If AA Were Invented Today

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I, like many others who found themselves in a cyber-community learning to develop a better attitude towards alcohol, had a visceral horror of AA.

With me, it was very personal. My drunk brain lay virtually all of the blame for my misfortunes down to the fact that my ex-husband became so involved, so wedded to the fellowship that he put it and it’s members before our family.

For others, the abhorrence lies in the pseudo-Christian rhetoric.

For others, it was about giving up control.

For others, it was the disease theory which made them shudder.

Others found the view that they will never be well but always in recovery revolting.

For some, it was about the fact that they are asked to admit from the start that they are alcoholic.

Others still found the pop-psychology, the homespun homilies irksome.

Personally, I believe that what makes AA so ‘wrong’ for so many is the way that the steps have been interpreted and practised for nearly a century, turning them into some sort of crystallised entity, like an ant caught in amber, suspended in stasis, by-passed by a fast-moving world.

It doesn’t matter what we think but the ‘truth’ (and I use that word grudgingly because it is not truth but a matter of perspective) is that AA works for many, many people. I think the reason it works (if you blank out all of the shit that we feel about it) is the fellowship; the people who surround each member. The fact is that if you join AA you are never alone, you are permanently connected unless you chose to disconnect.

Which is what cyber communities do so well. On arrival in these cyberworlds, there is always someone to greet you, hold your hand, support you. There are always people there to make you laugh, wipe up your tears, bend your ear, give advice, be your friend.

Recently, I’ve been thinking that the process which people go through when they join these types of site is not unlike going through the 12 steps. The difference is that here, the steps are unwritten and you are not required to do ‘homework’. The longer people remain the greater their awareness grows, the more accepting they become of their own ‘truth’.

As an observer, you can quite clearly see the growth steps that people take at first a day at a time, then a week, then a month, then a year at a time. You see people grow through the cycle of grief. You see people grow during their passage through PAWS. You see people’s anger propel them into being public-spirited campaigners and community supporters. You see people take active steps to repair the damage that their drinking has caused. You can see people slip into a coat of kindness and compassion for strangers that renews the faith that there are unending amounts of goodness in the world. You see people find a peace that they could never have imagined existed. You see people become the person that they always wanted to be.

I’m going to hold my hand up and admit that I was falsely prejudiced against the organisation that is AA. I don’t think I’ll ever join them, but I will admit that some of their wisdom has seeped into my consciousness helping me move forward in life. So much so that one day, when I have the time and the inclination, I may well sit down and rewrite the steps to make them more meaningful to people like you and me.

But in the meantime, if nothing that I have said strikes you as being ‘true’, I think we can all agree that we need to DO THE WORK.

If you’re Drinking too much too often Rethink the Drink.

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This post was written by Erica MrsP for Boozemusings and the BOOM Community Rethink the Drink.

You can find more of Erica’s writing

Here in Boozemusings

on her Word Press blog

and her Medium Blog

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