My Short AA Experience
by Samuel Ross
I’m twenty-five years old and I have been an alcoholic and a drug addict for about five years. I say I have been rather than I am because I do not believe these addictions are a disease that anyone must live with for the entirety of their life, regardless of what Alcoholics Anonymous indoctrinates its followers with. When I felt I had hit bottom about five weeks ago my initial plan of action for my recovery was to join the local AA group. I did this with the most positive and open-minded intentions I could have had.
I made it very clear at the first meeting I attended that I was an agnostic would not do the God thing and I was told by other members not to worry about it and that the God thing is not necessary. All that was required was that I had a desire to stop drinking. I continued to attend twice a week, which is the amount of meetings held in this town each week, for about one month. I was told by other members that my progress was going great and that I was doing the right things in my life. I just felt I was living my life without my addictions and I was happy because I was doing more productive things and feeling great. I was enjoying learning a new way of living my life.
It wasn’t long before the religiosity of AA became apparent and thus very frustrating, as I wrote in one of my preceding essays “Alcoholics Anonymous is Religion.” The more meetings I went to the more I began to feel like the other members were trying to recruit me into a cult. I was told that the only way to truly be “saved” from my “disease” was through the fellowship of AA and the path it prescribes. The Higher Power idea was pushed on me more and more as time went on. I was told to read the “We Agnostics” chapter of “The Big Book” which I tore apart in my essay “We Agnostics – Seven Deceptive Delusions.” I sent it to my so-called sponsor and continued going to meetings. After one of the meetings my sponsor brought it up with me and another member. Instead of being defensive or insulted about my attack on their faith in AA, they just said that I am doing great in my recovery and that the essay was good because I was writing instead of drinking or using.
When I told them that I do not believe in a Higher Power they would unfailingly reply with responses such as “Yet” or “You’ll get there.” In the conversations I was having with AA members I began to feel like I was bashing my head against a brick wall. Putting faith above reason is not a step forward; it’s a huge stride backwards. I would never even consider deserting logic or rationality for something so shamelessly invented.
When I tried to see passed the aspects of AA that are complete bullshit I realized there wasn’t much left. Nothing, at least, that I wasn’t able to attain without AA and so I told my sponsor I wouldn’t attend anymore meetings. All of a sudden I received a lot of resistance. I was told that my ego was too big and it was implied that AA was not the problem, I was the problem. I was told I was being narrow-minded with AA and its members. All of this was unfounded and ridiculous since the only part of my life I was changing was my involvement in AA, which I wasn’t getting any help from anyways.
After doing a lot of research I have come to the conclusion that AA is nothing more than a religious organization that manipulates its followers into believing that the only way to be truly free of their addictions is to stay with AA and its program. AA doesn’t truly solve anyone’s addiction; it may sober up someone but it keeps them just fucked up enough to keep attending. I don’t want any addictions to control me for the rest of my life. When I was drinking and using, I was letting my addictions control me by consuming alcohol and drugs. If I was to stick with AA my addictions would still be controlling me by having me attend meetings all my life to deal with them.
Instead, I need to strengthen my self will and make it stronger than my addictions. I have had urges to drink but I just brush them off by telling myself “I don’t drink.” If my addiction questions me I remind myself why I don’t drink and then move on to whatever I’m doing without spending any more time thinking about it. AA leads people to believe that urges to drink are more serious than they really are. It is not necessary to get your sponsor on the phone at two in the morning or rush to the nearest meeting. My self will overcomes every urge I have to drink and it gets stronger each time. I can sit around with a group of friends that are drinking and have a good time with a can of pop because I know I just don’t want to drink. Simple as that.
– Samuel Ross