Hi, my name is Nickrz, and I’m an alcoholic.
I achieved sobriety through AA more than 5 years ago, and all I can tell you is it worked for me. I’d hit bottom and had nowhere else to turn; AA’s twelve-step program returned me to sanity (heh) and gave me a spiritual way of life and thinking that literally saved my life. Say all you like about the endless drunk-a-thons, the cigarette smoke and the dry drunks cluttering the tables with seemingly endless renditions of “Life’s not fair,” but AA has helped millions of people achieve and maintain sobriety world-wide since 1939.
We can’t all be wrong in saying “AA helped me when professionals, religious entities, law enforcement, the tearful entreaties of my family and friends and the grim reaper staring me in the face were ALL unsuccessful.” AA is the treatment of last resort for those of us who are almost hopelessly adept at every facet of denial.
Like TennHippie, I too rejected AA many years ago. I told myself “Those people have to rely on the idea God will remove their drinking problems. How arrogant and foolish to think God would meddle in earthly affairs. It’s a mental trick they can play only on the feeble-minded.” Well, another 25 years of hard drinking didn’t land me in the land of the tiny-brained folk, but it did have the effect of reducing to one the number of straws I had left to grasp. Only by hard work and adherence to the program itself was I able to overcome this and the countless other hurdles of denial my disease placed in my path.
Cripes, I could (and have) go on for hours with this. I was the guy across from you whining and puling about the injustice of everything under the sun, smoking countless cigarettes and talking about scrapes with death and drugs and the jailer; I was the guy busy letting you save his life by listening to all your (identical to my early)protestations (of responsibility for your actions while drinking) and carefully shooting every one of your rationalizations down just as mine were dashed in flames by others who were truly sober. AA chewed me up and spit me out the other end panting and bereft of any illusions as to my ability to resume drinking “responsibly.” AA and those drunks around the tables gave me the ability to choose whether or not I drink today. I did not have that freedom before.
I know there are many in AA who go overboard in their religious overtones. I personally vehemently object to praying in public, and the practice of linking hands and repeating the Lord’s Prayer at the end of every meeting makes me puke at the irony and hypocrisy inherent in that act. But I just choose not to participate, and rely on the fact it seems to help others with their struggle. AA teaches tolerance as well.
Oops. I’m running on…
I don’t pretend AA is the end-all and be-all of alcoholism treatment.
Go ahead, shop around.
If you think you need help, by God get it wherever you can.
We’ll always be here if and when you may need us.