When I left treatment they told me to get a "sponsor". After my first AA meeting some guys raised their hands. These were guys who claimed to be willing and able to sponsor newcomers, had multiple years of sobriety, and worked all of the 12 steps. I spoke with a few people and got a few business cards. A week later a guy came up to me at the same meeting. He asked me if I had found a sponsor yet, my response was no of course. He told me he wanted to buy me a cup of coffee across the street and explain to me why sponsorship was so important. He actually made a lot of sense.
Five years ago I sat on the beach with my sponsor. This guy was 290 lbs and claimed to be an ex-hitman. For whatever reason, we worked well together and having just gotten out of drug treatment I was not picky with who I worked with.
The easy way out is to latch on to someone and remove yourself from your own issues. The short-term solution for dealing with you in early recovery from addiction is to get into a relationship.
I got sober and I became a fulltime gambling addict. Once I had that licked I moved on to sex. Once I had that figured out I moved onto workaholism. When that stopped working I ended up back at square one, in an AA meeting with 10 guys telling me that I am just trying to fill the void and I don’t have the guts to do it the right way.
I hear people discussing this topic in almost every meeting I go to. People are always talking about making amends, apologizing, repairing old relationships and doing the best they can to deal with it. If there is one step I could remove from the 12 - it would be this one! The
I have dealt with alcoholism and drug addiction. 90% of the time it was related. Here is a brief comparison between AA and NA and what works for me and why.
AA works for me, and it works for most of the addicts I know...but because it helps me doesn't mean that it will help you, and you need to find an aftercare program that supports you and allows for your continuing sobriety. AA is not a cult, and is only offered for the benefit of recovering alcoholics, you are free to come and go at your discretion, and you are not required to pay for any of the services offered. It does require a belief in a higher power, but many members find a way to make the AA philosophy fit within their existing beliefs, and many agnostics and even atheists can still find success within the interfaith organization…others cannot.
Without fully making amends for our past transgressions, we are forever haunted by the shame and regret of our behaviors during addiction. Although the concept of making amends is largely promoted through 12 steps style recovery, I believe that regardless of the philosophy of recovery employed, making restitution is a necessary part of any addictions healing, and is one of the best ways to ensure long term success and sobriety.
Although AA claims to be spiritually based, without affiliation to any particular religion, there is a requirement for a belief in a higher power of some sort, and to use the strength and guidance of this higher power in recovery. Although this higher power need not be god in the traditional sense, many people without a belief in a religious god struggle with this aspect of the program. Although this can prove problematic, many agnostics and even atheists find a power outside of themselves that meets the requirements of the program, and as a result benefit greatly from AA; while many other cannot.
A recent American clinical study examined the effect of perceived criticism on relapse back to substance abuse, and found that the perception of criticism was a very significant factor leading to relapse. Families can best help in the recovery process by remaining encouraging and supportive, and additionally attending both therapy with the alcoholic, as well as some form of family support organization.
AA works for many, but for Christians, replacing the term "higher power" with Jesus Christ makes recovery more meaningful and resonant with truth and Faith. For many Christians, joining a Christian 12 steps group or Christian rehab just makes more sense.
Al ANON is a peer group support organization for families of an alcoholic. The pain of alcoholism does not end with the alcoholic, and the family also suffers from the drinking. AL ANNON meetings follow a 12 step program to healing, and aim to help the family member's close to an alcoholic live healthier and happier lives...whether the alcoholic is drinking or not.