“Relapsing Left and Right” – New York Times article
I came across this article in the Times this morning that talked about the effect of the pandemic on people in recovery. I am always curious to read the comments, and found it troubling that there was no mention of any peer support group other than AA. I am going to post a reply in the Comments section. People need to know that there is more than one way to get and stay sober! I invite you to do so as well. Happy (belated) New Year! Let’s make 2021 a satisfying and sober year. Thank you LifeRing.
I agree completely. I was involved with AA for the first two and a half years of my recovery. I stayed sober, but I was miserable as an atheist in such a cultish environment. I reject religion in all forms and, in my opinion, AA is a religion. I prefer philosophy and search for truth in this world. When I left, I got the LifeRing workbook as a bridge to secular recovery. I’ve been sober for over 18 years. I got sober two months before my 21st birthday and since then have become a psychotherapist. I spent about 6 months in 2020 providing clinical direction and programming for a detox and crisis unit. It is shocking how many of those clients — clients that are literally dying from substance use disorders — have no knowledge of secular recovery and would rather continue to use than go to 12-step meetings. I will never understand why therapists (not “alcohol and drug counselors” — don’t even get me started) who have advanced training in psychotherapeutic interventions would blindly funnel clients to such an invalidating and disempowering “design for living” that typically eschews modern and evidence-based treatments for SUDs. I can fully get behind LifeRing as a philosophical, rather than a religious or “spiritual” approach. My clients at the detox devoured all of the CBT, psychoeducational material, and secular recovery content I placed in their hands. Many commented that no one had ever put it as simply as “sobriety is my priority.” It’s not a mystical thing in any way. Never-ending thanks to LifeRing for my bridge to a secular path in recovery and the opportunity to share with others still in the struggle.
I’m grateful to hear that there are those of you out there in the professional community who understand that AA is not the only way for everyone. That would be like saying the “one, Catholic, holy, and apostolic” church works for all Christians, ‘cause, um, clearly it does NOT – but all that judgement, guilt, and dogma is exactly what AA felt like to me. The simple fact of the matter is if I hadn’t found LifeRing I’d be dead or very close to it because left the choice between death and AA, AA wouldn’t even rate a close second.
Well said, Bobbi!
So great to hear from you, Adrienne; and wonderful to know that you are a psychotherapist who is familiar with the “multiple pathways of recovery” currently available to people with Substance Use Disorder(s). Although I myself am not necessarily an atheist, I have always bristled at the assumption that the only way anybody can get sober is through a “higher power”. It’s maybe not even so much the “higher power” as the statement that it is the “only” way. There is no one way to do anything. I am glad that awareness is growing and that people are able to benefit from choice in recovery. Thank you!
I like that you enjoy being in recovery. I was introduced to sobriety back when Joe and Charlie were thumping there Bog Blue Book(12 steps of A.A.),..,and it wasn’t till I fully surrendered that I felt a Higher power.I’ve been clean and sober over 15 years,and I have to admit that like I’m the book it says though they may scoff at US,they may stay to pray!.,which is what the founders new would work .go figure!
Good for you, Pete, on 15 years!