Abstinence vs Moderation

After 36 years in AA I left. A very long time to not drink a drop for sure. I have been gone now from the AA culture and its dogma for 18 months feeling free and happy! In the process I have thought about why I stopped. I do not believe that I am an alcoholic.

One day I had to go to Bev Mo to buy alcohol for a large party I was having.  So down the aisle I went with my eldest son. Needless to say, I bought nothing for me, but it was fun to look. So my son and I began to talk about my not drinking for so long and no longer being in AA.

It began a serious question about Moderation vs Abstinence. I had already interviewed Ken Anderson from Hams Harm Reduction and Donna Cornett from drink link moderation regarding a topic I had never even explored on my blog talk radio show Safe Recovery. Recently a blogger began to journal his experimentation with moderation successfully.

“anon” a fellow blogger, began documenting his journey with moderation after 15 years of abstinence in AA.  I am going to post some of it here.

Blog away with respect for each other.

Please…No trolling and no AA rhetoric. This is a site to help those who have left or want support in leaving and are experimenting with the idea or the reality of Moderation.

#1 anon wrote: I have 30 days of drinking successfully after attending AA for 15 years.
Keep not coming back.

#2 “I drank last night and really enjoyed it. I waited for my wife to get home from work and we drank together. I could feel the effects but was not grossly impaired. I woke up with no hangover and have had a productive day. I helped a friend with his work on the side in addition to completing my own tasks. I will not drink tonight or probably for the next few days.
Massive, I really liked what you said about AA speak; when I use it today it is in a joking manner.
I think it would be healthy to eliminate it completely.
I still talk to old friends from AA, it is better for all concerned that they don’t know I drink.”


 I have to take antibiotics for 10 days so I will not drink during this time. I have not drank since the 19th. I have no craving and feel that these abstinence days are very healthful. I believe that even small amounts of alcohol may cause subtle undetectable withdrawal symptoms, drinking several times within a week may exacerbate or lengthen the withdrawal. I have interviewed many long term normal drinkers who claim to have one drink every other day. I know them well enough to believe their symptoms if any are undetectable. My plan is to drink without restriction except that during periods of family or work responsibility I will accumulate abstinence days. I will also not drink for health reasons with medication as listed above. Abstinence days (ABS) are a HAMS tool.

Why do I want to drink after 15 years in AA?
-I love the taste. I find Armagnac, Calvados, Fine Rye Whiskey, Eau de Vie, Wine and NA beer to be exquisitely enjoyable and rewarding.
-Connoisseurship, study and acquisition is a very enjoyable hobby.
-Alcohol is a mainstay of human social interaction, to deny myself responsible use is to become socially handicapped or different.
-Moderate use can lift inhibitions and make love making more enjoyable.
-Alcohol use aids in setting aside times when I don’t take calls, drive, email, or interact outside of my home, restaurant, or bar.
-Moderate use allows alcohol to become a side issue rater than a mainstay constitutional issue as in AA membership. At times I will go to a meeting and see old friends; I do not have to deny myself anything.

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1,771 thoughts on “Abstinence vs Moderation

  1. October 30, Day one of another 10 day abstinence period. Drinking is just not that important to me but I do feel better now that I have broken free of AA.

    • so I have officially left AA/NA after 27 years of trying to make these rooms full of (mostly) untreated mentally ill people my sole source of mirroring back to me who I thought I was. I now get it. I remember from my first meeting with a drug and alcohol counselor how she told me she thought I was minimizing my drinking/ drug use. the truth is I was very honest from the start.
      I was 24 years old, very lost, immature, angry, with very few tools that helped to negotiate life. immediately I grabbed hold of the 12 step meetings, a place I could be loved and taught how to be a good and well adjusted man. over the years I have grown and learned a lot but mostly due to the work ive done outside the “PROGRAM” -very scarey words btw. I have watched the fellowships change. I lost interest in AA about 12 years ago and gravitated towards NA. Both I consider now to be extremely disempowering , disingenuous, and becoming dangerous.im out!

      • C12nomo- I just realized what your handle means!

        WOW congratS !!! Its a wonderful life gone from the “program” how scary to be hooked into be Programmed like some robot.

        • thank you so much massive! I need encouragement right now. very scared but realize it is right for me. I feel sad I lost so many years sitting in meetings parroting recovery speak. its just gotten way too weird and sick for me . I want a life im getting older and that crap has stolen my life in a way.all the shame and guilt.im actually happy now im not an AA/NA automoton

          • I was sad a lot when I first left. Not because I missed them or it…but because I wasted years and I missed normal things I would have experienced if I was not in AA during my youth and 20’s . Oh well. I am very glad that I left then and not when I was 80!

            • great point, i could have “hung” in there-pun intended- until I was 80. things just got way too weird for me. all the dishonesty and manipulation, the attitudes of the men towards women and sexual objectification, the worst from the most clean time.the frosty ice queens with lots of clean time and absolutely no code of honor. Very few people stay, either they get healthy and move on or they have been ordered by the court, or they are there to escape the wives and see a young female. ive tried mens meetings and found them competitive and snarky. bad words insert here. I don’t like it anymore. I don’t want to go off the deep end and I have no intentions of ruining anymore pf my life with drugs and I would rather die high than hang with a bunch of posers and mentally ill. I would like to have a drink every now then and maybe puff a little. so what. I aint gonna die. I don’t miss them. I went thru some real hard crap a few years ago and every one of them showed true colors. fairweather clean time club. what a joke. they cant have anymore of my time. I gave way more than I ever got. how long gone massive? anyone else? I like the idea of decompression before I try some controlled drinking. im looking into hams on Friday.

              • I have been gone 4 years May 2011. I deprogrammed for 14 months before I took a ( and I mean 1 drink) . at a 4th of july party. Many months passed and I took sips here and there and had to dilute wine with sparkling water etc and mostly drank 1 glass of Sweet wine about 5 %. After about 6 months I was able to find a White Sauvignon blanc from New Zealand that I liked. Im still a light weight and I love that. But good Idea to check out Hams and Moderation has good tools or ideas….I also attended Smart the last year I went to AA to fill my head with new good stuff, went to MM meetings after I left just to undo the AA crap and also I met people there that Hated AA so we could AA bash, unlike Smart, and I went to 3 SOS meetings to see how that went first hand. I have some natural rules left over from the years I didn’t imbibe.
                1. I don’t drink when Im upset. I get a massage, go for a walk, swim, talk to my husband, call my therapist or a good girlfriend, go to a comedy , get out of the house, go watch the sunset, take my dog to the park.

                I wish more were writing here to share with you but if you go onto a HAMS chat you will have many there talking. Best of luck to you .

                • I have the same philosophy when drinking it is very important not to drink when I am in a bad place or upset about something. I go play some golf or do some other more positive things. I have also went to MM meetings and found it a nice alternative. I haven’t gone in a while may have to check them out. I like this site been poking around on it the last couple weeks. lot of good info.

                  • Hi Marc- Yea I went to MM meetings after I left just to hear how others used NON AA tools- and philosophies. I am also glad you find the site helpful. 🙂 Happy Holidays.

                • Enjoying reading what you wrote, looking to chat further. Im a married female with 2 teenagers. Not one for writing a whole lot but really need a females perspective. Please reply back if you are still here and perhaps we can talk further about me living a moderately way of life with support.

              • ” fairweather clean time club. what a joke. they cant have anymore of my time. I gave way more than I ever got. how long gone massive? anyone else? I like the idea of decompression before I try some controlled drinking. im looking into hams on Friday.”

                Yeah, this kind of nails it, I do hams online chat several times a week and have done as much of their program that is necessary. It is the only group that I would say is fairly ex-stepper friendly. And I tried most of the alternatives.

                It is a learning process to moderate, but for ex steppers it is a process of unlearning all of the garbage 12 step programmed in there. It took me a little while, but hams was a great help. And now I moderate on the plan I came up with with pretty close to 100% accuracy. I rarely deviate from it, but when I do it is hardly a big deal.

                A problem is becoming a self fulfilling prophecy of 12 step dogma. It is kind of like Scientology, they pound it into members heads that if they ever leave they will commit suicide within 6 months, and many do. 12 step uses some of the same tactics to keep members in the fold, or convincing them selfs that they need to go right back.

                So do not be surprised if you get that urge. But I strongly suggest fighting that, as I have gone back several times over the years, and what a huge mistake it was each time.

                • Wow I so agree with this! I “went back” in about June this year and what a mistake! Although having said that if I hadn’t gone back I wouldn’t have gained the clarity I have now. I was sucked back in at a time that I was feeling vulnerable and lost – I’d just decided I didn’t want to be doing the degree I was doing, and was looking for work – so an uncomfortable, in-between stage where I found myself quite isolated socially (due to not being in uni every day and not working!) I kept wondering what my problem was – Why couldn’t I find direction? etc. Bearing in mind I had barely drank anything the whole year before – a beer here and there. I did used to drink very heavily, that is a fact, but as I grow up, and can see how and why I chose to cope in that way I can see that what I went through was a normal reaction to my life events! I was not born a little baby addict/alcoholic, and in fact that disease model, and the 12 step ideology has just confused me and muddled up my identity beyond belief these past five years, and has completely led me away from my real issues! As soon as I started questioning the disease model my sponsor (who had been sweetness and light until that point) completely turned on me. Although I remained friendly and neutral I have had to block her from WhatsApp, Facebook, emails and even then she continued in messaging me from a different number. If it carries on I will have to change my phone! This behaviour was a confirmation to me that I have done the right thing in walking away. In my five years in AA I have witnessed and have been subjected first hand to bullying and disturbing predatory behaviour (including one man following me from SPAIN to the UK). I am waking up from a very bad dream. It was a terrible, confusing, and damaging experience. I am so, so glad that I’ve realised the truth, and still have the time and energy to deprogram myself and enjoy my life. I’m 30 now. I still feel 25. The age I was when the 12 step model hijacked my mind, body and soul. I’m glad to be back in reality!! Thank you so much to everyone who speaks out about this stuff – if it wasn’t for people like you I might still be stuck.

                  • Hi Penelope- Welcome ! Glad to hear you got out quickly and so young. I think if the internet existed and a Leaving AA blog in 1976 I would have left AA then and never looked back to those assholes.

          • I work in a hospital and have always found it strange that people never “graduate” from AA or recover from alcoholism. Cancer pateints don’t “keep coming back” for chemo once their disease is in remission. I drank alcoholically at one time. My attendance in AA did more harm than good. It is well known among the mainstays of AA that young woman (in this case attractive and admittedly naive) can easily become victim to predators that frequent meetings for the explicit purpose of perpetrating. I wish all those that return to social drinking the best of luck. If, like myself, you repair your spiritual self you will likely be successful.

            • Jean- Hey thanks for an insightful post. Such a great comparison.

              “Cancer pateints don’t “keep coming back” for chemo once their disease is in remission.”.

              The more all of us talk about this the better. 🙂

              • Great posts everybody TYVM! On deprog..I’m reviewing last AA years. find I was angry at AA a long time..bashing in meetings even. Yes its very important to know oneself & be honest after leaving. (I follow the truth that possess me, not what I want to know about spiritual (not religion) woo woo or gurus etc. Ever read near death reports? Not physical, mental, emotional. Thanks Jean. Right on. We came from somewhere, are here, and going “there”. Deep healing is spiritual.) Like I said I ‘ll follow a bigger “truth” if I find one. Drop “recoveryism”. JUST BE for Pete’s sake! How we do it is OK! LOVE & KINDNESS..

                • Love this! What am I recovering from? Life!? I am not in recovery, I am just living and doing my best as a human being on this planet right now. Part of my deprogramming has been lots of meditation and yoga, they help me come back to the moment – here, my life right NOW, and like you said – just BE. 🙂

            • Hi,

              I’m totally new to this blog. I had been sober for 16 years, after alot of deep thought, prayer, several conversations with my therapist, and working with a spiritual healer, I decided to take the plunge and have a drink. I said a prayer and took the drink very slowly, much to my amazment the phenomenon of craving did not raer its ugly head, and I did not feel the urge to drink more. Since then I have drank 2 more times 1 the second time and 2 the third..same outcome. It’s been about 7 weeks, and mostly I feel great exept for the occasional surge of terror running through my veins upon remembering some of what I was taught in AA.
              I have nothing but praises for AA as it truly saved my life and works for alot of people, I’m happy that I was ready for a change and had the courage to explore.
              So happy this sight exsists so I can hear, share, and not feel alone!

              • Hi Shannon,
                Same experience here. After 12 years of sobriety in AA.
                I start to question it about a year ago. I really noticed the same older “sober” members spouting the same dogma. There seemed to be no awareness shift in many of them. Many had looked no further into their drinking motives, as AA seemed to be the answer to everything. I kept hearing “when *insert normal human emotion* happens, I NEED a meeting”. Really? Not learn to handle it yourself? USe other coping strategies?
                And alcoholism was blamed for every problem. Which just isn’t true! When my mother died, I was sad. I was told to put it on the program! How ridiculous… I was GRIEVING!!!
                So last year I was at a friends party at a bar. I’m now 100% sure on of the drinks I ordered had vodka. And guess what? I didn’t die, need 100 more, or turn into a pumpkin.
                I left it for 1 month, and told no-one. Then, deliberately ordered a drink the next time we were out. Told no-one. Nothing happened!
                Time to fess up to hubby. (He has never seen me drink). He supported me, and my decision to try a beer with him. Same thing…normal.
                So now have been moderately drinking for 6 months. I drink 2-3 beer 3 or 4 nights a week. I just get sleepy now…lol.
                I am acutely aware of alcohol, and am talking to my therapist about it – watching my motives.
                But in general, an underwhelmed by how I react to alcohol, and am pleasantly surprised how enjoyable 2 drinks can be.
                Early days, but so far so good.

                • Gabrielle- very good — sounds like you are , most in AA. We never belonged there. The lies spouted their are absurd. I am really happy for you .

                  • Thanks massive. It is a relief to know I’m not ‘defective’. Just a normal human. My heavy drinking was a result of circumstance . .which no longer applies. Happy days! I just can’t stomach all the blame and shame in AA any longer. 🙂

                    • Yes – lots of shaming— blaming—“we know everything ” kinda attitude. 1930’s crap.Happy for you.

                    • Yes you – me – we are NOT defective or BROKEN FOR LIFE !!!!! Bill WIlson never rsearched the things he wrote in hi famous BB that are filled with lies.

            • Thank you! I’m so glad to hear someone say that ! And so happy to have found this site !!! I drifted away from AA 3 years ago and gained so much clarity once I got away from their PROGRAMMING. I think you do graduate and return to a normal life but they highly criticize those who leave. I began to find it very cultish … I took my first drink in 9-1/2 years last week and I did not get drunk or turn into a pumpkin ?

          • Left AA 18th May 2015 after 27 years. Lots of living, making friends, “coming home” in lots of cities at meetings. Mind control, anger and “powerless” finally made my integrity take me out. Been drinking now n then. No binge. Wrote my own rules. Deprogram is daily rewire of my brain to joy/mature acting- thinking. I must learn/accept me, life. Sad or scary is ok. Over ride the “VOICE” of addiction. Love me and try to live up to my better self. Get non AA help if needed. At 72 life IS good. Mostly. Careful on ANY pulls back to AA. Easy on drinking. Get support/busy living! Have a great day unless you have other plans…. Love to all!! Larry PS thx for the film Massive-its terribly important.

            • Welcome to the dark side Larry. 😉 I’m so happy for you and your new found freedom. I was part of AA for over 20 years and now feel like I can walk and live freely now that I have left.

              I wish you all the best.


              • I WILL HOLD ON DEARLY TO THE SENSE OF FREEDOM FROM LEAVING-LIKE WHEN I LEFT STRICT RIGID BAPTIST CHURCH. All ya’lls responsiz iz so special!!Oh BTW, here in th’ say-outh ya’ll is one all ya’ll iz 2 er more. Guess some fun’s OK 2. Love to all ya’ll…

          • I decided to leave AA when, after 5 months abstinence, I deliberately took a drink at a funeral wake. I told my brother, 25 years sober in A A,, and he has told me that he will have no further contact with me until I have 2 years continuous sobriety. Talk about conditional love! This means we will never meet again, thanks to good old AA and its doctrinal trap.

            • elogue- so sorry to hear you have a brainwashed brother. Ask him to watch my film The 13th on AMAZON – show him Hams Harm Reduction pages on FACEBOOK and on the Web. You are not alone but he is thinking like a stepper aka 1930’s….Have him listen to some of my podcasts ?

      • I am so curious about this. I am contemplating leaving AA also. I have been there for 17 years. I also think I had a lot of issues in my 20’s and have really worked on myself over the years. I am considering moderation drinking. Any advice would be great.

        • I was in for 16 years and had my first Hard Lemonade after one year out. I now drink moderately without difficulties and been out of AA for 5ish years. My advice is leave for the right reasons and not just because you want to drink. Leave, learn/deprogram attend SMART for new perspective or use HAMS, etc. Then have 1 drink and notice everything that happens and how you think. IMO, if you rush out of AA and get super drunk, there are underlying issues that have nothing to do with AA. So, do research and write about, or find some way to share, what you find.

          • acmac- I think spj nailed it….but I will add my two cents.

            I would say no booze till you stop thinking like that. You are brainwashed. A head full of AA and drink—- not so good an idea.

            I had NO doubts when I left AA after 36 years , 37 years abstinent, that I would have an issue. I had one drink at a July 4th Party 3 years ago. Thats it. It was a strange feeling. I had not felt in all those years. I felt a part of the world. I had never drank one drink as a teen drinker cause I was always drinking to get drunk. Now I was juts sipping the one and enjoying it and experiencing it.

            What lies AA tells and its members in those meetings !

            It took months before I could tolerate 1 glass of wine. It took 6 months to find what kind I even liked. I know now . I can even enjoy a mixed drink like a margaritta .

            But I also took care of my childhood trauma over 23 years ago when I did deep rage work with a therapist PhD. Yea I had some nice sponsors ….but NONE of hem helped heal my REAL problems why I drank as a teenager.

            So I would really listen to spj- read non AA literature. Lance Dodes book The Sober Truth.

            GO to a SMART Meeting and HAMS online. Read SMART and HAMS Literature. DEPROGRAM first. I would leave and wait a year ….I didn’t wait….I had no idea I would imbibe at all when I left. .. it was a natural process. My husband waited about 6 months.

            We also saw licensed non 12 step trained therapist to help mostly my hubby deprogram. Strangely he had a harder time getting that shit out of his head. My life was consumed with making a film and I read about 15 non 12 step books , memoirs, Stanton Peele, Amy lee Coy, Hank Hayes book You’ve been Lied to.

            I would listen to the radio shows I did where I tear up the AA literature. Also listen to other professionals I interviewed.


            you must fill your head with new thinking.
            New beliefs.
            AA brainwashing is deep. I am not telling you something you don’t already know.


            Good luck.

            Also we have a FACEBOOK Deprogramming Page you can request to join if you want.

            • Thank you both so much. Yes, you are right a Head full of AA jargon and a drink would be bad. I don’t want to leave AA just so I can drink btw. I have been in therapy with an amazing woman and I have worked hard on the reasons I drank in the first place. I believe in my core that I can be a social drinker. I will look into SMART meetings and read and read literature. I haven’t been fully active in AA for about a year. I have gone to a mtg maybe once a week or every 2 weeks because I feel guilty not going (AA does a number on you). I don’t have a sponsor that I call and I don’t have sponsees. There is a huge world out there and I do not believe I will wind up in jail, an institution or dead if I have a couple of glasses a wine a week. Of course AA tells me I can’t do that. I will be caught in the grips and drinking around the clock before I know it. I have too much self awareness to make that choice. I will keep reading, as I said, and no more AA lingo ::)

              • acmac- you sound strong and fine. A great non 12 step therapist and it already sounds like you have been withdrawing from being involved. All of that helps. Now …its about really leaving, not going anymore….and seeing what you head says to you. You do it on your own timeline. BTW if you read about cults which I have been starting to…..all that kind of talk . ” you must come forever” and you will die or go insane without us ” is a part of cult speak.

                Tell us how your doing as you go along if you like.

                • Thanks Massive, I will keep working with my therapist and check out a SMART mtg and I love the support on this site. I agree that leaving completely it essential. I haven;t been to an AA mtg since the end of June and it feels good. I realize that I have negative thoughts but so does every human being on the planet. I also hear what you are saying about being a cult. They really do drum into you what will happen if I drink..jails, institutions or death. I do not believe this to be true AT ALL.

                  I feel a sense of freedom coming..and it feels awesome

                    • I haven’t read all of your posts Massive but curious..because I have been feeling this way…not sure I a an alcoholic. I know I drank very heavily and used it to “deal” but my life is so much better now. I deal in other ways..just trying to “deprogram”

      • I stopped at 28 and have been in AA for 17 years. I also had a lot going on then and have worked on myself a great deal both in the rooms and outside. I have been contemplating moderation drinking. I feel like I can do it safely however AA tells me I never can and so I hear that voice in my head over and over. Can you give me so thoughts? advice?

        • Hi there are many things to consider given such a long time in AA, it would be advisable to work with a properly trained and properly qualified professional in order to explore moving forward from AA. Also leaving AA doesn’t necessarily have to be associated with having a drink, as is the common assumption in the rooms.. take your time and look around the burgeoning resources available in order to make an informed decision about your choices..best wishes

        • I for one am very happy to be abstinent from alcohol and all drugs.
          That is yet another option for you should you leave AA. Some of us should never drink again.

          Whatever you do, maybe take those two hours you spent going back and forth from the AA meetings and focus it on a hobby you’ve always wanted to try.

        • so many leave an drink moderately.

          But every one is unique….unlike what AA preaches.

          Hank Hayes book is a good place to start.

            • I have checked out moderation management and bought the book they recommend. I have also joined the forum and have been discussing all of this with my therapist. I don’t know what I will decide. We will see

  2. I started to feel a bit of the old AA guilt yesterday for drinking although it did not last. It is amazing to me that after years of deprogramming any trace of AA ideology could remain. I quickly disregarded the thoughts when I realized where they came from. AA brainwashing seems almost comical too me now, it’s tempting to attend a meeting where I could speak the old language as I watch the eyes of the true believer. Thank God and Science for hypocrisy, prejudice, and philosophy, for without them closed mindedness couldn’t exist in the shadow of truth. Alcohol clearly causes brain damage, without it AA couldn’t exist. Now there’s a reason to moderate effectively.

    • ANON- Its so refreshing to read your posts and see your journey out of the cult and to be free of the brainwashing. Do you want me to pull the other posts from the other thread? Some of them are so good from you, etp and the Yo….conversation.

      • Hi Massive,

        I think that wouId be great! I got my questions answered here by Anon, Mike, ETP, and you. So why not make a tab where foIks can honestIy report their experiences with moderated drinking. I bet it wouId heIp many readers.

        • I’d be glad to share my experiences with moderate drinking…they started off good but within 18 months spiraled continually downward. I didn’t end up in the hospital again, but I was always on a hair trigger temper-wise and suffered increasing cognitive decline.

          In a nutshell, I had to rediscover anew the reasons that I stopped drinking close to two decades earlier. In this respect I can see why rehashing the past in AA meetings is useful, as it helps one to relive mentally the pain caused by the earlier substance abuse.

          I know that believers in moderation might not like hearing this, but it’s true in my case. I tried my best to believe that my good career, experience, and relative maturity could buffer me from addictive tendencies. They helped a little, but gradually the addiction had the final word. I do believe however that those attributes helped me to stop sooner than the first time around.

          • mike- To be honest, Im not interested in hearing about how parts of AA works. I sat in meetings for 36 years listening to the droning on and on of how “AA saved my life” ” “AA taught me this” etc….even when I was in AA, when women said this …I would say, “I am here because of all the other work I have done…aka with therapy, spiritual, rage work with a real PhD, real inner childhood work, Great Marriage Counseling, reprogramming of negative childhood experience. My list is long, the books I read that were non AA is a long one which began at 2 years of sobriety. I have quite a library of non AA literature that made me who I am today and its not AA literature! I also had alot of great therapy.

            AA and pro steppers have so many forums where you can blog. I want to welcome you here but…
            The AA that existed in 1975 DOES NOT exist anymore. The AA you went to 20 years ago does not exist anymore.

            May I ask …What year did you first attend and in what city?

            I could see AA’s decline when Drug Courts began and the sentencing to AA meetings began 22 years ago in Florida and California. Places filled with steppers in high places. Judges and lawyers are crawling these states now.

            It seems you wanna blog here…but can you tell me what other “outside ” work have you done to help you deprogram? Therapy? Smart Recovery? DId you read other books by say.. Stanton Peele or Albert Ellis. Have you read NON AA literature after leaving AA before you tried moderation? I think we could make a list of great books we have all read that have really helped us.

            After I left AA I realized I was beginning to deprogram decades before I left AA. How about you?

            Have you really explored Moderation Management, www:drinklinkmoderation.com with Donna Cornett

            Maybe what I wanna say is that when you first drank, did you do it before being gone from AA a few years. The successful stories I have been told are ones where people leave AA and are gone a few years. At least 1-3 years, they are deprogramming all that time and then they have really investigated the MM , Harm Reduction approaches. or sometimes , especially ones who got sober really young, were sober decades, and had very very stable lives, drank some thing again with no bad consequence at all. All the people I have interviewed drink super moderately.

            There were bloggers on RFR who did not want to mess with their abstinence but they are usually those who drank for over 20 years and were very hard drinkers as well. The young heroin addict was able to have a beer or smoke some pot and not use heroin again. If she went to NA she would be told she “failed” when she drank that beer. Not true. This young blogger helped me see DOC makes a difference. EVEN people who are really into pills. One glass of wine is also not their DOC, so some of them shared how it was a non issue as well.

            I only drank from ages 13-my 18th birthday! Looking back…I think its ridiculous that I ever called myself an alcoholic.

            I actually have not seen a blog where this was discussed without trolls and without judgement. No , I take that back, it did get discussed on RFR for a few months. Im glad this is happening here. Thanks etp for your input as well.

          • Mike, not sure your still around. it seems ive come here a few years late …figures. I would like to know did the “addiction” really have the last word? im assuming if that were true you are either back in the rooms of shame, dead, or in jail? seems to me you had already been having the word on whether or not your chose to drink. the last word would be well your death, desended into insanity, or jail? hmm seems nether has passed? just guessing.

    • I think some of the guilt around anything pleasurable is our society’s programming about it too. I remember a Buddhist teacher telling me to deal with the fear that comes up from a label like “alcoholic”. That has something to do with it too. It’s okay to enjoy life! I’m thrilled to read about those of you learning to be responsible with drinking. Although with my prone-ness to depression, I think I will stay with abstinence. Make sure you have driver-do I really need to say that? It’s the “mothering” thing.

    • anon,
      thanks for your post. when i take any alcohol or weed into my system, i think i turn into some horrable ugly monstor.
      this has only happened to me since i went to aa.
      pre aa that didnt happen to me. if i took a drink or weed i didnt think
      that way about myself.
      I didnt look in the mirror and hate what i saw pre aa.
      that only started to happen to me after my first and early on aa meetings.
      it happened not long after i went to aa.
      aa made me dislike and hate myself.
      pre aa there were times i didnt like myself.
      i had low self esteem on entering aa. but it made it worse.
      im trying not to think im a horrable monstor when im sipping a half of larger or weed.
      trying not to think if i drink it makes me a bad mother or person.
      im all through with cults religouns steps prayers self help books
      the lot.
      i didnt think drinking or weed was bad evil or sick pre aa.

      • Sally, I know what you mean about feeling like weed and booze are sick and evil only after AA. I have to go back further than AA to remember my normal feelings around alcohol. I actually was a Scientologist and boy are they ever against drugs. Before that I felt that weed was a holy herb. Or may be not so dramatic as that. But after the Scientology brainwashing about drugs, really much worse than AA probably, much more sick and violent — I came into AA with an already grown and large guilt complex over weed and God forbid, Coke or hallucinogens. The propaganda Ron Hubbard spewed about these substances was truly frightening. I was a Scientologist for 2 years. It took about 1and 1/2 years to even start to deprogram from that, to even question it! I couldn’t savor my freedom for long, because almost immediately then after my mini deprogramming, I felt I needed AA (as I write this, I see how all the Scientology guilt propelled me to AA, to become absolutely pure).

      • Luckily I myself only lasted a week in AA. I saw how faith based it was, which disgusted me, and I looked into it’s efficacy rates to see if it was worth the stretch to be an athiest in what was basically a faith based religion. If it really worked I may have bent my beleif system. As I learned, of course, after 1 year the failure rate is 95%, the relapse rate is higher and the hospitalization and death rates were higher than doing nothing at all. Boy was I ever enraged. I almost bought a bottle!

        I can completely understand how AA makes you feel like you are a bad person for drinking. This is part of the reason I quit right after reading the Big Book.

        The idea that you could be sober 364 days, then have a beer at a BBQ in the hot sun with a buddy and have a single beer, then have your 24 hour, 3 month, 6 month, and 9 months chips become worthless – and that no non sociopathic person in a program based on honesty could lie and accept that cake the next day – creates a dangerous abstinence-binge cycle which explains the worse relapses and higher death rate.

        Why wouldn’t you just go for broke, if your year-less-a-day hard work of abstinence was completely erased by a single beer in the sun? Why not just go for broke, hell your going to have to work for a whole year just to get to where you were before, your going to have to look at the disapproving glances of the other members, your going to get asked to share and your going to have to say you had a beer and toasted your sobriety, chances are you just wouldn’t come back and would opt to just keep drinking for a while.

        This I think is entirely the fallacy of the AA system, even if you ignore the religion (which I find offensive). Most other recovery systems would congratulate you – hey you only had a single beer and kept it under control.

        • Absolutely. This whole notion of puritanical abstinence for most people is just bullshit. There are people who shouldn’t drink for medical and behavioral issues, but that is a very small minority.

          The part I like the best is people actually have ethyl alcohol in their systems as part of the bodies mechanisms. The amount can fluctuate with certain foods and even intestinal flora populations. In reality, complete abstinence from alcohol in the system is scientifically impossible.

    • Anon Love your comment. An important distinction for me is AA guilt for drinking at all versus not “moderating effectively” living up to my rules. Healthy guilt.Yes I’m amazed at how traces of AA still remain (and may for along time). I’m re-writing healthy thoughts and doing OK with me in my new “FREE OF AA” world. Regards…

  3. This new section is great Massive, thanks for adding it. I think this topic is just as important as the AA is a cult and AA is dangerous topic.
    For me I am very happy that I have been able to drink once in a while then go right back to abstinence. This has never been the case for me as it was always either abstinent in AA or binge drinking.
    The jury is still out for me as to whether I will remain abstinent for the rest of my life or continue to drink every once in a while. My thinking now is that as long as I create a safe environment for the times I do drink that it’s ok. Meaning no driving and no drinking by myself. I have never been a big alone drinker and I have heard stories of people falling while intoxicated at home alone.
    I have an event coming up on 11/10 where I will be with drinking friends and at a club listening to another friend perform music. I will wait for the day to decide whether I will drink or not. To have this blog to discuss how things go for me is great and helpful.

    • That sounds very healthy ETP, Abstinence periods between drinks are VERY important. How long have you been drinking with long ABS periods since leaving AA?
      I am seeing that I need longer ABS between drinks to keep the drinking enjoyable.

  4. Hi Anon,
    I would say I have drank 10 or 11 times since April 2011. The closest times were 3 Sat. nights in a row, that got me nervous.
    To be honest this whole leaving AA thing has taken a toll on my nerves plus job/money/home issues. Now that I have a stable job and a nice place to live I hardly want to drink at all so I do think stability in life plays a key role in my drinking and perhaps others too.
    Anon, never in my life have the words “healthy” and “my drinking” gone together, lol. What a pleasant surprise 🙂

    • I know what you mean about being nervous. I have built a great life in abstinence and I surely don’t want to blow it. I identify with what Mike said about the anger; when I drink on consecutive days without any ABS days between I get easily frustrated. Frustration can easily turn to anger. Cost benefit analysis is very useful to me; drinking can be enjoyable in moderation but if I drink too much and start making bad decisions the cost is too high. Drinking for me needs to be in the distant background of my life if I am to be successful. I do not wish to become overly fixated on it, alcohol is powerful and needs to be respected. Tonight it’s coffee, sorry Massive but one thing AA gets right is that coffee helps on ABS nights, even decaf. I am going at least 10 days before the next drink. If I find myself overly fixated on drinking I will wait longer and reevaluate my situation.

      • Anon,
        I think that you hit on something extremely important. If we allow ourselves to become fixated on alcohol we are in major trouble. I have always noticed that is what separates occasional drinkers from problem drinkers. Occasional drinkers can leave a drink on the table if something else requires their attention, get up and walk away and never give it a second thought.

        • Although I once loved AA, I hate it now, for all the numerous predatory reasons and more…including…oh …the list is too long now…

          AA in its old fashioned form, meaning one meeting a week, in someones house that you knew, etc might be a good thing for about 1 % of heavy drinkers who have a hard time with self control around alcohol. There was no stupid BB being read, no 12 steps being read, no traditions were read for 15 or so years cause they didn’t exist. Well I guess after 1939 Bill Might have started reading his book but I kinda doubt it.

          Bill I bet did everything he could to kiss those alcoholics asses so they would stay sober.

          They were sitting around talking about how their week went. Not a bad support group….right?

          Even when I got sober in 75 no one dared to tell me to attend 90 meetings in 90 days. That was absurd.

          If Bill and the new bunch didn’t need all that crap …well you get my point and my point is if you like AA and you like abstinence great. Abstinence is practiced by many religions. Muslims….millions and millions of muslims…some buddhists…and so forth…

          Its that in your writing here when you say , like ” occasional drinkers” problem drinkers…its all AA lingo.

          The old saying “take what you like and lave the rest” is just a good con mans rap. They fooled me once. They will not fool me twice. When I hear the lingo it’s a red flag for me.

          Not referring to you Frank but even when I am out an about in the world I can see the AA members coming. Its that uptight look on their face. Their arrogant smile. That condescending attitude ” I know it all” ! The longer they are sober the more uptight most of them look and act in my opinion.

          Frank I agree. TO be fixated on the booze is not the way to handle. SO if one gets fixated… maybe abstinence is better. I really, really think one needs to be seriously deprogrammed before one takes even a sip. The Brainwashing in AA is deep and whats even worse is that the brainwashing is now in our culture , our media and in our entertainment everywhere we turn.

          It takes commitment, It takes reading other books and blogs. I like Hank HAYES book YOU’VE BEEN LIED TOO… available on amazon. and Stinkin-thinkin and OP was invaluable!

          So I hope in the end you figure out what’s best and good for you. I would like to see a real 2 year study with this topic and some major Medical Center.

          • But mainly Frank, Yo and MIke and anon, this conversation can never happen in AA and that I think is very sad and harmful.

            I want people to really discuss it honestly here, hopefully without AA and 12 step ideology.

            Perhaps with a more science based, cognitive, less magical thinking , less the guru component .The CLean SLate where Steven Slate blogs is also great. Smart Recovery and SOS are refreshing support groups as well. I hope they triple in size this year.

          • Massive,

            I drank and drugged for a good 35 years before I ever attended an AA meeting and then the only way I ever attended was I was mandated by the courts. So you can see my experience with alcohol has nothing to do with AA. I despise AA and everything it represents. I use the term “problem drinker” because I am very familiar with being one.
            It is nice to to be able to have a place such as this to have the conversation that Yo, Anon and others are having, myself including. All of the experiences that I have are not from AA , they are from years of trying to drink successfully which never worked out for me, believe me I tried. I do believe that some people, like me, are better off practicing abstinence. I think only the person themselves can make such a decision, I wouldn’t pretend to know what’s best or someone else but I do believe that I am qualified to know what’s best for me. I enjoy this forum very much and I hope this forum will remain a safe place to hold meaningful discussions such as this.

        • Hey guys…. I just freed myself from the doom and gloom of the AA rooms. It’s great to read your post. I’ve now figured out that, those “meetings” made me want to drink more than anything. I’m just dumbfoundedthat it took me 10 years to realize this. I’m a free thinker , hints why AA never once worked. It’s insane the weight that’s lifted off of you when you realize that’s not the only way. This past month has been more enjoyable than the past 10 years. I rarely think about drinking now, but when I do, at least I know I have a choice.

          • Congratulations Cole … Feels pretty good doesn’t it? Wait until you realize how deeply entrenched the AA programming is in your brain. That’s always an interesting milestone. 🙂

            • Agree. Its more entrenched than I thought. Just drop out clean no problems not so fast buster!! You (I) must deprogram mental, feelings, social, societal, my AA library, AA shirts etc. Drank a virgin not beer lager and felt guilty! They say in AA just unlearn everything which means relearn/replace AA. (Keep any good) We CAN do this-just taking longer than I had thought and by damn I am!! Healthy anger power. Luv 2 all.

  5. @massive,

    I sense this isn’t the right place for me based on the tone of your responses. I shared how moderation didn’t work out for me and I’m asked if I did a, b or c. Funny how the steppers are chided for laying claim to the one path to sobriety. Now it appears that others claim a way to successful moderation. One size fits all indeed.

    Good luck with your site.

    • Don’t sweat it Mike, I liked reading your story. The universal truth about mankind is that we are all hypocrites. It’s either you didn’t do a thorough forth step or your moderation didn’t work because you didn’t employ the right method. That’s what’s great about being human; sub-sociopathic selfishness thrives not so far below the surface of us all. AA makes an easy call when they point it out as if some sort of alcoholic revelation. Go figure; one size does fit all as far a hypocrisy is concerned. Much of what sucks about AA can suck for people in general. Don’t worry about me on this one, when I start sharing my philosophy I know something is wrong with me and not you or the world. Coffee tonight, no withdrawal, just speedy repartee.

      • I am not calling you a name; I am pointing out that all of mankind is selfish, me too.
        If you noticed that your passage to Mike seemed similar to the AA tact we criticize here in which the slipper is belittled after drinking for not doing the steps, except that the shoe is on the other foot, then good for you.
        However please note that the passage does not single you out and that it is inclusive of all mankind, it claims the trait is common to all humans.

        • I had to deprogram before drinking. I was so deeply contaminated with AA think when I departed the rehums that I couldn’t even speak normally.
          I know several people who have left AA and drank, two of them are regular drinkers now with 10 years out of AA. One drank and didn’t like it, and the other could take it or leave it.

          • It seems to me that you are still pretty obsessed with alcohol. You go to great lengths to document your ability to stop drinking here and there, or your ability to have a few drinks. Good for you!
            But what’s this fixation on your alcohol use after all these years? Maybe it was never AA you needed; maybe you need a good psychiatrist.

            • Why wouldn’t he document it? After hearing a particular message repeated for many years, and coming to a point of questioning it, why not document the process? I think spending 15 years in AA warrants some time spent examining the beliefs held while in it!

              Totally interesting. My return to normal drinking was very undramatic, and it’s so scary to me that I had been convinced I was an alcoholic for life (or even an alcoholic at all!)

    • Mike,

      After all the topic of the site is; “Abstinence vs. Moderation”. It’s obvious that you are a thinker and take the subject matter seriously. I think your contribution is very valuable to someone who is moderating there drinking after a history of abusing alcohol or considering trying moderation. They should hear both sides and then decide whats best for them. Thankyou

      • Mike,

        I wanted to add: When I read your post this morning; I wanted to ask you why you said/felt:
        ” rehashing the past in AA meetings is useful, as it helps one to relive mentally the pain caused by the earlier substance abuse.”

        However, I changed my mind because if your goal is abstinence and that makes it easier for you at the present time, thats what you should do. I did that many times in my life and I doubt that AA would be my solution to an addiction problem ever again. It just did not help me personally to discuss my past with a room full of strangers. I see now that I needed to move forward, be a better person and let the past go. Speaking for myself, I never intentionally tried to hurt anyone when i was drinking. People who loved me understood that. The last thing I needed was to punish myself more than I already had. Plus, it didn’t keep me sober. 🙂

    • Hi Mike,

      I hope you stay! I appreciated your insights- they correIate with my observations very weII. Massive is a nice Iady, and we aII go on a bit of a rant once in a whiIe (read some of my stuff about criminaIs and junkies in AA (one of whom tried to kiII me some years ago!) and you wiII see that we actuaIIy quite passionate in our positions. I think Frank and you wiII hit it off- he is of a simiIar mind to us.

      BTW Anon, that ‘sub-sociopath’ observation made my day!- I need some bumper stickers that say that to hand out to fruitcakes at IocaI AA meetings.


      I Iove the fact that Anon is making a reaI go at this and seeing if it works. I think of aII the thousands of meetings I went to over more than 20 years in the ‘feIIowship’ and aIways heard disaster stories from foIks who tried drinking again, but so many Ieft and never came back that I aIways suspected some had tried drinking again and it worked for them.

      You NEVER hear THEIR experiences in AA. So Anon’s posting is awesome stuff!

      I aIso beIieve that a tab on this site on the diseasing of America wouId be a good thing. 12 Stepper crap has become so wide spread that back in the 1990s they were comming out with a new 12 Step program for freaking everything. My personaI favorite was Codependants Anonymous- basicaIIy if you form a reIationship with another human being you quaIify as a codependant (whatever the heck that is!) and can go to meetings- I imagine my dog wouId quaIify as a codependant too! I wonder how many marriages that garbage theory wrecked…

      AIso, Over Eaters Anonymous, the most ineffective 12 Step organization in history- nothing Iike a room fuII of fat, angry, mean peopIe, stewing in their internaIized rage whiIe hating Iife and getting fatter…it was just too much! Most finaIIy just reaIize they Iike the buzz from the junk food more than they Iike being thin…but they kee going to meetings for decades and just gain weight and act nasty to each other. For crying out Ioud! What a bunch of asshoIes!

      Now they have Emotions Anonymous for whatever aiIs you- it is not the addiction or the trauma, it how you FEEL about it that’s the probIem. This program is super discounted Freudian regression anaIysis done pubIicaIIy for a doIIar an hour. Nothing Iike putting a bunch of emotionaI psycho/sociopaths together in the same room with a bunch of insecure depressives who have a victim compIex- Yow!

      No wonder they made the movie ‘Fight CIub’.

      Ok, I had my ‘share’ for the day! Have a good one, Y’aII

      • yo- LOL great post . I was just thinking I needed to re watch fight club again last night.

        I so agree with whole 12 step for everything crap.The big one in California right now I hear is SLOA. Imagine being powerless over who you have sex with?
        Really? And emotions anonymous. I went to some of these you mentioned when I was very young. I saw how ridiculous they were and never went back. Especially Co dependents anonymous.

      • Yo,

        This is so true: “I aIways suspected some had tried drinking again and it worked for them.

        You NEVER hear THEIR experiences in AA. ”

        First of all why would anyone bother. They have moved on with their lives and dont need to prove anything to anyone at an AA meeting.

        Second, IMO I think it would be disrespectful to return to a meeting and inform others of your successful moderation. If someone is really interested in another point of view; they can come to a site like this.
        Plus it could have a negative influence on someone who really needs to be abstinent and has chosen AA to accomplish that.

        • Hi Sue,

          You are right on the money there about NOT going back to meetings and taIking about successfuI drinking. It wouId not be weII received, and for those who are serious drunks, couId be deadIy. But I think one of the reasons that steers those AAs who drink again to have so much troubIe, is that AA programs them to think that if they drink they wiII automaticaIIy do so to seIf destruction- and that can become a seIf fuIfiIIing prophecy. So I Iike Massive’s comments that drinking again before deprogramming from AA couId weII be VERY dangerous.

          • Hello Yo,

            I have never had a desire to go back to a meeting or talk to anyone who is actively involved in AA. When I left, I immediately enjoyed my free time and never missed the fellowship. I feel like it would be a waste of time; plus the thoughts of it gives me the creeps. It’s not that I dont have desire to help others or I would not have participated in the blogs for the past 2yrs. I might add that the interaction helped me also, in so many ways. Discussing AA on these sites with people who were confused by the mind control, was the only time and emotional energy I had to give. I work full time and have a lot of responsibilities. Also, there are topics where I have nothing to offer because I experienced more mental abuse than anything else. Ive learned so much about the criminal activity in AA since leaving and I appreciate those who are working to expose that. As ive said before, I went back many times over the years but I didnt stick around long and I never got to close to anyone.

            To me, the bottom line on moderation is that it’s a personal choice. If you have a desire to enjoy an adult beverage; I guess the only way you can find out if you can handle it, is to try it. I think others just choose not to flirt with alcohol; either because of AA brainwashing or its just not that important to chance reliving the past.

          • Sue, you have given much of yourself on the blogs with very thoughtful insights.

            I have just observed as a whole, and the people in power in AA or in government etc that could do something to protect the minors et al in AA look the other way, when they could make a difference. We are talking huge numbers of people doing zip, nada, zero. I have yet to hear one single child advocate or abused women advocate state anything anywhere publicly on the subject about the crimes committed against them by AA/NA members. It is disgraceful.

          • AntiD,

            I couldnt find a reply option right under your name; Anyhow:

            I really appreciate what you said and it meant a lot to me. I dont know what its going to take but AA has had a pass for decades in many ways. Maybe most of those who have been truly harmed feel as if it is a loosing battle because AA is so powerful and society is brainwashed into thinking it saves lives. Their kept in the dark when it comes to all of the criminal activity. I dont think your efforts will go unrecognized forever. One day someone with a lot of power will have a loved one harmed by AA (in some way) and they will do some research and follow up with what it takes to fight for justice. I hope I live to see that.

            I’ll be honest, I have read AA horror stories on the blogs over the past two years that I view as poor judgement on the part of the individual but many that are so criminal I end up speechless. I know that I was extremely vulnerable when I went to AA; but i have to understand that others may have been even more so. However, Im quite certain that they will not get the help they need in AA.

            I would like to see a program similar to AA but nothing like it is now. Those are fighting words in a meeting. Change the program; God forbid.

          • SUE AND Anti D

            I agree that something will eventually happen to someone powerful and rich. Maybe their kid AND Then they will wake up. SOme stuff is already happening under the radar.AA has gotten so promoted …Im not sure why. THE DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES was a total insider propaganda film. I was reading Marty Mann’s bio …good god..

            But in regards to going to a meeting and telling them that what they are repeating like parrots is a lie … I disagree. I think it would be a refreshing change to hear an ex stepper who once bought into that BS to go back , sit in the room and tell them they are repeating a bunch of lies. Its a lie for many, so many, that when they have the first drink it sets up some sort of compulsion. This happens with about 1 % of those in AA. Most people in AA are nothing like what Bill Wilson was.

            Especially to young people. Those who arrived in AA young and then were preached to and told they will NEVER be able to drink again like a normal person.

            That book and those statements were written in the 1930’s by idiot Bill W . I know I am repeating myself but Mr Bill never did ANY RESEARCH with the lines he wrote in that stupid BB. I think I have a right to get mad. I was in there at 18 and in AA way too long.

            I would love to go to an AA meeting and talk about all the lies I see in AA including the topic of moderation. I would like to have the cameras rolling and post it on youtube!

          • Massive,

            I respect the fact that you disagree with me and have a desire to return to a a meeting and express your opinion. As I recall, you were already sober for some time when you started going to meetings (dont remember how long). In each case with me, I was only sober about 24hrs and rather a shaky mess. I needed to go somewhere to busy myself until I got the alcohol out of my system. It would not have taken a whole lot of convincing to encourage me to pass by the liquor store on the way home from the meeting. This is one of the reasons I feel going back to a meeting and discussing moderation has the potential of being harmful. Plus, I dont agree for other reasons which I explained.

            I see now that AA was not the best place for me but I did not learn about alternatives until many years later and there were none in my area. A place to go Close to home is important in the early stages of breaking an addiction. Besides, in my experience when you are a “newcomer” they dont pester you too much. Your pitied and there to keep others sober. At least thats what I was told; somehow it didnt make me feel important. Every time I went to AA, I got weary of it all in about 30 days. Personally, I probably would have enjoyed hearing what someone like yourself had to say; because unlike many, I always questioned most of what I heard there and it interfered with my personal growth and over all self respect. However, I still would have left when I was ready. I agree with doing everything possible to educate people on the alternatives, I just dont think going to meetings is the way to do it. As far as taking a camera and filming; lets just say I think that would really start a riot. Also, I think its important that people like yourself, AntD, JR and others are researching and taking the time to expose all the crime that revolves around AA. Finally, I am not defending AA one bit. I think its mentally harmful to anyone who spends too much time there; but they have to do there research too.

            As far as children in AA; I think its the responsibility of the parents to completely research any organization where they are sending their children for help. Ive never been a parent. However, I wouldnt even board my pet without thoroughly checking out the facility.

            You said that there was a time when you loved AA. At that time, would you have accepted someone attending a meeting with the sole purpose of criticizing the program; without being offended by their presence there? Would it have helped you see the truth sooner than you did.

          • Hey Sue, I could not find a reply button to you in your response to Massive. So hope this works. I understand you saying parents should thoroughly check out an organization first when it comes to children. But what I didn’t get was your thoughts on the responsibility of the AA Organization itself to protect minors. As far as parents checking out an organization such as AA, I think some do. But much of what is out there is 12 step propaganda singing AA’s praises! Not to mention that many people who end up in AA are on the verge of losing their children and probably many are not getting Mom or Dad of the year awards! Someone needs to be responsible and mandate laws to protect children to protect them from Organizations such as AA, and parents who are being brainwashed into thinking AA is a fine place for their young ones.

            As far as filming an AA meeting, I would be ALL about it! That is called investigative reporting to bust people out on unethical and at times criminal behavior. Many things have been exposed this way. For the general public to hear first hand the God awful horrific horror stories that children of all ages are listening to including the physical abuse by AA/NA members of their spouses, girlfriends and other people. Stories of shooting up or being a hooker etc. No minor should be being exposed to this. It is child abuse. I would LOVE to expose it firsthand. Not the actual identities, but of the conversations. It needs to happen.

          • I would fear physical attacks by some of the guru’s if I went to a meeting and shared my safe drinking experience since leaving the dangerous death cult of AA

        • I think it’s ok to go back to meetings and inform them of successful moderation. It’s not disrespectful, in my book. They disrespected me all those years with their lies, what is so wrong about a little truth at a meeting?

    • mike- hey man I did not mean to offend or rub you the wrong way. Sorry…

      I see your experience with abstinence is what it is. Blog away with that point of view.

      I just wanted to know if you had taken some time before you left to try moderation. None of it matters really cause you guys are here talking about it which would NEVER happen in an AA meeting. And that is a good thing!

      Again Mike, hope you continue to blog here.

      • Hi sue – this was the only place I could respond to your last post. I hear what you are saying. We have such different experiences with AA.

        I stopped drinking on my own 2 weeks prior before I first attended a meeting.

        I never heard anyone speak about AA like I did as I was leaving. It felt so honest and freeing. There were some young women in my old meeting that often talked about not believing in powerlessness and things like that.

        Now, how would I feel. I don’t know, but I do know that the last 6 months I went I spoke about SMART Recovery and what I felt when I went there compared to AA. There were always 4-5 women who were interested in these other options. There were people who hated what I was saying then and many of the newer women less then 5 years..really liked what I said, and what I was doing to expose the sexual predation. In the end many old-timers iced us out as we left.

        I think it would have been refreshing to hear an old timer like me come back, and say hey man, this is all bullshit what you read here. Moderation is possible and in fact alot people leave AA and do it successfully. Or even someone to come back and just talk about how the literature is filled with lies as well.

        I did some of that but not as much as I want to. I dont think its healthy for me to spend alot of time going in there to try and change them. That is not going to happen. Like my hubby says. GO make your film honey. Expose them and tell the world what you have found. He is right. But I do dream about the other idea and it humors me.

        I really have a dramatic sense of humor..so I have no idea if I will ever do this and film it. I am allowed to film myself saying what ever I wanna say in a meeting. thing is….I really don’t wanna set foot in a meeting. The vibes are so horrible. Causing a riot? Maybe. Maybe not. I have already caused few at meetings right when I was leaving by just handing out my Make AA Safer pamphlet. Either way Sue I will be careful. They are nuts for sure. 🙂 Thanks for your input.

        • Massive,

          Thank you so much for the reply because I hesitated to post the comment; which I wrote this morning. Im still too unsure about myself at times but its getting better. The blogs have helped in that way. Ive been on here tooooooooooo much today (maybe others think so too) and this topic had my head spinning. Im pooped. 🙂

          • Thank you, everyone for this whole discussion. I try not to be ANTI anything but boy, say one honest observation about AA and the general perception is “Oh, she’s just trying to find an excuse to go drinking. She’ll be drunk in a month and dead in a year.”

            • Yeah, AA is a one way street and everything else is well, just plain wrong. Scientific evidence means nothing to them. The nonsensical Big Book and 12 & 12 are all they need to know about drinking and life. Societally shameful really.

              After 16 years in that mental contortion emporium, I have had around 20 “drinks” in almost 5 years. I have not actually felt the effects of alcohol because I simply didn’t drink enough or fast enough for it to do anything. Had a large saki with sushi the other night and completely forgot about it the next day. Haven’t drank since or had any huge desires to do so. I much prefer being normal with regards to alcohol, rather than living in constant fear that some booze might jump in my mouth and ruin my standing in a cult. I guess their hats are off to me….

  6. I had sort of a tough day yesterday and found myself in a feverish angry frustration. A recurring pissing contest my wife and I have started the feeling. I ended up drinking on Halloween so I drank two days in a row after ten days abstinence. Coffee really helped subdue the feeling and also satisfied the reward craving brought on by alcohol. For me to have reacted to the anger with my wife would have met the DSM criteria for alcohol abuse. I feel as the normal healthy drinker who decides to cut way back when they starts to feel it. I will allow myself a drink on the 10th but not commit to it. As I said before; there are many things I want to accomplish and I don’t want to jeopardize my gains. I believe my drinking needs to be about cost benefit. Benefits of enjoyment, inclusion, and social norms won’t be outweighed by abuse or dependence.
    So far so good; I feel no compulsion to drink dependently but instead am modifying my habits to achieve my goal which is being a healthy normal drinker after decades of AA participation.
    How long will it take for some AA to parrot “the great obsession of every abnormal drinker is to drink like a gentleman?”

    • Also I want to say that I know many men in AA, good men that have serious rage and anger issues who have long term “sobriety”. Because of AA telling them to stuff it basically, many are really screwed up in the anger department. First off, many are very angry. And second many have never been taught healthy ways to deal with anger. This I saw as a long term member and most oldtimers are really uptight…unless they have done lots of outside work.

      Im not trying to rationalize your behavior.

      I have seen way too many enraged AA members with 20-40 years sober who are out of their minds!!! And so angry….I think they need a drink.

  7. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association (doctors not therapists) provides a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders. It is used in the United States and in varying degrees around the world, by clinicians, researchers, psychiatric drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and policy makers.

    • yes I know about this, but there use to be 7 classifications for Mental Illness now there are 500 or more. Read Robert Whitaker’s Books MAD IN AMERICA and Anantomy of an Epidemic.
      Or watch on Netflix GENERATION RX .

      • I agree the DSM has faults. I use it because it is a much more useful to me than AA as it lacks ambiguity and is science based.

        • I like Science based stuff now too.

          For years I was really into the spiritual aspects of problems. AA ruined that for me, but only a portion of that aspect. I like to study religions. But real religions. Not phony AA made up crap!

  8. The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD), produced by the World Health Organization (WHO), is another commonly used manual which includes criteria for mental disorders. This is in fact the official diagnostic system for mental disorders in the US, but is used more widely in Europe and other parts of the world.

  9. ICD;
    Alcohol abuse, unspecified

    •Excessive use of distilled liquors.
    •The use of alcoholic beverages to excess, either on individual occasions (“binge drinking”) or as a regular practice.
    •Short description: Alcohol abuse-unspec.
    •ICD-9-CM 305.00 is a billable medical code that can be used to specify a diagnosis on a reimbursement claim.
    Alcohol dependence syndrome 303-
    •a disorder characterized by a pathological pattern of alcohol use that causes a serious impairment in social or occupational functioning.

    • It is “potentially” what I did by a criterion for abuse in the DSM definition; continued alcohol use despite persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of the alcohol.
      I saw it simply as a warning sign that a problem could develop. Since there were only feelings of frustration which were later discussed and worked out with my wife I did not see it as crossing the line. There was never any fight.

      • Hi everyone.. I have seriously been considering trying to drink moderately again. I have been sober now for just shy of 4 years. I attended AA in the beginning but have not been to a meeting in almost two years. Honestly, it didn’t do a whole lot for me towards the end. I fell victim to it when I was in real tough shape from my drinking but when I started to un fog I didn’t like the cult like atmosphere.

        So here’s my story,I always loved drinking. For most of my drinking career I could manage my intake very responsibly. I had my share of binge weekends but not unlike any early 20’s man. I would normally have a few beers on any given night but I rarely got drunk during the week when I had work responsibilities. I got married young, things were okay for awhile until I found out she was having an affair on me. That’s when My drinking went through the roof. I spent almost a year and a half drinking foolishly nearly every day. I got tired of the life I was leading so I decided to quit.

        I am in a much better place in my life now and I truly miss the days I could enjoy some beers with some friends.

        Any suggestions on some books I could read or ways I could learn to drink normal again?

        • I like Anti D’s suggestions. I think If you go on to Moderation .org and Hamsnetwork you will find a lot of great tips. Also Donna Cornett’s books are great and so is Dr Kerns Book on moderation.

          There are some basic rules.
          Never drink when you are upset.
          Always eat when you drink.
          Drink only one per hour with a glass of water in between.
          don’t drink at least 3-4 night s out of the week.
          Make sure you have addressed your core issue and deprogram before you try moderation.
          You have to believe you will be okay.
          Make a plan before you go out to drink and stick to it. Tell people in your life what you are doing and that you would like their support.Start with a beer or two with a good friend or wine if you liked that.

          When I left AA I went to Smart, SOS and Moderation to learn new things. It felt so nice to talk to sane people and not AA nazi’s.

          I will find the links to my favorite books. Many of these people will talk to you free the first time. You would be amazed how many old timer AA’s have left and are drinking moderately successfully. Take your time.
          Dont do it till you feel confident. And Have fun! Let us know how it goes. 🙂


          Dr Kern’s recommendation for books to read.


          • Thanks Massive, I truly believe I can learn to drink normal again. I am trying to be as honest with myself as I can. I want to do some research so I can better make my decision. I (Like all of you) had a hard time believing that I can never be normal again. I will certainly read the literature you suggested and hopfully at least I can make a competent decision based on my life.

            Thanks again

            • slippery- Sure thing! I trust you will know what is best for you. AA so disempowers us ..its a bad bad thing AA rhetoric teaches its moons. Oh how nice it is to be free.

            • Hiii….I must agree …I have a hard time thinking I cannot be normal…I am about to finish up a 9 month program that I decided to go in and I am feeling like I do no want to contunue with AA,…but I start to feel guilty and that my life will fall apart if i leave….THat cant be right…? Why cant I have a good relationship with my HIGHER POWER and sip alcohol…..my higher power can’t befriend me….would they???…geese!! I want to drink sometimes while listening to a band…or on the beach or have some fun sex with my boyfriend…thats all….
              and I think I will know and people around me will know if I start slipping into bad behaviors…I learned new things in rehab and I have developed healthy habits….
              I dont want to feeeeel guilty….geese..!

              • You sound young…are you ? 9 month program…thats a long ass time. No body needs a 9 month program.
                Im sorry you were so lied to. Its up to you whether you can moderate. I would suggest you don’t till you are not so brainwashed and not drinking the AA bullshit koolaid.

                Read the blogs, Get a good non AA book and leave AA if you want. Have you heard of Smart Recovery, SOS , HAMS, or MM?

            • Hey what ever works. To each his own. Its a badly embedded cult. Its not like leaving the Mormans. They are not embedded everywhere and every TV show does not have an AA thread throw it. Doctors are not coerced there. Pilots are not told they must go there. Its bad.

              • It is bad. The powerlessness philosophy is definitely embedded. I watched Dr. Phil bully a woman into treatment, just the other day on national TV. I was horrified to watch her lose her composure and gut feelings, because he was using every brainwash trick in the book on her.

          • I just spent 6 weeks in sin city by myself. Everything negative to fuel addictions is everywhere there. I had like 5 drinks in 6 weeks and gambled very lightly – just enough to get into the casino systems so they would start sending me deals. At one point, I ordered a Grand Marnier and sat down to play a couple bucks on penny slots. The most enjoyable thing of it all is the situation felt “normal”. I was enjoying myself and didn’t have to second guess my behavior or plan my relapse shares for meetings and look forward to the major shame and guilt that would be impressed on my by the “fellowship”. I fully realize the potential for “danger”, but it never happened, not even close. I had that one drink, played some slots, checked out the locals, listened to some free band music at the Hard Rock and made my way back to the hotel. Nothing grand, nothing tragic. Just a guy being normal and having one drink and taking in the environment. The next day, it was all but forgotten. No guilt, no shame, no nothing. Just another day to get on with and there was no compelling urge to drink or even thoughts about it. There was a twinge of financial remorse however, 8 bucks plus tip is a little steep for a single drink. And I didn’t put my house, my car, my job and all the over AA myths on the bar when I ordered the drink. I put a 10 spot and that was it. Reality is the biggest threat to AA mythology and nonsense.

            I guess there are some people who should never drink for any reason and I am quite confident there were people that felt that way about me when I was “in my cups”, but I have shown over the last 4 years since leaving AA that I am now a very occasional, responsible drinker. I have yet to feel the effects of alcohol from my minimal consumption and, quite frankly, I don’t care to.

              • hopefully this isnt out of line, cause im still in, and comming up on 2000 days………but i basically feel like i’ve had enough coffee and hippocrasy to last me a lifetime, and realistically have felt that way for years. When i started it was great, everyone cared, it was very touchy feel-ey, which i don’t embrace, pun intended…….but as i progressed and heavily point out the personal accountability and responsibilty that is required over the magic of “the program” and “the steps” and “the herd” i’ve become less popular and more ostracized. im disgusted to read about the violations that have occurred and, now even more inclined to believe that the shady “old timers” i can tell are liars really are doin even more than that. i have gone on and off of narcotic pain meds for over two years, due to a back and nerve injury, to very vocal advise against following a dr’s orders from landscapers and salesmen, even though the “basic text” says thats fine. i definitely drank hard and partied hard for a while, but i have no desire to go out and drink a bottle of jack and do drugs at the clubs anymore, i just wanna have a drink with my dad once, never have, or on a date…..and i am very programmed to the fatal relapse aspect, id love any advice or tips or places to look for real research, as thats not even an option in “the rooms” thank you

  10. Here is a good article about the pros for some using moderation management as an option from Psychology Today 2011

    Helping addicts get their lives back
    by Adi Jaffe, Ph.D.
    Abstinence is Not the Only Option Learning to Drink Responsibly Will Help

    Research shows that moderate drinking can work for those who abuse alcohol
    Published on March 9, 2011 by Adi Jaffe, Ph.D. in All About Addiction

    I can’t even think of how many times I’ve heard the notion that complete, total, abstinence should be the only goal for all people who abuse drug or alcohol. This idea is so pervasive that most addiction treatment providers actually expel clients for relapsing, a notion that makes no sense to me especially if you believe in the idea that addiction is a chronic disease. In fact, even most research institutions and well-informed providers use total abstinence as the marker for addiction treatment success. The thing is that the amount of alcohol or drug use per se is not a part of the definition of addiction or abuse (other than in the “using more than intended” factor but even there an absolute amount isn’t introduced) and I don’t think it should be a necessary part of the solution either.

    When I first set about writing this article, many of the issues I was going to bring up had to do with research on alcohol relapse patterns, my own story, and other evidence I’ve already introduced on All About Addiction. Fortunately for us, some recent research about Moderation Management and a newly developed website application component introduced me to some new evidence regarding moderate alcohol drinking that will allow us to look even more deeply into the problem.

    Moderation Management – Drinking alcohol like a gentleman

    In case you’ve never heard of Moderation Management (MM), you should check out their website at http://www.moderation.org. Moderation management offers face-to-face and online meetings, a listserv, a forum, online alcohol drinking limit guidelines, a self-help book that can be ordered through the site , and an online calendar where users can report their drinking. The population of people who use MM is pretty well educated and is made up for the most part of problem drinkers rather than those meeting full-blown alcohol dependence criteria. The idea is to teach problem drinkers more responsible drinking habits so that they don’t devolve their habits into all out alcoholism.

    Not only is there evidence that the moderation approach works, but with the addition of a new website application that helps problem drinkers through an interactive web-experience it seems that moderation management may be a real option for people who want to learn how to control their alcohol consumption instead of going into full abstinence. For all we know it might also be an option for people who do meet criteria for alcohol dependence but since the study we’re about to assess didn’t talk about it, we’ll leave that for later.

    Entire Article-

  11. Why do we need to fix our anger? Without anger Massive would never have stepped up to protect victims of sexual abuse in AA. There is nothing wrong with anger unless it becomes a threat to society, the true higher power we all answer to. The human instinct to protect and fix everything is extreme. I think we all need to attend human instinct to protect and improve everything management classes.

    • Anon- Anger can become a problem long before one is a threat to society! At the same time anger has it’s place. Anger can turn to rage, and many people do have anger issues. I do not think they should be dealt with by repressing anger the AA way for sure! That does not mean there is not a time and place to learn to manage and deal with anger without repression.

      As far as the comment we should attend ‘we need to protect and improve everything management classes’ I do not think that is true at all. What I see is a society that is very apathetic and selfish. Many only looking out for themselves and feeling that they could not effect change even if they wanted to.

      There is a reason Massive is a RARE breed to be doing what she is doing. It is sad that there are not thousands like her. It is truly a reflection of a society that is weighed down with apathy and preoccupation with self, and unwilling to do enough to make change.

    • anon- Anger is really important. Anger is a part of being human. Without it there would be no change in our society. The Civil RIghts Movement would have never happened. What Im doing I would not be doing. I agree.

      That is why Long time members in AA get so sick and twisted. They take sayings like ” we cease fighting everything and everyone ” and they apply it to everything. I never did that. I knew that was ridiculous.

      They tell each other they can’t afford to get angry ” that is the dubious luxury of normal me” OM f####king GOD….. what a stupid, inane saying that is parroted all day long in rooms and over the phones from sponsor to sponsee …ok They are nuts….LOL sorry got me in a rant….:)

      But honestly, the anger thing in AA is huge problem. They are the angriest group in one room I have ever seen. Oh yea and immature too.

      AND as far as the world being apathetic…this is very true. Too many people are on drugs and I mean on pharma anti depressants and it’s very very bad. Thats why in the 60’s the youth were out in the streets. They were not drugged by big pharma. Anti depressants are destroying our culture. There is a time a place for them, but they are seriously over prescribed. DID you know that if a kid is rebellious in grade school ( ages 7-13) now that they are saying he has a mental disorder? Anti D I hear you.

      Passion is so important for change and we need to do more then blog to make change as you and I both know! Thanks for all the work you are doing as well.

      Have a great day.

      • Imagine how frustrating it is to be new in AA and disadvantaged mentally by long term alcohol use. One way I react to frustration is anger. Alcohol wiped out my coping skills which were limited to begin with. Then I arrive in AA and am presented an apparent solution to my problem. The problem for me is that in time the damage waned and I was able to adopt my own beliefs and question those presented in AA. I found the old coping skills became ineffective long term.
        As for immaturity; AA gives the member a platform or adopted identity of sick or ill. It gave me license to act out in all sorts of immature and inappropriate ways.

    • Frank,
      I wanted to introduce another possibility; when I started blogging anti-AA two years ago I found that I was so heavily programmed by AA that I was speaking AA and didn’t even know it. When I realized how deeply I had been influenced I began to make an effort to deprogram.
      Even today I find myself wanting to begin sentences with statements such as “for me” or “in my experience”.
      It is tough stuff to shake.

      • Anon,

        Thanks for taking the time to offer a suggestion but I spent most of my mandated time in AA trying to block out the bullshit. The way i phrase things are just me. Good luck with your moderation experiment, I sincerely hope that it works out for you. I have enjoyed this forum very much, but it seems that it is no longer a welcome place for me.

        • Frank,
          I am interested in hearing what you have to say and getting to know you here on the blog. Whether or not you are in or out of AA, regardless of the language you use or the methods you do/don’t employ. I learn most from those with opposing or contrary viewpoints. Being open to opposition is key in a true discussion.

          • Anon, just for the record, I have not been to a meeting in over 2 years now.
            Sue, thanks, you are correct , I just try to be polite and not overbearing. I can only speak from my own experience. It is no longer fun to have everything I post here to be dissected to make me appear to be a stepper. I have enjoyed our conversations over the last couple of years. Take care.

        • Frank,

          I have always stopped what Im doing to read your comments. I think you have a lot to offer.

          IMO, those who have tried moderation or are in the process have the best understanding; whether they have had success with it or not. Both sides are valuable to the person considering moderation.

          • Sue, I agree 100% , and that’s all that I was pointing out. I knew that moderation was not possible for me long before I ever set foot in an AA meeting. I wish anyone that seeks moderation the best, but that person and only that person will know if it is possible for them.

            • Frank, for sure abstinence is a personal choice and moderation is not for everyone. I know people who no longer drink, which is a good thing, and I also know people who drink who I wish were abstinent!

              Yet there are many people that it can and does work for. Many either quit on their own, or learn to moderate on their own. Sometimes it even comes down to just ‘maturing’ out of it when people get good jobs, get married or have children (or both) and there is less time to drink and drug.

              It just angers me when AA makes every person who walks through the doors of AA/NA or a court room labeled an addict/alcoholic for life. It is a very black and white outlook, no gray. Even though I believe even Bill W. did not view addiction in such black and white terms, the current 12 step certainly does. If you do not state that you are an addict or alcoholic you are just in denial. Sometimes that very well may be the case, but it is really a case by case basis I think Frank.

                • Anti-D
                  Just for the record I hate AA because people get sucked into the BS and die there. I think its AA that’s grey; Alcoholic/ not alcoholic, our hats are off to you. Religious or spiritual, agnostic or atheist, all are welcome. Love you till you love yourself. Stinking thinking, open mindedness except for outside issues, rarely have we seen a person fail, there are a few is it you? It’s not a revolving door, many never make it back. It’s a disease, it’s progressive, I’ve never seen anything else work. No dating in the first year, he slept with a newcomer, if you can get it up, get it on. Gossip, dating, business deals, 90 in 90. I like his program; I don’t want what he has? I could go on at infinitum.
                  Confusion = ANGER!!! Oh yea, whenever I am angry something is wrong with me? Or is something just wrong? Ask your sponsor, your thinking is faulty.

                  • Actually I see your point Anon. When it comes to abstinence they are black and white- except you get to keep starting over, which in a bizarre sort of way is an acceptance of accepting the practice of falling off and on the wagon over and over again.

                    Yes AA is all over the map, and very contradictory! In one part they say the traditions are merely suggestions, but yet another they state they are non negotiable. I mean which is it guys? You really can’t have both. They are worse than politician’s in speaking out of both sides of their mouth. It is what is convenient to harness in the masses.

                    Where does AA get these ideas on repressing anger? Was this a Bill W. thing, or something invented along the way? It certainly is not biblical. There is a place for forgiveness of course, but that does not eliminate justified anger.

                    • Anti D, Anon, Massive, and Frank

                      Funny how BiII was aIways so toIerant of ‘reIapsers’ Iike his buddy Ebby. Except who chooses to reIapse into a diseased state? Nuts. I never ‘reIapsed’ and got fed up with the nuts. I was thinking back to Massives comments, and I reaIize that I had stopped drinking on my own for 8 days before my first meeting. I went because a nurse toId me to go- and I got sucked into the cuIt.


                      I think that if I went back to a meeting I wouId have to teII them my views and then Iook out! AII the cuItists wouId attack!

                    • In a way a steady amount of relapsing is in it’s own way a form of moderation depending on how the person drank. Very hypocritical of AA, when they stand by there rigid stance of abstinence, yet you are ALWAYS welcomed ( technically) no matter how often you drink. Why dont more people see how ludicrous this is?

                    • That’s right Anti-D; an AA relapse (bad thing) is the end of an abstinence period (good thing) in HAMS or MM. The AA personal identity of alcoholic makes the double standard possible. AA makes no distinction between alcohol abusers, alcohol dependents, or alcoholics; everyone is lumped into the same category or identity; alcoholic. This itself is a double standard as the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. Conformity and social contagion ensues, the same social phenomenon that facilitated mass persecution of the Jews. AA’s band up in a sort of mutual aid movement to indoctrinate whoever they can. In some of the West LA meetings they even have those they call Lieutenants. Double speak and circular logic defends every objection. Old high time ranking curmudgeons with bands of followers deflect every would be attacker protecting the greater good. They are the true believers, Charlie Manson types who can’t be reached with discussion.

                    • Lieutenants? So much for no leaders in AA! Of course we knew that was B.S. anyway.

                      AA lumping everyone in the same category is absurd and has destroyed lives. I do not think that was their original intent-but became obsessed with increasing their base and forcing their religious beliefs onto people. They probably know abstinence is something many do not want to entertain, so it is the ” keep coming back’ mantra until they are successful of never having you have another drop of liquor as long as you live.

                  • Anon,

                    Yes, the AA BS gets way too much! Who the EFF needs aII of that compIexity and negative emotion?

                    Garbage In Garbage Out! No wonder oId timers in AA commit suicide so often. In hindsight I wouId Iove to bitch sIap a dozen+ steppers I have had to put up with over the years. Over programmed asshoIes aII the way and mentaIIy iII on top of it.

                    What a rotten experience.

                    • Before I drank I stopped keeping time and criticized those who did openly at meetings. My argument was that time was seen as a sort of rank or hierarchy in AA and it exhibited lack of humility and hypocrisy. I noticed that the ones who committed suicide never had any time and were very hard on themselves. They became depressed and felt they were failures because they could not make it in AA. Many of these precious souls were my dear friends; honest and genuine people who I would contagiously attach myself to. At one meeting I suggested that people from harm reduction programs were going to AA for support on their abstinence days between drinks. I claimed that they were welcome because the only requirement for membership was a desire to stop drinking. A few of the old timers stopped going to that meeting. They would say things like that’s an outside issue, or you’re killing people. They ignored the earlier statement they made to me that when one finger points out four others point back. I hope I am rarely like them and that I can keep a truly open mind. I hope I can keep myself open to others thoughts and be less of a hypocrite.

                    • Anon- Are you saying you were advocating people come to meetings from harm reduction techniques or that they were actually already coming on abstinence days?

                      Also, are you saying the people who committed suicide that had no time, do you mean they were all pretty new to AA then, or that they had fallen off the wagon a few times and broke the chain of long term sobriety? I ask because I have heard stories of many old timers committing suicide in AA. I have also heard of old timers with long time sobriety for over a decade coming up dead over an overdose. Also makes you wonder how many OD’s were in reality suicides.

                      This is why I think the confessional part of AA is so dangerous to newbies. They are so fragile and then they are beaten down by the steps by exposing the most personal aspects of their souls. I think they should ban it actually on some level.

                      As far as talking about success of moderation in AA meetings, I have conflicting thoughts on this. I could see where it could be positive for others to see that someone did do it and did not end up dead or in jail. Maybe it would give them hope when they fall off the wagon that they are not morally corrupt and a pathetic loser.

                      I can see where it would not be a main theme per se, but should not for sure be 100% not allowed.

                • Frank- AA members act so militant about abstinence, they really reinforce negativity like Laura Tompkins article speaks of in her article here.


                  Us anti-AA’ers can get defensive when we think one might be trying to project the AA line on this topic in a round about sort of way. This topic is a hot topic, in part of the narrow mindedness of 12 steppers. Having said that, like I stated earlier I feel there certainly is a place for abstinence for many reasons. One can even need to be abstinent to just get physically healthy again after years of abusing their body, not because they will face certain death if they have one drink! Extreme alcohol abuse can ruin your liver, kill brain cells even cause heart problems etc. Then there are others that maybe they got in trouble for underage drinking, but are not an alcoholic or addict.

      • I dont at all consider beginning sentences with “for me” or “In my experience” AA programming/speak. I view that as a proper beginning to a personal experience and an attempt not to speak for others. Did i read something wrong??

        • Sue, This is just my personal viewpoint; the meetings I attended adopted the belief that if we give advice we can’t help but be wrong, if we share experience we can’t help but be right. So truly, my experience with the statements originated with AA and not society in general, so I equate them to AA learning. Perhaps I am wrong or extreme.

      • I don’t think there’s anything wrong in starting sentences like that. I deliberately start sentences like that and repeat AA mantra’s to be sarcastic. I honestly do have a new ‘experience, strength and hope’ since leaving the death cult of AA and it’s a lot more positive than the AA nonsense.

      • Frank- No. I dont think you are. I see you left 2 years ago and were never really into AA right? You were court ordered?

        Even people who are not in AA speak things that originate out of AA. Its all over our culture and entertainment unfortunately.

        I agree with anon…when I first started blogging on Stinkin-thinkin OMG they ate me up and spit me out. First off I was in AA, a long time member ad trying to make it safer with literature we wrote , then I had Make AA safer Workshops and then most of AA GS types and delegates hated me stirring up the shit. Whenever they saw me or Kali coming all the predators would say “oh there SHE is” Then I came to the blogs and many were talking of burning BB’s and so on. I didn’t understand their hate for AA yet.

        So Frank, I have become so obsessed with trying to get it all out of my language. When I have my radio show I struggle to new ways to say ” thanks for sharing” !!!!LOL . I hear it everywhere. One good thing is…. my sons are so glad I left AA.

        I did a show last year and I had HANK HAYES on and I asked someone how willing they were. We both laughed about it later.

        Frank, I am probably wrong about you, but I wanted to have a conversation with you that maybe your belief about you and alcohol could change if you didn’t use any AA language.

        I’ll leave it alone, but its such a knee jerk reaction when I hear certain lingo. Im sorry. I have a sorta PTSD from AA and I am still in recovery from recovery. hahahahahahahahh.

  12. Frank,
    I am interested in hearing what you have to say and getting to know you here on the blog. Whether or not you are in or out of AA, regardless of the language you use or the methods you do/don’t employ. I learn most from those with opposing or contrary viewpoints to mine. Being open to opposition is key in a true discussion and open mindedness.

  13. Anon,

    Thanks for clearing that up. 🙂

    I thought maybe those statements were another thing AA thought they invented; like the serenity prayer, forgiveness, humility and on and on. I thought well, i must be a programmed robot because I use similar statements all the time out of respect.

    Thanks again, Anon for the courage to speak on the blogs about you journey.

  14. Anon,

    I was thinking that its a good thing that the people in the program use those statements; because a good percentage of their advice can be very dangerous.

  15. I do believe in many cases that AA interferes with a persons desire to try moderation. Of course thats considered positive in the program. It seems like someone who wants to try, wouldnt be content until the choice was completely their own. I think its only natural to want to run your own life. This one of the ways AA holds people back.

    Your experience is important too; because you knew in your heart long before any involvement with AA; that moderation didnt work for you.

    • Also, I think people who are not running their own lives; have a tendency to interfere with the way others run their lives. My stepper land lady for 12 years taught me this the hard way. )-:

    • Right Sue, AA literally puts the fear of God in you to NEVER EVER think for one moment that you could survive long term by having one glass of wine. So it stands to reason members would fear this impending doom when they did fall off the wagon. Also the feeling of failure because they lose their line in the ‘chip’ giving. Actually their was a recent article in the grapevine where an AA member was very critical of the whole chip giving ceremony.

      He said that this was not an original part of AA, and felt it should be stopped for many reasons. One the holier than thou attitude from those with decades of sobriety, the crushing feelings of failure when one slipped after a long time of sobriety just to be kicked back to the line. I would not be surprised the cause of many suicides actually.

    • I did try drinking in moderation (maybe 10 units a week) and still going to AA but it didn’t work for me. Because the Guru’s never ending mantra upon mantra about ‘death, jail and institutions’ and even the general members unbending attitude to cult dogma made it very difficult to meld the two philosophies.
      It’s very difficult to explain that you are drinking safely to someone that is looking at you in a ‘Stepford Wives meets Deliverence Hillbilly’ vacant stare.

  16. Just for the record I hate AA because people get sucked into the BS and die there. I think its AA that’s grey; Alcoholic/ not alcoholic, our hats are off to you. Religious or spiritual, agnostic or atheist, all are welcome. Love you till you love yourself. Stinking thinking, open mindedness except for outside issues, rarely have we seen a person fail, there are a few is it you? It’s not a revolving door, many never make it back. It’s a disease, it’s progressive, I’ve never seen anything else work. No dating in the first year, he slept with a newcomer, if you can get it up, get it on. Gossip, dating, business deals, 90 in 90. I like his program; I don’t want what he has? I could go on at infinitum.
    Confusion = ANGER!!! Oh yea, whenever I am angry something is wrong with me? Or is something just wrong? Ask your sponsor, your thinking is faulty.

  17. I feel I am thinking less about alcohol in my day to day life since I left AA and started drinking moderately with abstinence days between. Today for the first time since my involvement with AA I realized that I wasn’t thinking about alcohol. Is this real relief from my previous condition or is my subtle foe cunning, baffling, and powerful as AA claims. My intellect says no, how can an inorganic substance attain human characteristics like cunning?

  18. AntiD,

    I have a definite opinion on this. The number one goal in AA is sobriety. I do not agree with it; but the distorted reality is the longer your sober, the more your are looked up to and respected. There is a definite hierarchy. You can be a nut case with 30 yrs of sobriety and your considered to be working a good program. If you had the audacity to share that you moderate but would like to attend meetings (for whatever reason), you would be looked down upon and really not welcome. Even if your a responsible, insightful person with good common sense; if you dared to share the choice to moderate, you will be challenged and criticized. They dont appreciate it and it makes them very uncomfortable.

    • SUE- you are so right on this. They would tell you that you are in denial and it would be just a matter of time before you went downhill and drinking out of control. They would so ice you out if one did this.

      After many years..I noticed that women with over 20 years who did not go to good therapy got really tweaked at 20 -22 years of time. it got worse. I know I’m making a judgement, but it became part of my leaving. That I would see these women seemingly becoming sicker and more f####ked up as the years went on. They tried working the steps over and over again. I began to question what I was doing there 6-7 years prior to leaving AA. I didn’t fit in the mold. I tried. But I was too much of a rebel with a cause 🙂

      I do think Anti D is right. It needs to be filmed and put up on utube. even if it’s just their words.

      • I shared this once on the blog but its worth sharing again. I heard women once with 28 yrs of sobriety (noted for being a control freak in the fellowship) say; she was working the steps for the umpteenth (is that a word) time. Her sponsor told her that she was like an old house. The older she got the more maintenance she needed. That was shortly before I left.

        Now I had never worked the steps and that sure didnt convince me to try it. You know what I mean.

        • OMG that is horrible! Like it isnt hard enough growing older, then to tell someone basically they will just need more maintenance. Even though I was never in AA. Just hearing these stories make me cringe at the mere thought of not just going through the steps once, then twice but over and over including the confessions?

          That is enough to drive someone over the edge. Not to mention the sheer boredom of repetitive chanting.

    • Well I would agree if a person is basically drinks moderately, maybe AA is not the place for them. Then Anon makes an interesting point about moderators going on abstinent days.

      As far as people like Massive going to talk at AA meetings. I can see both sides. I think really it depends what it is you are trying to convey.

      What if a minister left the church because of how child molestation is handled? Would it not be okay for him to come back and try and talk sense into those refuses to protect the children, yet protecting the priest?

      Is it okay for an X AA member or even a member from the medical community to visit meetings and ask them to stop telling people to not take their meds or seek professional help?

      Is it okay for Massive after 36 years with tons of insider information and insight to go back and talk about the error in AA’s ways in allowing minors and sex predators to co mingle? I think the answer is a resounding yes.

      Damn the joint is hoppin tonight-I gotta get some sleep! Hot topics indeed!

    • I agree with what you’ve said.
      I think the only way we are going to change AA is if we hunt in packs! Go to meetings in groups and share one after the other that we drink moderately and think Bill dubya was a loony toon (technical term). By changing AA from the inside and stop this ‘powerless’ nonsense, lives could be saved.

  19. anti d As far as filming an AA meeting, I would be ALL about it! That is called investigative reporting to bust people out on unethical and at times criminal behavior.

    Love it. I’ll report if I do it for sure! 🙂

  20. Wow- this is right up our alley for discussion! It looks like times are a changin’ on views on moderation. No wonder AA and NA do not like many counselors!

    Half of Counselors Don’t Always Advise Abstinence
    The last 20 years has seen a dramatic rise in addiction counselors willing to consider moderation as their clients’ ultimate goal.

    By Valerie Tejeda

    The Argument Against Abstinence

    Nearly half of addiction counselors say they don’t always advise total abstinence for clients with substance problems, a new study shows. Researchers surveyed 913 members of the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Counselors across the US, and found that around 50% of them believe it’s acceptable for certain patients with alcohol problems to have an occasional drink. This represents a dramatic rise since a similar study, released in 1994, showed just 25% of addiction therapists said they didn’t always push total abstinence. As for drug problems, about half the counselors in the new study also believe moderate drug use can be an acceptable intermediate goal, with one third able to accept it as a final goal—about the same as in a similar survey 10 years ago.

    Complete Article-

  21. Anti D …. another very dangerous thing they chant at every meeting now is

    “WHat you hear here let it stay here”. Very Culty. It creeps newcomers out.

  22. November 10th is here, time for a drink!
    I am gearing up to have a nice Blanton’s single barrel whiskey. It’s not the most expensive at about $50 a bottle, however it is rated #2 just below $250 a bottle stuff that caught the #1 slot. One thing I notice about moderation is that I don’t waste my drinks on rot-gut.
    Massive, I love what you have done with this thread. The graphics and charts are useful. I love the simplicity and message of the GPA graph.
    Here is a good laugh for you, last night I had an AA dream. In the dream someone in a meeting asked why do people relapse in AA?
    I blurted out that you can’t relapse from a behavior!
    The old timers glared in disgust.
    I thought this dream was interesting because those in AA have drinking dreams that they share about in a way that seems to reinforce their alcoholism disease model and alcoholic identity.
    I thought it was interesting that I would have an anti AA dream out of AA after having a drinking dream while in the program.

    • anon wrote: “I am gearing up to have a nice Blanton’s single barrel whiskey. It’s not the most expensive at about $50 a bottle, however it is rated #2 just below $250 a bottle stuff that caught the #1 slot. One thing I notice about moderation is that I don’t waste my drinks on rot-gut.”


      I too started off with (near) top shelf alcohol (micro-brews in my case) when I began my moderation experiment. Strangely, I felt that the “snob” factor would further insulate me from compulsion. A little over a year later it was Bud in a can and eventually cooking wine. What happened for me is that the compulsion set in and I didn’t care what I drank – I just wanted to recapture the early euphoria.

      Now I really don’t want to be a downer. Your experience is yours, mine is mine. I’ll be interested to follow your progress over the coming months. I truly do wish you luck.

      And @massive, please don’t ask me if I did my moderation “right”. I believe one of the ex/anti-AA mantras is that we should allowed to roll our own program, and that people ultimately get better on their own anyway. The same should hold true for moderation, right?

      I also tried to avoid AA rhetoric in my response to anon. However, I am troubled by your insistence on this blog that we not use such language. Why not? Again, if we are free to design our own program of action to combat addiction, are we not also free to take from various programs those approaches applicable to us and use them (AA included)?


      • So far no compulsion, in fact I am loosing interest. I thought this morning that I would do another 10 day ABS period but am disinterested and don’t want to make a mandatory appointment to drink. I will however still impose strict rules regarding my drinking; mandatory ABS days, never more than 2 drinks on any occasion, never impaired, never driving after any consumption, no telephone or emails.
        I don’t drink top shelf for the snob factor, I drink it because it is better and enjoyable.
        I appreciate the plain language Mike. AA’s loaded language can be a bit tiresome in that it could reinitiate deeply seeded programming in me if I adopt it. I really don’t think it is an issue though because I still go to a meeting from time to time to see old friends.
        November 17th I’ll have 90 days of drinking out of AA after 15 years attendance and a 2 year deprogram.
        To date adverse reactions are; minor forgetfulness and lack of motor coordination when waking after an evening of drinking. During the day I may feel minor dullness. Typically a day or two of abstinence brings on a feeling of extreme well being and energy.
        Keep Not Coming Back!

      • Mike said:
        And @massive, please don’t ask me if I did my moderation “right”. I believe one of the ex/anti-AA mantras is that we should allowed to roll our own program, and that people ultimately get better on their own anyway. The same should hold true for moderation, right?

        Mike, why bring this up again? I thought all the bloggers and Massive covered it and completely acknowledged your value and participation.

        • You left AA and your attempt to moderate, gradually evolved into abuse. Dont you think there are many people (with similar history’s of abuse) who have left AA and remain abstinent or have moderated successfully for years. Be mindful that you will never encounter those individuals attending meetings to share their story. AA is not about exercising self control. Its about dependence on the program and the group in more ways than abstinence from alcohol.

          It seems like unconsciously you are attempting to convince Anon that what he is doing will eventually turn out the same as it did for you. I dont think you mean to; but its only natural when all you hear is the biased opinion’s in AA; where they preach dependence on the group in order to control your behavior.

          Sharing your negative experience with moderation is helpful and you wish Anon luck (as you put it). However, I detect underlying AA scare tactics and a sense that you really believe he will eventually fail at moderation after say a year or two. If thats not your intention, I do apologize. I never heard an acceptable length time in AA, where a person who chooses to moderate is out of danger. What i heard preached in AA is; you might be successful for a year or even 10 yrs but you will eventually fail and be worse off than you ever were. If not, then you were never one of them. I see that as one solution with no other option.

          Life is short and we all experience success and failure. Hopefully we dont repeat the same mistakes over and over. Whether the choice is abstinence or moderation; some people who were at one time out of control, do not care to spend their entire life being told they are powerless over people places and things; including the demon alcohol. We all have such a wide range of personalities and many dont care to live in fear disguised as a choice. If someone believes the only option AA promotes is just reality than thats their choice. I do respect that.

      • Mike, didn’t you see me saying Im sorry to you in regards to that remark?

        But still I say … no… NO forget the point of view of AA is somewhat helpful on this site. I guess you didnt read why I, massive, left AA. This is a “LEAVING AA” site . Not half in AA half out of AA site !LOL I put up with their BS for 36 years. Im not in the mood for any more of AA crap for the rest of my f####king life! I paid my stupid dues by bringing meetings to prisons when I was 21- 24 when I should have been in college. And that is only the tip of the iceberg. Dont even get me started. I did way too much stupid AA service my first 10 years. 🙂 Im not mad at you , I am mad at AA and me for staying so long.

        Deprogramming includes leaving the AA talk behind. I still work at getting Un brainwashed after 19 months gone.

        You can certainly have your experience with moderation not working for you. I can respect that and you are welcome to blog here. There were plenty of bloggers on Recovering from Recovery who had 20 years of hard drinking and didn’t want to mess with their abstinence which I respected and we were still friendly. BUT They really tried to not use AA rhetoric and any AA philosophy.

        I really like that anon is plugging along successfully with his plan. I feel most here want him to succeed and I believe he will prove AA nay sayers wrong. But how else will we know if no one talks about it publicly.

        I believe the AA stuff is very damaging. IF it seems you are trying to convince us that AA has some good stuff to offer us…forgive me if I am reading you wrong….but forgetta bout it! Im tough on this one. I have my reasons and my story.

        They are:

        Sexual harassment, rampant going on in AA for 75 years and still going on by older trusted respected AA men

        Rape – going on forever in AA. Rarely are they reported

        Murder- By men sent to AA instead of jail.

        Indentured servitude (against the law by the 14th amendment) by Clancy and his clones for free honey doos…doing servant type work for free because Clancy or someone sober 20 years is their sponsor. Disgusting!

        Children molested by sober men who date sober women

        Millions of dollars stolen form innocent trusting AA members by old timer men with slick silver hair and slick silver tongues.

        Ancient literature repeated endlessly that corrupts and destroys a healthy ego and self esteem of good men and women who trust that AA is still a good thing

        thousands committing suicide because of AA bullying and degrading of members when they “slip” or drink again.

        The insanity of reading Chapter 5, The Preamble and the 12 Traditions at every meeting most of which are lies yet they wont implement Safety measures for youth and teens and women .

        Is that enough? I think so . If not I will email all my AA stories or you can visit http://www.expaa.org to read many of them there.

        What do you think about SMART & SOS, they are non AA but they are abstinence based programs? They have online meetings ( SMART does every night) .

        • I have been going to AA for almost 20 years. I have been using MM to help with anxiety and sleep. But if I go to a meeting and tell them, I will be judged and told that I slipped. I am currently drinking NA beer as well. I have thought about having a sip of something but I am afraid of losing my “time.”

          I have met some very good people there and I do miss them, however, the last time I was there I was very turned off. Yes there are some good meetings, but I have also been to some meetings that were ridiculous and self absorbed. For years I’ve known that I needed something more on a spiritual level or sense. So I am at a point now, where I ask myself , do I want to go back just to see the people I miss or should I completely free myself from a program that has been lacking something for me for quite some time.

          I have only attended 4-5 meetings in the past year. At first they called me asking where I was, but now only a few call or text.

          • Sam, The very best thing I did for myself was to loose my time in AA, 15+ years. There is a stress to abstinence that I didn’t know I had till I drank and got rid of it. Time in AA is simply a rank of superiority within the group, an ego feeding proposition for the humble alcoholic.
            I still go to meetings when I want and talk to old friends.

          • Sam, I’m leery of going back even to see friends. The shame trigger etc. etc. is too great. Don’t need the uptick in AA-speak in my subconscious. My friends will call me OUTSIDE of meetings I benefit by other groups like Lions Club, car club, book club, etc. So early in leaving…very fragile…NO contact for me right now. Will watch me/my motivations across the board on any strong desire. Leaving/deprogramming at 27 years. Proud of ya’ll on this site! TYVM!

        • massive wrote: “Mike, didn’t you see me saying Im sorry to you in regards to that remark?”

          Yes I did, but not in regards to posting AA-ish comments.

          massive wrote: “But still I say … no… NO forget the point of view of AA is somewhat helpful on this site”

          Maybe not AA as an entity, but some of the approaches AA takes and the nature of AA itself. For instance:

          – wide geographic access. Just about every city and town in the US has an AA meeting
          – inexpensive
          – the ability to socialize with other people who are attempting abstinence
          – some nuggets of useful information in the literature and group practices

          I understand the negatives you mentioned and agree that AA has become a breeding ground for less desirable people over the years. Not sure how that can be solved, as it reflects society overall IMHO.

          • @ mike
            Why would anyone want to sit next to man who has raped a 9 year old girl. I dont. See main page of http://www.nadaytona.org

            The literature alone disgiusts me and keeps grown men weak and filled with self dounbt. Even successful men with 17 years sober.
            Why do you wanna sit next to a man who has stabbed a 90 year old women in the neck and murdered her. I dont.

            Not sure how to fix it.

            I am .

            NEVER NEVER send these men or women to a local AA meeting.

            They need to make special meetings at the court houses and ask AA members to come and put on their AA meetings there for the hard sex offenders and violent criminals. Maybe some one trained to handle crazy violent men and women.

            Just saying. And as far as AA taking a seat in fixing things. There is alot they can and they will have to do when we get through with our work.

            I will post it below.

    • Great post ‘Anon’
      I like to enjoy 2-3 bottles of a quality Adnams beer of a saturday night. 6 units in total and I enjoy every mouthful. I suppose I could drink more than that but I choose not to because I AM THE HIGHER POWER.

  23. Here is a good laugh for you, last night I had an AA dream. In the dream someone asked why do people relapse in AA?
    I blurted out that you can’t relapse from a behavior!
    The old timers glared in disgust.
    I thought this dream was interesting because those in AA have drinking dreams that they share about in a way that seems to reinforce their alcoholism disease model and alcoholic identity.
    I thought it was interesting that I would have an anti AA dream out of AA after having a drinking dream while in the program.

  24. THE FIX ARTICLE By Maia Szalavitz

    The Beginning of the End of the Abstinence Rule?
    When Hazelden realized traditional treatment for young opiate-painkiller addicts was failing, it introduced maintenance therapy. Only a week later, the backlash has begun.

    The reaction to the news last week that Hazelden will be using medication-assisted treatment—including the maintenance drug, buprenorphine (Suboxone), potentially indefinitely for some patients—has been intense. “Hell froze over,” one tweeter responded, expressing shock that the granddaddy of abstinence-based treatment could make such a big change. “It’s about time,” said Dr. Charles O’Brien, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Center for Studies on Addiction, and one of the field’s most eminent researchers. The head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dr. Nora Volkow, also praised the decision.


    And in yet another sign of just how radically the addiction world is changing, NA itself seems to be softening its stance. “Our policy is a little convoluted,” concedes Jane Nickels, public relations manager for NA World Services, while stating firmly that “our basic philosophical foundation is abstinence.”

    Here’s how weird it gets: an NA publication written in the ’80s and updated in the ’90s said both that “the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using” and also that meetings can legitimately limit those on maintenance medication from speaking and taking leadership positions. A later publication, from 2007, however, states that “the reality is that some groups already permit those on drug replacement to share and lead meetings while others do not.” Since each group is autonomous, Nickels says, “Group conscience will ultimately determine the level of participation of those on drug replacement,” including buprenorphine. Nickels stresses that the group’s official stance is “we’re encouraged to open wide the doors of our meetings to any addict who wishes to join.”

    Read more here-


    • Wow, that is interesting. Can you imagine AA gradually becoming quasi-moderation? In my mind this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as a lot of people continually pick up while attending meetings anyway. I just drove a guy to a sober house last night. His wife chucked him out because he was drinking but still going to meetings. So the all-or-nothing approach means that he’s banished for 6 months from home and can’t celebrate the holidays with his family. He’s not abusive in any way, he just likes a few pops now and then.

      • It is interesting Mike. I had read where one person who was defending MM over AA, made the point that in many ways AA actually IS moderation on some levels, because they incorporate into their belief system that people will ‘relapse’ multiple times. It is expected and actually accepted by the fact that they are always welcomed back ( technically anyway). Also many people who do actually attend have not quit at all, maybe are just cutting back.

        In reality I think AA groups have far more people drinking and drugging than anyone actually realizes. Some really do ‘take want you want and leave the rest’.

        This is horribly frustrating to hardcore oldtimers or Nazi Sponsors that do not like to see members not doing steps etc. I had someone in the mental health profession state her clients say AA and NA meetings were the best place to get drugs. I doubt they are all like that, but more than people realize.

        It is a trip to read what NA Headquarters had to say. But I criticize that leaving everything to the group concious on the topic is irresponsible. Convoluted is right! That they were honest about.

        • I’ve found that the people who constantly relapse are accepted by the group as long as they show contrition and a willingness to someday embrace ABS. It’s when talk of moderation comes into play that the old-timers get their panties in a bunch. They also tend to dislike people with long-term ABS who do not credit the steps. Sorry to tell them, but when I get my year (which I’m pretty sure I will in ~8 short weeks) I’m going to give credit to myself, my wife and the group itself, nothing else.

          • anti-denial wrote:

            Mike- have you found that common that actual AA members with long term sobriety do not credit the steps?


            My experience is that it depends on the demographics of the group itself. Where I live now it is still fairly religious and conservative, so an old timer who does not credit the steps is indirectly not crediting God, so you get the picture. I do believe however that there are a number of people with double-digit sobriety in my group who, if pressed, would simply credit the group for providing a venue for like minded people seeking abstinence. They tend to not talk much at meetings.

            The cities outside my area are another matter altogether. There, a mixture of new age religion and outright secularism water down the importance of the steps. I think the religious side of AA is doomed because of ongoing demographic shifts in our culture towards non-belief (or at least non-affiliation). Maybe the program will truly some day become a self-help fellowship and leave all the other claptrap behind.

          • @Mike- Very, Very interesting, indeed. I think even for people that are religious whether they are , Jewish, Christian etc. Understand the idea of not forcing any one regious belief on another. Particulary in America. Even a H.P.
            I think AA screwed up starting with their very first step- which many can not and refuse to get past. What is outragious is that Judges are forcing compliance with the actual steps which I think is just horrible.

            I have listened to a judge ask a person what step they were at.They said Step one- He asked them if they believed it! Of course they said yes- as the judge is creating an abuse of power relationship. To hear and see it with my own eyes, it really hit me in the gut with the stark reality of what we are doing to people in our courtrooms. It is WRONG.

          • AntiD,

            My answer to your question about giving he steps credit:

            Unless things have changed in the past couple years since I left AA. The most common shares I heard (and there were many) was individuals giving “THE PROGRAM” credit for their sobriety. I assumed that meant all of it; the steps, meeting attendance, the fellowship and being of service. Sometimes they would expand on those issues. Usually there share included a special thankyou to their sponsor after lighting the sponsees birthday cake.

            In my experience; taking credit for your own sobriety was not well accepted by the group. Why I dont realy know but its just not the thing to do. When I had 9months of sobriety, I wanted to take my chip and sit down. I did not like sharing. However, the group was chanting; “tell us how you did it Sue”. I told the truth and said that simply eliminating the alcohol had improved my life and I expanded a bit on that. I said that I had not worked the steps and had no plans to in the near future. I honestly did not think it would offend anyone and might help someone who was intimidated by the pressure to do so.

            I was followed by people sharing the importance of working the steps. At the break I was questioned by two people (one being an old timer); “why was I there if i did not want to work the steps, they are part of the program”. I left feeling badly (rather pissed off too) because my honesty was not appreciated.

            • I’ve encountered similar problems being press-ganged like you describe. I tried to fight my corner but as you probably experienced it’s difficult to make a point with a brain washed cultist.
              Wouldn’t it be great if people like us could out number the guru’s and give it back to them! Let’s not forget that people like them heavily contribute to the high suicide rate within the death cult of AA.

        • @sue,

          I have had similar experiences regarding people giving the program kudos for their sobriety. This actually doesn’t bother me because the program provides access to meetings. If the meetings keep someone sober, then so be it. But I agree think that the program is most often employed as a euphemism for the steps, which in turn are meant to convert someone to the AA God, whatever that is.

          • Mike,

            Didnt bother me a bit; if they gave the program credit for everything successful in their lives. I mean I heard people say things like I wouldnt have this great job if it werent for the program. No problem, just dont harass and criticize me when I dont. I suppose they meant well; but I considered feeling uncomfortable being truthful, a problem.

          • By the way, I was glad the meetings were there at first. As time went by, I wanted to take what I needed and leave the rest. I found that difficult to do because of pressure to conform to the group. I just didnt get it.

          • Sue,

            I’m pretty much immune from group pressure to conform. I follow a few certain rules to maintain this:

            – sit in the back
            – make polite small talk with a few people who appear semi-normal and ignore the rest
            – don’t socialize after the meeting
            – smile and be nice to everyone, old-timers included
            – put a dollar in the basket.
            – don’t share phone number or other personnel info with anyone
            – don’t volunteer for anything

            Behind my back I’m sure some people are saying I don’t work a good program. I don’t give a rat’s tush.

            • I’ve always thought it’d be funny to go to all meetings really early, help set up etc. Then walk out the moment the secretary rings the bell/starts talking……The reappear after the meeting for chat and help wash up. Unfortunately I don’t think I have the guts to do that.

          • Sue- I read your story about accepting your chip. I think that was very thoughtful that you were honest about not doing the steps, and even admitted you had no intentions of doing so( I would of loved to be a fly on the wall for that one) in the hopes that it help relieve the pressure from others as well.

            Even though it was just the nazi old timers that responded, you very well might of helped others. The main thing though is you were honest to yourself and them. Good going!

            AA really frowns on independent success dont they? What sane person does that?

          • Mike,

            Looks like your able to ignore much of what goes on in AA. I cant help but wonder what would happen if everyone handled their time in the program the same way. I wonder if it would still exist. Ive had a long day; so I have to give this more thought. Who would make the coffee and pick up the literature etc. When making a decision to leave, I had to ask myself if it was fair to anyone to be in a club where I seem to be in disagreement all the time. At that point I felt like; if I didnt agree with the rules that the majority of the group conformed to, maybe I should find something else.

            For some reason, I thought the one thing you enjoyed in AA was the social aspect of it. I think it may boil down to; if the positive out ways the negative; go for it.

          • @Sue,

            Regarding volunteering, I occasionally do little things behind the scenes one-on-one, like giving people rides who have a suspended license or donating stuff I don’t need anymore. I had jobs in the past making coffee and doing the treasury, but I avoid these things today because I’m not consistent enough at any one meeting. I think volunteerism is important, it’s just not for me any more.

            The social aspect of AA has become less important for me over the years, but it does still play a role in my sobriety. I see the meetings more like attendance at a movie or the theater. I am with like-minded people during an event we both share interest in but I do not plan on being seeing these people much outside the event.

            I have my reasons for avoiding AA members outside the halls. I find that many are gossips and generally have poor social skills or habits that make me uncomfortable.

  25. I have two days abstinence and zero craving plus I am coming up on 90 days of drinking since leaving AA? The AA’s told me I had a progressive disease that was doing push ups in the parking lot while I was in the meetings.
    So far so good.
    Massive, would you post the date of my first drink up near my intro at the top of the thread?
    Sept. 17 2012
    My last AA sobriety date was May 1996
    My first AA meeting was summer 1978

      • I posted this on another thread;
        anon on October 17, 2012 at 9:02 AM said:
        I have 30 days of drinking successfully after attending AA for 15 years.
        Keep not coming back.

    • anon-Sure. I am sure that the doom and gloom AA er’s chant is 99% Hogwash. First off they AA and NA have Never done ANY SEARCH WHAT SO EVER!!!

      So knowing what happens when people leave the rooms is unknown to them. When I started doing statistics in my head of many many come and go and don’t even stay. Its a very small number.

      You are flying free for sure and telling the world.

    • AntiD,

      That is an excellent question. In most cases commitments are for one year and breaking your commitment is considered irresponsible. If you take it; its your responsibility to find someone to take over. How do you do that without socializing and having phone numbers of other members. Im self employed with irregular hours; so taking commitments interfered with my work. However, if your not willing too, you can count on some being resentful that goes out of their way to do so. It felt like a bit of a catch 22. Once again; I didnt feel good; so I took a coffee commitment (after being pushed) and it caused me to be stressed out. I wont bore you with how I took care of it.

      • There certainly is a big push in AA and NA to volunteer for all kinds of things. In Holly Hill Florida they would choose different people to ” volunteer” to sit at the largest pavilion and hog it for an hour BEFORE the meeting started- then hog it for another hour and half.

        If anyone came into the pavilion or people were already sitting there, the NA and AA member would say to anyone and everyone- Are you here for the meeting? Are you here for the meeting? We even had them go up to strangers and hug them! They were very good at chasing people away.

        • @anti

          I know what you mean with the creepy AA schmoozing stuff. My wife (non-alcoholic) has remarked to me at times when I greet an AA member on the street how these people seem to not have good boundaries. One member happens to be working in the same place as her now and my wife tells me how the person just wants to talk people’s ears off about stuff of no substance.

          The fact that AA members appear so open and approachable doesn’t bother me too much if I take it at face value. However having gotten to know many of these people over the years I have come to the conclusion that it’s almost 90% of the time superficial. What appears to be an almost childlike willingness to befriend someone is in fact mere curiosity. Most of these people would gossip behind your back in a second, as they really never learned the value of long-term loyalty and deep friendships.

          • That is an accurate way to describe it a child like way of befriending people.

            What I did not like was the hugging complete strangers by accident assumng they were AA members. Also the pressure people feel in AA/ NA to accept or give hugs. They are a lot of narley people in AA/NA. Just watching makes my skin crawl at times. It seems to break boundaries right off the bat. i think it was initiated as a form of breaking down a persons defenses to more easily brainwash them.

          • Mike- your wife is right. The love bombing is extremely superficial. I know someone who went through a very serious health issue and many so called friends of 25 years didn’t even call because she left AA.

            Most AA members are very weak individuals and the friendships are 100 % fake.

            After 36 years in AA I maybe have 10 real friends from there. Those who know I left and who still love me. Maybe not even that many. Its a bullshit program and its NOT A FELLOWSHIP anymore. Those days are long gone. Most are in Hawaii and a few are here.

          • Now that I don’t go to AA. 90% of the Huggers don’t even acknowledge me on the street. Of course, I still go out of my way to make them speak. I love seeing that glazed look when I tell them I’m happy and drinking sensibly, or should I say ‘like a gentleman’

    • anon- I too was thinking about you today as I was walking downtown LA. This is funny!!! But true. In the old days people drank some booze when there were sick …glad to see your post. Happy Turkey day to all!.

      ALso I got really sick in early Sept and for the first time in 37 years I took Nyquil. It worked really well. I realized, hey, Im not in AA, what does it matter if I take a medicine that has alcohol in it. I have taken herbal tinctures for about 6 years and some of them alcohol to preserve the herbs …I was tired of being a crazy stepper. But then I found out I had pneumonia. Wow…I still really get pissed that I was so brain washed for so many years. Thing is….Im getting free and more free every day.

      take care anon 🙂

  26. I found this article via the letters section in the Orange Papers. A recent study indicates that even moderate drinking has detrimental effects on the brain’s ability to form cells, thus leading to cognitive difficulties in the long run. Here is the link:


    As I’ve mentioned before, I left AA after a good number of years sober, stopped going to meetings almost altogether for a few years then decided to try moderate drinking. It worked for a little over a year. Even in that time however I noticed a slight cognitive decline – kind of a fogginess in the head that felt like I was never getting a good enough sleep. This makes sense, as alcohol really does screw with the sleep cycle, especially when imbibed closer to bed-time. This article indicates that I may have actually been doing damage to the brain, even in small doses.

    Here’s the link to Orange’s letter that links to the study:


    Happy Thanksgiving to all you in the USA.

    • OMG …Moderation is fine for so many people!!!

      SOME people have said to me that alcohol is evil. I said “what” ?

      You have to be kidding me to her”

      I want you to express yourself. But I ….
      whatever…I’ll agree to disagree with you ….happy Turkey day.

      • Who’s saying alcohol is evil? I’m just passing on outcomes from an experiment that show even moderate drinking inhibits brain cell development. Take it for what it’s worth. This is after all a discussion of moderation.

    • How does alcohol help the heart?

      Various studies have shown that moderate amounts of all types of alcohol benefit your heart, not just alcohol found in red wine. It’s thought that alcohol:

      The Mayo Clinic on the benefits of alcohol in moderation for the heart.

      Red wine and resveratrol: Good for your heart?

      Raises high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol
      Reduces the formation of blood clots
      Helps prevent artery damage caused by high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol


      • You can obtain those same benefits without red wine. Resveratol can be obtained in much higher quantities with supplements, without the incurring the carcinogenic effects of alcohol.

        • It states that it is not limited to red wine. Mike even Tylenol has side effects if it is abused. It can do major liver damage. But in moderation it has helped millions from pain.

          Tylenol PM can make you feel a bit groggy the next morning, yet it also helps many get a much needed good nights sleep.

          • True, but the negative effects of alcohol far outweigh the positives, considering the positives can be obtained in other ways (diet, supplements, exercise) that have far fewer risk factors

          • Mike- that is a matter of opinion. There are pros and cons to many things we ingest including medicines. You chose abstinence which is a great choice for many people.But many choose moderation and actually enjoy some health benefits along with the enjoyment of an occassional buzz.

      • I agree that the buzz and the general feeling of euphoria is one thing that alcohol can (legally) provide the individual, and I think that is sufficient reason for people to drink, assuming they can do so safely. However I also believe that those of us who have had problems with alcohol in the past are at higher risk of falling back into problem drinking.

        I personally have found this time around that a well-balanced social life that includes friends, family, and hobbies provides more long term and durable euphoria than the 45 minute buzz I’d get with 2 12 oz. bottles of beer (or the equivalent). As I’ve mentioned before, drinking was ok at first but gradually the 2×12 oz. no longer had the desired effect, precipitating a need for more. Conversely, the emotional and physical toll of the moderation was increasing, causing me to lose cognitive acuity, sleep, and my emotional self-control.

        Everyone is different though. I’m sharing my personal experience.

        • I am glad you are leading such a healthy lifestyle. Abstinence is certainly the better choice for many. At the same time trying to convey as I feel you are, that moderation is not an option for people with addiction to alcohol is dangerous. The all or nothing mentality gives no wiggle room at all for someone who has a drinking problem.

          For example teenagers that go to AA are being told to not drink a drop for the rest of their lives. Most teens will not and do not buy into that. It is better to give them choices and teach responsible drinking which includes moderation.

          • I don’t think teens should be sent to ANY 12 step programs. What one might see as addiction is what others see as learning experience and growing pains.

            I started AA in my late 20’s, after having been hospitalized for internal damage due to alcohol. Now I see kids being sent who clocked someone in the jaw after they had too much at a party. The system is using AA as a dumping ground and these kids are being exposed to religious indoctrination. It’s ridiculous.

          • @ Mike- We agree on teens not being sent to AA meetings. But I think you missed my point. Someone needs to be teaching teens that drinking in moderation is a viable option and can save lives. AA does not teach this to teens or those in ICYPAA.

            Also if one is so stringent in abstinence you lose a big part of those that need help, for those that cannot see themselves never drinking a drop forever.

            It is like just telling teens to not have sex, and not also teach them about how to have sex responsibly to aid in preventing unwanted pregnancies, diseases and abortions.

          • Rather than teach teens that moderation is a viable option, or that abstinence or indulgence is acceptable, we ought to be focusing on instilling the core value of self love and care, the importance of being kind to oneself and one’s body. The result then — how or if they drink — is a reflection of how well we guided, how well we taught them the value of proper care and feeding and love for their body. It is a reflection of our efforts as much as theirs.

          • ALC- I agree with you as far as teaching our children values. But I disagree that children always grows up to reflect those values. It has become much harder to parent these days with so much information on the internet and storylines of movies and TV shows. Many fine parents do a wonderful job, only to still have teens to choose to have sex and drink. I think teens should know responsible ways to behave if they insist on going in that direction.

            If we can prevent unwanted pregnancies, traffic accidents, overdoses on alcohol etc.

        • This is exactly the same process I went through when I left AA the first time around. I was only 28 and still had tons of testosterone. Most importantly, I didn’t realize that I needed to thoroughly de-programme myself from the death cult known as AA.
          Needless to say that when I left AA as an older man I put as much effort into deprogramming as I did to making tea for ungrateful guru’s.

  27. Wow, what a great blog and discussion! It embarasses me to admit that I was an active AA member for many years and was involved in the AA machine at the District level as a District Secretary for 4 years. I, too, succumbed to the all or nothing brainwashing and stayed sober for 20 years even though I had left the rooms completely after 8 years. I never bought the idea of a progressive, incurable disease as I watched my grandmother die of cancer — the differences are striking. I could choose not to drink; she couldn’t choose not to have cancer. True, my grandfather had died in DTs and was labeled a severe alcoholic, but even he had managed to put several years of sobriety together when other things in his life became important enough. Even though I always knew intellectually that drinking is simply a choice — whether that means taking 1, 2, 3 or more drinks — it’s always a choice, the idea that I could drink in moderation was strange. After all getting sober at 22 years old, I had never drank as an adult. It was not a part of my life, but I wanted it to be. When I went to AA I always just wanted to be normal and drinking is a normal part of life in our culture and many cultures around the world. I wanted to feel like I had control over all aspects of my life. So I discussed it with my husband, who also had been sober nearly 20 years, and we both decided to run the experiment. That was 2 years ago. I can honestly say drinking occassionally in moderation has enhanced our lives. It has helped us to be a positive power of example to our teenage children, who are, of course, curious. I was brought up in a strict AA household where drinking was taboo and alcohol was all powerful, and all 3 of us kids developed serious substance use problems, so that apparently doesn’t work. I certainly did not want to make that mistake with my kids. Someone said in the comments above that alcohol was no longer the focus and that’s exactly it. It has no power; it just is. I also liked what someone said that when they plan to drink it provides a time to unplug, stop working (which I do all the time), not drive (I’m a Mom of 3 teenagers – I’m the taxicab). While I know I’m not at the legal limit with 1 drink, why take the risk? More than anything, it’s been a right of passage for me at 44 years old, I’m a true grown up. I can enjoy a cocktail at a party and maintain my self-control. The idea of allowing myself to lose control is simply foreign to me now. So many of my AA friends from 20 years ago are successful moderate drinkers, that it can’t be a coincidence. Just like drinking, losing control is also a choice. When I drank “alcoholically” I set out to get drunk each and every time for ridiculous reasons: to celebrate, because I was upset, stressed, angry; because I wanted to forget or get revenge — my reasons were endless. Since I was 10 years old I was told alcohol was powerful and that because of my genetics, if I drank I would instantly be out of control. Big shocker, I started drinking at 16 and never looked back; in therapy by 20, in AA at 22. But what about my genetics? Both of my siblings now middle aged all drink moderately and are very successful people in many areas of life. So much for genetics…

    • Great post! My son has mentioned more than once that he notices that I have had a bottle of wine in the fridge for way over a month and have not touched it. It is good he see’s people drink responsibly and in moderation.

      A drink can be very relaxing and does help one unwind. Like you I work a lot! When I do decided to have a glass of wine or beer with dinner or special occassion I really enjoy it. I have no desire to get drunk, or drink and drive. It is not like I have to ‘control’ my drinking either. I am sincerely totally content with one or two glasses of wine.

        • A very very long time. Just like many, many people.

          Again Mike- It is not for everyone. Some people are just better off not drinking.

          Yet teaching responsible drinking is an important part of teaching people how to drink in the first place so

          they do not become addicted, and also to teach those that have become addicted that theie other other options.

        • Mike,

          What if AntiD’s answer had been 5 yrs. of successful moderation. In your opinion would that have been a successful amount of time to be out of the danger of getting out of control. I believe I ask you about this before but never received an answer. AA preaches that if your drinking was ever out of control, life time abstinence is the only solution. Would you not agree?

          They say; go ahead and try some controlled drinking. You might drink responsible for a year or ten years; but you will end up worse than you ever were. Also, I could never figure out the amount of safe moderation time before they would no longer label you an alcoholic and consider you a normie. I think the reason I could not get an answer in 30ys is; BECAUSE THEY DONT KNOW.
          Part of the reason they dont know is; know one comes back to share about successful moderation. Would you not agree.

          • I want to say that I understand why some would not even want to flirt with moderation; because of their history. I agree that those who have abused alcohol in the past and want to try moderation, should give it serious thought.

          • @Sue,

            Anyone who can put together 5 years of successful moderation after having had alcohol problems in the past is in my mind at very low risk. And, yes, some snarky AA’er will say either they weren’t an alcoholic after all or that they are not being honest.

            What I found to be a complete lie regarding picking up again is the AA mantra that we will be right beck where we ended with the last drink. In my case this would have meant pancreatitis, unemployment, and a bad marriage. None of these things came to pass, except towards the end when I would fight more often with my wife. Even that was nowhere near the severity from the past.

            BTW, I have shared in meetings over the past 10 months that nothing really bad happened when I went back out, except for the fact that I very gradually could not control the amount and that I was getting more foggy, even at low doses. This is not exactly well received by some, but who are they to negate my experience?

            What keeps me from having a go at moderation again is a scientifically-based questionnaire I found on the following web site:

            My score indicates that my chance of long-term successful moderation is less than average (sorry for the AA reference, massive). Full disclosure, that site is funded by the NIAAA, which some in the anti-AA community might find biased. The fact that they are even broaching the moderation topic give one pause, however.

          • Sue wrote: [ Im not someone who would like to see AA disappear.]

            I wouldn’t want to see it disappear either, Sue. What I would like to see is some meetings in which con-men, predators, religious nut-jobs, and parolees do not run the show. That unfortunately is the AA of today, especially in the metropolitan areas.

            I’ve actually considered starting a secular AA meeting in my area. Unfortunately I think it will become a lightening rod for all the true-believers to spout off about. I have no doubt they will show up and disrupt things.

            Another possibility is starting a SOS or SMART meeting, but to be honest I don’t have the time or motivation to get certified as a moderator in those programs. I know AA and it has saturation already in our culture. Starting a meeting is easy as 1-2-3.

          • Mike,

            Your right; I did say:

            Im not someone who would like to see AA disappear.

            However, what I said right after that is a vital part of that statement when quoting me:
            “I just think that there needs to be some drastic changes. ”

            You mentioned predators, religious nut-jobs and parolees. That would be a great start. When I wrote that, I was thinking more along the lines of brainwashing people into thinking they are powerless as soon as they walk into the rooms. Making it pretty much mandatory to label yourself an alcoholic every time you open you mouth. Kind of uncomfortable if you choose not to and would like to fit in with the group think. Just for starters. I will refrain from expanding on it; because most know that post here.

        • I have know idea where this reply will turn up but here goes. Sorry confused. 🙂


          Your said;
          “Anyone who can put together 5 years of successful moderation after having had alcohol problems in the past is in my mind at very low risk.”

          Well, thank you for your reply and your opinion but I was expecting a little more detailed breakdown of the process. However, the more I think about it, I believe that would be impossible for you or AA to determine; because we are all individuals with different personalities. Something I had to learn after leaving aa. There are so many different factors involved; our age, our current environment, our personal growth and much more.

          You mentioned sharing for the last 10months at meetings, that things were not near as bad as before “when you went out” (I never liked that term) and I think they need to hear that; yet I think they dont mind hearing that because it was bad enough to bring you back and it just might justify their fear to ever leave. On the other hand, I would not go back and tell them that moderation is working for you and has for let’s say 5yrs. Anyhow, why would anyone? AA is not a program that promotes moderation; its all about abstinence. People know that when they choose (or are forced) to go there. That kind of sharing is not appreciated. I respect that and would never interfere.

          As far as the link to the questionnaire. I looked at it and i dont believe in such questionnaires anymore. I think the questions are ambiguous and may apply to the past but not where your at presently. Also, ive said this before, I believe that anyone who has had a substance abuse problem in the past and is being honest with themselves, knows damned well if they are crossing the line. I dont think they need an online survey to determine that. Do you think people actually change their behavior because of those surveys. Maybe?

          • I got lucky, it turned up in the right place.

            I would like to add one thing. Forgive me, I always have after thoughts. Im not someone who would like to see AA disappear. I just think that there needs to be some drastic changes. Maybe if it wasnt a one size fits all (we program); people would not feel so uncomfortable and want to hang around to help others. Just sayin!

          • About that questionnaire, I took the test and got points for a few questions including ‘have you ever lost friends due to your drinking?’. I truthfully answered yes, but it was only one friend and the only reason I lost that friend was because he is a big AA person and he got pissed off at me when I told him I was going to moderate. It had nothing to do with my drinking, really, it was the fact that I was even going to try to moderate.

            For the record, I have been successfully moderating for some time now. No issues at all.

          • Hi Snow,

            Im assuming that you have left AA. I always felt like AA was so sheepish and inflexible in countless ways. Ive never missed AA and leaving was a wise decision for me.

            Also, thank you for sharing about you ability to enjoy adult beverages moderately.Alcohol in moderation can be healthy for many people. I was curious if you had a lengthy history of substance abuse. Please know, I will respect the fact that you may not wish to answer that question.

            As far as your AA acquaintance. He is not a friend. True friends love and respect you for your strength’s. The dont shun you for running your own life.

          • Hi Sue,

            I went to my first AA meeting when I was pretty young, just 21. I started drinking at 15. I was in and out of AA, never never really felt like it was right for me nor did I ever think I really was an alcoholic. I abused alcohol, that I will freely admit, but I wasn’t physically addicted. Maybe psychologically, but as soon as I dealt with the reasons I was drinking to excess I was able to control it. Over the last few years I have been totally smashed once, but I refuse to take responsibility for that. I was enjoying a party, talking to people and not really paying attention to my glass, and someone kept filling it up. I just never noticed until I started feeling dizzy. Other than that my drinking over the last few years has been totally in control and totally normal.

            I love going out for dinner and having a glass of wine and not worrying about who is going to see me. I’m in my 40s, I don’t need to hide my drinking. It is legal, I enjoy it and it is not a problem. When I hear people talking about how the program saved them and when just about everything they do or say is program related all I can do is shake my head. I know one person who had 6 drinks in his life and smoked some pot when he was a teenager. His parents found out and sent him to rehab and now at the age of 50 he still identifies as an alcoholic and drug addict and he still goes to meetings. That is such bull, he was experimenting, nothing more. I’m sure he would have stopped on his own, and I am sure he could drink normally now if he thought he could, but he doesn’t think he can.
            His life is all about staying sober, nothing else. It’s sad, really.

            Nice to find this site, I’ve been reading it for a while now, thought I’d jump in with a post.

          • Snow,

            Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed reply. You brought up some very valid important issues. For one the importance of dealing with the reasons we drank to excess.
            I will have to respond more later. Unfortunately, I have to work. However, fortunate to have a job. 🙂

          • Mike- sos is really easy to start. Just write or call jim Christopher and he will send you a binder. Its as easy as starting an AA meeting. Just a but easier then starting a SMART meeting.

            I hope you do it.

          • @massive,

            I just listened to your interview with Jim Christopher. It was great! I am considering starting a meeting in my area. I’ll keep you posted.

            Thanks so much for keeping this site going. Mike

    • another ex AA- WOW what a fantastic post. These were the stories I was told when I started to do my radio show in March of 2011 when I was leaving AA.

      I think it is an important part of the work I want to do. Not just expose AA, but I want to educate the pubic that there are many other options and help those options grow, and empower those who drank out of control as youths and some regular folks who went to AA but really never felt they were alcoholic…drink again and enjoy it. Safety. Sanely. ANd without the AA brainwashing to boot.

      Mike …there were many on rfr who drank super heavy and didn’t want to mess with taking a sip or even try to be a regular social drinker. Thats fine.

      I created this site to help people leave AA or those who are wanting to leave.

      This site is not called I left AA.com LOL it’s called leaving aa.com so on with the discussion…I think it’s great. You would never have a sane discussion about this at a meeting, before a meeting or in a coffee shop.

      • Mike All the NIAAA people are AA. Serious long time steppers. Greg Muth who is the new Board Chairman ran AA in NY ,its headquaters for 10 years. They go from one pro AA society to another.

        NIAAA is the result of MS MARTY MANN’s work, Ms first lady AA who was a rich high society closet gay, ( not that any one cares about that now but back then it would not have been good for AA’s white male business man type image) who knew the Rockefellar’s. The richest man in the world at that time. SHe knew all the people at the top to spread her lies about how AA was the sure thing for everyone and that alcoholism was a DISEASE which is also a lie.

        She made over 500 speeches to top companies like FORD in her first 5 years that she created the National Council on Alcoholism. SHe did it to promote AA and not break their silly traditions. Without Marty Mann and her promoting AA would be the size of a pea.

      • SNOW- Thank you sooooo much for writing your truth here!!! SO much fun to hear real life stories with no AA BS rhetoric weaved in every last sentence.

        It’s really refreshing and this thread is getting alot of views even if only a few people are posting.

        My hubbie and I were just talking about how some AA oldtimers we know ….every time they talk they have to always talk about a step or how fucked up there are , even after 20 years sober, what losers they are, even though they are rich and famous.

        Anyway….great post. I enjoyed reading it.

    • Wow! This could be my story. I grew up in an AA crazy household. I decided to drink again after 22 years abstinent in AA. I drank with my wife who was never an AA or much of drinker. So far so good. It just doesn’t seem like a big deal to me either way. I leave glasses half full and almost always want to stop after 2 beers.

      • JPW- Hi and welcome!!!

        I love hearing these stories about successful drinking after being in AA a long time. Maybe one day we can make a video and show how many people have had this experience.

    • What a great post, you’ve hit the nail on the head.
      When I used to drink years ago, I drank to get wasted so it’s hardly surprising that was the outcome.
      So many lies are told in AA by old timers (guru’s) that say they only wanted one or two drinks but always got drunk. ABSOLUTE BALDERDASH.
      Nobody is helpless against alcohol, we make decisions that are sometimes selfish. Hopefully as we get older we learn not to be so selfish to ourselves and others.
      If I find myself wanting that fifth beer or whatever quantity lays beyond what I have agreed with myself is safe, I just remind myself that the ultimate outcome of over drinking could be having to go to those god awful meetings again and listening to those depressing, self deprecating diatribes. That surely, is enough to stop anyone drinking too much!

  28. This is a timely discussion. At the 9th National Harm Reduction Conference in Portland Oregon last week I made a presentation about choosing a drinking goal–should one opt for abstinence or controlled drinking? Studies such as NESARC show that the majority of people with alcohol dependence recover on their own without AA and without treatment. About half recover by cutting back and about half recover by quitting completely.

    He is a link to the HAMS conference page where you can watch a video of my presentation and also view the PowerPoint

  29. I am amazed at how brainwashed I was in AA. I’ve been drinking for months now and I still feel no compulsion or phenomenon of craving like I used to share about. I started to call an old AA friend last night who is a sort of anti AA but realized he is brainwashed and it is a waste of my time. I have experienced an AA withdrawal though; AA occupies all of a person’s time with program and forced friendships. I am adjusting still to the social change and absence of feelings that I am contributing something to society through AA.

      • I drank last night and woke up with a small headache. This is totally not worth it from a cost benefit standpoint. I am less and less interested in drinking and may switch to occasional wine with dinner. I can’t believe how stupid AA is and that I bought it. Total brainwash! Booze has no power over me, powerlessness is ridiculous.

          • Sue wrote: [Dont you think Anon knows he has that option. Maybe that is not what he wants to do and I think that ok]

            He might know it, but maybe a little encouragement from someone who tried the moderation experiment himself and also experienced headaches can help him. I have found the ABS option to be much better for me personally. This blog is after all about abstinence vs. moderation. I have experienced both and find the former to be much better for me than the latter.

            And regarding powerlessness, yes, we might not be powerless over alcohol, but imbibing in a substance that causes us to wake up with headaches isn’t exactly smart, especially if we have obligations the next day (family, work, friends) who will be disadvantaged because of our mental and physical decline.

            • I think it’s a bit of yin & yang Mike. Or some type of trade off. I get the occasional heady feeling after a few beers (normally tiredness) but it won’t stop me having my ale tonight. If the pain outweighed the pleasure I’d stop.
              I might have an intimate physical session with my partner tonight and wake up with sore loins but it won’t stop me getting intimate again.

          • Sue: [I try not to compare myself to others anymore.
            “Look for the differences not the similarities”]


            Don’t you think that personal experience can sometimes be helpful to others? Yes, the one-size-fits all approach AA uses can and does over-simplify the issue of addiction for many. However, I think the morning after headache is almost universally associated with using alcohol to excess the night before (taking into account an individual’s tolerance). The “excess” part can be very subjective.

            If anon suffers from a headache after drinking moderately I would question whether his body is equipped to handle even small quantities of booze. Again, this was my experience about a year into the drinking experiment. At first the buzz was nice and the morning after ok, but gradually, no more nice buzz when drinking moderately, but morning-after grogginess and headaches all the same.

            I also remember him posting some weeks back that his frustration tolerance had gone down, leading to a spat with his wife. Wow, guess what? Happened to me too.

            One size might not fit all, but sometimes a drawer can have matching socks.

        • hey anon- if I eat a pint of vanilla bean ice cream by Häagen-Dazs, I wake up with a whopping head ache.

          SO I dont do that anymore. Or if I eat cookie dough …same thing. So I don’t do that either. But I agree. AA is total brainwash and the powerless part and the gloom and doom is such BS!

          Now dont get me wrong… I love sugar but I hate bad headaches so …on occasion this happens, when my kids make cookies etc:)

          • I drank a small amount too fast and then engaged in strenuous activity. I was rushed and in a hurry after a huge day. Not a big deal; I’ll treat it like Hagen Dazs and fully expect a headache if I do it again. The headache was about at 2 on a scale of 1 to 10 so it didn’t wreck my day. I am finding at this point that I don’t need to think about ABS days with alcohol because they are occurring naturally. I have no compulsion whatsoever to drink at this point.
            The HR program I work on tobacco is much more challenging because there is a far greater desire to consume with less ABS days. Tobacco definitely has my attention, alcohol, not so much. I will be switching my focus where it is needed at this point. Today is Nov. 22, my second ABS day off tobacco. My goal is to be tobacco free till Sunday. I have family obligations this week so I will not be drinking till after Friday.

          • The reason I mentioned wine was that I have a good friend who will not touch hard alcohol. I respect this person greatly and know that he only drinks wine and beer.

            • I find that the hard stuff, spirits etc are too difficult to gauge/control so I simply don’t drink them.
              I love swallowing large amounts of liquid, always have done even before I started drinking aged 12.
              With this in mind, I find relatively weak beer/lager to be my drink of preference.
              We have a drink called cider here in the UK which s made from apples. I wouldn’t recommend that because it can give me a headache.

          • Just for the record I have practiced HR on tobacco for one year after leaving AA with great success before I drank. I have 14 months HR on tobacco with 15 to 30 day ABS periods between smokes till recently. When practicing tobacco HR knowing that after a year I would drink it was easier to moderate. Now that I am drinking, tobacco moderation is more difficult because I don’t perceive a reward for moderation. I may try using a consequence such as no drinking without tobacco moderation. This would give me an incentive to maintain my cost benefit balance of healthy use and enjoyment with minimal health consequences.

  30. I drank half a Blue Moon beer with my wife the other day.
    Yes, it was worth it and it tasted good.
    No I did not get a headache.
    I didn’t get drunk so I am sober.
    High benefit, minimal cost.

      • No orange last time but I’ll do it next for sure. Perhaps I’ll have a Blue Moon with Orange and read The Orange Papers!
        Blue Moon Beer, The official beer of The Orange Papers. Massive thinks I’m crazy but I still like to drink a Bill Wilson, whiskey and milk. YUM!

      • Anti D,
        AO is Agent Orange, Agent Orange is the ABS type not Bill Wilson. Bill wilson is a AA philanderer who couldn’t have a drinkey-poo because it would hurt his sales pitch.

    • anon- Stanton Peele was on my radio show twice. I was listening to an old episode the other day in the car with my hubbie and Stanton corrects me when I call myself sober. It was early on in my radio show and I was going to go to my old home group and tells the ladies I was leaving AA for good and why. Nip the gossip in the bud..you know?

      And way Stanton said to me …”AA has hijacked the worked sober. You can be sober and still have some alcohol like you are doing. AA has made sober a work that means abstinence in the AA way.

      When I listen to the early show you can actually hear my deprogramming right on the air. Its a trip. It really helped me…it still does.

      SO anon …I love your stories. SO refreshing.

  31. I met with an AA today for business and had the feeling that I had alcohol on my breath from the half beer I drank the night before. I had an awkward feeling, sort of a newfound wreckage from my AA past.
    Just a thought thay I wanted to share.
    Nothing happened.
    The business went fine.

  32. I thought this was sort of interesting.
    I am noticing that if I see an activity such as drinking or tobacco use as unhealthy I don’t want to do it. I used tobacco for a year with as many as 30 abs days between uses with success. This ABS period had a healthy feeling to me even though it was difficult at times for short intervals. This week I have used tobacco every day in an abusive fashion; I have increased the dosage in an attempt to regain the initial effect. This has not been true with alcohol. With alcohol the consequence of abuse is illness so I have been less likely to abuse alcohol or become dependent. I find that moderate tobacco use is most enjoyable because the intoxication is more intense and relaxing after at least 20 ABS days. My tolerance for tobacco is rapid. Alcohol on the other hand has not caused a tolerance that I notice because I do not drink to intoxication.
    I am having trouble at this point moderating tobacco. I am using very little except more frequently.
    I am going to use tobacco tomorrow and then attempt to be abstinent until new years.
    So far alcohol is no problem.
    I can see that moderation is the key to success as tolerance plays a huge role in the compulsion to use. Detoxification from tobacco is about 20 days for me and this is the time that there is a compulsion to use. Because I am not building tolerance to alcohol the detox is much faster and there is no compulsion. If I were to drink with the objective of intoxication I would clearly build tolerance and suffer some sort of compulsion coupled with alcohol induced mental impairment. It is much easier for me to control alcohol intoxication than tobacco. I use tobacco to its intoxication ceiling every time I use. With alcohol this is much easier to control because it takes large amounts consumed very quickly to reach maximum alcohol intoxication. Also the physical consequences of extreme intoxication are severe.
    Conclusion; it is easier for me to moderate alcohol than tobacco.

    • Then maybe stay abstinent from tobacco? You abused it to get to a certain effect? Hmmmm……… To me smoking in moderation is a bit of a different animal than drinking. I guess you are finding that out.
      Of course smoking less is better than smoking more.

      • I am definitely going to use more ABS days for tobacco.
        – Use is enjoyable after 20+ ABS days.
        – Health risks with 20 day ABS periods are minimal.
        – Benefits of relaxation and contemplation that are negated with tolerance are achieved after long ABS intervals.
        – For me frequent tobacco use falls into the abuse and dependence definitions found in DSM.
        – I enjoy tobacco immensely and I am not powerless over it.

        • It sounds like it is much more of a struggle for you than alcohol as you stated. I have not read any literature that smoking minimally is okay. It is cancer causing etc.

          These statements are confusing to me-

          ” Benefits of relaxation and contemplation that are negated with tolerance are achieved after long ABS intervals.”

          ” I enjoy tobacco immensely and I am not powerless over it.”

          It sounds like an addiction to me. Why would you try and build a tolerance and abuse it after quitting for so many days?

          Where there are studies that alcohol in moderation can be good for you. I have yet to find any studies that say tabacco use is good for you in moderation.
          Maybe they are out there, but again never came across it.

          • AntiD,

            Unfortunately, I have always enjoyed smoking. Kind of a love hate relationship. However, speaking as a current smoker who quit for 12yrs and very regretfully picked up the nasty habit again 3yrs ago:

            Boy, if I had 20 days abstinence behind me right now, I would feel like i was on top of the world. Like it or not, its a habit that will kill me. I smoke much less now but I think anytime you are burning your lungs; it’s harmful.

            I grew up around parents who smoked heavily. It’s a habit that has been a part of my life for too many years. Ive learned over the past 3yrs that if I am foolish enough to pick up one after quitting again. I will most likely become a daily smoker again. Nicotine is a very powerful addictive substance.

          • Rapid tobacco tolerance causes abuse and dependence patterns in me if I do not adhere to ABS days.
            Tolerance negates the benefit I perceive.
            I did not mean to say my use of tobacco at the 20 day interval was healthy; I meant to say that it is relatively healthy use when weighed against the benefit I receive.
            I also believe that tobacco use at a 20 day interval has negligible health risks. there is no scientific data because the sample group that could adhere to this regimen over a long period of time would be very small.

          • Here is an article that does not support light smoking. It is sad that so many AA members die prematurely because of their smoking habit that AA considers an outside issue! What a joke. It is just so ridiculous for AA to be so anti alcohol and then give the green light to caffeine and nicotine addition. There are many reports of AA members who did not smoke until they became a member.

            “The only thing that is relevant is this: If you smoke at all you are at increased risk of cancer and heart disease. Any smoking does that,” he says. “So if people say, ‘I only smoke occasionally,’ or ‘I never smoke more than 10 a day,’ they have increased risk because this substance is so toxic.”


          • Sue- That is good you quit as long as you did. At least you know you can do it. It is such a shame that so many get hooked on cigs and alcohol when a teen, and an addiction develops-that it carries on into adulthood.

            It is hard on kids that grew up with parents that smoked. I am glad there is more awareness about second hand smoke, and smoking is being allowed in limited public places.

            • “Antidenial, I enjoy your posts and respect your opinions. I also really like Anon’s blog about smoking, and it is helpful to me. Why should drinking addiction be the only bogus “”addiction”? I think he is making great strides with an activity that can be really pleasurable.

          • “I think if a person is healthy, in the broad sense of the word, and smokes one or two cigarettes a week, something else will probably kill that person before cigarette smoking will,” Bachman says

          • In 58 yrs. I have never known anyone who smoked 1 or 2 cig’s a week. Guess that would be consideredmoderate and if thats what you do after your ABS periods, thats great. Ive known people who smoke 4 or 5 a day; but then they say it depends on their stress level. Ive run into people who bum a rare cigarette from me. They usually choke after a couple puffs and put it out. Its curiosity, they are not addicted to the dopamine high.

            I was wondering; who is Bachman.

          • Anyone I know right now who trys to smoke one or two a week (which they bum from me); eventually gives in and buys a pack and ends up smoking more than me.

          • Sue,
            AntiDenial on December 5, 2012 at 3:11 PM said:
            Here is an article that does not support light smoking.
            The quote by Bachman can be found early in the piece.

            massive on December 5, 2012 at 9:54 PM said:
            I don’t know where we are going here with the smoking thing.
            Massive, I think it is relevant conversation because I used tobacco moderation as a test prior to moderating alcohol. My fear of alcohol moderation was deep because of my AA programming so I wanted to proceed with extreme caution.
            I also want to debunk the powerlessness theory taught by AA. Tobacco is thought to be the most addictive substance on earth by many. I am not powerless over tobacco. My mind has the ability to weigh the situation and make choices that enable me to stay in control of my use. I quit smoking for 15 years and started missing it. Why should I deny myself if I can manage use? I really enjoy tobacco when I am moderating at 20 day minimum intervals. It does not seem that the health risks are significant and the effect is potent after this period.

            Anti D said; I do not understand why one would go through withdrawals-detoxify and then smoke again to the point of building up a tolerance again and again. It seems like torturing oneself in away.
            *Plain and simple. I enjoy using tobacco responsibly and am willing to endure minor discomfort as long as it is not disproportionate to my enjoyment. Benefit minus costs equals outcome.

        • I dont know where we are going here with the smoking thing but If someone wants to smoke a few cigs a month and can then thats great …it s their business. If someone wants to eat cupcakes moderately… be my guest.

          I like to stick to my own experience. I want anon to be able to tell us what he is doing.

          I smoke cigarettes as a teen. I did it for 4 years. I was never a heavy smoker. I quit easily at 16 . Then I smoked Again at 22-24. I got sick of being the only one in AA not smoking. I could feel myself being hooked and eventually smoked in the morning.

          It started with just outside the meetings, smoking after meetings in the Coffee shop with the other steppers. I hate the way it made my hair and breath smell. Yet I enjoyed the connection with others as I smoked.

          I hated that I was so squeaky clean. SO I smoked. After many months I smoked so much I had to buy my own pack. So I smoked about a pack a week. This went on and slowly I smoked more even though I didn’t want to.

          After 2 years I decided to quit altogether. It was hard this time. I felt the addiction to the chemicals they put on the cigs. Some 500 of them I think. Anyway I had to change my behavior, my meetings and I had to stop hanging with the heavy AA smokers, which I did.

          I could see it was hard to quit but I did it. Each persons own experience is more powerful. With each persons DOC…..this being nicotine.

          • After 6 months after quitting I was able to return to my old meetings where they smoked like fiends and it didn’t bother me.

            WHat a crazy Freaking world AA in Hawaii was in 1981. hmmmmm It was also then I realized the steps could not help me any further.

            • I didn’t think you were. It seemed to me to be a bit of naysaying to his smoking moderately. Its not like he is talking about smoking crack or using hard drugs. I feel the need to agree to disagree here.

          • First of all, Anon brought up the topic of moderating smoking; not me. I gave an opposite opinion; just as Mike did on the topic of moderating drinking. From what I have seen, I think he has proven that he is capable of handling a debate; otherwise why bring it up. Im not powerless over smoking either. I proved that for 12 yrs. I simply pointed out that nicotine is a substance that i have not been able to moderate, nor care too. I pointed out that its one of those pleasures in my life that is just far too dangerous to “MY HEALTH”. I also said; if I could quit for 20 days, I hope to be a non smoker for many years again. For the rest of my life would be ultimate goal.

            In some ways Im sorry I ever got involved. However, I thought my experience was important and could be helpful to someone. I have nothing further to add to the discusssion.

    • anon I think you are proving an interesting point about physical addiction theory’s that have floating about in AA for years. Many which are complete lies.
      I really appreciate your blogging here and telling what is really going on.

    • “This week I have used tobacco every day in an abusive fashion; I have increased the dosage in an attempt to regain the initial effect. ”

      “It is much easier for me to control alcohol intoxication than tobacco, I use tobacco to its intoxication ceiling every time I use.”

      I was responding to anon statements above admitting his struggle with moderating tobacco, yet his desire to want to continue.

      I do not understand why one would go through withdrawals-detoxify and then smoke again to the point of building up a tolerance again and again. It seems like torturing oneself in away.

  33. Sue – Its not personal… I hope that we can disagree here with each other even though I may know you and like you as a person. I just didn’t agree with some stuff.

    I hope that this blog allows that ….which I want it to. No one is trolling….and I dont have to agree with bloggers just because I may be a friend to you or anti which I am. I want there to be discussion. And so there was. THat is good.

    you said ‘In some ways Im sorry I ever got involved. However, I thought my experience was important and could be helpful to someone. I have nothing further to add to the discussion.”

    WHY are you sorry? WHat you said was valuable. Just because I disagree with you and ANTI on this it doesn’t make your opinion or experience not important.

    If we cant disagree here then we are just like the steppers. Speaking only things that I know you guys will agree with me on.

    • I didnt take it personal. I dont have a problem with your disagreement with me. However, that was not what prompted my response. I saw a need to address some issues that looked like they may have been overlooked or missed. Actually, your response last night; indicated to me that you may have had a problem with my disagreement on some of Anon’s points. I said if someone can smoke 1 or 2 cigarettes a week; thats great. I meant it and I wish that were the case with me. If I had smoked that little after picking up the habit a few years ago; maybe I would not have been diagnosed with mild to moderate COPD a year ago. I regret ever picking one up again but you think it will never happen to you when your young. I guess I am saying be careful; because that is a sneaky habit to experiment with.

      • Sneaky? Look at the language here. Smoking is such a scapegoat and people think it’s ok to put all their prejudice and anger into one activity: Smoking”! I did this for a long time myself I don’t do it anymore, since I have taken smoking back up again, and really like it. Anon’s tips on abstinence days have intrigued me and they sound really workable. Fear around a habit, makes it easier to go out of control and victim with the particular activity.

  34. It is day two of twenty in my tobacco ABS with VERY minimal discomfort. I simply think “NO” when the thought comes. I can’t say for sure the thought is a craving, it’s just a thought. My wife and I drank last night and had a great time together. No hangover or compulsion to drink this morning.
    December 17th I’ll have 120 days drinking since leaving AA and a year four months Tobacco moderation.

    • ANON- Love it man ….love it!!!You can be in my film if you want to tell the world what they tell you in AA is a bunch of BS! 🙂

  35. 10 Tobacco ABS days today, I’m half way to my next smoke. There is no compulsion and any thought is easily derailed with denial. HAMS tobacco and alcohol moderation are the way to go for me. It’s easy for me and the benefits far outweigh the costs.

  36. December 17th is four months of successful moderate drinking since leaving AA.
    Keep not coming back!
    Thanks to your help I am sure I can make a year!

  37. Hey There everyone…just wanted to drop in and say that I recently found the Blog Talk Safe Recovery show after doing a podcast search for any Trimpey AVRT stuff… I listened to the show…then listened to some others and have since downloaded all the podcasts! There is so much good stuff here! I have been a heavy Drinker for 35 years…since I was 15. I only knew of AA and so I went there…but I cannot agree with the first step…I’m not powerless! So anyway, about four months ago I found Moderation Management and it has been great! I read the book Responsible drinking, participate in chats and the listserv….I have been a truly moderate drinker (and happy about it!) since Sept 12. I usually abstain 4 days a week and have no more than 4 drinks on the other days… they have this great webpage called the Abstar where everyone tracks their progress etc… I find it really helpful. Then I started finding all kinds of helpful resources like HAMS and that Blog Talk show and web-sites of others you have interviewed. I just wanted to say that your show and this blog have been very helpful to me…Thank you!! Miami Mike

    • HI Miami Mike,
      So glad you found us too. I will have on Kenneth Anderson From Hams Harm Reduction tomorrow at 7 PM PST and 10 pm EST .

      I am really happy to hear your positive experience. Its really refreshing!

      More later…

      • Hi Anon,

        I did join AA….kinda. I went to 3 meetings a week for a few months last year then again for 6 months this year. I refused to get a sponsor though because I refused to believe step #1…. I am not powerless over alcohol and I didn’t think it was a “real” disease etc… But, I was reading the AA literature a lot and I enjoyed listening to some of the stories so that I knew where I might end up if I did not get a handle on my drinking…. I had NEVER heard of any of the other groups out there… MM, HAMS, SMART, RR etc… no one ever mentioned any alternatives. I guess I had to deprogram a little when I started reading all this stuff online because AA was all I knew at the time…. but I also knew I was not an alcoholic or dependent drinker…so when I found MM and read the Responsible Drinking book I just took off with it and have done great with that program….and, through the MM chat and listserv It opened the door to all the other programs…then after looking up Trimpey I found this blog and show and also the Anderson Show etc…. its like a WHOLE NEW WORLD!!!!!

        • I was an AA true believer so I had to be very careful. I thought I had a progressive deadly disease and that I was different from my fellows. I was powerless. Things are better for me now that I am moderating. I use the HAMS tools and blogs like this one to stay on track.

  38. This appears strange to me but here goes. When I started attending AA after intemperate drinking, I noticed positive changes right away. I noticed that things were getting better for me; relationships, coping skills, communication, etc. I spent quite a long time in AA and had many commitments. Toward the end of my membership I stared noticing the backlash of my activities. Most of my trouble appeared related to my own guru-ism and sponsee relationships, however now I feel the problems were more related to dependence on AA. Remember that when we talk about alcoholism we talk about dependence and abuse.
    Now that I have been moderately drinking just over four months I notice similar changes; relationships, coping skills, and communication all appear to have improved due to my being in a more relaxed state. Additionally I notice that I am more conscious of my demeanor and have a strong desire to be socially pleasant. While in AA I used my imaginary disease as an excuse to act inappropriately.
    I believe that any major lifestyle change can bring about a phenomenal appearance of improvement or betterment. I think this is a sort of hook that can set up those would be drinkers or evangelists for failure because it sets them up for dependence. I more clearly see the correlation between AA dependence, alcohol dependence, and any other type of potentially damaging behavior.

    • anon- wow…what a great post …When I see older members with those 18- 22- 25- 30 years, they do have much of these traits in common. Uptight, nervous, jumpy, not relaxed. Never mind the guru ism and the “I know everything” type of thinking. Not that I ever felt that way! LOL

      I remember at 5 years sober and 23 I thought I knew everything. There were many times in the later years I could see the failure of the AA program in myself and others so I usually shared non AA stuff with sponsee’s.

      However, looking back being gone for 21 months now, having too many sponsee’s who just took, I don’t mean all of them did, but it was not relationships based on equal footing like a true friendship would be. I got really sad about it yesterday again. The wasted time and energy. I still feel sad about the years that I believed what I did and imposed that belief on my family. Especially my sons. They are are happy I left AA and changed my beliefs and attitudes. So am I !!!!

      • Spend all your meeting time with your kids. What is it they say; if you would have drank you should go to a meeting instead. Well, I say; if you would have gone to a meeting you should spend the time with your kids instead. Kids are everything and the time you spend with them HUGE!

  39. I am almost to the 20 day ABS mark with tobacco. I notice that when I am completely detoxified the thought to smoke has almost completely dissipated. At that point I can smoke and really enjoy it. With abstinence days and moderation I can repeatedly experience that new user feeling many in AA chase to no avail because of dependence and abuse. As for alcohol, I am practicing sober consumption in additional to ABS days. Although the ABS interval is not as long as with tobacco, I achieve the same effect because of sober consumption. It is physically unlikely to develop damaging tolerance with sober consumption. Some may ask; why drink at ill if you are not getting drunk? Well, because my goal is to drink as a normal healthy drinker. I observed in AA that the members there would criticize those who stopped drinking when they started to feel it; this became my definition of normal healthy drinking.
    I was poking around on the internet the other day and found an interesting survey. The survey claimed that those asked at the end of their lives what they would do differently answered unanimously that they would practice moderation. I have noticed that since fine tuning my moderation habits that I have found unforeseen benefits. I am more relaxed and have a deeper respect for decorum and other people’s space. I articulate my thoughts more clearly when put on the spot. I no longer have random tension headaches like I had while abstinent. I am getting along better with family. I am not missing out on anything AA; I still go from time to time and talk to those in program, they are not aware that I am drinking. I go because my mind is open, open to your thoughts as well as mine.

  40. ANON- I am blown away by your ability to express this is such a clear way. What is this you said ” As for alcohol, I am practicing sober consumption in additional to ABS days.?

    Can you explain.

  41. Sober consumption is drinking without becoming intoxicated or impaired. Sober consumption is easily achieved by drinking a beer slowly or sipping a small quantity of hard alcohol over an extended period. I have not been drunk since I started moderating. ABS days are simply abstinence days when I do not drink at all.
    One benefit of my moderation that I failed to mention in my earlier post is that I am sleeping much better. My sleep is restful and full of dreams that I remember. Alcohol is wonderful when used healthfully and the benefits are great. For this reason I will be mindful to continue longer ABS periods so that I don’t fall into dependence or abuse.
    As for healthy drinks, I recommend; Armagnac, Eau de Vie, Wine, and beer. All these drinks are easy for me to drink in moderation. Armagnac and Eau de vie are both brandies that are best savored in the mouth one sip at a time. I also enjoy Blanton’s and Basil Hayden’s whisky. Beer and wine are rich and heavy so I do not have a desire to gulp. I avoid tasty mixed drinks that make over consumption or gulping too easy.

  42. I gotta say that I am skeptical of the whole moderation thing for several reasons.

    1 – Moderate drinking holds no appeal for me. My pattern was to down at least six beers just to start the ball rolling. Moderate drinking is a waste of good booze.
    2 – I quit drinking almost entirely in 1972 after a three day binge that led to DT’s. Over the next seven or eight years I drank very little, getting drunk perhaps twice a year. Then my consumption increased, and I found myself falling into the same drinking pattern.
    3 – I was heavy smoker for ten years. I quit 40 years ago, and it would never occur to me to try smoking moderately. I view both smoking and heavy alcohol consumption as addictions, and I treat them both the same. If I won’t have the odd cigarette, why would I have the odd drink?

    If some who drink alcoholically can successfully crank it down to moderation, more power to them, but I’m not willing to take the risk.

    • @lech

      I’m approaching a year ABS again after trying the moderation experiment. I too do not wish to go back again. It is way better living without that monkey on my back. Mike

        • 20 days tobacco ABS and time to enjoy! I’ll be using tobacco the rest of the week and then going for another 20 ABS days on the first.

        • Same here. The biggest problem I live with now is what I’m going to do with all these bad feelings towards AA that I feel. I suppose this site is a good start.
          I just feel totally conned by Bill Dubya nad his cranky disciples.

    • Lech AA preached that once an alcoholic always an alcoholic.
      I say BS. They NEVER did any studies at all. It was one mans opinion. He was a hopeless drunk. About 1 % of those coming into AA are like BILL. The rest belong in Smart or doing or at least being taught moderation as an option, CBT skills, the Famous Sinclair Method, and other cool tools that AA has none of.

      Only you know what is right for you. A sponsor does not know and I do believe one should never drink a alcohol beverage until they are deprogrammed for some time. ANd only they know when that time is right if ever. Too much weight and pressure on “TIME” in the AA cult/program.

      There is a saying in AA ” the disease keeps progressing even though you stop drinking” are you F#####king kidding me. That is so ridiculous. It is so made up. It is such a lie. ANd its not true.

      However, I have see people begin to drink while they believe all the hogwash and that they are powerless and that they are losers.
      Those do not fair well and many kill themselves. They are AA Failures. AA people judge them and do not welcome them back as they should.
      I have also see people drink after many years and they do not fall down the rabbit hole of jails institutions and death.

    • he lech- are you aware there are moderation books and programs written recently that have some better ideas then the all or nothing approach?

      Dr Marc Kern’s book TAKE CONTROL NOW is fantastic. I know someone who is seeing him and is having amazing results.

      You ask why would I have an odd drink?

      TO enjoy the beverage.
      To relax.
      To feel a slite something and not want more.

      Are you aware so many people enjoy alcohol this way.
      I worked with a really famous music engineer who told me he drank like a crazy man in his youth and even took a few drugs, then he got married, had kids, became successful and now on his own drinks one-two drinks and doesn’t like anymore. He likes being in control now, he said. He likes just a little bit of alcohol. He doesn’t like getting drunk and so he doesn’t get drunk anymore. He told me its no big deal. I have been interviewing lots of people about this especially since leaving AA.

  43. I am really angry after reading All the comments. I am 7 months sober and am extremely open minded which has helped me pull my life back around from alcoholism and helped repair my families and my sons lives. I attend aa and do not completely hand my self over as I don’t feel ready yet. I go to SMART have crystal therapy and do some other groups. – tried and failed to control my drinking for years on a harm reduction programme. until I came across abstinence 7 month ago and cannot see how I can drink as I cannot stop when I start and am not a very nice person when drunk. The thing that has annoyed me is that I believe that each persons journey is different and this website will not listen to anyone else’s opinions. If something works for someone then good. People need to know about all the avenues they can take instead of people thinking their personal journeys are gospel. I do not agree nor disagree with anyone points but for people to think they have all the answers for everyone (AA included ) impossible.

    • Dont totally get what you are saying, but if abstinence works for you- great! Many people abstain from drugs and alcohol through SMART Meetings and/or literature and some abstain all by themselves without being part of any group. SMART and Rational Recovery have lots of info you can read without ever going to a meeting. Sounds like you are keeping busy trying many things. Looks like you are keeping your options open, and trying to learn from different ones.
      Sounds okay.

    • If abstinence works for you, that’s good but I would suggest YOU are achieving it rather than the teachings of a drug fueled 1930’s womanizer.

  44. Hi danielle, Yea but here you get to say this, in AA its their way or the highway….or honestly, their dirty looks, their condescending attitude, or how bout them telling you while they are rolling their eyes, that you are heading for trouble if you do it “YOUR” way.

    So that’s great that abstinence works for you right now. SO why not go to Smart Recovery Website and blog and chat there. We were all in AA for too long and we know what we are talking about. GO ahead get mad. Anger is a part of being human. But in AA those angry F#####kers will tell you you can not afford being angry….that its for normal people. That resentment will block you off form the “sunlight of the spirit” and you will drink again. GIve me a break.

    Yes we have discussion and healthy debate here, but if you love AA, go somewhere else. This is clearly an anti AA site….hence the name Leaving AA .com! 🙂 http://www.orange-papers.org might be good for you. In the rooms is a pro AA site. The Fix is a pro AA blog.

    Good luck. But please don’t lay the AA trip on your children. PLease may I suggest to read “Addiction Proof Your Child” by Stanton Peele. I really hurt my kids with the AA mentality. They like me so much better since I left AA. I am so much saner. And way more relaxed!!!! Happy New Year.

    I was in AA for 36 years. I was a black belt stepper. Just saying … miss aa. Miss AA service. Ms AA bullshit whatever. I left . Im free. Just tread lightly with the super pro stepper talk or I will delete….delete.

    after all …it is my blog. There is a leader here.

  45. Yeah I am not totally sold on AA I do go and have a sponser but I do like SMART as well I guess I found this site because I like to keep my options open. I think the reason I am not sold on AA is because its there way or the highway. But the reason I am on the fence is because in the past when I’ve tried doing it on my own and with a harm reduction service I have ended up destroying me and everyone around me. Therefore I am scared of trusting my own judgement.

    • Daneille, AA and its members love to disempower you and make you believe you cant trust your own instincts. Just listen to a Clancy I tape.

      I think that part of AA is criminal. Welcome here! I was on the fence in 2009. By the summer of 2010 i knew I had to leave . I planned my departure. So not to go through AA withdrawals LOL!!!!!!!!
      It was a good plan. It worked.

    • danielle,

      If you like AA and its working for you, you should stay. However, if you feel fearful to leave; you have to ask yourself if thats healthy. I dont know if you have worked the steps. I never did but I attended on and off for 30 yrs. (more off). The best piece of advice I can give is; “take what you want and leave the rest”. No matter how uncomfortable they make you feel about that. If you choose not to have a sponsor or do the steps and not go meetings frequently: “DO JUST THAT”. Dont take a commitment if its inconvenient or you just dont want to. If you endure pressure for that, then ignore them. There will always be someone there to try and make you feel guilty for that. Let them do it then. Your in the process of recovery and trying to figure out whats right for you. Your suppose to have that freedom in AA. Isnt that what they claim. Guilt and fear run rampant in AA. You dont have to buy into it. Please take care of yourself and go where you want in your life when your ready.

      • Danielle,

        By the way, for the most part; I did take what I want and left the rest. However, I ended up being frustrated and unsure of myself for many years. If I had it to do over I would do just what I did, absent the guilt and the doubt.. Having that confidence would have been a great benefit. Sites like this were not available to me and may have made a difference. Abstinence or moderation: deep down we all know what right for us individually.

  46. To Abstain or Not to Abstain…Ain’t That the Question?

    Well, if I had listened to the people on this site I would have not almost just killed myself. A few of you posted that one ought not to try Moderation until being off of alcohol for at least a year. Did I listen? Now that would be quite unlike me. I read an outline of HAMS Harm Reduction and came up with a nice little drinking schedule that seemed to really be working UNTIL I broke my own parameters. I literally almost killed myself just before Christmas. That is what I do. That is why my sponsor hates me and wants me to be an example of “one who dies so that others may live.”

    Still, since she fired me suddenly, I have decided to just keep searching and trying to Find My Way… I think AA is a “must-be” for those for whom it is. They decide. AS for me, I MUST look into other alternatives. It is my choice and I choose to choose. We all have Free-Will and no one can take it from us without our consent. Powerless? Sorry, I just ain’t feelin it. I am not asking for sympathy or condemnation. Every time I drink; I decide to do it. Do or Die. The sh!ts on me.

    (Again, my question: If oldtimers REALLY feel that this is a disease why do they get so upset and condemning of the “relapse” who they teach has no control over this deadly disease? We know why; they know why…anyway…)

    What the F happened?

    My oldest son came over to visit with some comedy he wanted me to watch. I said, “Okay!” Then I was feeling like a nice beer would go good with the show, right? So, I asked him to go get me a beer. His already pie-like brown eyes got HUGE!

    “You should NOT be drinking, right, Mama?”

    I go, “No…it’s fine. I have been doing HAMS Harm Reduction. I can have 1 to 3 drinks of wine or beer, but no more than 9 drinks per week. I NEVER drink vodka except on Mondays (my meeting day with my ex sponsor) and even then I NEVER can have more than half a pint. So….I can have a beer today…”


    “It’s fine, Son!”

    “If my brother finds out that I got you something to drink he is goin to hate me after what he says you’ve been through…” my oldest son says. You see, he lives on his own. His brother still lives with me and has seen some “scary” scenes within the past 24 months prior to my joining AA.

    “I’m fine. Look…” I take out my empties from a bag I have stuffed under the kitchen cupboard. “I’ve already been having a beer or wine here and there. Nothing bad has happened. I have not binged. I have not blacked out or been hung-over…”

    “I don’t know Mama…” he says scratching his head. I know all I have to do his calm his worries and get my way.

    “I’m fine, Hon. Go get Mama a beer,” I say smiling confidently.

    Then he says, “Well, if I get you a beer, I’mma get myself some vodka,” what the hell did he say THAT for?!

    I said, “Well, today is not my vodka day…”

    “That’s cool. I’ll get your beer and a half pint for me,” he announces resolutely.

    “Well, screw that! Get a pint and we’ll split it…” (What a good mother I am, right? He is over 25 but I still need to be a better example. I wish I was. My other grown children do not drink at all, but this oldest one…he unfortunately inherited or has chosen to adopt some bad family habits.) Vodka is my drug of choice. I had no place even contemplating using it—even in moderation, I have busted my ass over some vodka and I damned well know it. But on I go…

    We split the pint. It was fine. We watched the shows and all would have been fine until I got the INSPIRATIONAL idea to go out and buy another pint.

    I am an azz hole.

    We drank that. He left and I think I just kept on drinking. I bought more and more. I took myself to some surreal place of moribund pre-death. I was not “drunk”…. I was not sober. I was just dying and continuing to sip vodka. It was horrible. One can only know what I am talking about IF one has been to this shadow place.

    From somewhere within me I heard a voice say, “Pour it out!”


    “Pour it out!”

    There was like an entire pint of poison left for me to consume. I have no hesitation in telling you that had I ingested it, I would be dead right now. I know this. I poured it out and spent the next 3 days trying to pull myself back from the edge of life and death. Again, this was no hangover…

    It was The Valley of the Shadow of Death.

    Tonight is the first time I have been able to somewhat function. The taste in my dry mouth has still not returned. My brain feels like it is a bit joggled and unattached within its shell. I have slight chest discomfort. But I feel 1000% better than I have been feeling. I think I am going to live through this one.

    I am going to eat and continue with my herbal teas and Motrin. There will be no further HAMS or Moderation for me at this time. I am going to go to a SMART Recovery meeting and see if I can get some actionable support in my decision build a program of abstinence in my life that works for me.

    I have a life that is worth saving and living…I intend to do my best to do that.

    My goal starting 2013 is to investigate as many other alternatives that strike me as potentially viable as I possibly can. I shall use my God-given intellectual capacity to make informed decisions for myself and trust that God in Good Wisdom, gave me this brain in order that I should use it. Educate myself. Empower myself. Be myself and live my life without reliance on external “suggestions”, keepers, controllers or gurus. If I did not have the power to that–well, I could not do it, now could I?

    Thank you again for this site. It is a Godsend. I have decided that my first article for my website will be on Karla Brada, raising money for her parent’s suit and making people aware of the potential dangers that await newcomers to AA meetings.

    Please feel free to share any national numbers or statistics on the number of murders, molestations, rapes and suicides wherein AA, NA or other 12 step programs may be contributing factors. I back every statement with facts in anticipation of attacks.

    • Ill be free- sorry it went this way for you. DO you drink water at least 8 oz after every drink? The young people who drink now tell me this is very important to do after each drink.

      Have you read Dr Marc Kerns book , TAKE CONTROL NOW. He is a moderation guy but even for someone who is going for abstinence. He deals with so many other underlying issues. I have a family member who was drinking heavy, especially when drinking the hard stuff. It was amazing to see the change.

      I personally never had a hard time stopping. I stopped at 18 by myself 2 weeks before I went to my first AA meeting. I wanted to never drink again. I was weird!!!!LOL I was fed up . DONE.

      I agree with you. Only you know what is right for you. I deal with alot of younger people from the blogs and my sons ages 22 and 18 who have not ben brainwashed by AA. They do not want AA or to be abstinent for life.

      I hope you keep us up to date on what you find. What program or books help you the most.

      In my opinion, if one is indoctrinated in AA , they should wait a year or two and be deprogrammed before taking even a sip of anything.
      This generation, I predict will bring Moderation into the mainstream .

    • illbefree,

      Maybe if you still feel the need to get intoxicated; dont drink at all. I know that feeling and the need to feel numb. Hangovers are no joke, they are very painful in many ways. I heard someone say once on the blogs: “I just didnt want to hurt myself anymore.” That one simple statement had a big influence on me. I thought; If I choose to drink without being fully aware that I dont ever want to hurt myself again, then its not the right time. Ive hurt myself more than enough in my life. I hope you feel better. Be kind to yourself. Dont hurt yourself! 🙂

  47. Hank Hayes and Amy Lee Coy have abstinent based support books that are fantastic as well. FROM DEATH DO I PART by Amy Lee COY, she was a very heavy alcohol drinker. Great self care approach. But Smart has really great meetings and great daily online daily chat meetings.

    I was not able to read all of your post yet I will tonight. IN both Hank and amy’s book they talk about great supplements to help with bad hangover and they are both into foods that really help too.

  48. Thank you all so much. Yes, I do need to read–really READ the books that you have suggested instead of just skimming thru the outlines. I did not do HAMS properly.

    Yes, AntiDenial… I was ONLY drinking vodka on Monday nights which was the night that I had my regular meeting with my ex sponsor. I have not been to a meeting since the one I went to that Sunday when she fired me.

    I just need to grow the f up. Of course, I do not need to be drinking vodka right now. I am still in shock and trauma; reeling from the sudden emotional shock of one I thought a true friend and confidante suddenly rejecting me; my greatest fear (almost).

    After my ex sponsor fired me, I just wanted to rebel like a child and just drink and not die like she and AA predicted. I know it can be done. Others have done it and are doing it, but I do not know how to do that–YET. I am still in the “sick-phase” of my relationship with alcohol. I do not believe it has to be this way FOREVER as The Fellowship preaches, but it is the “sick-phase-of-alcohol” for me right now. I so, so WISH it wasn’t.

    I enjoy it…until I don’t.

    Yes, Massive, I have reado about the water drinking technique. It makes sense. If I ever try HAMS or Moderation again, I will definately employ that. You’re right. I think young people will certainly start to get a real handle on drinking in ways that do not kill us if they never have to be poisoned by AA-witchery.

    I like that Sue: “I just didnt want to hurt myself anymore.” I just have to make sure that that is a true statement coming from me. The underlying issues with childhood molestation, rape and suicide likely motivate some of my self-destructive behavior without my even being 100% aware of it at times. I need to just stay away from alcohol. AA or no AA, I am ill equipped to handle it right now.

    I will become more active with SMART and begin to read literature other than the AA stuff I have been reading over and over for almost two years. It’s got me all screwed up; and I was already screwy when those freaks got to me. LOL

    Thanks y’all!

    • It is a good idea to let your body heal from all of the alcohol. It does hurt the liver as I am sure you are well aware of. Do you take
      vitamins? Some people feel better as well trying to exercise more, eating better and other holistic ways to take care of yourself after stopping drinking.

      You mentioned suicide, do you mean suicide attempts or other experiences with it in the past?

  49. Yes, AntiDenial…getting with a more healthy, holistic diet and exercise program will only help. I am always admonished by friends and family to take better care of myself. I am an avid walker, though I have not felt up to it lately and the weather has changed…but I’ll get back to it. I feel so much better when I am active physically. I have never been a big eater but when I do I love fresh veggies, some fruit, nuts. Every now & again I might indulge in a lil junk with a friend of my kids… Pizza is my weakness. 🙂 And I will NEVER lay of my Dear Chocolate! SMILE

    I grew up in a home where my father was physically violent towards my mother on a regular basis. She is the sensitive artist type and only wanted to be loved. She attempted suicide a few times. I know now the poor thing was just crying for REAL HELP that never came. I have vivid memories from being a toddler of her rocking back and forth on the floor crying and saying, “Oh we’re gonna die… We’re gonna die… We’re gonna die…” as her tear drops fell atop my head.

    I felt/feel so sorry for my poor mother. I have childhood memories of her being carried out on stretchers. I remember her being gone and then returning home from (mental ward) and acting very strange and spacey. She was made to suffer so. I have always just wanted to help her, love her and make it better for her. I was just a kid though. What could I do?

    Later in life, my alcohol abusing boyfriend broke into my house and attacked me when I was 17. I had tried to help him because he had suffered awful abuse as a child; scars all up and down his back from abuse at the hands of his father when he was a little kid. I tried to love him, but what could I do?

    Hurt people, hurt people.

    I attempted suicide after that at the age of 17.

    A year later, I was pregnant.

    I vowed to never take my child, then children thru what I went thru with my mother. So, I stopped with the suicidal tendencies. I just pushed myself to cope with life the best way that I could. I married my best friend who turned out to be an awful, angry young man. He took his frustration out on our babies and me. He was addicted to perverted sex. As his wife I felt I was supposed to submit, but as a survivor of childhood molestation and rape as a teenager, how could I submit to sexual torture?
    I began drinking at night in preparation for bed so that I could just let him do whatever he wanted to me…and be happy. Of course that never made him happy either. His emotional and sexual abuse just got worse and worse until I had to divorce him and save my children and I from a hellish life.

    I enjoyed being a divorced woman, going to school and discovering PARTYING with hot, wealthy men. Oh I had a GREAT time! But…

    “Life is just a party and parties weren’t meant to last!” –1999

    My drinking did not get bad — really bad until just a few years ago. I honestly believed that the people in AA were sincere and that they could help me. I tried to do what they told me to do…but something in me KNEW that they were full of it. They answered my questions with non sequiturs, slogans and pre-programmed jargon. These people, though they covered themselves in that outer-shell of faux “niceness” really gave me the creeps sometimes. And I saw how mean they could be to members who were hurting in the beginning. My sponsor told me it was because alcoholics could not be allowed to wallow in self-pity. They had to be shocked or knocked out of it. It just seemed mean-spirited and like bullying to me. They said a LOT of stupid sh!t. They began to look like Emptied-Out-Cabbage-Heads to me.

    I never appreciated being treated as if I was mentally retarded. That was my proof that they were the ones who were intellectually compromised.

    It is unfortunate that some people think that an individual is stupid, unintelligent simply because she struggles with alcohol. I am not dumb. I can see through bullspit (even my own) from a mile away. Even drinking does not dull my perception often as much as I wish it would.

    I have often wished that I could just be dim witted and sheep-like as most human beings strike me as being; to just be able to follow along like blind lemmings to the sea. I envy that blissful ignorance sometimes. One cannot wish herself into bliss though. Drinking doesn’t do it. A pill won’t grant it. And jumping into AA and trying REAL HARD to just Stop Thinking and bow down to The God of Alcohol will not cut it either.

    I am here for a Purpose.

    My Purpose just does not include Mindlessness, Powerlessness & Ignorance.


    So, tired sometimes….

    • illbefree- this is a very hard and intense story you have been through. You have a real ability to write and tell your story so well. Its so painful. Im so sorry you went through so much.

      I had a lot of violence in my home when I was a teen. It was not fun. I went through years of really good therapy with a therapist that specialized in childhood abuse. Those years I went to a minimal of AA meetings. When my kids were little I went to meetings just once a month for years at members homes. So I had no idea how AA was declining those years. I read so many non AA books that helped me heal.

      Its sounds like you are figuring out what you need to do. I understand that you are choosing abstinence now. Be kind to yourself. Love your kids. And don’t listen to the AA shit that might still be roaming around in your head. Thats why deprogramming is so important. I deprogrammed while I went the last 10 months. Then I realized how deep the brainwashing is. This past summer I went thru some stuff and I could see there was still some AA crap still in there.

      It’s gone now, but in April it will be 2 years that I left. However, I created a radio show to express myself and get IT OUT!!!. I created 2 blogs. I was so mad. I was so …..angry I had stayed so long.

      But Im free now. But I am very involved in the anti AA activism as part of my healing from the damage the cult of AA did to me and my children.

      I also feel AA is now going after youth and teens and college students because the adult population knows about AA and its not being fooled anymore. We all really need to do our part to Stop this. Sick pedophiles are going to AA to get their free piece of …not even a cup of coffee, not even a dinner date. And these date rapes never get reported. They are laughing at AA women.

      Its a disgrace. Anyway…..you take care and be well.

      • You are a Godsend Massive!

        The work you are doing is making a very significant difference. Being able to communicate with you all has helped me transition from my daily communication with my sadistic ex sponsor. At first I did not know how I was going to possibly get on without her. She and Granny got me good! I even considered doing as she instructed and getting another sponsor, but I knew better. Fool me once…

        Sometimes things that look as if they are meant to hurt us are actually blessings in disguise meant to help us. It is all just a matter of perspective.

        Your blog, the education, information and support I have gotten here has been a real help and validation of what I have experienced. Without all of you here I would be left with doubts about my ability to think and a bunch of AA BS floating around my psyche. You have assisted me from going further into the pain that AA and my sponsors willingly and knowingly set me up for. I once thought they were angels; now I know that they are quite the opposite. You just do not do to a vulnerable person what they did to me unless you are either consciously or unconsciously wicked. They are demons or they are zombies; I’ll have nothing to do with either. Thank you!

        Sometimes I still can hear their dung-crap BB-BS preaching to me from the corner of my mind, but at least I can recognize it for what it is—thanks in large part to you all.

        I have been a writer since I first could string words together; which was at a very young age. Reading and writing were often my only escape from a harsh reality. As such, I do believe that The Power of the Pen is very real.

        AA should teach its members to respect other human beings. They have disrespected and harmed the wrong people in us on blogs like these all over the country Massive. You are a writer and a powerful activist. I am too. Prior to AA my motivation was to help survivors of childhood molestation and rape; I even have a book I started working on. (My sponsor “suggested” that I stop working on my book and just study program materials because she said I was “not ready”…I needed to STOP THINK says she. IDIOCY!)

        Now I realize that the substance abuse component is HUGE here. Many people who have been molested and/or raped end up dealing with substance abuse issues. If these people end up going to AA as did, well, it is the 100% WRONG place for a survivor to be.

        AA is primarily a place for abusers, misusers, perpetrators and the like. It is geared toward helping people who have done horrible things (to usually women and children) to make amends for their sins.

        And the fact that it puts this population in direct contact with mandated offenders is even more egregious. I just never imagined. I honestly believe that my getting an in depth perspective into AA was Divine Intervention.

        I needed to know what I know now.

        I am a writer and a counselor…a woman of letters & author of books. This is POWERFUL. There is not now, nor will there be anything “powerless” about me.

        I CHOOSE to be an integral component of bringing The Real AA and what it does to women, teens and children to light. I am as dedicated to this now as my sponsor–excuse me, ex sponsor is to making sure that AA goes on long after she is gone.

        I would like her and the other old timers to live long enough to see The REAL AA brought into the Light and made Accountable for its practices, abuses, bullying tactics, lies, molestation, exploitation, rapes and murders.

        I want the public to be made aware of what AA really is. They think it is just a nice, benign little support group with professional facilitators or something. They have no idea it is more like One Flew Over the Damned CooCoo’s Nest… but they will.

        My first project is helping with the fundraising for the Karla Brada case.

        After that I will focus on HOW we will make sure that every church-goer in America realizes that they are putting their churches in jeopardy due to the potential for AA meetings shootings and predators coming to their church.

        If American parishioners realized that the potential for shootings are being harbored in their church homes…oh…oh…oh….now that will bring on Holy Hell–especially with what is going on in our country today. Yo

        You see?

        Thanks Massive

        • illbefree- thank you soooo much! When I read posts like this it makes up for all the trolls and all the shit and every bit of crap I endured while being a GSR the last 2 years I spent in AA.

          I read your post outloud to my husband again and he made alot of WOW’s as I read! 🙂

          Im headed out by Ill BB later to write more. What a great F######king post.

          @ AA is primarily a place for abusers, misusers, perpetrators and the like. It is geared toward helping people who have done horrible things (to usually women and children) to make amends for their sins.

          Yup ! Exactly! I am with you 100%. They are hiding in the shadows in rooms where people who come innocently both through the courts, High school health teachers and Stupid movies like FLight and have no idea who they are holding hands with.

          I hope we get to talk in the new year. makeaasafer@gmail.com

        • Ah Ha! You are a writer! It was evident in your writing skills. This movement could use an excellent, gifted writers like yourself. I am glad this site has helped you through such a difficult time.

          There is a new website http://www.theaachurch.com that also talks about what you pointed out in your comment about the dangers the churches are bringing upon themselves by renting space to AA and NA and SA.

          Another point they really focus on is the fact that AA is a pagan religion telling people to pick any Higher Power of your choosing. AA is religious, but they are NOT a Christian religion. Many pastors have no idea that AA is a pagan religion or that criminals are mandated to AA. Considering the churches have had there own problems with sex abuse, they have no business allowing mandated level 3rd level sex offenders to be under their roof WITHOUT supervision and knowledge. Many churches have childcare and schools. Some also rent to Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts while renting out space to sexaholics anonymous et al.

  50. Hello, everyone. Wow. I am so happy I found this page tonight. I left AA last April after 5-1/2 years of a miserable existence where I lost all my real friends, and the ones I made who weren’t in the program thought I had a real stick up my ass. Throughout the years I went through different kinds of therapy that helped me to realize the underlying reasons why I felt the need to drown my feelings in alcohol to begin with. Does AA do that? NO. They tell you you’re diseased and powerless, but it’s still your fault because you’re a selfish, self-centered worm not worthy of a good life because of all the stuff you have to make up for. GOD. I hate those people! I have been drinking socially since I left, and today went to a blues bbq place with some friends and had two beers. Guess what. The whole time I was sitting there, a guy I had met a few times in AA meetings was glaring down the back of my neck, standing against the wall, looking all hateful and giving me dirty looks! These are sick f*cking people, and I just wish I didn’t have to see any of them out on the streets anymore. Thanks for letting me vent here. 🙂


  51. HI Lori . Welcome Welcome!!!! you said “They tell you you’re diseased and powerless, but it’s still your fault because you’re a selfish, self-centered worm not worthy of a good life because of all the stuff you have to make up for.”

    So well put. I had to read this to my husband. He was blown away. He is still de programming. He hasn’t been to a meeting in 7 months and only attended 3 in the previous year. I left in May 2011. after 36 friggen years….I loved loved it.

    I talked to a guy who left AA who lived in WEHO which is filled with steppers. He told me countless stories like this.

    OMG The guy starring you down giving you those dirty looks. They are truly so F#####ked up.

    Again, glad you found us. http://www.expaa.org is another ex stepper site.

  52. I went to a party last night and sipped one half glass of red wine and instantly got a headache. It’s been almost 24 hours since consumption and it’s still there. I just Googled red wine headache and found this is a common condition in some people. I will never as long as I live drink red wine again; I am not powerless, compulsive, or diseased. One to three fingers of Marie Duffau Armagnac and/ or European Eau De Vie makes me feel better in the morning compared to prolonged non consumption. My objectives as a moderate drinker are; reduced anxiety and relaxation, improved sleep, connoisseurship, and improved health.
    I am finding moderate planned tobacco consumption less enjoyable. I am thinking that I may create a minimum interval for tobacco consumption without planned usage. Perhaps vague longer intervals of use will be as enjoyable as when I started Tobacco moderation. If tobacco moderation continues to feel unhealthy to me I will discard it. So far alcohol has provided much higher benefit than costs, even with unsuccessful experimentations such as that with red wine.

  53. hi anon= sorry to hear about the reaction to red wine for you, but it seems you have beverages that you like with no ill effect. Thanks for the continue postings about your positive experience. 🙂 Happy New Year.

    My son switched to e cigs. The Vapor Spot in los Angeles has lots of no cigarette choices that many are finding to be helpful.

  54. I am able to stop smoking cold turkey for the detox period which is just over twenty days. I have done this over a dozen times so it is easy; once the detox period is over the compulsive desire to smoke is gone. E-cigarettes would delay my detox because they contain nicotine.
    Happy New Year and thanks for the support!

  55. The e cigs they sell at the vapor spot have 0 – light- med – strong – nicotine. Sounds like you are fine without them. But I thought I would post this anyway in case someone here was having trouble with quitting real cigs. Happy New Year!!!

  56. General observation:
    I have noticed that when I stop smoking for an extended abstinence period, that the cravings I have are simply brief thoughts and feelings similar to those felt in an optimal tobacco use induced state. The cravings could be described as romantic thoughts of pleasurable using. In the past I have called these thoughts and feelings my addiction. For me they have more power when unidentified or examined. To simply label them addiction lends power and confusion to my mental process. I do not know how to treat addiction but do know how to react to thoughts and feelings.
    With alcohol moderation the thought is much more easily disregarded, probably because I don’t drink to intoxication. With tobacco the chemical action is much more subtle than with alcohol and frequent use is more socially accepted. Therefore it is much easier to develop tolerance.
    At a 20+ day tobacco abstinence interval I have noticed that the thoughts are far less intense and not backed with the feelings similar to flashbacks of an optimal intoxicated state. At this point I have a choice whether or not to use that is not based on the flashback or romantic use feeling. These are the only differences I see between physical and mental addiction; both are centered in the brain but the initial stronger desire typically called physical addiction substantially dissipates after a complete detoxification. This brings me to my experience regarding levels of wanting to and deciding to use a potentially dangerous substance. Using abusively or dependently after detox in my case would be a conscious choice based on some perceived benefit and not a compulsion to use. I clearly remember deciding to abuse alcohol in the past because of feelings of hopelessness and futility, today I am deciding to use without damage. I should not neglect to mention that the levels of manageability in a moderation program could change should I drink to impairment because of mental incapacitation or damage.

    • Anon- great observance around this. Have you considered contacting a University nearby to see who is doing research around this and adding your study of yourself to the mix? I mean around both smoking and drinking successfully in moderation.

      • Your blog is the university of experience, life, and caring; unadulterated by editors and scholars who use formula and correctness to perpetrate their special interest.

  57. Realizing that dangerous belief systems in AA can cause a negative reaction gave me an idea. In my above posts I have tried to be objective about moderation and my predictable reactions to it. I am formulating new beliefs with my objective being healthy outcome while moderating. Here is a belief that I have began to embrace; cravings to drink or smoke before my predetermined abstinence period is over can be perceived as good feelings. A craving or mild withdrawal symptom can be seen as a romantic idea or flashback to a pleasant using experience that passes quickly. When I look at abstinence days in this way they are enjoyable. Keep in mind that I am not drinking to intoxication and that I am smoking at 20 day intervals. Abstinence days and sober consumption are paramount to my moderation program.
    January 17th is five months of successful moderate drinking and over a year and five months of successful tobacco moderation since leaving AA.
    Keep not coming back!
    Thanks to your help I am learning to drink and use tobacco in a sustainable health concious ways!

  58. After 22 years abstinent in AA I started drinking again in moderation about 3 months ago. I have not once gotten drink or even came close. Two or three drinks is enough and that is only a few days a week. I have matured out of the crazy drinking I did as a kid. I was basically forced into AA when I was 25 and liked not drinking. I did whatever was asked of me and have no regrets. Stopping drinking changed the course of my life for the better but I was never really an alcoholic. As far as I knew at the time it was the only option I had. It never occurred to me to moderate. The longer I stayed in AA the less sense it made to me but it was all I knew. It finally got to the point where I realized that this was not how I wanted to live my life. After that almost everything in AA seemed complete nonsense other than the fellowship. The fellowship of about 5 or 6 guys is the only that kept me going. Now I am on the outs with all the AAs I once counted as friends but I am having a great time being a normal human being. The freedom from all the constant introspection and self flagellation has been the biggest gift. This blog is cool and I was happy to see there are others like me who are doing just fine. It’s tough un-brainwash.

      • Enjoying a nice drink (gasp!) is fun! I’ve been drunk once I guess. But that’s OK, because I’m not a minor. I got to choose to take a couple of hours for myself and just relax. I stayed home and enjoyed a movie and did not go out and drive like an idiot asking for trouble, or worse actually being forced to go to AA.

        Most of the time I don’t even want more than one. Moderation is the opposite of powerlessness, blame and infantile rejection of full responsibility for choices.

    • JPW- Im sorry I missed this post.

      SO glad you found us and that you too are moderating easily and effortlessly. Anon has been documenting what he is doing, but its nice to hear even another success story with leaving AA and moderation being easy.

  59. So I have a couple of questions: what’s a good program to check out if you:
    A. have been abstinent from your drug of choice (pills) and have no problem drinking in moderation
    B. Did a lot of damage to ppl during your period of abusing prescription pills (stealing, lying, etc.)
    C. Cannot go to one of the anonymous fellowships because you don’t believe in the dogma, and you are not, in their eyes, abstinent from all drugs if you enjoy a beer or glass of wine now and then…

    I definitely have some work to do on myself and some apologies to make, but I don’t think the 12 step approach is right for me – I don’t want to sit in those meetings and listen to them tell me I’m using when I believe in my heart and soul I’m not. At the same time, I need some help cleaning up the damage I did, so I need a “sort of” spiritual program to get right with my past. Any suggestions?

    I love this site and thank you all so much for your support and great advice!

    • I like HAMS and MM, both moderation programs.
      Educate yourself, there is no magical cure or answer, everyone is individual.
      Read the whole thread, ask questions, and then decide what YOU are capable of doing for yourself.

      • Thanks Massive. Your replies are always kind and compassionate and friendly. Lord knows ex- steppers can use a little of that!

        Definitely not looking for a magical cure, and I have read the entire site. Asking questions is the stage I’m in now. Thanks to those of you with kind replies!

    • In my case finding a good therapist who was willing to work with me on moderation was invaluable. It just helps to have a person to be honest with that is not going to judge me for attempting this. Most won’t do this. They subscribe to AA voodoo and won’t hear of anything but abstinence.

      • jpw- yes so true. We need to make a pamphlet that we send out to therapists and Dr and lawyers and Indian chiefs about other options and that AA is not working and is dangerous.

        ANYONE wanna help me in a few weeks. Im editing my footage and shooting my lat 6 interviews for my film. I did pitch my idea to the head of SUNDANCE FILM Festival last night . That was fun!!!!!

  60. Today is a good day to check into ye ole Moderation forum for an update. Moderate drinking after 35 years exposure and 15 years abstinence in AA? No problem what so ever. No signs of disease, compulsion, and no aspiration for self inflicted incarceration in the AA concentration camp, Stalag 12.
    I have alcohol in the house and little desire to drink it. Occasionally it’s fun to have a drink and even get a bit tipsy. It’s not fun to drink every day or feel tired after even the slightest excess.
    I guess my point is this; drinking and tobacco are enjoyable unless they cause an ill feeling. I have no desire to use either through that point.

  61. I went out to eat the other day with an old-timer friend with deep roots in AA. Three of the five members at the table admitted to using either weed, hallucinogens and or prescription drugs to ease anger. All take cakes in AA; all are well adjusted, successful, and wealthy.

    • anon- Interesting. Why dont they just have a glass of wine. Or like you are doing. Why is it okay with them to do one but not the other. Im glad they are and Im glad you are here to speak the truth but AA is such a F**King …they are just such hypocrites. Yea thats the word.

      Its not a real place. Its filled with illusions.

      Thank you so much for telling us this. my hubbie loves your posts:)

      • I am glad to know you both, and even gladder you both escaped AA in time to be with your children. I missed my daughter’s school years because of AA meetings. If I could go back I would have a meeting with my child every day instead of going to an AA meeting (nearly every day). I would spend the time teaching her interesting facts that I have learned. I would expose her to art, science, cooking, camping, archery, lawn bowling, every thing I could fathom.

        • I’m glad you escaped too! Don’t be so hard on yourself! I once almost lost my job because I was late. I was “accepting some responsibility” returning a meeting room key to someone that I had to wait around for and to a meeting that no one goes to. I was shouted into it the night before. Yeah, being “responsible” almost cost me my job! I had to face reality in the face. And it felt surprisingly good.

          I just knew then that I’d finally “hit bottom” and quit. And it’s been all up hill ever since. Should have thrown that stupid key in the trash. That’s my only regret.

    • The first question that came to my mind was; whats the reason for taking a cake in AA? If they gave up the other substances (hallucinogens, weed) would they take separate cakes.? Maybe the reasoning behind it is; they take a cake for the substance they are not capable of moderating? I thought taking a cake meant you did not use any mind altering substances. Just a curious question

      • I have lots of questions about the reasoning for what people do in AA. I’ve thought deep and hard about most of it. Don’t even ask. Most of it makes no sense what so ever is the only answer to any question you could have about it.

        If they are taking some sort of cake for something, it is clearly some form of self(ish) celebration and I doubt there is no real utility for this embarrasing behavior.

        • I always thought it was selfish and ego driven to keep track of sober time, it’s clearly against the written principals of AA. Strangely the group of old timers I was recently with who all take pills and smoke weed claimed to have double digit sobriety. One of them had lots of important stuff to say, his unyielding philosophy lecture threw me into a coma. I became tired and short of breath, my gaze turned to a stare and my stomach became a bit upset. I am sure that is what someone means when they say “you make me sick”.

          • hey anon, I think I knew this creep…oh that’s right…there’s so many of them …Especially at The Pacific Group or in Hollywood.

          • Yeah, I know him too. Literally to wonder if there is anti-nausea around from simply coming into contact with such a person is a very strong indication that they should best be avoided.

            Medals and accolades for not drinking alcohol. There’s no words for that.

        • Massive,

          Thanks for the response and i think you might be right. He said;
          ” Three of the five members at the table admitted to using either weed, hallucinogens and or prescription drugs to ease anger. All take cakes in AA; all are well adjusted, successful, and wealthy.”

          Now, they use (seem to moderate) substance that I would not even consider; yet they still feel a need for a pat on the back for not using alcohol. Is it ego or brainwashed and fearful to of run your own life and leave AA. After all they are successful and wealthy. Maybe they like the fellowship. What ever works in your life. To each his own.

          When I posed the questions to Anon; I was truly curious.

          • sue- sure thing. 🙂 honestly, I dont know how they stomach listening to Chapter 5 …it became impossible for me to sit thru it the last few months. Its such crap. Yet some guys just like hanging with the “dudes” the Bros. The women are different. They are icy. They can be so cold, so condescending.

            Whatever….its all about the ego. Its bullshit. All of it.

  62. Pingback: Abstinence vs Moderation Are AA Members Lying, smoking weed, etc… and even Drinking and Still Taking Cakes? | Leaving AA

  63. I spent the day with a friend yesterday who is deprogramming from AA. We had a great conversation in which he asked me to share my experience. My experience is this; it took me a year of blogging with others who had departed AA to eliminate the brainwashing and become comfortable with my own thoughts. He told me that he wasn’t considering drinking at this time because he was still quite confused from the AA experience. I think it’s very good that he is cautious about his situation and willing to explore open-mindedness. I also think it is good that he is remaining abstinent while he does this chore. Adopting the AA philosophy took years so it stands to reason that repairing the damage could also take considerable time.
    I did not drink yesterday however I may have a drink this evening after all of my obligations and family responsibilities are complete.

  64. anon- GLad to hear your friend has you to talk with. I was thinking today of writing a book called Deprogramming from The of 12 step cult and its culture. WHat would a book like that read like. There have been incredible posts written here , and on stinking thinkin etc. One I found today and brought the link here.

    Maybe we can all list our favorite books and /or blogs.

    * orange papers was first
    *Stinkin thinkin was next. Blogging was as important as reading others posts.
    * Seeing the stupidity of AA members behavior in the Westside District Meetings area 05 in Los Angeles, help me see them for the fools they are.
    Stinkin thinkin community pages were huge for communicating at a more private level. They came and went but I was there for it.
    * Gunthars radio show. From that I created mine.
    * Creating my stop13stepinaa blog. WOW those early stories and private emails I got were eye opening and so bad.
    * Stanton Peele’s Addiction Proof Your CHild. MUST read for parents.

    Was there a book or blog that helped you?

    • ST helped me the most because the participants gave me feedback. OP was troll dominated. LAA is best for me now, the only thing that could make it better would be more genuine AA’s posting who question the AA program. I would not have read a book.

  65. Rebecca Fransway (I think thats her name) wrote AA Horror Stories. That was what initially gave me the wake up. i don’t think she is on the scene so much anymore. But historically it was an important piece of work.

  66. One of the best things about stinkin-thinkin was the humour. It was very interactive and could be outright hilarious at times. I think it was Ilse’s talent as a writer that really set the tone. She really is very good. But most of all I miss SoberPJ. He taught me a lot and made me LMFAO. Wherever you are in the world man I wish you the best.

      • Hey! Stick around! I am finding it harder to deprogram than I thought it would be. I am finding it helpful to blog again. Maybe thats just the way it is. I have to vent. Doesn’t mean much but helps me. I repeat… sky daddy is an asshole.

    • Steve,

      Stinkin thinkin helped me in many ways. It was interactive with a lot of heart to heart discussions and very supportive. Neither one; Ilse or Mark, had ever been to AA but they sure seem to understand.
      Im sorry they had to cut it off so abruptly and Im sure they had their reasons. I guess I was being selfish and still at a point where I needed what the blog had to offer. We all have to accept things and move on. It was difficult for me at the time; because I was still searching for that reassurance we all need when we have been exposed to AA for any length of time. Unless you accept it.

      Hey, I agree; SoberPj was the best. She/He knew how to make lemonade out of lemons. I too LMAO.

        • Nope. I do not believe so. Ilse and Mark just started up a blog and it really took off. But they took a very intelligent and considered look at the whole subject. The essential reading there really is “essential reading.”
          I may be wrong. They may have popped into a few meetings but I do not believe that they were ever steppers. I miss it a lot now.

          • yuk and steve. I think Steve is right. I know Ilse for sure was not and even Mark was not but I think Mark went into a few meetings with a friend once in a blue.
            I miss http://www.stinkin-thinkin.cim too. WHat a great blog. I was still a stepper when I first arrived. Drinking 1/2 the koolaid. Do you remember that video that a blogger posted where he was shooting his BB with a gun and he video taped it and posted it on youtube? I was laughing so hard.

            I met Ryan on that site. Hopefully when Ilse finishes her book which is so important to what we are all doing she will bring it back. I Hope!

  67. I wonder why overeater’s anonymous which is obviously a moderation program hasn’t spurred other twelve step moderation groups for drinking, gambling, sex, and other similar delicious human activities.

  68. Hello everyone. Remember me? I posted a while back though I haven’t in a while but I still read this often. I am making a wonderful pasta dinner this evening and will be complimenting the meal with a glass of wine or two. I love that since I stopped listening to steppers I am easily able to drink one or two glasses of wine or other alcoholic beverage and then stop. Totally normal. I never have more than 2 normal sized drinks and I only maybe 3 times a week. I have a great life.

    • Wow Snow!

      THAT ROCKS! Good for you. Now that truly does sound like a great life indeed. You can eat, drink in your own moderation and enjoy life as an autonomous adult. I LOVE it.

      People who moderate successfully are my (s) heroes…I know that sounds strange…but y’all are.

      Thanks for sharing that.

      And that is not to take ANYTHING away from successful abstainers at all. I really admire abstainers too…

      Adults being and living grown-up lives…THAT’s HOTT! 😀

      It’s just the pro-Steppin on people, people that I can’t abide.

        • Thanks so much Snow!

          I’m so glad you guys put up with me. Writing/journaling has always been healing for me…

          Really, connecting with you all here, blogging and having intelligent people willing to communicate back with me has been my saving grace. For almost 2 years I was primarily communicating with my sponsor and grand sponsor and fulfilling an ongoing assignment to call at least 3 people from the Fellowship per day and color in my coloring book every time I got the urge to THINK or DRINK. (Yes, color in my coloring book! )

          Can you IMAGINE?!

          It is so encouraging to hear that you are able to live as an adult, have a lil wine with dinner and it not be a catastrophic event.

          Please keep sharing your success. Their BS still lingers in my brain, though it is lessening… Reports like yours really help to hear…

  69. Anon, I have wondered about OA myself. It has to be a moderation program, not abstinence because if you don’t eat, you die. Over eating, like over drinking, is not a disease, it is a behavior. Moderation is the way to go. Although, I heard one OA member proudly state that they have been abstinent for 3 months. I really wondered how that was possible but I did not ask.

  70. Overeaters anonymous?
    You are having a laugh.
    Today I have decided that I am powerless over oxygen and my life is unmanageable.
    Maybe if I am rigorously honest enough I can achieve lifetime abstinence.
    Goodbye cruel world.

  71. I wonder if this 12 step society has any dating problems.
    This one to me is like air and food. I am not a priest; I am not Jesus; why should I be celibate? Is physical contact with another person a slip? Is looking at someone wantonly a slip? I’ll pass on this program; laws, embarrassment, and my wife will keep me in line.
    Again, they claim TOTAL SEXUAL ABSTINENCE is the answer. I would think moderation help would be more appropriate for instinctual bodily function. But then again, who knows what dangers lurk in the parking lot of an SA meeting?

    Essay; what is a Sexaholic and what is Sexual Sobriety?

  72. Yeehaa!
    Sexual sobriety ???? WTF does that mean?
    I remember in the cult it often felt like you can leave here and never drink again but also you will never get laid again, now write me another fourth.
    Bleu be bleu.

  73. Interesting to read recently about a couple of celebs going down the moderation route. Bruce Willis is having a couple of wines with meals after 25 years total abstinence and Kelsey Grammar overcame a huge cocaine habit but still drinks with no known problems. Maybe there is hope for Hollywood after all.

    • Also Steve… As a part of my deprogramming process I started putting together videos that I discovered on YouTube and found helpful. I put them on my site because I wanted to share with others intending to deprogram.

      You may like one or some of them?

      There is a guided meditation that is set to play automatically on the site, but you can cut that off if you like and listen to any of the others. And if you have found any others that are helpful for people working to cleanse their minds of AA rhetoric, dogma and crap…please share. I will add them to the site…

      *** This is a General Question to whomever wants to answer: Why do people who LOVE AA continue to visit a site called “Leaving AA” and comment?

      Seriously, what is the ill?

      Wouldn’t it be better to be calling to “help” someone in The Fellowship…or calling one’s sponsor…or going to a meeting…or reading the 12 and 12… so many things that AA’s advise one to do toward enhancing one’s “sobriety”…

      I am sure going to anti-AA sites are just NOT topping the list of “suggested & approved” activities…

      I’m just asking…

      It’s not like their comments do anything but remind of of the people we choose to get away from… That …that…tone…that blindness and brainwashed ignorance to a THING…a thing that cares not for its members even…

      People can and will do as they please…it just AMAZES me…That’s all.


  74. The reall reason sites that this exist is that in the US in particualar anyone with a drink problem is told to “go to AA”. The organisation was never intended as a catch all for people with a drink problem but for people who found they could not control or moderate their drinking without a spiritual solution.

    The evangelical nonsense spouted at most meetings is harms the fellowship for people who are alcoholics of the hopeless variety who created the organisation in the first place

    • ANdrew- exactly. The problem is that AA went after teens as early as the 1960’s with speakers going into Catholic Schools to pitch their Bullshit evangelical crap.

      Then in the 70’s they made movies about AA… Sarah T Im a teenage alcoholic. Then they made TV show characters join AA.

      About 1 % of those who attend are real alcoholics. I bet 60 % of all could drink again normally if taught moderation and harm reduction techniques. http://www.hamsnetwork.org http://www.moderation.org

    • Here…here…Anon!

      My sponsor once proudly reported to me that some lady had just died at 49…but she DIED SOBER and had been sober for the last 5 years of her life.

      I guess I was supposed to say OOOH and AHHH…

      I said, “Screw that… If I’m gonna die soon, I may as well have a fluckin drink for shyt’s sake!”

      She just clicked her teeth and shock her big ol head.

      I didn’t have the guts to ask her if she’d heard about Bill Wilson begging for a drink on his death bed…

      Poor bastard!

      Little Known Facts About Bill W.

      I’m not saying folks ought to just keep on drinking. I think every adult must choose his or her own Path… But I know if a friggin asteroid was about to crash into the earth and destroy us all…you certainly will NOT find me in any AA meeting…

      I’d much rather have a drink in hand than be drinking the Kool-Aid and reading the Big Book of BS by Bill…just like his ass wanted.

      Ya feel me?

      • I detoxed from AA for 2 years before I took my first drink which evoked the feeling of a great weight lifted from my back. Unreasonable demands bring about stress and discomfort. That’s not serenity folks, that is bondage of self by self.
        I used to get terrible headaches that lasted 3 days at least two times a month. Not any more, tension gone.

  75. Gosh darn it, I forgot to celebrate 6 months of successful moderate drinking since leaving AA. Here it is; I have six months.
    -The drawbacks of drinking are easily controlled by moderating with abstinence days.
    -The benefits of drinking moderately far outweigh the drawbacks.
    *The only drawback I have experienced is dullness related to overconsumption or not enough abstinence days between drinks.
    *The benefits are as follows:
    My headaches are gone.
    I am more relaxed all the time.
    I am less reactionary.
    I am more objective about my behavior, decorum, and interaction with others.
    Cooking with alcohol is delicious.
    As a responsible adult so there is no reason I can’t enjoy drinking.
    I love shopping and trying new drinks that I have researched.
    The stress of self forced abstinence in AA is gone.
    I AM MORE INTERESTED IN MY FAMILY, instead of AA meetings and others.

    The biggest benefit that I have noticed is this. When I drink moderately, abstinence days are full of expanded consciousness similar to that experienced when sober in AA. I am very effective in this state so there is great incentive to moderate successfully so that this benefit is achieved.
    It appears to me that moderate alcohol consumption with abstinence days is biologically important to normal human function. I believe that complete abstinence for me is unnatural and incompatible with normal body and brain function.

    • LOVE IT! Congratulations ANON!!!!

      I love cooking with alcohol. But I have been doing it for over 20 years. SInce leaving I do cook more often with it. It makes great sauces.

          • Roasted Vegetables in Marinara sauce with Italian sausage and Marsala wine.

            Cut yellow squash, red bell pepper, and zucchini lengthwise and brush with olive oil, brown on BBQ.
            Skewer mushrooms and brush with olive oil and cook on BBQ
            Sauté chopped garlic and onions in pot with light oil.
            Add tomato paste, sauce, wine and canned chopped or BBQ roasted tomatoes to pot.
            In separate pan, grill sliced sweet or hot Italian sausage till brown and add to sauce.
            Season to taste with salt, pepper, oregano, bay leaf plus whole and ground fennel.
            Simmer for a couple of hours on low adjusting seasoning to taste.
            Half an hour before removing from heat add whole mushrooms and sliced fresh vegetables.

            Put in refrigerator covered overnight.

            Serve with warm bread and garlic olive oil parmesan roasted fennel on top of whole wheat spaghetti.

    • Anon,

      Lets leave AA out of the picture for just a moment. You must know that there are many who do not use alcohol and believe it is biologically a normal human function. Enjoying alcohol on any level is just not something they would consider and they live very normal lives.

  76. Only I can change my mind. When I was in AA I believed that my only options were recovery in the program or jails, institutions and death. I believed that I had an addictive personality and all the principals other AA’s taught me. Now that I am free and exploring more truthful criteria for personal beliefs I find my situation has changed. Deprogramming and the blog conversation has helped greatly in this process. Now I clearly am not addictive and willing to avail myself to all positive options and philosophies available. What I think is within my control so I have the power to change. I believe therefore it is true. These beliefs are based on reality so they are easy to accept.

    • .
      Hi anon, This is great stuff but are you getting giddy? As I read through the weeks, months of this A vs M heading, your talk of abstinence days caught my attention. Such metered usage implies deliberate control not “second nature.” Please square this with: “Now I am clearly not addictive….”

      I believe “the Disease” catch all prompts black and white thinking – either you are or you are not ( alcoholic.) To mix metaphors, people are analog, not digital in totality. A continuum, perhaps with discrete break points however. Think of steam, water and ice then throw in mist, fog, clouds, snow and slosh. You get the idea.

      And just to tease you, almost forgot, my cyber-buddy, “Congratulations!” on celebrating ‘Six Months.’ Did you take a chip?


  77. I have taken the tobacco out of the house, I don’t want to use it regularly any more, It’s easy when it isn’t in the house. Fact is tobacco makes me feel tired.
    Alcohol moderation is getting boring. I am not moderating any more, in fact I’m barely drinking at all, It just isn’t that rewarding; I wanted these things because I thought I couldn’t have them.
    I am planning a geographic and am completely free of meetings. My sponsor denied me a geographic years ago, in the same breath he told me that he enjoyed sleeping with AA women even though he knew I was married.
    I see AA people from time to time; even the open minded ones have difficulty coping.
    I am free now and looking forward to the life I have worked for.

    • anon .My sponsor denied me a geographic years ago, in the same breath he told me that he enjoyed sleeping with AA women even though he knew I was married.

      WOW thats sick. These AA creeps. Im so glad Im gone.

    • Interesting…anon….happy life free from AA wacko, cult thinking….but I ask ….how long till it all is gone…the brainwashing?

  78. I decided to give myself (and my life) a Gift for the Month of March….

    I attended my first ever SMART meeting today. How REFRESHING! I had some trepidation about it due to my AA experience…but SMART meetings are not like AA meetings. The *wieRdO-faCtOr* is surprisingly and pleasantly missing from what I see thus far. (I waited for it…)

    This was a meeting of like minds…ADULTS actually speaking TO and WITH one another instead of AT one another. People earnestly listened to one another and respectfully responded. They stressed that they DO NOT support the beliefe in “POWERLESSNESS” nor would we be holding hands and chanting prayers….

    I said, “Oh no! I am so, so, going to miss THAT special, wonderful part!”

    They laughed.

    For me, conversation on a common theme with rational, sincere adults was like water for a desert rose.

    I got to talk and to receive some very insightful food for thought and even a bit of homework based on my stated goals for the month of March.

    Good shyt.

    I’ll likely go back next week…which says a LOT cause I have to go by bus in the snow! 😉

  79. illbefree- I know. I went to Smart Meetings before I left AA and would talk about them every time I went to my home group. The younger women were always asking me ” Whats that Smart thing you are talking about.

    I was blown away by what I saw, felt and heard there. It made me feel sane. Then sad I had missed out on such a modern way of getting help. Not with drinking but with life skills. Im glad you went…the more of us who have left actually experience these other modalities the more power there is in getting the word out.

    I eventually made postcards with these other choices and hand them out whenever the subject comes up and it does often here in LA.

    • Congratulations on the post cards, what a fine gift. If you do a bus bench ad again perhaps that would be a good advertisement. Both women and men look at pictures of women, women can’t resist a picture of a baby. I would put a picture of each (family oriented) at opposing sides of the bench with the text in the middle. Don’t even mention AA; simply state that there are many options to help with a drinking or substance problem and list them. Perhaps you could top it off with a link to your documentary.
      Just an idea.

      • its a great idea. I will consider adding this next time. My ad is up for 6 months. Then I can decide. Great idea though.

  80. Yes, the postcards are great to give out… I am going to print out the image I just posted on my blog. I’ll carry copies with me for just in case someone happens to need the info.


    Simple; just listing some key AA alternatives…

    Basically…the message is about FREEDOM…and with so many viable alternatives, people ought never be hemmed into only having AA or NA for choices…

    I am very happy that I was able to sit with like minded-real people and discuss a common objective in an intelligent way. Just being around them felt energetically…BALANCING…

    AA has left me wierdo-over-dosed…and the SMART folks represented a very refreshing change of pace.

  81. It is easy for me to give up tobacco just not having it in the house. I am not denying myself the occasional smoke; I just don’t want to do it on timed intervals of moderation. AA and strict moderation for me create an environment of deprivation. Deprivation is a state of desperate compulsion and longing, I can eliminate deprivation with balance and thoughtfulness. Alcohol is much the same; I do not want to specifically moderate on a timed interval. I will restrict the quantity and quality that I buy and keep it in the house less frequently. Again; I do not want to deny myself and create an environment of deprivation; I want my use to be special, beneficial, and healthful. I am enjoying life and have no desire to drown it out with alcohol or allow my days to be consumed by fatigue.
    The last of the AA’s recently stopped calling me this week. He wanted me to help him with a project and then told me how to do it, I easily yielded and it didn’t go well for him. I think he blamed me for the failure, strange behavior from a live and let live turn it over sort. I think I am free and clear of the AA program now. I am finding new ways to be social that are much more enlightening and enjoyable. AA is deprivation, moderation is less deprived than AA but still a form of deprivation, normal drinking is neither deprived or excessive.

  82. anon- I hope some day we can meet . Maybe at an ex stepper convention. 🙂 I love your journey. Im enjoying my new life as well, except when it gets me down. Sometimes its alot to do. I wish I had a team. A nonprofit filled with 20 workers doing all that we want to do.

    AA is deprivation, moderation is less deprived than AA but still a form of deprivation, normal drinking is neither deprived or excessive.

    Yes …moderating is moderating. There is also it being a “non- issue” . I think for many it is shocking but truly and non issue.

  83. What you do is important. The closed minded and dangerous method of treating a substance problem that AA offers is obsolete. AA’s treat each other badly and don’t even recognize it. We have to change and allow people the dignity to be well and avail themselves to all the possible options that make that goal possible.

    In a way you do have a team, a team of like minded people sharing their experience. We all get down, we all make mistakes, and we all confront those who disagree. I think sobriety is the ability to overcome ourselves in times of hopelessness to face our difficulty and react in a positive way by facing reality instead of being blinded by emotion or prejudice.

  84. Now that the newness of drinking again since leaving AA has worn off, I find myself comfortably and naturally having many abstinence days between drinks and rarely drinking two days in a row.
    I think I may be done blogging on this but assure you, should anything change with my drinking I will check in and let you know.
    Thanks for the help and good luck with your crusade, I am free.

    • anon- thank you for logging your experience here. Im sure many were helped by it. I think many do it but most just lurk and dont blog.

      Let’s go to a meeting and tell them LOL:) How full of sh**T their cult think is about how the drink is gonna take them……

  85. I didn’t drink for 27 years, and I had to see if having a bit of wine would cause me to fall off a cliff, as AA told me it would. I bought a bottle of wine and after a few sips I threw it out. I’ve not been going to meetings regularly for quite a while, since my long term sobriety made me feel somewhat out of place in the room where most people are struggling to stay sober. I just couldn’t relate, and they couldn’t relate to me. So I decided to try it. I felt like i was committing a crime in my own house! But in the end I didn’t like it, and the slight feeling of the wine in my system only brought back memories of the days when I used to drink so much and so often. I think if I’d had even a half a glass I might have felt high. I hated the whole experience and couldn’t wait for it to leave my system, but wait…
    I called my sponsor and told her that after 27 years, I just had to see for myself if it would cause some kind of alcoholic catastrophe. And nothing happened. I didn’t like it and that was that. She became inflamed and told me I WAS IN VERY DANGEROUS PLACE”. I calmly told her that I was in nothing of the kind. I called because I felt the need to tell someone about it….well she never even called me back the next day to see how I was, whether I continued to drink, NOTHING!
    Who are these people? If it’s so dangerous, wouldn’t she be a little concerned? I haven’t spoken to her since, but I’m hurt by her lack of interest in the whole matter.
    Not drinking has become such a way of life for me, and the AA programming so dense that I don’t want to ever drink again. I want to rid myself of the programming though, just for its own sake.

    Thanks for being here.

    • Sounds like your sponsor had a narcissistic injury. Her ego could not handle that her good little sponsee had a drink. On some level she see’s it as a reflection of herself that she failed. She is going to hurt you on purpose by cutting you off emotionally. It could be a form of tough love in her mind, or just plain spiteful.

      I liked your question- who are these people? They do seem out of this world-don’t they? If you are in such a dangerous place why not call to check in? This is where AA is very dangerous, as this can be emotionally damaging to be cut off by someone you thought cared about you and was a friend.

      • Miss Bee,

        I like what antid said about your sponsor and that very well may be the case. Also, she may be secretly curious to find out if she is truly powerless, like she has been brainwashed to believe. What you did may be just a reminder of what she would like to prove to herself but doesnt have your courage. Maybe having any contact with you, puts her in a dangerous place in her mind. Wouldn’t that be projection.

      • Hi Antidenial: Thanks for your reply. I don’t understand how it’s tough love to see how I’m doing, but I’m willing to be enlightened!
        Over the years I’ve made many acquaintances in AA, but in the end they haven’t turned into friendships except for four people; I have contact with only one of them now and the other was a sponsor that I check in with once a month. I haven’t been to the meeting we both attended for four years. All of my lasting relationships have been outside of the AA programs. Why would that be?
        About sponsors, once the AA dogma fog clears and you start to see sponsors as people just like you, they don’t like the change in status it seems. I’ve tried to challenge her on some of that, but she won’t have it. I had another sponsor years ago tell me that I was ‘a very angry person’. I said, ‘That’s not true.’ I was abused growing up, and began to see it as my intense need to escape through alcohol; she didn’t like the shift from my being an alcoholic to circumstances, it seemed to me. But labeling me as an ‘angry person’ felt like one more blow on top of ‘you’re an alcoholic. I don’t believe that all abused people end up drinking like I did, but I was exploring my history, when I started drinking and this should not have led to a label. She dropped me as a sponsee afaer that and suggested someone else in the group. Seriously.
        I told her that choosing a sponsor is a personal decision, one that I would make on my own. When I’ve been in meetings all of these years, I’ve never believed powerlessness, but I did believe I needed support to stop drinking.
        Thanks again for being here, and giving me a place to express my honest feelings!

        • Miss bee- 27 years years? you were young when you came in …weren’t you?

          I think your story here is a perfect example. I read it to my husband because I find it SO AA!!!

          You proved that you took some wine and unlike what they preach “the wine didnt take you ” HAHAHA right? All their stupid little slogans.

          You so called “alcoholism” was not doing pushups all those years you didnt drink waiting to get you.

          I appreciate you telling this here like anon has done. Its like a marker in the sand. You did it. You proved their philosophy wrong …end of story. I wish you much freedom to come in your journey of deprogramming.

          http://www.expaa.org is filled with many ex steppers too.

          Are you familiar with other programs like Smart, SOS , WFS, Lifering, Hams Harm Reduction, and Moderation.org?

          I ask because I didnt have a clue until I found Orange papers and stinkin thinkin.

          Have a great day!

          • Hi Massive: thanks for your response.
            I have read some of the Orange Papers material, and thanks for the suggestions and the link.

            I’m not sure how much credit to give AA for my 27 years, but until I stumbled into the rooms, quite young, I didn’t have guidance of any kind of how to run my life. What AA did was give me a place to go besides bars. I had a job but my drinking was threatening even that and I needed to stop. However, it doesn’t mean that I’m an alcoholic for life. I began a spiritual journey in AA that led to a relationship with God. I think the first step should say.
            We admitted that we’re drinking too much, and need support for stopping.

    • For me drinking was an important part of leaving AA, It helped me to void all of the untrue lessons and beliefs.
      Congratulations on “washing the AA off” with alcohol.
      PS. I never told any one in AA that I drink.

      • Hey anon—–your back. 🙂 GLad to see you.

        anon said “PS. I never told any one in AA that I drink.”

        I think you are right. They are so judgmental ….they cant handle it and will talk and talk and talk to everyone about what YOU HAVE DONE. They are like middle school.

        • Well, now I regret having told my sponsor. Certain things we’re just driven to do, I guess:) She’s maybe telling other people as well “miss bee drank.”. I might check in and tell her that I still haven’t gotten drunk, and haven’t the desire to be drunk. That it’s great that I didn’t end up in a gutter as AA has told me I would, or that the ‘disease progresses whether we drink or not.’!!

          • miss bee LOL funny….yea I bet she is. Unless she is a unique stepper….Yea I think eventually after my film on exposing I’ll make a short 1 hour piece about exactly this.

            Abstinence vs Moderation: The truth about 12 step members when they leave in Silence!!!!
            The success no one wants to hear about. Why….are they all making too much money on the loser drunks….

            to be continued…..Have a great weekend ….I need break.

    • You cant be honest with true believers. They spout about honesty all the time; but when you speak honestly and it doesnt fit into their black and white world they live in; the shun you.

      • Out of curiosity do others think they are the most hypocritical ppl on the planet as I do?

        Honesty, open mindedness, and willingness? Right only when it suits them. I understand some religious ppl fall into that category as well but I just haven’t had as much experience with them as I have with PA (predators anonymous, lol) members. I’m just curious….

        About moderation I wonder why some can and others can’t. I’m one of those who can’t so drinking is just not an option anymore. It must be a genetics thing. I’ve tried moderation but to no avail. Not drinking is just easier. For me at least.

  86. suntime- do others think they are the most hypocritical ppl on the planet as I do?

    Yes they are in my opinion….including right winging evangelicals are pretty bad too. How bout super white pp in Mitt Romenys circle? Not to be political but…..:)

    Honesty, open mindedness, and willingness? Right only when it suits them.


    • Oh yeah they are too. The right-wingers. I personally don’t know how u can be an AA member and call yourself a progressive. They follow a book that was written in 1939 for God’s sake. It is such a patriarchal book it is disgusting. They are just zombies, I swear.

      • I have to say; I have run into just as many far left people as far right people in AA over the years. Ive had to deal with individuals that are extremely liberal (long time devoted members); but when it comes to AA; all bets are off. I just dont think it has anything to do with AA and your ability to be open minded and not allow yourself to be brainwashed. Just my thoughts! I do not consider myself either one.

  87. Just wanted to share a recent experience. Been “not drunk” for coming up on 20 years. 16 years in AA, did the research, saw the truth, got out. No alcohol for 4 additional years. This past weekend, I decided to personally test the AA myths around having a drink. Bought a Mikes Hard Lemonade and drank part of it on my walk home and the rest at home over a couple hours doing chores and stuff. So, what happened? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. No buzz that I could detect, no awakening the sleeping monster, nothing. Nada, zilch, zippo. And nothing since except an interesting request from my brain to get another one at the store if I happened to be in the vicinity. I said “No” and it didn’t come up again.

    In the AA world, I have thrown away 20 years of treasured, gawd-granted “sobriety” , lost my hard-earned community stature, and will now descend into the depths of hell through jails, institutions or death unless I repent and hail to the supremacy and righteousness of Alcoholics Anonymous and return to the fold and start over. In the real world I had a flippin hard lemonade and it means nothing more than what it is.

    For me, I needed to get that monkey off my back. Even after many years out of AA, some concepts are emblazoned on my brain and I needed to find out for myself and end the underlying fear I had around ANY drinking. There was a good study at the University of Washington that proved your beliefs determine your behavior. I choose not to believe 1930’s religious con man nonsense.

    Further, I was thinking last night about the concept in AA that it is not your life. Your life has been given to you and you need to listen and do the will of the power that gave you your existence. The entire concept of turning your will and your life over to a higher power is superstitious, religious mysticism and complete nonsense. Oh, and because we know your brain is broken and you can’t tune into sky daddy to hear correctly, we’ll tell you what to do. Just like the Oxford Group. AA is an thinly veiled, organized religion, plain and simple. Complete with jihadi style true believers that will threaten your life if you squawk too loud about the realities of their precious delusional program.

    • spj- really great post and thank you for putting it all so well! I do think we are what we believe. AND that AA is a religious cult dressed up for a program for alcohol problems.

      I hope you continue to let us know how more you get free from the nonsense professed at meetings. Fully filled with know it alls at every turn.

  88. blogger sally wrote this and I thought is was so great I wanted it here too.

    I went to AA for 13 yrs.Haveing periods off it then drinking again while going to aa and working the steps. The periods would last from days to weeks to months and one time 4 yrs.

    The last time this happened after a few months of abstinance
    and picking up again while going and working steps.I decided not to go back again but leave for good.I didnt care if i died.and believed my life would become very bad and i would end up in jail instatution or dead. These things and more were in my mind while i drank.

    However my drinking has not been the same as it was pre AA.I have been drunk about 4 or 5 times in this year.

    One of those i got drunk on 3 beers due to haveing not ate,slept, and fraught with worry. Worry not only around what AA predicts, but also around things that were happening via AA after i left AA. Some of the people from there would stop me on street. Also i had an incident happen to me via a family member of one of my x sponsors
    that i ended up going to the police around. I ran from my home with the cloathes i was dressed in got a bus out of town and was so much in a state of panic i have PTSD,that i was going to just rough it outside not go back to my home or town i live in.
    I got 3 beers and passed out on the ground it was in january so very cold.
    Dureing the night i came to i was frozen.

    I didnt die an old wollen jumper i had on ( a jumper some took the piss out of when i wore it in AA L.O.L) it saved my life i took it off and put my legs into the arms of it i had a big parka on for my arms and body.
    I ended up passing out on the ground.

    That time, It felt like the things AA were predicting were going to come true. It felt like a rock bottom.
    It wasnt- it was my rock bottom with AA.
    The worry in my mind the mental confusion it had produced in my mind.

    AA no longer scare me. And i had 2 halfs of larger last week after work and enjoyed them.

    I didnt go see anyone else after leaving AA i was going to get CBT treatment, but decided not to.

    I have had pycology, counselling ,AA and NA steps, and therpies.

    The reason i dont get there step one is because it dont apply to me im not powerless. It’s hard to get that into my mind but the longer i stay out of AA the more i get it.

    When they stop me on street and start talking i go back into that mind set start thinking im an alcoholic i should go back to AA.

    I have had many times in this past year when i have had one or two drinks. I have gone weeks and months without a drink.
    And i have been drunk about 4 or 5 times.Only once with bad consequences.

    However thats me, it may be diffrent for someone else.
    There are alternatives to AA some are on internet.
    Hope you find whats right for you.

    Reply ↓

    • Hey Massive thankyou.

      I have found some great web sites all stemming from leaving AA web site.

      And now this one .

      Theres more to alcoholisim and drink drug problems than I heard about in AA.

      I may not even be an alcoholic, people that know me as I am now
      laugh when i say i was in AA.

      They say “Your not ”

      I’m fed up thinking about it, i cant work it out.
      If i am i am, if im not im not. Whatever I am, i shall handle it without going to AA.

      I’ts good to be on line again.

      I ran away thru fear acute anxiety,
      but it wasn’t beer that took me to deaths door,it was fear, and the fear was triggered by incidents that had happened at the hands of AA,
      both in my past and were happening since my leaving AA.
      The incident that happened at the time i panicked and ran,
      had came from a family
      member of an x sponsor of mine.

      If i hadnt gone to AA i would never have met these people,
      it would not have happened.

      i’m all through running away from AA meetings ,and im all through running back to AA meetings.And im all through running away from my home because of people from AA.

      I’m not looking for trouble from them or anyone,but if they want to bring it on ..well like i said i’m all thru running away…

  89. I went back to AA. I missed the meetings and the comfort of the steps. I am an orphan and I guess you could say it’s where I grew up.

    • Miss Bee, Welcome!

      I am glad that you found a comfort in AA. I have always said; if it suits you, thats great. Unfortunately, there are many who have been harmed in different ways; as a result of their involvement with the program. My experience was different than yours. My personal growth has improved since leaving a few years ago. We are all different and have separate needs.

      Your experience is interesting. However, it must be obvious that most of the individuals on this site; did not benefit from their time spent in AA.

    • miss bee- okay… and so you came back here…. you do what you want with your time and your evenings. You are a grown up.

      We are not a cult here, so we will talk to you even when or if you return to the rooms. Unlike AA if you drink then you are made “wrong” its your fault” etc. Not true. None of what they read is fact.

  90. I have settled into my drinking plan; I drink a maximum of once a week. I allow myself one to six ounces max of premium alcohol. I eat a good meal prior to drinking and follow the drinking with water and something to eat before bed. I do not drive, talk on phone, text, or email while drinking. My focus is on healthy eating and exercise, family, work, and living well, not being drunk. I will check back in to see if I sustain this, for argument sake I will set the date at April 1, 2013 because it is easy to remember.

  91. I’ve stepped away from AA. Making sure i get it all out of my head before I decide what to do next.
    Couple funny stories though. I was talking to my friend, saying that I felt that AA set us up to fail at ordinary drinking, and she said that when she tried drinking, she never really thought to try to drink normally because it was so ingrained in her that she would fail. The thought of drinking like a normal adult NEVER CROSSED HER MIND, because AA told her she couldn’t do it.
    My fiance went to Las Vegas for his bachelor party last weekend. He was sober for 5 years and started drinking again pretty recently. So he was in VEGAS at his BACHELOR PARTY…. he had a total of maybe 10 – 12 drinks the entire time he was there (3 nights).
    What an alcoholic.

  92. I have been browsing online more than three hours today,
    yet I never found any interesting article like yours.
    It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all website owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be much more useful than ever before.

  93. Wow! I have almost 8 months of successful drinking under my belt since leaving and over 2 years detox from AA and can’t believe how good I feel. I took all the tobacco out of the house and it is VERY easy to moderate it now. I keep alcohol in the house and have much more control with it; I have learned my limitations and am positive result oriented. It would take a court order to get me back in AA and it isn’t happening.

  94. Hi there,

    I have been attending AA/NA for 14 years and had 81/2 years sobriety when I drank again after getting involved with a guy I should have avoided !! The reaction of people in the rooms was completely contrary to what I expected, they didn’t like it that I described having 6 beers and then stopped for fear of resurrecting my addiction.
    I even had people say maybe I wasn’t an alcoholic in AA which made me laugh actually in pain at the thought of what I had endured from drinking aged 12.
    I have attended meetings since this time and began to feel disillusioned by the whole thing seemingly an outcast and someone to be feared…hence I have slowly pulled away, deciding I have become too honest for the rooms…! really…I had thought it was an honest programme, however I feel I have grown up and need to move on, I have been experimenting with a few drinks recently it seems ok, not something I want to get into a lot as leaves me feeling a bit fuzzy…
    I feel free, also a little scared but tired of trying to interact with such dysfunctional people, hence I am moving on and seeking support elsewhere, I hope I can do this.

    • Good for you Jonas, your only options are AA and all the other possible options available. Please avail yourself to any helps that correspond to your goals.
      I left AA after several decades and now drink moderately using the HAMS harm reduction program.
      Also, many AA’s have STD’s, it should be protocol to get tested.
      Please blog about your experience, it helped me to deprogram from AA and loose the subtle beliefs that were not healthy.

      • Hi there, thanks for getting back to me, Im glad you are free to. I have been struggling a little the past few days, I told a therapist about leaving the rooms and they seem to think I will need more support (this has left me a little fearful) I have been drinking, sometimes on my own and have a slight hangover today so I will look at HAMS and take a break, I have had depression in the past, so think am not best with drink. Gosh I saw someone from AA this morning so I avoided them, I am going to join more clubs and help feeling insecure wont drive me back there, tired of so called friends/support that doesn’t really exist…people helping a lot for selfish reasons rather than altruism. It is great to have so many evenings free, a relief, now I just need to fill them with interesting things to do. I was thinking this week about how when I got clean in 1999 I didn’t know how to make friends as always out of it for years, I feel after 14 years in the rooms, not a lot has changed, very superficial relationships, however conversation were deep, but still not right.
        gosh so much has happened in the last 14 years, originally my wildest dream was not to pick up…that is really all the rooms ever promise however so many people claim they get so much more, I think that’s down to other stuff to, I have not been as lucky, I feel as if I have surrounded myself with dysfunctional people like my family and now have to play catch up, part of me regressed in the rooms.
        I am not a great typer so that is enough for now !!

    • jonas- hi and welcome! I am glad you found us. I know that AA and NA members are so rigid, fearful and close minded it wold take a few Yale Studies , Harvard studies and still they would say …We know best. I say …no they dont. I left after 3 decades 2 years ago. I am free jonas. So are you. Blog away.

      • Hi there, thanks for getting back to me, Im glad you are free to. I have been struggling a little the past few days, I told a therapist about leaving the rooms and they seem to think I will need more support (this has left me a little fearful) I have been drinking, sometimes on my own and have a slight hangover today so I will look at HAMS and take a break, I have had depression in the past, so think am not best with drink. Gosh I saw someone from AA this morning so I avoided them, I am going to join more clubs and help feeling insecure wont drive me back there, tired of so called friends/support that doesn’t really exist…people helping a lot for selfish reasons rather than altruism. It is great to have so many evenings free, a relief, now I just need to fill them with interesting things to do. I was thinking this week about how when I got clean in 1999 I didn’t know how to make friends as always out of it for years, I feel after 14 years in the rooms, not a lot has changed, very superficial relationships, however conversation were deep, but still not right.
        gosh so much has happened in the last 14 years, originally my wildest dream was not to pick up…that is really all the rooms ever promise however so many people claim they get so much more, I think that’s down to other stuff to, I have not been as lucky, I feel as if I have surrounded myself with dysfunctional people like my family and now have to play catch up, part of me regressed in the rooms.
        I am not a great typer so that is enough for now !!

        • Thanks Massive, I need some encouragement ! Yes free, gosh everywhere I go I see AA people two this morning at the pool…I am deciding not to say ive left as it makes some of the panic and get on their high horse AA Rhetoric, I have to ask myself do I want to be told oh you will go insane or die? NO !!

          I feel as if attending AA retraumatised myself and totally destroyed my trust in myself, well what I should have got back after years of sobriety, unfortunately I feel the programme works to undermine ones sense of self (confidence) and just made me extremely dependent emotionally mentally etc…..I took a few drinks once and then got told I couldn’t have decided to stop again after drinking beer one night….people usually go wild and go out for great lengths of time….my battle with booze and drugs began at age 12 so 17 years later I had no problem admitting I was in trouble I lost everything and had liver damage, not pretty.

          I had some fun before I left being honest and saying stuff like oh I have become too honest for AA, how come I have to start again when lots of people act out and don’t start their time again, basically being rational, everything AA/NA don’t encourage.
          Got tired of the lunacy of it all, old timers with big egos as they been sober X amount of years…nothing to do with being happy treating others as you’d like to be treated, honesty and integrity….

          Wow I have never met so many flaky dishonest people in my life, still feel sad it took me so long to realise these people (most) would not be friends as they did not have the capability and often so focused on themselves real intimacy, give and take relationships impossible, having boundaries with these people made them run for the hills or at worse be abusive. I have a few people I will stay in touch with but that’s it. I truly believe AA?NA made me more dysfunctional…happy to be free !!

          • jonas- boy oh boy , just reading your posts just reinforces all the insanity going on in AA/NA these days. I did not tell them I was leaving till the night I walked in and I knew it was the end. Even some woman I sponsored I did not tell. I just couldn’t bare it. Some of them talk to some who talk too much. Either way, it was a very liberating experience. I felt I had a lighter step, my heart was lighter too and I really felt free. It was why I chose some of the pics on this website. You are going about it the right way. Your way.
            HAHAHA its your life. You can to decide. Love it ….

            PLease keep blogging …I wonder where this pool is that you swim in. I swim too…

      • Hi there, thanks for getting back to me, Im glad you are free to. I have been struggling a little the past few days, I told a therapist about leaving the rooms and they seem to think I will need more support (this has left me a little fearful) I have been drinking, sometimes on my own and have a slight hangover today so I will look at HAMS and take a break, I have had depression in the past, so think am not best with drink. Gosh I saw someone from AA this morning so I avoided them, I am going to join more clubs and help feeling insecure wont drive me back there, tired of so called friends/support that doesn’t really exist…people helping a lot for selfish reasons rather than altruism. It is great to have so many evenings free, a relief, now I just need to fill them with interesting things to do. I was thinking this week about how when I got clean in 1999 I didn’t know how to make friends as always out of it for years, I feel after 14 years in the rooms, not a lot has changed, very superficial relationships, however conversation were deep, but still not right.
        gosh so much has happened in the last 14 years, originally my wildest dream was not to pick up…that is really all the rooms ever promise however so many people claim they get so much more, I think that’s down to other stuff to, I have not been as lucky, I feel as if I have surrounded myself with dysfunctional people like my family and now have to play catch up, part of me regressed in the rooms.
        I am not a great typer so that is enough for now !!

        • Hang in there, you can get to the other side just fine. Millions of people do. More people leave than stay and they do just fine. There really is no “promise” of sobriety from AA. There are actually many promises if you search the text, but non of them say that if you do the program we promise you will stay sober. The promise of sobriety is not in AA and Wilson knew it. That is why they had to lock people up so they wouldn’t drink prior to a public engagement that extolled the virtues of the wondrous program of AA. It’s all bullshit.