Thanks for sharing and congratulations! I would also note that there is an alternative to AA: SMART recovery which is a "secular, science-based" support group:
The problem is that they do not have nearly as chapters as AA but they do have an active online community. I think it is important to get the word out because there are lots of people who are turned off by AA's higher power stuff but because AA has a monopoly in the recovery game lots of people aren't getting the help they need.
The thing they don't tell a skeptical mind is that the stats they use to show the 'recovery rates' are taken from the members that stay in the program. Duh! The take out the ones that don't stay.
They also don't tell you that some that don't stay still get better. So that is why the stats are skewed.
I wonder why many don't stay ...
The entire program is based off empty claims that you 'need' to accept a higher power and that you 'need' to admit you are helpless against the addiction , which is just pathetically false. All you have to do is go talk to someone who has achieved a clean slate without falling into the psychological mumbo jumbo they feed you in those meetings.
I went in for 'GA' , but attended AA meetings as well because they were more diverse than GA meetings. They tried to force me to admit I was helpless , which I adamantly refused to do. I told them I am in control over my body and mind. They did not like that one bit. I said Tough shit because you are not going to force this on me. I also told them I don't believe in God and I think it's all made up. I told them my higher power was Nature and they accepted that.
I was a deep introvert and got addicted to online poker. I was extremely good at it , too. But I was so good that I would win a lot of money but continue playing and get sleep deprived and lose it all. I never lost a lot of money , but I did lose a ton of real time I could have done doing real things.
Since then , which was only a few years ago , I have dabbled in online poker again and have been perfectly fine and won some very lucrative tournaments. Consistently. I have made other life changes. I have forced myself to stay in touch with friends and go out to clubs to meet girls and socialize. Stop feeling sorry for myself.
You don't need AA, GA , or NA. The fellowship is what unites them , but I found my fellowship with people outside of the group. I couldn't take listening to their sob stories any longer and accusing me that I am going to become an alcoholic and become addicted to other substances because I didn't 'accept' what they tried to force onto me. It was absolutely painful listening to their stories. It's a bunch of old guys talking about betting on horses and it's always the same story every week. I refused to attend any longer. I have also been fine since I learned new life style choices.
Its all in your mind. Some people are more susceptible to addiction in moments of their life , but I firmly believe anyone can succumb to it. Anyone can also get out of it if they have a structural support of loved ones and become educated on the signs of addiction. Wow this is long , sorry about that :P
It depends on where the meetings are. In virginia, the religiosity seemed more potent. In a certain part of Maryland , not so much. I'm guessing the bible belt would be more religious compared to a GA meeting in NYC for instance.
I didn't attend that many of the same AA meetings so I couldn't really get a feel for it.
You really should check out this website:
It is about the religious basis of AA, the abuses it is guilty of, and the fact that it doesn't seem to actually work any better than going it alone. Apparently, a small percentage of addicts decide on their own every year to sober up and then do so and AA' success rate appears to be no higher and may be lower.
Here is information about secular organizations for sobriety:
The link below takes you to a review of a book called Addiction: A Disorder of Choice, by Gene Heyman
Here is a quote from the review:
Heyman, a psychologist with appointments at Harvard and Boston College, presents an eye-opening and empirically grounded theory of voluntary behavior that goes a long way toward explaining addiction, not as a disease, but as choice-making gone bad. His analysis adds substantially to the growing literature in behavioral economics that shows we are not optimally rational maximizers of our own self-interest. Addiction, it turns out, is simply one rather vivid manifestation of a basic feature of voluntary action: judged from the standpoint of an ideal consumer taking a long-term view of her choices, we tend to overconsume our immediate preferences, and in so doing undermine our net self-interest over the long haul. Drugs, including alcohol, are very good subverters of ideal, globally informed choice-making, so addiction properly understood is a paradigm disorder of choice, of voluntary behavior."
Needless to say, Heyman's thesis is quite the opposite of the disease, you have no control model of addiction that is sanctioned by the treatment established. Some of the negative reader comments at Amazon showed the extent to which AA has had the final say in what is "kosher" in the treatment world. Anyway, I bought the book but (of course) haven't gotten around to reading it.
I always found the AA "you have not control and must give yourself to a higher power" to be exactly the opposite of what I would view as a positive therapeutic approach to the problem.
Oh and another thing. The relapse rate is very high for 'addicts' because most of the time they are not properly educated and treated. They are taking these stats from people who attended these meetings with no other forms of treatment.
I am willing to bet that the 'once an addict , always an addict' mantra is not really as truthful as it may seem on face value.