speak-the-truth even if your voice shakesWhat can I say?  After 12 years of continuous sobriety in AA, I had a moment of clarity and a profound ‘psychic change’ and suddenly AA appeared to me in a completely new light. There was no undoing it.  So I left.  Just like that.

With hindsight, it wasn’t sudden, it had been coming for a long, long, long time.  This blog is my attempt to document my growing awareness and to give space to others to do the same.  I do not claim to have all of the answers, but I have a lot of questions, questions that I have not been able to ask in AA.  I hope to explore them here and I hope you will join me.

I appreciate this subject is controversial – and I respectfully remind continuing AA members of their stance on not engaging in controversy, if you want a fight you have come to the wrong place – but I do feel that there is a need for a sane debate about ‘recovery’ and AA and the 12 step approach.

It doesn’t suit everyone, there are real issues with it for abuse and trauma survivors, it has a very dubious success rate.  There are real issues with it for women, for minorities, for anyone who isn’t of the power driving ‘personality type’ outlined in the ‘Big Book’.  The AA world view also doesn’t really take account of our culture and the power structures within it that cause disempowered people distress, and I believe, it has become (maybe unwittingly??) part of the problem of oppression.

Most of all, for me, AA has a sexual abuse and predation problem that’d give the Catholic Church a run for its  money.  I simply cannot continue to support an organisation that won’t look at itself and deal with its own wrongs.  These wide-scale abuses of vulnerable, damaged new members (usually, but not always, young women preyed on by older ‘sober’ men, and its rife in the LGBT recovery community too and elsewhere ) are hiding under the cloak of ‘anonymity’ of AA – often quite deliberately.  This runs along side a culture of ‘tough love’ from those not qualified to give it, and sponsorship abuses that are also wholesale.

These are CRIMES that in any other setting would be dealt with with the full force of the law but they are going unreported, and victims are hushed up in the programme.  The advice that many earnest but misguided AA members give to people hurt in and by AA is in fact ‘offender language’ that is propping up a blame the victim, patriarchal system, that goes against all the teachings coming out of effective trauma and abuse therapy, domestic violence and rape crisis support and so forth.  In truth, many AA members really do NOT know what they are talking about, and their accumulation of days without ingesting an alcoholic beverage does not qualify them to play therapist.  And so, those hurt, abused and harmed in AA are hurt all over again, often compounding the serious issues they walked in with.  This seems to me to be completely contrary to the stated primary purpose of helping those with addiction issues to recover.

And whilst we may not (yet) have court mandated AA like our American cousins, AA is already entwined with our justice, health care, and educational systems.  Indeed, AA is one global entity and what happens outside of the UK is still ‘the fellowship’.  Celebrities, usually attempting to divert the media glare from their bad behaviour by labelling it ‘an addiction’, frequently break their anonymity (contrary to AA’s traditions).  All this, alongside the romanticised view of AA portrayed in books, films and TV programmes – both homegrown and US imports – further solidify its reputation as a professional, regulated, tried and true ‘treatment’ for alcoholism and addiction.  I doubt the public – let alone the many ill informed but well-intentioned therapists that continue to refer clients exhibiting issues with alcohol – are really aware that that AA is a ‘God Help Programme’ not a Self Help programme.  The impending legal and PR disaster that is brewing regarding AA’s sex abuse scandals will further damage its credibility (if it ever really had any, other than in the eyes of true believers).

Which begs the question, has AA had its day?  Can AA evolve and adapt?  Or is it a dinosaur on the brink of extinction?  Maybe not everyone who leaves ends up in the gutter?  Maybe lots of us find ways to make it work without AA?

That’s what this blog is about.

Keep an open mind!

The GirlScout

You are perfect exactly as you are ....

90 Responses to Welcome

  1. spj says:

    Congratulations and best of luck with your blog ! Adding your voice to the chorus of those exposing AA will hasten its eventual and deserved demise.

    • girlscoutuk says:

      Thanks SPJ good to see you here. I just want to tell the truth, and create a place where other UK members can tell the truth. What is it they say in AA. The Truth will set you free, but first it’ll make you miserable …what they do with it after that is up to them! x

  2. Massive says:

    Hey this is great !!! Good for you !!!

  3. czarsmom says:

    This is a very excellent post. I do hope it is able to evolve and adapt, somehow.

  4. XNA says:

    Brilliant start to what I am sure is going to be a fantastic blog and very much needed. It will be a place for fellow UK people to come to. The more people that tell their story, the better. Here in the UK, we do have the CHIT system (The confirmation of attendance system). That is used by probabtion,social services and others to prove attendance at meetings. So in a way it’s like being mandated.
    Good luck with the blog from a felow UK’er.

    • girlscoutuk says:

      Thanks for your comments, and you are right, I’d forgotten about the CHIT system! And I know AA and NA are very active in prisons because I’ve done prison service and have heard a lot of service announcements in meetings, and in several we had special collections for prison literature. I feel so much guilt about that now, I should have volunteered to teach those guys to READ not gone in there and told them they were sick, particularly the young offenders, some of them were only 17 (although clearly some prisoners are very dangerous and are now in 12 step groups completely unsupervised).

  5. Massive says:

    Sounds like the same court ordering mandating is going on in the UK… I’m really shocked but… I guess I’m not because you people like Elton John, and people like Anthony Hopkins and people like Russell Brand who are these big mega horns in the media are in the culture to push Alcoholics Anonymous.

    • girlscoutuk says:

      Thanks Massive, yes I was thinking about that the other day. I believe Russel Brand believes he is being sincere, and he’s very entertaining and clever, but he’s now wheeled out to talk about ‘addiction’ in every debate. I think a lot of celebrities break their anonymity to gain traction with the media as well and to do a bit of a ‘re-brand’ – I’m thinking about Tiger Woods, that public apology was painful, and instead of saying ‘I cheated on my wife, my bad’ it gets repositioned as an ‘addiction’. I think Stanton Peele is right, that a lot of this stuff is about plain old values! If celebrities actually practised the traditions it’d be a different matter!

  6. Oddnes says:

    Very well said. I wish I could put the bulk of the issues in such a condenced fashion. Well done. I look forward to more.

    • girlscoutuk says:

      Thanks Oddnes, not been here for a while (stinky cold) but really appreciate the support. Feel free to link to your blog if you want, and I’ll do the same. Rebecca x

  7. Bess says:

    Most people who leave are really dying to soon try out a little controlled drinking experiment, because it’s really hard to do that when you’re still meeting friends face to face who know the obvious signs. I’d say most have that planned long before they leave.
    Have you started yours as yet? It may be interesting if you’re honest enough to talk a bit about how it goes for you. Even people who’ve had a regular and horrible history of embarrassing scenes and humiliations when they drank often get by generally fine for a while, occasionally making a year before things get familiar again. Less time for the majority, as you’ve no doubt observed.
    Anyway, whenever you do start bending your elbow again it would be fun for your readers to see how things can go.
    Who knows, you might even help keep someone who is now sober and living well from winding up in terrible straights.

    • girlscoutuk says:

      Ah Bess, welcome to my blog (I think). Can you provide evidence of your statements please? How do you know that’s what happens, given they’ve left?

      The evidence shows more people are dying through AA – the only thing AAs do better than stop drinking, is drink themselves to death because they believe they are powerless and one drink equals one drunk, or put a gun in their mouth ‘sober’ because their ‘disease’ got them (or in reality the cognitive dissonance and shaming self-blame caused them to blow their brains out, met a few of those!).

      Did you hear that? Worse relapse rates and worse suicide rates in AA… go figure. The statistics for AA’s success are actually worse than no treatment at all.

      Interesting also that you assume that I’m bending my elbow, and also if I do, it’ll end in, wait, ‘jails, insitutions and death’. You might like Lance Dodes ‘The Sober Truth’.

      Meanwhile please provide evidence that ‘AA saves lives’ and ‘leaving kills you’ because there is a whole big posse of us all over the world, doing just fine thank you. And please provide evidence that moderation is not possible, as all the evidence points to the fact that most people can and DO successfully moderate. Even people who have been in a pickle. Some stay abstinent. And that’s the entire point of this blog, different strokes for different folks. It is not a spiritual disease. that’s a fact …

      However, of course, if you believed that, it’d make your adherence to a cult that is all about AA and nothing to do with stopping drinking (as evidenced by the 12 steps being used for ‘declutters anonymous’ and ’emotions anonymous’ and ‘tidy my house anonymous’) look a bit silly ….

      You should look into the history of AA and “follow the money”, to borrow a term from Woodward and Bernstein. It makes me laugh how AAs say ‘but we help millions’ – more power to you, but prove it. What you have done in the meantime, is make a few people very rich. People, I might add, that don’t give a rats ass about any of us.

      As a cancer survivor I certainly would not be seeing a doctor who had not updated his training from 1939 – especially if he told me that my recovery was dependent on confession of sin and reliance on God.. Not knocking God, but that’s not a ‘treatment’ its a faith healing religion.

      At least you didn’t say I’m not a ‘real’ alcoholic which is always the backhanded insult that AAs resort to when they can’t actually answer any factual questions.

      AAs also say, but it’s not a cult, because we didn’t have a charismatic leader who took all the drugs, screwed all the women, and stole the money …. so I say again, look into AAs history.

    • spj says:

      In the intellectually inbred occult cult of AA, it is the ultimate insult to say that someone is drinking again. In their simplistic world, a previous member who drinks can be invalidated immediately by the accusation of drinking. In their minds, that person is now headed for jails, institutions or premature death. The main issue here is there is absolutely no aggregated data that supports their narrow and highly egotistical prognostication of the drinkers future. In, fact, as mentioned, the overall data from valid, professional studies refute their position. For the devout AA, this data is simply disregarded because they “know better”. Their confirmation bias contains mostly stories handed down inside AA of people that relapsed and returned ever remorseful with a renewed vigor for the “program” or those that died. The ones that died are far more effective on the newcomers, so they get used more often and told with more emotion than those that simply drank and returned. There are literally zero stories in AA mythology where people have left AA and successfully moderated their alcohol intake. The reality is those situations are actually the norm and not the cherry-picked exception of massive failure that is so common in the roomz of AA. AA’s love drama, and stories that reinforce the fear of the ever cunning, baffling and powerful king and demon alcohol are a key ingredient needed to keep people in the occult cult flock of AA.

      In the world of AA-speak and culture, Bess’s post was a highly egotistical and passive-aggressive put down. It is common from those in AA. They have no statistics to back up any of their claims and the AA organization to which they belong is under significant and growing direct attack for being a fraudulent religious organization that masquerades as a treatment for a serious social problem. AA and the 12 Step Model are not science or medicine and are actually closer to chicken decapitating voodoo or Druid bog offerings than anything resembling science or medicine. It’s been 75 + years and they still have no statistical proof that using ” there is one who has all power, that one is gawd, may you find him now”, is any more effective than swinging a decapitated chicken over ones head or placing a golden bracelet in a peat bog. In reality, the civilized, modern world should be shocked and horrified that this religious nonsense has infiltrated society to the degree that it has. However, change is coming, science and medicine will prevail and historians in the future will note the dominance of the use of religious and supernatural-petitioning practices to address a serious social problem like alcohol and substance abuse as a sign of the still primitive and superstitious nature of man in this period.

      • girlscoutuk says:

        Thanks SPJ, awesome post! I think even the Vaillant study (their own study) showed their results were a disaster! I had to laugh at the decapitated chicken! Brilliant, and so true. Thanks x

      • Duckpond-Dunmow says:

        Fantastic post ‘SPJ’ says it all really! It would be great to hand out leaflets with info like this outside AA meetings to see if we can dissuade newcomers from ruining their lives inside the death cult.

    • stephanienc says:

      I beg to differ. I left AA about two years ago, because I could not help but finally see the program for what it was…a cult. I never doubted that I was, and am, an alcoholic, but I came to believe that continuing participating in a program that labeled my problem a ‘spiritual’ disease and that offered no sound, scientifically or medically proven solutions for my alcoholism would ultimately be more detrimental than helpful. I have no desire to ever try to drink in moderation since I learned a long time ago that it’s an exercise in futility for me. But contrary to what AA insists (“Oh, so you think you’re different?”}, people ARE different. I know people who have left AA and ultimately have been able to drink in moderation, but I don’t believe that any of them left BECAUSE they wished to start drinking again.
      It is my theory (and I could be wrong) that while AA is not for everybody, sadly leaving AA is not for everybody either. There are clearly people who would rather let a program, a group, and the long-dead Bill Wilson do their thinking for them. If that’s the case with you, perhaps you need to stay in your little comfort zone cocoon. We’re happy to move beyond all of the 12-step nonsense without you.

      • girlscoutuk says:

        Er Stephanie, have you actually read my blog? What exactly are you differing with me about? Of course it’s a cult that’s the entire point of this blog. And do what without me? I’m not in AA.

        Edit: Ah hang on, being a bit thick, you are replying to the lovely Beth, I read your message out of context, apologies … she’s now banned!

    • satkins43 says:

      I’m not at all hoping to try controlled drinking. I’m hoping to try some “uncontrolled” thinking. AA has brainwashed me to the point that I don’t even know who I am anymore. I appreciate the lovely gift of sobriety it gave me, but making me feel I’m broken has almost crippled me into not being able to enjoy it. So I think I’ll take that and leave the rest, and hopefully be there for the next sober and suffering member who desperately needs to leave Alcoholics Anonymous.

  8. girlscoutuk says:

    This is from the FAQs section of Stinkin’ Thinkin’ and I feel it sums up how I feel on this loaded question of ‘how is your sobriety?’ which isn’t actually a question at all…..http://donewithaa.wordpress.com/faqrs/

    How’s your sobriety?

    Of course, this isn’t an expression of concern. Genuine concern of this sort would be expressed privately. It’s a passive-aggressive implication: “You’re probably only saying this because you failed AA, and you’re blaming AA for it, and you’re drunk (or high or tweaking or something), and therefore should not be taken seriously.” I should point out to you that when you repress your anger (see above), it comes out in all these puckery passive-aggressive ways, like, yanno, “By the way, how’s your sobriety?”

    I know this kind of dysfunction is standard fare in AA, but outside of AA, where people have a broader scope, it’s just ugly. We can actually see it.

    Now, among the movers and shakers of human history, there have been many brilliant drunks, and many more boring tight-asses. I’m not saying that one needs to be drunk to be brilliant – as we are living proof of, because we are brilliant – but that questioning our sobriety is not a valid argument against anything we say here. And, as I mentioned, it only makes your position seem weak in comparison, if that’s all you’re throwing down.

    Maybe we are all hammered. Let’s just make it a given that we are, OK? You can stop asking now, because I’ll be goddamned before I waste my time trying to prove my sobriety to you. So, we’re all drunk. Now what? We still have a lot of valid questions and observations on the table.

    So let’s assume I’m boiled as an owl … let’s assume I am “drinking” (that’s using the loaded AA meaning of ‘drinking’ and ‘sober’ -not how the rest of the world understands those terms)… you are going to anyway, nothing I say with convince you otherwise, as then the whole shaky house of cards would fall on your head. But the questions on this blog and others like it, still remain.

  9. Bess says:

    Thanks for your welcome (I think) and your gracious permission to assume, but I’ve no desire to do that. You can either choose to tell the truth, lie, or just evade answering. To this point you’ve chosen to sidestep, which is perfectly fine. I was simply curious how you would handle the subject of your drinking on this blog.
    I had hopes you’d be honest, as that would have made you a bit interesting.
    In your culture people are sensitive to being perceived as sinking into a lower class than the one they aspire belonging to. Problems with drinking are symptomatic of being a social failure, and there exists a continuing impulse to firm up and completely overcome that. Remaining sober in AA is a step up from putting friends and family through embarrassing drinking episodes, but a possible return to social drinking would surpass that, and is too often the Holy Grail for Brit alkies who don’t understand as much as they should about their condition. The desire for social validation takes a lot of them down.
    Anyway, thanks for your non-answer, and good luck with your quest.

    • girlscoutuk says:


      I honestly don’t know what to say to you. If I wanted to talk about whether I am drinking, or deciding not to drink, or making up my mind I’d have said so on this blog. So far I have not said anything about it because it’s MY BLOG and simply because you AAs do stuff like this, no matter what I say. If I said I was drinking socially, I’d get ‘ah ha the slippery slope’ – you said this yourself in your first comment. If I said I was abstinent, I’d be a ‘dry drunk’. If I said I was undecided, I’d be told I’m ‘in denial’ so my not answering is entirely deliberate and nothing to do with side-stepping anything. In the British Vernacular, I can’t be arsed. You imply I’m deliberately lying. But you seem to forget, I am not in AA anymore, so whether I am drinking, not drinking (without the AA inverted commas, in the normal sense of the word) or getting langered every night and lying in the gutter – it simply is none of your business, and your own book tells you that. What others ‘should’ or ‘should not’ know about this mysterious ‘condition’ you allude to (I’m assuming it’s the hokey ‘three fold illness’) is also not your place to comment on. I’ve never met any ‘Brit Alkies’ (whoever they are) searching for a Holy Grail … Toodle pip… PS problems with drinking are a ‘national sport’ in my ‘culture’ regardless of class – if there were European Championships, we’d thrash it out with the Germans and the Scandis – NOT GETTING DRUNK is considered a social failure here…

  10. XNA says:

    Oh wow. That is such a good point that it wouldn’t matter how you answered the question. It would have been 12 Step twisted. Oh I am so glad I am out of the 12 step madness. Their world view sends my head in a spin. “NOT GETTING DRUNK is considered a social failure here…” So true! It has nothing to do with class. Hahaha..We may lose at football in Europe but drinking contest….no.

    • girlscoutuk says:

      I know XNA – we’d be european champions for sure! I once went to a very boozy dinner at St James’s Palace – packed full of toffs, all getting tight as ticks. Been to a few ‘do’s’ in working men’s clubs too, the same thing. I volunteer in a homeless shelter at Christmas, last year the guests drank the off licence dry by Boxing Day! We are equal opportunity drinkers!

      The other thing that irritates me is the ‘self diagnosis’ or ‘coerced diagnosis’ of the whole 12 step racket is treated as if it was verified by a professional qualified to know what they were doing …. I diagnosed myself as an ‘alkie’ by some bizarre, contradictory criteria of an out of date faith healing religion (which was all about converting me to the religion and getting me to convert others) at a very vulnerable point in my life. I understand the reasons why that whole thing was seductive for me given my situation at the time.

      But now I’ve decided it was lunacy to label myself with a progressive disease for life (as did the addictions psychiatrist I consulted with all my doubts, he also said, ‘there is simply no such thing as a lifelong diagnosis’ and agreed I never met the criteria for alcohol dependence syndrome). It seems crazy to me that I ever, ever put that label on myself. But if I try to argue that, I must be deluded and dying to secretly drink myself to death.

      However, AAs seem to take it as ‘evidence’ that if I was ever in AA, that means I’m some how now a sick drunk for life. Leaving out the fact that as soon as they’ve got you on the ‘powerless’ trip, they then tell you ‘bottles were just symbols’ and it’s nothing to do with the booze… it’s a total mindf**k!

      I’ve had cancer, I don’t consider myself – three years into remission – to be cancerous, or suffering from cancer-ism, I’m better. Indeed, getting to grip with illness (serious endocrine problems) shed a whole lot of light on my history.

      Anyway, a rant! Thanks for dropping by! x

  11. Massive says:

    I just wrote a long comment…where did it go ?

  12. Susan says:

    Hi there, I am new to this blog (and new to leaving AA or particularly leaving it). I have been sober 6.5 years and for a while now I have doubted AA’s methods and ideas. I could say so much but basically my drinking slowly increased over the years until I became an addict and looking back I have always had an addictive brain. I think for me AA was a good idea in the beginning as when I got sober my head was all over the place and because I didn’t have the drink I didn’t know how to live without it. Anyway I am grateful to AA for the first couple/few years as going there was better than going to the pub. It taught me a few things and gave me a good few tools for life (although I now know you could possibly learn those things elsewhere as things like Scientology (did a bit of that too, now leave it alone) or religions, ways of living seem to have similar structures. A lady offered to sponsor me (I didn’t ask her) after 8 months of sobriety. At first I followed everything she ‘suggested’ and did as I thought she knew best. I have always questioned in my mind her saying I have to do a step 10 every night etc and also the Amends stuff. She was a real hard core Big Book basher and everything by the Programme sort of person. When I questioned some of the amends making (like turning up in reception to see him to say make MY amends for him being an asshole then saying the actual words ‘if there’s anything I can do for you in the future’…can you imagine! Me questioning this to her as my logical part of my brain said ‘NO’ I would feel an absolute idiot and firstly, he wouldn’t even remember me, let along be bothered that I was making amends…She accused me of ‘running away from making amends’ and that my diseased brain (the illness is in our thinking right!) was objecting to it…and said if I didn’t do it I would relapse! This made me feel incredibly guilty and more distressingly made me feel I wasn’t in my right mind. I was so at odds with all this thinking why can’t I use my own intuition/brain and that ‘handing over my thought processes to God’ was not quite right. A bit of difficulty was caused between me and my daughter when my sponsor said I had to make amends to my ex-husband over lots of very hurtful stuff. Luckily I didn’t do it (he would have loved me grovelling to him!). I did however make amends to my sister for my part of things and she laughed in my face and wouldn’t even let me finish my sentences after me plucking up courage to do this. This gave me even more resentments and caused me damage and made me look a right fool. Part 2 on its way….

    • Susan says:

      Part 2…My sponsor would say that I had to do these amends to help let things go. It actually made things much worse. She always said if I felt bad after an amends task she would always be there for me to call (more power to her). Damage was also caused by her by her accusing me of being co-dependent on her (my crime being that I asked her if she wanted to accompany me to a meeting!) Although she invited me to spend Xmas with her she thought I was co-dependent! She instructed me to then get a book on it. I am the least co-dependent person around I feel. Now I know SHE is co-dependent on AA and feel quite angry about it. She made an amends to me later that she made a mistake saying I was co-dependent but as she made amends she said I needed to be quiet and let her talk! I have felt I could never say anything to her about how bad she made me feel as she would always turn things around. She actually thought (same as AA beliefs) that if I was angry or resentful with anything, that was my stuff which had to be sorted out by looking at the programme. It all came down to ‘going back to the programme’. Nothing was anything they ever did – always a get out clause for them. This lady has several sponsees who think she’s great so they would never believe my misgivings thinking it’s MY stuff. They would feel sorry for me thinking ‘my illness is getting on top of me’. This sponsor for a long time has ignored me, been funny with me – this started when she knew I wasn’t all 100% AA. These people make me angry. I would get nowhere talking to her about it – as I said she would turn things around. There are enough people to worship her and practice all her principles. Part 3 on way…

      • Susan says:

        She has made it well known that some of her sponsees have progressed better than me despite not been in the fellowship as long and her and her sponsees regularly meet up for coffees etc..As I am a bit Bi-polar with a little paranoia and depression I have tried not to let this get to me but it didn’t do me any good.
        I have also been caused a bit of damage by the elders who have constantly been a bit funny with me (playing mind games by completely ignoring me when I said hi when they were alone yet being over the top friendly when they were in company with other people). Then again because I am very sensitive (a trait of addicts and people with mental illnesses especially) I have battled with my head thinking I may be overacting but because I am of quite strong mind I don’t think I am. I have also come across many men who have pretended to be my friend but had ulterior motives – not very nice. All this has played with my head and I could have easily gone a bit mad or gone back to the drink because of them. I used to think (like they think now) if someone disappeared from the fellowship they obviously went back to the drink or ‘didn’t get the programme’. Now I have actually started thinking for myself (although they say you shouldn’t do this) I have doubted things. I still feel a little unsure about leaving and have started limiting my meetings (always just done once a week and criticised heavily by my sponsor saying I should do at least 3 – which would have driven me mad with boredom!) so I can always go back from time to time then perhaps not at all (the latter being preferable). Now my head is sorted out (dare I say that for AA to assume I am arrogant or have a huge ego) I have come to the conclusion that AA is very useful to start with as it helps straighten your head (any help is better than no help or the pub) then if you haven’t been brainwashed and still think you should actually use your logic, instincts, then the main reason I find (and have found for a while) that I got something from the meetings was simply that being in a room full of people with similar heads to mine (may as well be people I have things in common with or people with slight mental health issues like me rather than them) and knowing we are all suffering from the same thing is the thing attracts people to AA.

  13. Susan says:

    The things I have grown out of now are all the same war stories repeated over and over again (the chairs and shares continually putting themselves down and lots of false modesty), the ridiculous old fashioned bible bashing readings (which completely go over my head now) and all the rigmarole that goes with it. There are some lovely nice friendly people at meetings but I have never been able to make proper friendships with them as they knew I wasn’t that heavily into AA as them (i.e. I didn’t attend enough meetings or text/ring a lot). I feel after not going to meetings for 3 weeks now I wouldn’t miss these people at all – they are getting further and further sucked into it and I am so far away from it now. Yes I feel a bit of anger, resentment at times but can deal with it and believe in God enough for me rather than handing everything over to him etc. The thing now I must do is isolate myself. In the place of meetings I am seeing more people (just need to be like-minded as to be honest just because someone is an addict we may not really have anything else in common!) I am making steps to meet other people and do other things. For a while now I have never really thought ‘this is a day’s reprieve’. I can actually think week by week or month by month (they would think this is egotistical!). Hopefully I am right and am not kidding myself). They have screwed with my brain so much that I overthink things and double guess myself (as they would say the disease in my brain is upon me waiting to relapse). I also have attended a couple of conferences (back of mind hoping to meet more people). I found these conferences quite laughable with the ‘speakers’ and ‘happy clappies’ really enjoying t heir 15 mins in the limelight doing their chairs and all the performance of holding hands at the end counting down and applauding lengths of sobriety. Oh I could have played them at their own game saying ‘my higher power told me to tell you you are a jackass) etc. Thank goodness I am fairly strong minded (hope I am not kidding myself) – that’s how they get you. I hope I am on my way to more freedom.
    I have definitely come to the conclusion (I’m surprised I’m still sane) that to cherry pick things in life (bits of knowledge, including pieces from Buddhism etc) is normal and to rely on your own instincts/gut reactions and experience is normal. I’m still scared if I stayed with AA what else damage could have been caused. Thank goodness I’m out of it. I look forward to living a normal life and doing nice normal things. I’m so glad I’ve found this blog. Thanks Rebecca.

    • girlscoutuk says:

      Hi there Susan!

      Welcome to the blog! Wow, that’s quite a story, you have done well to hang on to yourself. You don’t sound like you are kidding yourself to me (maybe I’m in denial too haha) – you sound very sane. It’s the doubt that’s the bugger. I too have had a hard time with sponsors and have tied myself up in knots second guessing myself and I went firmly down the codependent route which created a lot of grief (for e.g I got stuck in an abusive relationship as I was so confused by the Al Anon /Coda dictat to keep the focus on myself, to detach, and to have ‘good boundaries’ – all not a fat lot of use when you are with a man with a huge rage problem and no boundaries himself!). My father also would not let me ‘make amends’ – he in fact cried and said, ‘you are a WONDERFUL daugher, what are you talking about??’ and I feel some of the instances where mending bridges was appropriate, were too focused on ‘Im an alcoholic and I need to stay sober’ malarky which must have been bewildering to the person being apologised to.

      A couple of things that might help. SMART recovery have meetings and online meetings – abstinence based and based on science, no shaming, no attending for the rest of your life and plenty of learning to recognise triggers and do you own thinking.

      You might also like my blog posts on Charlotte Kasl’s 16 steps to discovery and empowerment, and another one on ‘dictionary definitions’ – I’ve been looking words up in the dictionary (just like AA tells you to do) and ‘sober’ and ‘will’ and ‘ego’ were a revelation! There are also good deprogramming essays by apple here: http://www.morerevealed.com/aadep/reclaim/index_content_reclaim.html

      Finally this blog is quite new, but there is a really active and safe blog (it’s moderated unlike Orange Papers forum for instance, as is this one, to keep the drive by steppers out!) called Leaving AA http://www.leavingaa.com

      Have a read around here and blog as much as you want, it helps to write it all down – I’m going away for a week tomorrow morning so depending on wifi signal when I’m away I might not be able to approve comments for a few days). I agree that my experience in AA wasn’t all in vain but it did do a lot of damage that I’m still undoing. I don’t have dual diagnosis in a mental health sense, but I had very long time misdiagnosed autoimmune thyroid disease which mimicked psychological symptoms which kept me stuck in AA writing inventories when I should have been seeing a doctor!

      Just know that you are not crazy and all the feelings you are feeling are totally normal and to be expected.

      Best wishes

      • Susan says:

        Oh thanks Rebecca – will certainly check out the above – nice to know there is more choice than AA (as each day goes on its lovely and free-ing for me to know AA are for me in the past!) I shall enjoy watching a film tonight instead of going to a meeting! Thanks I know I’m not crazy really (lovely to know you are not either!!). Have a fabulous holiday. In a week’s time I’m on my holidays (Greece and I cannot wait) so will touch base on my return. Lv and best wishes. Susan xx

      • girlscoutuk says:

        You’re welcome, I’m also off to Greece, I have a kindle full of Jo Nesbo and a belly waiting for some moussaka!

        And yes there are options – there’s also HAMS (harm reduction, abstinence and moderation support).

        I think you’d like Charlotte Kasl’s books too – Many Roads One Journey really opened my eyes.

        Speak soon


  14. lovinglife52 says:

    Good luck with your new site, good to see somebody else in the UK is spreading the word that there are alternatives to the 12 step world. I put a link to you on my blogroll http://www.recoveringfromrecovery.com/other-sites/ I think a lot of people in the UK are fed up with the strict type of AA meetings that are becoming the norn here. I left 7 years ago and it was certainly the best thing for me to do.

    • girlscoutuk says:

      Thanks just dashing on hols to Greece for a week, will check yours out when I get back and I agree! x

      • lovinglife52 says:

        Have a good holiday. Escape the rain!

      • Susan says:

        Hi there – how was your holiday and are you well? I’m back from mine today and back to reality. Had such a lovely time. Maybe it would be a nice idea for a few of us to meet up in London or wherever convenient for likeminded chats?

      • girlscoutuk says:

        It was lovely thank you. How was yours? And yes sounds like a good idea. I’m in London for three days in mid-October and I’ll be back and forth quite a bit after that – good plan!

      • Susan says:

        Hi Rebecca, glad you had a good time. I’m still in holiday mode as I had such a lovely time/such a lovely island to go to. Great – let me know if and when you fancy meeting up and we shall arrange. All the best. S

      • Susan says:

        Hi Rebecca, havent heard from you for a while – how are things with you?x

      • girlscoutuk says:

        Hey Susan

        Hiya, I’m fine thanks, been a bit tired (related to my ongoing health issues) but doing OK. Enjoying my horses and generally getting on with life – even been on a few dates (eek!) and a refreshing change not to have all that ‘coda’ rubbish going around my head. I’m mulling over what I’m going to write about next … any ideas for a topic? Hope all good with you?

        R x

      • Susan says:

        Hi R – so glad to hear you are ok, albeit a bit poorly with your health issues. Would love to meet up with you when you are next in London as I think we would have so much to talk about, esp as we are quite new to leaving AA. Its been a few months now where I havent been and I’ve been really fine about it and havent missed it one bit. Oddly enough I bumped into an AA member last night shopping and I just thought oh how sad she still has to go there rather than get a life. I think it was you that made the suggestion of looking up activities on ‘Meetup’. Well I’ve done this and it has been so amazing – have joined a few things and have even started up my own coffee meetup (had the first one last sunday with 8 people which was a nice number). I’m going to now schedule them monthly. There are so many meetups to go to its mind-boggling but going through them. I’ve got lots of things socially going on and have replaced what was my AA night on a Thursday with the gym so that way I know I’m replacing AA with things that are very worthwhile. I’ve not been tempted by a drink or anything and been genuinely very happy. Not sure what topics to bring up only that there is definately life after AA and that its great to move on from it, especially with new and exciting activities. Anyhow, take care and catch up soon. Susan x

      • girlscoutuk says:

        I failed to reply to this, forgive me. Yes I’d love to meet up. There is another blog called Recovering from Recovery run by a chap who blogs under the name of LovingLife52, he is also in London and we are talking about a meet up, perhaps we could have ‘not an AA meeting’ haha! Glad you are doing well. This is not my favourite time of the year, but I’m looking after myself. How are things with you? Girlscout.

      • Susan says:

        Hi again Girlscout – hope I’ve replied in the correct place so you can see reply to the kind message you just sent. Glad you are fine and still happy out of AA. I havent been to a meeting/AA for a good few months now and once the initial shakiness had gone (worrying if I had done the right thing although I knew I had) I havent looked back. Thank you very much for mentioning ‘Meetups’ – I never knew they existed before and have been to a few of them – all sorts of topics etc its mind-boggling, and even started up my own coffee shop meeting once a month – these have been so fab and have opened up my social activities. Anyhow I know what you mean about this being a difficult time of year – we have had a permanent drinks trolley at work going up and down the corridor for a month, plus all the stuff they put in Xmas food and pies etc but I have remained absolutely fine and happy (despite the usual Winter/Xmas stresses). Anyway, would love to meet you (and Jon if he wants to) some time – would be fab. Wishing you an amazing Xmas and all the very best for 2015 – the year is going to be great. Lv Susan x

      • girlscoutuk says:

        Ah thanks! That’s AMAZING! Well done you. And yes it is a boozy time of the year. But delighted you are doing so well. I have been through patches of doubt and anxiety also but I know I’ll never go back and in the main I am much, much happier than I was in AA. Take good care and yes let’s make a meet up our new year’s resolution xx

      • Susan says:

        No worries – I feel the same but we have done so amazing well R. How courageous are we to not do what the other sheep do and have found a better way which works. Yes look forward to meeting next year! Lv and best wishes Susan x

      • girlscoutuk says:

        And to you Susan, and yes we are pretty amazing. It continues to amaze me how much fear I was living with … and it’s nice to be free of it most of the time. And yes ditto, meet you in the New Year xx

      • Susan says:

        Spot on! xx p.s. Is there a safe place (not sure if all these messages are public) where I can leave you my mob number (if you want it of course) just ini case you have a wobble?x

      • girlscoutuk says:

        I have your email address (it shows up on my comment moderating control panel) so with your permission I can drop you a line x

      • Susan says:

        Of course you can (my hotmail address is when I’m home) but I don’t usually log on when I’m away from office. x

      • girlscoutuk says:

        OK I only have your other address, will drop you a line now x

  15. Susan says:

    Hi there lovinglife52 – so nice for me too that you are another Brit seeking alternatives to AA. My normal weekly meeting with them would have been last night (havent been for over 3 weeks now and I’m fine). Instead I watched a very interesting documentary on Kate Bush which I’m glad about. I’ve always thought I need some sort of support in my abstaining from alcohol (even if its just corresponding with recovering people or meeting with them so this is great. I will check out your blogroll. Many thanks.

  16. lovinglife52 says:

    Hi Susan, i tended to take the attitude that AA was always going to be there when I first left, and that I could go back if I really needed it. I found that was a comforting thought at first after hearing stories about people who do not go to meetings. So far I have not gone near it! I found plenty of things to fill my time, and mix with much more healthy people, compared to those in AA.

  17. Susan says:

    Yes Lovinglife52 I am starting to feel the same way – the longer I go without programming and a meeting the more confident I feel about it. I think as time goes on it would be more and more difficult to go back there – esp as the other members would guess (and have guessed for a while I’m sure) that I’m not really that committed to it. They soon know when you are not part of their in-crowd. I’ve never put myself forward to do any of the commitments so that raises alarm bells for them (esp the elders!) Apart from offering to do my turn of the chips and of course being there for anyone that needs to phone me I didnt want to be that involved in it (despite my sponsor trying to persuade me at every opportunity). I never took her bait (always had far too much of my own mind tut tut!) Of course since not going back there I havent been tempted by a drink and have felt free-er and happier so signs look good. It shouldnt be hard for me to cut ties with it all as I’ve never felt the need to get to a meeting as soon as my plane touches down on holiday soil (always thought that was a sad thing to do) and have never done more than one or two meetings a week (99% of the time it was once a week) – much to the annoyance of some people. I guess I wont feel quite the anger of a lot of ex-steppers as I never wasted too much time there and they did get me sober to start with. Why on earth AA can’t update themselves by just offering a fellowship, getting rid of the steps and that big book (written in the 1930s so prehistoric) Lord knows. Everything else in life is updated including medical science so why not them! One thing hit me since I left given that I’ve had time to breathe and that AA was totally religous at every turn….another thing that has struck me thinking about their existing members and how sick they really are, e.g. the little lady that makes the tea – she always ran around with her trolley pushing past people almost knocking them over and being so abrupt with people at every meeting – hardly the actions of a well person following the steps! I break it down now to either the members being very needy/clingy sick people that never got better/became addicted to AA or the nice enough decent people that were right in front of my eyes being broken down/brainwashed by their system – their minds have gone now and I dont think theres a way back for them. I’ve had a lucky escape before my mind has gone to mush.

  18. jonsleeper says:

    Hi there GirlScout.

    I just stumbled on your site again from the link on RecoveringFromRecovery. I’m pretty sure we had a brief email exchange earlier this as we have remarkably similar stories – leaving AA after a long period with growing doubts about the programme and fellowship due to inappropriate behaviour in the rooms.

    I just thought I’d say hi and wish you a Merry Christmas. I hope you’re well. I’m still sober and now coming up to a year “clean” of AA and meetings.

    I didn’t leave AA out of choice, it was when something went wrong in my cliquey circle of friends. I’d drunk deep at the Kool Aid and was convinced I’d drink and die as a result, but it’s been much easier than I’d thought.

    I’ve found lots of useful resources online via blogs such as yours and RecoveringFromRecovery – particularly in terms of CBT and more up-to-date therapies.

    I have links on my own blog and also some useful audiobooks that I’m happy to share privately with you and other bloggers, so if you want anything drop me a line via the site.

    Merry Christmas, best wishes for 2015. Jon S
    “Leaving AA, Staying Sober” at http://jonsleeper.wordpress.com

    • girlscoutuk says:

      Hi Jon

      Yes we chatted on a facebook group about our brush with narcissitic nutters in meetings (I had a bad romance also, or more accurately, I behaved fine and when I dumped him for his sticky behaviour around the women, he went ballistic). He relapsed on slimming pills and valium – he asked me if I’d ended it because he was ‘fat’ and I said no, I ended it because ‘you are a womanizing bastard!’ haha. Prior to this he’d not been sexually acting out as far as I’m aware, just engaging in inappropriate contact with other girls in the programme (texts, emails, late night phonecalls, enmeshed with his ex etc) and after I ended it he turned into a 13th stepper. He was off his face on drugs. The other AAs around him said ‘at least he’s sober’ (I tried to speak up and say whilst I wasn’t very pleased with the bloke this advice could actually kill him!) and gossip was rife, most of it lies about me (I am not perfect but my sexual conduct in and out of AA has ALWAYS been within my moral code so that hurt). Many people who claimed to be my friend, just wanted to hear my side of the story for the gossip. He then got into a relationship with a girl who’d been in and out of AA and who in my opinion truly does have narcissitic personality disorder, and is bordering on sociopathic. It really was not safe for me at all around the rooms after that, plus given I was always down the hippy wing of AA (get a therapist, see your doctor, you haven’t got a ‘part’ in child abuse etc) there were quite a few people enjoying my misfortune. Horrendous. And yes I’m doing OK on the out too, although, I do doubt my qualification for ever being there and I’m debating that going forward. Merry Christmas to you too, and I will defo post to your blog, good to have fellow ‘survivors’ in the UK. Girlscout.

    • Susan says:

      Just to say hi Jon and a very Merry Xmas and a happy new year to you too. I just messaged Girlscout too saying we should meet up – must have a lot to talk about being ex-AA members. I havent been to a meeting etc in months and havent looked back. I do lots of activities and dare I say it mix with quite a few ‘normies’ which has been positive. I couldnt imagine being back there now. Anyway hope you are well and bye for now. Susan

  19. jonsleeper says:

    Hi Susan, Hi GirlScout. Great to hear from you both. Thanks for replying. You know we couldn’t have had this kind of conversation a decade or so ago. The internet is a game-changer, I believe, in allowing people like ourselves to communicate and share resources. I think meeting up is a brilliant idea. I wonder if we could organise that in the New Year..? That would be really interesting. JSx

    • girlscoutuk says:

      Agreed, without the internet I’d be dead twice over! I have a serious autoimmune condition that is very badly treated in the NHS and it’s only because of the internet that I’m still here! Ditto leaving AA, it was reading around that gave me the courage to trust myself and leave. And yes let’s meet up in the New Year, we can have our first ‘Not an AA meeting’ lol.

      • Susan says:

        JS and Girlscout – yes totally agree with both of you. The I.net can be bad with bad things but in our case it has bought some really positive things into our lives. There must be more people that are ex-AA people that are like minded too to meet with. We are so brave in leaving AA and taking that leap of faith. Really looking forward to meeting you guys – have a happy, peaceful and fun Xmas and we have so much to look forward to in the New Year. Can’t wait to meet you. Susanx

      • girlscoutuk says:

        And you Susan, if it all gets too much then drop me a line. See you in the New Year! x

      • Susan says:

        Thank you – I feel we will be absolutely fine but its always nice to have that lifeline and support (without the other Nazi rubbish!)x

  20. lovinglife52 says:

    I’m around after Xmas in London as well so could meet up. Im free to the 5th then have a rather strange work pattern. It would be good to meet some more people who have moved on from AA.

  21. lovinglife52 says:

    I’m not working on the 13th so that is a possibility for me. Merry Xmas!

  22. jonsleeper says:

    I could possibly do that too. Merry Christmas all and stay safe. J

    • Susan says:

      If 13 Jan is the best day for you guys I can switch things around and make this date so that will be no probs! Thank you, Happy Xmas too you too and lots of peace. Sx

      • girlscoutuk says:

        Hi Susan

        Let’s chat over the holidays as I have the dentist that day and I’m normally pumped full of novocaine and find it hard to talk! I need to confirm the appointment time and then we can confirm. But if that doesn’t work for you, don’t worry, we’ll find one that does. xx

      • Susan says:

        No worries at all I understand. Basically I have a couple of things pencilled in for 9 and 13 Jan anyway but can switch round the thing on 13th but apart from that really flexible on dates. I work in the City. Yes speak after holidays.x

  23. lovinglife52 says:

    I’m off on the 16th and the two days that follow if that is any use. Anyway have a great xmas!

    • girlscoutuk says:

      And you, Happy Christmas, we’ll confer on the best date, I’m sure we can make something work. Thanks x

      • Susan says:

        Hi Lovinglife and Girlscout! Hope you had an amazing Xmas. Just seen this as I’m working today and tomorrow but just to say 16th Jan would be great for me (as its a weekday – Friday and I would come from work in London). The next two days (being Sat and Sun wouldnt be good for me as I live in Hertfordshire). Let us know. Ta Sx

      • girlscoutuk says:

        Happy New Year folks (it’s my least favourite day of the year, I have DVD box set and a cuddly dog, will be digging in til it’s over :-)). I am in London on 13th, my appointment is at 2pm so I could meet in the morning if that works for anyone. Otherwise will have to plan a special trip. xx

      • Susan says:

        Hi there both, happy new year! Hope 2015 is the best ever for you. Can we confirm date to meet up at all? I thought 16th was do-able? I can only do week days after work (I finish at 5.30 in Liverpool Street). Susan x

      • girlscoutuk says:

        Hi there Susan, sorry not emailed you, had a bit of a blip health wise. I’m in London on 13th for the dentist, so I can’t do the 16th but the guys on recovering from recovery (another UK blog) might be around then. If this visit doesn’t work, then I can definitely arrange to meet you on the next visit. I will reply to your email this week and we can maybe talk on the phone as well. I’m often in London so if we don’t manage it this trip then definintely next time (and I would offer to meet you after the dentist but I am so numb that I can’t talk for a few hours!). Girlscout x

      • jonsleeper says:

        Hi all. I have to work the first two weeks and weekends here in Brighton and away (Wales, Swindon) so won’t be around. Really sorry! JS

      • girlscoutuk says:

        No worries. I’ve got your email addresses so I’ll send a group mail and we can work it out. Thanks Girlscout x

      • Susan says:

        No worries both. Let me know when you are both free. Girlscout you have my email and phone details when its convenient for you to get in touch. Take care x

  24. Susie54 says:

    Have it your way! Beth got banned because you didn’t like her comments. How myopic can you get?

    • girlscoutuk says:

      Yes Beth got banned because she was getting abusive and it’s my blog so I can do what I like 🙂 There are hundreds, if not thousands of pro AA sites discussing the steps and the programme, anyone is free to go and blog there, or they could get off their backsides and start their own blog couldn’t they? This isn’t a democracy, it’s my blog – a safe place for people who want to talk about LEAVING – so I can, happily ban or moderate whatever comments I like in the interests of the majority who write here. Please watch the tone of your remarks to me or you’ll be banned too, it’s not acceptable to come here and be rude (which step is that then?).

  25. Ryan says:

    Hello and thank you for this blog, which I look forward to reading further.

    I have been growing increasingly pessimistic regarding “recovery” over the past year, and especially in the past 5 months which is my current length of sobriety/clean time. It started when I sought help for depression two years ago and was told I must completely stop drinking and using any drugs, including the Adderall I had been on since I was 11. It has been downhill from there.

    I think I had a “moment of clarity” the other night though, stumbling upon the story of Shirley Jensen and her suicide. I realized that I have been slowly moving closer to my own noose.


    “Which begs the question, has AA had its day? Can AA evolve and adapt? Or is it a dinosaur on the brink of extinction?”

    AA, rather bizarrely, continues to grow… And seem ever more archaic as the membership consists increasingly of opiate and benzo addicts rather than actual drunks. Some meetings in south Florida are almost entirely made up of opiate addicts, who go to comical lengths while sharing in meetings to talk about their addiction. Apparently shooting a $200 “bundle” of “alcohol” is quite a popular pastime amongst young people nowadays…

    Note that yes, NA exists here too. But in south Florida, AA members (especially the young, not-actual-alcohol-alcoholics) tend to view NA with fanatical contempt.

    • girlscoutuk says:


      Welcome. Yeah the whole AA vs NA thing and the silly verbal chicanery people have to go through to fit in is rather bizarre. Here in the UK NA is considered a bit ‘cooler’ and more ‘edgy’ than AA, and seems to be populated by young guys in designer jeans and very box fresh trainers (sneakers). AA on the other hand is largely full of lots of middle aged men (whose wife ironed their shirt and cooked their dinner before they turn up at the meeting and talk about ‘being a man’ and ‘taking responsibility’ and seem to have more status than the single mother earning the money, cooking the meals, finding a sitter, and getting to meetings but I digress). I think opinions differ on the size of AA, check out Massive’s blog Leavingaa.com and also her blog talk radio shows, SafeRecovery. Girlscout x

  26. sally says:

    hello im in the uk i left aa not sure perhaps 3 yr ago ..i went back in for 2 or 3 week a few months back..it wasnt long untill i left again.im still haveing bad effects from it all.i can barely stand being with other humans now..the people i meet out of AA are worse or as bad as those i met in it.
    pre aa i wasnt as aware of my own or other peoples (I dont know a word to use that isnt AA-so ishall have to talk AA ) i wasnt as aware of my own or other peoples defects..now its all i see in myself and others..i get drunk ocassionally..none of AA..steps meeting none of it did stop me ..forever..at one point i had 4 yrs..i went for 12 years..i am reading a book of short stories at present…one is about a girl who grew up in catholic household and church..she talks of being made aware of sin..its like that.it makes me feel sad inside that all i see in those around me is sin or defects i cant stand people anymore..and im still a bit robotic..and i have noticed that people out of AA dont like me showing negative traits any more than those in it did..people out of AA tell me the same ..your selfish your too seriouse your angry your too sensative and so on..so i once more am stuffing down my emotions..i also find controlling people just seem to be drawn to me..people out of AA try to tell me how to do my life,just as those in there did..
    i tell them its my life i live it my way..but they dont seem to here me.i try to avoid mixing with people. every so often i have to..and ocassonally i go to the pubs and get drunk..i dont stay in them long.i tryed facebook..but find some of the posters remind me of AA,i think some are AA..i met 1 person on facebook that i felt okay comunicating with..his wife went to AA i think.
    i shut my page down.i shall miss him.i have gave up all hope of ever forming real friendships with people i can enjoy being with..or of ever haveing a real proper good relationship with a man..i tryed after i left AA,it wasnt very good and i ended it at new year.i have once again i will have to use AA talk ..i have accepted and came to terms with the fact that for me a life of near recluse
    is all i can do.im glad i still have a family,though since leaving AA i have had problems a few times with some of my family.im known all over this small city, as an alcoholic, im lableled also with mental health even though im told by counsellors and doctors that i am not mad..because i had the label the label sticks..i have thoughts to move again this time out of the city i live in..to a quiet private area..and spend the rest of my days writeing and painting..my hated of AA resurfaced on friday..deep down i hate AA..im not sure that will ever go away..

    • girlscoutuk says:

      Hi there

      Welcome! Sorry to hear you’ve had such a hard time of it, I HEAR you, it’s really hard. It’s weird, I’m finding the opposite with people out of AA, they have really surprised me and it’s been a refreshing change. Have you been on the http://www.leavingaa.com blog as well, it’s much busier than this one, and lots of nice people there, some of the facebook groups are a bit bonkers, but leaving aa is well moderated. Also I’ve just been assessed by my local drug and alcohol service, it’s a charity and counselling sessions are free, it’s non-12 step and they are helping me deprogramme from AA. Also I’ve read quite a lot of SMART recovery’s materials (I’m no longer abstaining but it’s a refreshing alternative view of ‘recovery’) and I also really like HAMS (which stands for Harm Reduction, Abstinence and Moderation Support) – they have a website, an email group and a facebook page, you might find some good support there? I really do hear what you are saying, but honestly, don’t lose all hope, there ARE some sane and friendly people out there, who won’t bully or belittle or control you. I was very, very angry for a while after leaving AA but I’m working through it now, and feel – to also use an AA word – more accepting, but I did feel that I wasted a long period of my life telling myself I am sick or defective. You might also want to look into Naltrexone or other drugs from your GP to help you taper off if that’s what you are aiming for. Please do blog away here, rant, shout scream, ponder, whatever, there are some nice people here too and we’ll listen. Lots of love xx

  27. Stefanie Marsh says:

    Hello GirlScout. Is there an email I can contact you on directly? It’s regarding more information about AA success rates and alternative coping strategies/therapies. All the best, Stefanie

    • girlscoutuk says:

      Hey Stephanie, sorry I’ve been away for a while. I can see your email in the control panel so can drop you an email back. Sorry for the delay in replying. Girlscout x

  28. J.J says:

    Hi,I just had a spiritual awakening like AA say – that I have enough AA hahah I m just wondering what they would say about it :)well I can see that is so much fear and is religious even they say is not.The word God is about 6 times in the 12 Steps and if would be spiritual that would change for sure.The book is old and nothing really change since 1930s so how the hell you should get better doing the same stuff -is almost same that when you drink and you don’t change anything you are stuck and you don’t get any results another that same results for the action you take.So AA did work for a while to break a one sick circle to creat another one haha.They keep saying that you need a God and believe in God or higher power but not yourself if you do you have to big ego so you put yourself down.Also you are to sensitive so you don’t believe what you feel or what you see then you need sponsor or another member of aa to ask them if is right what you feel or see-again you are the crazy one and you are different than people outside AA as they have no program so you keep away from much healthier people that would try to talk to you.You feel special that you lucky one have a 12 Steps and again that keep you in AA.I think they play lots of emotional and psychological games so people can not think for themselves.If you read about Bill W and his religious background that will show you what you need to see-OXford Group is that you give yourself and your life to God and same is in AA -many people say they owe life to AA so AA become them God.in Oxford Group they talk women to women and man to man-again same AA.But the truth is the sick people but they think the AA is the best and know all and rest is not good but they have little knowledge and they don’t move forward and change but all is about action and changes they would say.If you want to see who control your life -start to criticise them and you will see what reaction you will get as you can not say anything about AA because they always blame you that you don’t work steps properly or you don’t do enough service so again blame is a manipulation they use agains vulnerble people.I m happy to be awake and I m looking forward do Smart recover base on sience and growth .Thanks for your web -helped lots by knowing that is not only me as I feel angry to being so blind but that what probably mean to be for me to see later when I m able to deal with.

  29. Karmamademedoit says:

    Hi I’m Rob. I’m glad I found this. I attended AA for years but never really got the ‘continuous’ sobriety that’s recommended. My problems with AA came about through developing an interest in Buddhism about ten years ago. Pretty soon I’d lost all interest in the Twelve Step program. At first I thought that just Leaving AA would be easy. I had attended meetings on and off for twenty years and spent the last five of those trying to figure out what the hell this innocent looking ‘fellowship’ had done to me. The occasional meeting would only add to my doubts and feelings of dis ease. I think that in a sense I was so vulnerable, wrecked and disillusioned when I first encountered AA that I let a lot go by unquestioned. As I was so pleased to get off the merry go round and stop shaking I started to trust people who weren’t trustworthy. Plus, because I wasted the first decade shrugging off suggestions that I might have bi polar disorder in favour of the general cries of ‘your just another drunk’ I prolonged the agony. Either way, since getting the right medication AA has lost all appeal. I got fed up of wondering what they were talking about, 90% of them seem to have a hidden agenda. People I thought of as friends I now see as word twisting, misleading and cowardly. Over the years it gradually wore me down with Internal politics, double standards and no definite place to stand to defend myself. Either way I fell for it for a while. I still don’t find this booze free life easy but sites like this help because it helps remind me that other human beings have the same human feelings as I do and that I don’t have to be part of a secret sub species anymore. Phew! Thankyou.

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