September 19, 2015 at 7:10 PM #4735
Hello, all. I did a google search to see if anybody else on the Internet has felt the same way that I am feeling, and this is where I landed. Must be in the right place.
I have been going to AA now for 18 months. It has helped me get/stay sober, and totally enlightened me to the realities of my alcohol addiction, and I generally find meeting inspirational. (To be honest – if I were listening to personal, true stories on any subject for 90 minutes a day I would find them just as inspirational. But that forum doesn’t really exist).
Where I’m at: I am starting the steps with my sponsor and have some fear around it. I am afraid of what it entails and what will happen to me because I do not know.
I also repeatedly find myself in a really mentally unstable headspace where I feel like I’m losing my identity and ability to think for myself. My sponsor tells me that this is my disease, that this is me feeling afraid of change. When she says that, I doubt myself even more. I feel like the more meetings I do, the more I think about alcoholism, addiction, recovery, and the less attention I put in other areas of my life. This week I decided to take a break from meetings and only go to one. I felt GUILTY about it (and realised how guilt-driven my attitude in AA is – I want to do the “right” thing because I fear the perceived confrontation that comes with doing the “wrong” thing). So I decided not to feel guilty. I decided to have a week off because I wanted time alone with my own thoughts. Hearing 100,000 different opinions in meetings really scrambles my brain sometimes. I had a good week, I met all of my responsibilities and I even made a decision about my future – what I would like to study next year. I spoke to my sponsor and she told me she felt concerned, she asked why I didn’t call her about this and that it sounds like “time alone” isn’t a very nice place to be in anyway. Suddenly I lost the plot all over again and that night I have never cried so hard. I just don’t know who or what to believe and I feel like I am losing the ability to think for myself.
I wonder if I am just not being true to myself enough in AA. I am frightened about what I have to do to do the steps – I am worried that I have to give up my own brain. I question myself every time I want to make a decision in my life, and feel I am incapable of thinking for myself, that I am inherently flawed, and that I cannot trust my own brain. I felt this way when I was drinking also, but now it feels even worse and my self esteem routinely falls off the planet. Can anybody relate to this? I just don’t find the dependency on AA stuff very empowering.September 20, 2015 at 12:40 PM #4739
I can very much relate. I’ve recently decided to leave AA after two and a half years in the program. For a long time, I too found meetings inspirational and I still do, but only rarely of late. However, I never did the Steps, because I don’t believe in them. And that’s okay. It doesn’t mean I’m going to drink, contrary to what I hear in meetings. I’ve been happily sober several years without the Steps and I never thought I’d do that. So why do I need them, again? Often I felt like I should do the steps just to fit in, but again I keep coming back to the fact that I just don’t believe in them.
It sounds like you’re in a similar boat and you obviously can’t go to people in the rooms about it. People leaving a cult can’t go to current cult members for support, even if they’re nice and mean well.
My advice is to try the Step, if you want to, but not to fit in at meetings or because they’re necessary for sobriety. They’re obviously not in your case, since 18 months is nothing to sneeze at. Best of luck in any case.September 22, 2015 at 2:10 AM #4746
I can relate to what you are saying and I only lasted 11 months in AA. I was raised to be independent and always have been. I sincerely believe the program encourages co-dependence and it was never going to work for me. My second sponsor was extremely controlling. I had to check in with her daily, attend meetings daily for a year, and she required that I speak at meetings regardless if I wasn’t up to it that day. Checking in with a young lady who was the same age as my son was certainly not ok with me and I grew tired of it real quick. I like to say she fired me after I chose to go out to dinner with my sister who had come in from out of state instead of attending a meeting. She did me a favor as this young lady was either a control freak or having a power trip. My recommendation is that you do what I so wish I had done before I let others talk me into a 12-Step rehab followed by AA meetings. Research, research, research…..How I so wish I had done my homework before saying, yes. I finally left the program primarily because of my Christian beliefs. No, a door knob cannot be a higher power and I consider it idolatry and I believe the road is narrow and not wide as the Big Book states, which conflicts with the Bible. Even if you are not a Christian you should still research. Once I really read the Big Book I had to question the whole program of AA because it conflicted with my religious beliefs. I read articles, found websites like this one, and read a few really good books. I wanted to know more about the founders, what they believed, who they received their inspiration from, and so on. What I discovered was much more than I expected and in the end I could only draw one conclusion, AA is a dangerous cult. Bill Wilson was a womanizing nutcase who cheated on his wife regularly and also had no problem cheating his friends out of their money, and was into some really scary stuff. You can find it first hand by visiting the Stepping Stones Museum website (Home of the nutcase) and read about what he liked to do in the Spook Room of his home. This can also be found in the book As Bill See’s It. When I went looking for help I wanted real help. I’m an honest person and I expect those who I depend on for help to also be honest. The only good thing I can find about AA is the support you receive from your AA friends. However, I quickly learned after leaving the program that once you leave you find out who your real friend are or in the case of AA, aren’t. Here are a few good books that I read that I found helpful: 1) The Sober Truth by Lance Dodes, 2) Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult or Cure by Charles Bufe, 3) Heavy Drinking: The Myth of Alcoholism as a Disease by Herbert Vingerette, 4) The Real AA: Behind the Myth of 12-Step Recovery by Ken Ragge, 5) and if you are a Christian and the one that I read first is, Christianity and Alcoholics Anonymous: Competing or Compatible? by David L. Simmons. Mr. Simmons is a former member of AA who became a Christian at some point while he was in the program. Shortly after, he realized that much of the Big Book conflicts with the Bible and I very much agree. He made the same decision I did and he left the program because of his religious beliefs. I hope you find these helpful. If your like me you want to base your life, including recovery, on the truth. Only you can decide was you believe to be true, but there is a lot more out there than I realized to help you make your own decision. Good luck to you regardless of rather you leave or stay.September 26, 2015 at 3:30 AM #4753
Absolutely I too feel like the program encourages codependence! I’ve been thinking the exact same thing this past week. I have made a decision to leave AA and it is so empowering. I had a massive breakthrough after a pretty horrible few days of utter disillusionment. I distanced myself from AA and observed the brainwashing that has happened to me. The group IS very powerful – the power of the group is so subtle and insidious that I became convinced I was a crazy and awful person like I kept being reminded of by various sponsors and speakers. I think it is wrong that in order for AA to work, you have to WANT to BELIEVE in it, rather than assess it logically. Goddamn. I have been to a couple of meetings this week, just to see what it was like following my revelation, and I genuinely felt like I don’t “fit in” there. I never felt like I fit in there, but I thought I would eventually feel I did, I thought it was natural to feel out of place because I am so “sick and diseased”. For fuck’s sake, addiction is not a brain disease!September 27, 2015 at 10:57 PM #4759
I recently made the decision to leave AA this week after watching a documentary on the church of scientology and noticing patterns within how the church psychologically manipulates and of the manipulation within the AA doctrine. After seven years in the program I have noticed how sick it is and after reading you’re post I can identify with feeling like you’re losing you’re identity and brainwashed to feel emotionally tied down to the will of the members of AA. Since leaving due to an increasing focus on school as I am trying to get Masters degree and distancing myself from the program, I’ve noticed there is no obsession to drink at all, this was something I was made to think I had but in the past couple months I have drank a few times having no more than two drinks each time and feel absolutely no urge to go back. I’m new to this site but have been reading through all day and hope to talk to people about how to leave because all of my friends are still in the program and I dont want to be completely alone as messed up as that sounds.September 28, 2015 at 6:24 PM #4761
Kidkoolaid- Lunky you are so young and not like some us who stayed for 30 years. How fucked up is that. The internet tells the truth about AA now. If in 1975 when I was first 13 stepped I could have googled predators in AA or 13 stepping and I would have left AA some 37 –39 years ago . I will write more later . I am having a serious health issue and need to cut back on blogging till I figure out what I need to do and do it. Thanks for writing here .November 6, 2015 at 1:13 AM #4866
Definitely in the same boat.
I’m still an attendee at meetings, but I don’t do Steps or have a sponsor (but around the meetings, I keep that to myself because they freak out if you’re not doing these 2 things). So I keep it to me, which I’ve always done since I was a kid, never divulged to strangers.
I just don’t believe in the steps, especially from 4 to 12, which I find very damaging to my mind & my psychology. I just don’t believe in making amends to people that I know surely will not care anyway. And dwelling on the past is not my cup of tea either. But I do like to listen to others talk & just take it from there.
I have, had, over 6 sponsors in the 10 years I was in & out of AA…They all never worked for me & were becoming bullies (at least the last 2 I had were)….I just don’t think another sick person can help me get well, because they can relapse, just as well as I can, & then I have a trust issue again if they do….WTH?! It’s about trust, but you can’t trust another alcoholic, much alone yourself…LOL!November 9, 2015 at 12:51 PM #4893
Jaswin I Have read 4 out of the 5 books you listed. Very informative. I have left AA for about 9 months or so now. I am free and feel so much more confident about myself. AA made me feel full of shame and guilt. I moderate my drinking and do not behave like an asshole and to me that is the key to the whole addiction field. Teach people either to abstain or to moderate their drinking so they are not total a-holes. Lance Dodes in his book the “Sober Truth” . “A treatment for alcoholism may be called successful if an individual no longer drinks in a way that is harmful in his or her life.” This needs to be the key to treating drinking problems. This country is so obsessed with this 12 step culture and it needs to be changed. This is a very cool site.November 13, 2015 at 6:05 PM #4900
I left NA (some AA but that seemed really cultish, even then, lol) around 17 years ago. Took better part of a year to leave for good. Seems funny that it’s still on my mind from time to time. Maybe it doesn’t help that I work as a mental health counselor in jails and prisons. So I’m still exposed to a lot of addicts. I am in the closet about being a former recovery robot. Again, maybe that’s why my former involvement in the cult still bothers me.
For the first couple of years, I followed the guidelines of moderation management. Eventually, I concluded that the MM guidelines, though helpful, were an absurdly large amount of alcohol for a person who has undergone two paradigm shifts in how I lived my life. When I was using, I was an escapist and hedonist. In recovery, I became a neurotic. And now I’m trying to be a rational and interconnected person. AA and NA were great for helping me to become neurotic, but not so great for being rational and interconnected. At this point, the days of escapist and hedonistic drinking and drugging seem to be from several lifetimes/reincarnations ago. At this point, I have absolutely no fear of returning to that acting out, fantasy-land, paranoid world. Nor do I need or benefit from the neurotic, robotic, enervating world of AA or NA.
That said, I have frequent reminders of what happens when some people relapse. Over the years, I’ve come to several conclusions.
First, there are lots of different ways to “recover.” In short, something has to take the place of drinking and drugs from the past. Everything that gets the title, aholism, won’t fit the bill. Work, chocolate, etc cannot fill the void. Exercise, prayer, medication, and so forth do seem to work for some people. Just isolating does not.
Second, I’ve been uniquely blessed to meet maybe a dozen people who were ensconced in AA for long term, a dozen or more years, relapsed, and ended up behind bars. I have two observations that seem to be universal about these folks. a.) None of them ever worked a complete 4th step. Sorry, Massive. That’s just what I’ve observed. These late-recovery and serious relapsers all had serious skeletons in their closets. b.) They were all cliche prattling, walking-talking, Bigbook thumping, mindless, AA drones. They lacked any original thoughts. They just engaged in a mindless banter of cliches and slogans. They were seemingly incapable of experiencing a full range of emotions; they were so badly brainwashed.
At a certain point, as I became aware of the Recovery Robot phenomenon, I opted for a normal life instead.January 27, 2016 at 7:51 AM #5114
A p o cParticipant
I certainly understand everyones point of view. I still attend meetings and I on the other hand respect everyones opinion and whatever road they wanna take as regard themselves & there sobrietyt. I also have my doubts about the steps and sponsors they dont say sponsor in the book or do they must have missed that. I think some people in aa think that they can fix other people and take the credit for it which is bullshit. They way I do my aa is different I go & do my own thing and live a quieter life now. If someone tells me to do something I say no or just nod and say yes and dont do it anyway. I went to stop drinking and people in aa can make that harder as did my sponsor getting involved in my personal life when I moved country and I took a drink people say in aa stop people pleasing Im sorry but I never done that in my life but now they want me too by not saying anything when im pissed off at something. it takes two to tango and I realise that. I never walked in vulnerable but i did walk in very angry and people got to see my temper in the meetings and still do I call that a blessing in disguise cause most people where very wary and know not to be an opinionated arsehole about my sobriety cause I dont about theirs. If people her still like the meeting aspect and wanna go GO and do what makes you comfortable not some guy/woman who thinks they can sponsor you to sobriety and a good meaningful life try volunteering as i did and you get introduced to smart meeting as did I and started going to them instead. For me just now I really only have aa where I am just now in the world and it works because Im ruthless with if youre not good for my life get out of it but if I had smart meetings near me i would prefer them. But my journey with steps and sponsors has been very bumpy with lots of drunks thrown in there but hey am human and prone to human err. If you drink again its not because you dont believe this that and the next thing its because you made a wrong decision thats it. I also dont believe in being a fucking doormat especially not for some clown in aa. I hope everyone gets to where they want to be lots of things go in to making sobriety not just the big book and 12 steps and a higher power the only thing I like about aa is the nice feeling I get when I arrive back home sometimes but thats it aa is a place that I could build a foundation to a sober life because it got tiresome and meaningless after 18 month even though Im still an attendee at meetings twice a week because its all I have I do think its outdated and we alkys have other dilemmas and problems that they didnt have back in 19 canteen. Can it work not really maybe for a while but if people committing suicide and getting preyed upon in the rooms.Especially women then maybe aa should do its 4th and 5th step then shut its doors. Its hard enough trying to stay away from drink for me but i do it for my family who mean the world to me and dont need me running around drunk. I use it as a means to keep my head above water as there is nothing else for me at the moment. All the best doods
- This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by A p o c.
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