Hello folks, I'm new here. I'm looking for an Al Anon type support group without the supreme being/god thing. I'm in Huntington Beach and getting no where online.

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the link above is to AA meetings in CA that are atheist/secular. They be be able to help locate alanon meetings that are similar. good luck

thank you Jim. I'd found the we agnostics link, was hoping to find a chapter closer than LA. guess I should start by contacting them, maybe a closer meeting isn't posted. I appreciate your time.

SOS has been mentioned a few times in the past. The link might be a starting place. 

Thank you Reg, it sounds like the type of organization that would be a good fit.

a bit more here (credit to Unseen from another post).

Thanks! Great read! I'd learned AA success rate was 1 out of 15, pretty dismal. But what I'd expect by believing in a magical man in the sky!

Really reasonable plan of action re: quitting. Daughter of an alcoholic, I've personally never considered it a disease, Dad just had to decide when he'd had enough. No local meetings available for parents, but some great resources online. I didn't find this group in my search, Thanks again. I do appreciate it!

I do not consider that alcohol dependency is a disease. I am not arguing that it is not, only that I don’t consider it to be one. I think that most people that get “labelled” as alcoholics are really just abusers of alcohol. Once they stop long enough to consider WHY they abuse it or any other drug they can begin to turn their lives around.

People don’t stay drunks because they enjoy the taste of alcohol. They stay that way because of issues in their lives that have never been properly acknowledged or dealt with. Nearly always it is due to some form of childhood trauma.

Attending AA or SOS is the first stage in recovery. Not so much from alcohol but for time to allow healing by dealing with the root cause of the trauma which was previously supressed by the alcohol or other self-harming behaviour.

I think AL Anon works for some. However it tends to see the alcohol as the cause of the persons problems rather than the trauma that led them to abuse it.  It allows or even encourages people to look to a higher power for help which makes them dependent on an invisible crutch. There are people I know that go to these meetings more than once a week and have done so for years. They still see themselves as alcoholics and many have still not dealt with WHY they drank in the first place.

They still see themselves as sinners and only one drink away from ruining their lives. They believe they are still sober because of the help of their higher power (which we know does not exist). They are too aware of alcohol and tend to talk about their binge experiences at meetings rather than the reasons why they drank. They never seem to get to climb all the way out of the bottle.

Basically what I am trying to say is that AA keeps people free from alcohol abuse by restraining them from it rather than freeing them from it.

SOS or similar approaches are more successful. They delve into the WHY. They tend to use cognitive behaviour techniques and allow the person to acknowledge the reasons they abuse it. Rather than sitting around in a group discussing drunken war stories they begin to challenge the underlying problems behind their drinking. They can do so in an environment with trained professionals.  They feel that they are safe because there are medical trained therapists involved.

(Often in AA they can (especially women) be preyed upon (even prayed upon) by men that join to seek out vulnerable women to offer “compassion” to. This can only make matters worse.)

I think it was the poet Dylan Thomas, when asked if he was drinking to drown his problems, replied –“Yes, but and they are damn strong swimmers”.

So just refraining from alcohol does not solve the problem. Dealing with it does and therefore the desire to drink is removed. You are bigger and stronger than any imagined god.

The "why" is critical. I wonder about that childhood trauma theory, though. So many families where most of the kids are okay but one has substance abuse; same upbringing should be similar experiences. I know with my own sons, one has been hard to tame since he was a tiny guy. Quick temper, impulsive, stubborn, self absorbed - and that's the one with the issues. The other sons drink (as do my husband and I), but we don't feel the need to go blotto. Same thing when I was growing up. One brother let his partying get in the way with his life, the rest of us are okay. Same thing with my husband's family, one brother who let drugs and alcohol destroy any hope of a productive life.

I'd link it more to family traits that can be inherited. With our family it's a combination of related psychological issues: bipolar (father in law, sister in law, possibly my son, but he's not diagnosed), ADHD (definitely my son), schizophrenia (my brother in law.) The self medicating from denial and the lack of coping is a part of it.

With you on that sinning thing.... I left that concept behind 40 years ago. Took a world religion class in college that sealed the deal on my atheism. My take away was the core concept of the golden rule, no need for the rest of it which all seems like bribery for a place (heaven) I reject. Doing right by yourself and others is a reward in itself for our time on earth.

They always say you have to hit bottom to see the light. I'm hoping this is his bottom by  losing his car and having to shell out everything he has to pay legal fees (2nd DUI.) We're just beginning this road and he's not yet on board. I think he's one of those people who can't stop when they start, not enough to just have a drink or two socially. No one can make you control your drinking/drugs until you are ready.

The biggest challenge I face here is coming to an agreement with my husband. He was trained by a master of enabling, his mom who helped her adult son until she died (he was 53 when she passed, always had his hand out, jailed more times than I can count.) He sounds like the 2nd mom - annoyed by the system, MADD, "unfair" punishments, angry with me for refusing to pay the son's car registration which was why he was pulled over. The blaming is a learned skill.

My son has burned me on too many promises. I cut him off financially but my husband sees it as kicking him when he's down. He's a musician with lots of expensive equipment that could be sold to help pay for this if the car doesn't bring enough.

I saw this 2nd DUI coming and it was like trying to stop a train wreck. We warned him so many times but he was above the law. Fortunately, he doesn't have the additional issue of having hurt someone.

We haven't been firm on rules and boundaries because of our inability to agree and enforce. I'm not ready to kick him out on the streets, but things have to change. Dang, he's a 27 year old college grad with no student loans, we tried to give him a good start but have made mistakes along the way. Odd how different his brothers are, treated equally, but they are so responsible. This one has had a manipulative streak since he was a small boy. He and my husband butt heads regularly but he has his dad wrapped around his little finger. Knows just what to say.

Thanks for the referrals to the books and your taking the time to write.  I'll get them ordered.


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