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Can You Actually Stay Sober Without AA?

Substance abuse problems can turn your life upside down. Battling an addiction to drugs or alcohol may seem like a hopeless and lonely struggle. It doesn’t need to be. There is help for those who suffer.  Hope is found in various approaches to recovery. A program that has stood the test of time in helping people with alcoholism stay sober is Alcoholics Anonymous. However, can you actually stay sober without AA?

To answer this question, we’ll share some benefits that AA offers the recovering alcoholic. We’ll explain how other types of recovery programs can help as well. Nevertheless, the choice to become a part of the AA community is yours and yours alone.


What’s so Special About AA?

Alcoholics Anonymous is an organization different from most. There is no hierarchy of leadership, nor are there any set rules for membership. If you say you are an alcoholic, you are welcome at meetings.  AA does not require you to sign up for anything, nor does AA require the payment of any dues. All AA groups and fellowships are fully self-supporting through the contributions. This lack of any preset order of authority and no dues has perplexed business people for decades.

Many cannot fathom how the organization survived, let alone thrive. These basic principles are certainly part of the reason. However, there is another aspect of Alcoholics Anonymous that truly does make it a special organization.  It is the identification of talking to someone who has battled the same addiction you have. Being able to identify with someone who has endured an abysmal experience trying to stay sober is both refreshing and healing.

When you walk through the doors of an AA meeting, the warm welcome everyone receives is because of this common bond. It is like nothing else in the world. Even though you do not have to join any group or pay any dues, the common struggle of like-minded alcoholics is priceless. It is the primary thing that makes AA so special.


Are There Options Instead of AA?

If you’re willing to forego the inherent connection between alcoholics, there are a myriad of ways to stay sober with AA. AA does not, nor has it ever claimed to be the one-and-only cure-all for alcoholism.  Nevertheless, AA does have the best track record for success. Religious experiences and other self-help groups can also boast of providing substance to sobriety. Many alcoholics will become involved in church or civic activities to help them stay sober.

There is certainly a vast number of people who have completed treatment programs, yet have not become part of the AA family. While it is common for treatment facilities to encourage involvement in recovery fellowships, there is rarely a mandate that you intend.  Many courts will require documented attendance at a recovery meeting to meet pre-sentencing or pre-trial requirements. These types of restrictive measures are often debated in the recovery community.

Many believe that to gain any benefit from Alcoholics Anonymous, the alcoholic needs to make the commitment on their own. Prodding and persistence rarely trigger the alcoholic mind to do something against their own will.  Better to guide and suggest than to insist. There are also different types of secular recovery groups. The theories behind these types of groups, while similar to AA, do present different models for sustained recovery.

One organization that has shown successful results in helping alcoholics remain sober is a Christian recovery organization. The theory is that through a dedicated commitment to the church that celebrates life, an alcoholic can overcome their sickness.  Each of these alternatives to AA may have strong merits for different circumstances. Again, AA has never claimed to have an exclusive inside angle on recovery. However, Alcoholics Anonymous has the longest and most proven success rate of helping alcoholics to stay sober.  So, the truthful answer to whether or not you can stay sober without AA is yes. However, why would you? AA has such a proven track record of helping millions recover from the devastating disease of alcoholism; it should at least warrant your curiosity.

No one can make you join anything in AA, and no one can make you leave. Nevertheless, it seems counterproductive to throw away such a wealth of experience. If you feel you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, the first step is to ask for help.  You can do that at an AA meeting, or you can pick up the phone and speak with a professional addiction treatment center. The key is to do something. Reach out for help. Help is available. Once you take that first step, you can begin to travel a new and exciting journey called recovery. AA or no AA, the first call is up to you. Make it today.  Call 844-903-2111