changing lifestyles, as well as writing about the good and bad sides of their recovery. This all helps people decide which solution would be appropriate to use. The Leaving AA section of this site is the part that gets the most interest with hundreds of views a week, according to Google stats, which give relevant data unlike some old-fashioned unrealistic web stats counters which are meaningless, such as hit counters. It is good that these pages are being picked up, as they are early ones on the site and have not drifted off to obscurity. This was one of the reasons I changed the look of the site, so that I could put what I consider to be important posts, on the site in a prominent position. I will also republish some of these posts, as I have a lot of people subscribing to the site now, that were not reading it when I wrote these pages. I will update the internal links and will also update the other sites section and make that a better design and resource.

Some tech stuff (ignore this unless you are into running a website about Recovery!)

It has been good for me to learn a bit more, about web sites, apart from anything else and I have done several others for different people that are not related. I do all the work on this site from design, to writing it. I also look after a few others from time to time. This site gets a fair amount of visitors, although probably not as many as the Cloudflare stats bellow suggest, as I have no interest in counting spammers etc and try to filter them out, but some are probably not picked up as spammers at the point these stats originate. I always run something such as Cloudflare or Sitelock on a site, as it does really help speed the site up worldwide, puts less of a strain on the server, by caching pages and makes people who use proxy servers and the tor network, who are usually the type of person that troll sites or try to disrupt, have difficulties accessing the site. It is a good way to block a lot of spammers and save unnecessary bandwidth on the site and lowers the number of hits compared to pages viewed ratio, which is a good thing, if you want an efficient site, that loads fast. I did have a week when I tried to run the site more like a forum and it was a disaster, and ended up with loads of spammers trying to sign up and slowing the site up so I got rid of that and moved the site to a virtual server, as I want to run other sites from it as well in time. Here are the stats from last week, showing page views rather than hits on the site. I feel that the numbers are probably high, compared to the number of people who are actively reading the site, but more accurate than many free, server side counters. Google analytics and WordPress stats, give roughly the same numbers which are often around the 500 mark for the day, but most people agree these figures are low compared to reality as they are often blocked by browsers. They do give a good indication of what is being read on the site and how people get there, so I make use of them.

Last weeks Cloudflare stats

In my case, it seems to be people, looking at ways of staying sober without AA, and not people who are particularly anti AA, which is what I hoped would happen. Linking to google has been good for me, and although they say it does not influence rankings, I feel it may help. Of course if nobody was coming to the site, I would be letting google know that, but thankfully this is not the case, and according to their stats, is going in the right direction, in the areas that I intend.

The Future of “

Anyway, I will certainly be carrying on, and will simply repost things that I find from other sources that I feel will help people looking for alternatives to the 12 step world, as well as revisiting ideas such as moving on from AA when people have had enough. Some people critisise me, as I don’t knock AA or the 12 step world as hard as some of the activist sites, but I am not aiming for a site full of conflict or anger. I feel people will only get involved with other methods of recovery, when they perceive them to be better than the 12 step world, and have more credibility. The image that many of the anti give out on some sites, is anything but rational, and they will only attract a few people who want confrontation, or to talk about ridiculous conspiracy theories. I try to write a fair amount about positive experiences in breaking free of addiction, rather than being negative about a recovery method, which did not suit me long-term. People talk about deprogramming from AA being a problem, but that is often because they are full of hate for it, and that gets worse, if they spend time in a group that is focussing hate on AA. In fact the thing that helped me move on really well from AA, was suggested in the Stanton Peele book “Recover” in the form of practising “Loving Kindness” as a way of helping break addiction. This actually makes sense to me now, and putting both addiction and any problems with AA behind me, has been a really good thing. AA used to say “try to live in the present” and now I have moved on, I find I can!

I hope many of you continue to have a great life, whichever way you are dealing with addiction problems, and thank all the people who have helped me and others. I hope you come back and read some more, and join in if you want.


Commenting area

  1. Congratulations! Thank you ! Best Wishes !

    I really truly thank you for the work you have put into this. I spent a five years in AA and prior to that my drinking was horrific with several hospitalisations and utter dependency on alcohol to a chronic – bottle of vodka a day state.

    I am now a couple of years without a drink and the stuff I have read on your blog and reading the books you have recommended has been fantastic. I was SO pleased to find this!

    There is a lot I respect AA for, but a lot that I am so pleased to have left behind. It was good in the early stages, but I just didn’t want to do all that stuff for the rest of my life. I look back now and some of it was not at all rational!!!!! I don’t even want to be called an alcoholic now that I choose to not drink any more!

    I have recommended “Recovering from Recovery” to several people and it has been an amazing help to me as a stepping stone, a resource and a way of breaking away from AA.

    Glad its not “AA bashing” as some of AA was helpful to me……but above all I find the books and resources and the stuff you write just such a great help to me.

    Thank you, long may you continue and thank you again!

  2. Happy Birthday! Well done for running such a brilliant, life-saving site. Just like alcohol, AA helped me at first … then it turned to poison. When I left the fellowship I thought it was inevitable that I’d drink and die. When I found your site I realised that there might be a better way. You know how grateful I am, I’ve told you so privately, but I’m also happy to share it publicly too. Dan Dennett calls this the era of “the new transparency”, and it’s bloggers such as yourself and others who are campaigning online in such a quiet, still, reasonable manner that will make all the difference for suffering AAs in years to come. You’re way ahead of the curve, and as long as the 12 steps remain a media endorsed and publicly accepted go-to means of “treatment” for alcoholism this site and others will remain necessary to redress the balance. I can’t imagine where I’d be now, approaching my own first year “clean” from AA, if I hadn’t found your site. Thanks, and happy birthday! Jon S

  3. Thanks to you both for such encouraging comments, I am so glad that you find the site helpful. There is a lot of good imformation out there but people do not always find it. Having the blog has made me aware of new techniques and different methods that really help. For example watching “One Little Pill” was areal eye opener anout the “Sinclair Method” which I had heard of but was not fully aware of how it can help. That could really save lives! Yet it does not get the publicity it needs. Hopefully if a few people talk about it more on blogs, somebody in the mass media will pick it up soon.

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