I quit

Not sobriety. AA. I’m an AA drop-out. 

It was going well for me, though I’ve always had my annoyances with it. The cliches, the cult factor, the condescending tone in a lot of the members’ voices. But still, the program has turned so many lives around, including my own. I’m forever grateful for the opportunity to sit in the rooms and hear others telling me that it’s all gonna be ok.

So what happened? Steps 8 and 9. Or really, they didn’t happen. My sponsor’s side of the story is that I am unwilling to go to any lengths for my sobriety. My side of the story is that I’m a new person, and I’m done dwelling on the past. I have no one to put on my list of persons I’ve harmed that I’m willing to make amends to. No, seriously. I have no one. 

I’m making living amends daily to my husband, kids, friends, and family. I’m working hard on being present in people’s lives and watching my motives. I’m being as honest as I can be. I’m praying daily, morning and night. I feel at peace the vast majority of the time (unless my kids/husband are driving me nuts, but even then, I realize it will pass.)  I sincerely don’t feel there is any obstacle at this point between me and maintaining my sobriety, as long as I keep God first and realize it’s all my Higher Power that’s doing this. 
I understand my part in my past effed up relationships, and I’m working on not repeating them. I don’t necessarily feel guilt or shame about them, though. I just feel like I did the best I could at the time, and now that I know better, I do better.
I knew my “unwillingness” would sever the sponsor/sponsee relationship, and it did. We’re still friends and I attended a meeting this past week to watch her pick up her 9 year chip, but that’s the only meeting I’ve attended in over a month and the only one I plan on attending at this point. I’ve promised myself and my husband that I’m willing to return to the rooms if need be, but at this point, I’m pretty disappointed in the inflexibility of it all and I’m staying sober with the help of God, my people, and online support.
One more week and I’ll have 11 whole months!!!
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12 Responses to I quit

  1. I went to a handful of meetings my first month and then decided AA wasn’t for me. I’ve been sober 2 years now. I always hated the implication that it was my “disease” telling me to quit AA because recovery looks different for everyone. I still recommend AA to people trying to get sober but there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Best wishes to you!

    • So glad to hear from women like yourself! I left out the part where I prayed and prayed for 2 weeks, debating on what I was going to do about the step work. In all honesty, I feel like God was telling me it was ok to stop right there. Thanks for reading, Karen!

  2. Sober Life says:

    I can so relate to your post! Those are some tough steps and I wasn’t ready to do them for a long time, as a matter of fact it wasn’t until my third year that I made my first face to face amends. That said, I think that your sponsors inflexibility is a bit unfortunate! The books all say that these are only suggestions. Anyway. I think it is important to feel good about your recovery and this is not one size fits all deal for sure! Only you know what truly works for you. Congrats on almost 11 months! Woot woot!

  3. fern says:

    I love your post because it shows that there are alternate ways — it’s not always the AA way. I can relate!
    It’s early in sobriety for me and I’m going to AA meetings but I’m taking it slow. I haven’t done a lot of the AA ways and that’s okay. I feel pretty sure I’m not going to make official amends to anyone. It’s enough to accept myself, move forward with greater knowledge, and know I will not repeat my past mistakes. Making amends for me is living a life that is clean on my side of the street. All with the help of a higher power. Congrats on your self-acceptance. I’m not there yet and that’s what I really get out of AA. It’s so great to be with people who understand and accept me.

  4. Al K Hall says:

    It’s no secret that i’m a big fan of AA, but the bottom line in all of this is to find a way to get and to stay sober, all the rest is BS! Stay strong and be well!

  5. lifecorked says:

    I too, took a break from AA at around six months sober. I had relapsed and decided I didn’t need AA – I was on the ninth step too. I took a few months off and ended up going back and completing the steps and continue to be involved. We all have a journey and this is just part of yours. When I went back to AA, I had a totally different perspective – but only because I took that break. Best of luck on your journey!

  6. Kayko says:

    I’m with Al K Hall. No secret that AA is at the center of my life. Also no secret I resisted every … single … thing I could about AA for seven years before I made a final surrender on October 31, 1998. I told my sponsor I’d do my best to follow his suggestions that day, and that’s the way it’s been for 14 years. He makes suggestions based on his experience; I do my best either to follow them or to understand how they apply to my own situations. That’s all. He’s not my God or Higher Power. He’s a guide, and he’s a good guide at 30+ years of sobriety because he doesn’t suggest anything that doesn’t come out of the Book and the 12 steps. The people are not the program. The 12 steps are, and we work them to the best of our ability because we are willing to go to any length to stay sober. From what I’ve read here, you ARE working steps 8 & 9 by making living amends to those you are currently willing to make amends to. If there are resentments or issues lurking in your past that haven’t made themselves felt yet, that didn’t show up on your 4th and 5th step, so be it. If and when they do present themselves, you have the tools to deal with them. My only “suggestion” would be that you not write off AA altogether because of an occasional bad experience. I did in my early days around the rooms, and it cost me my sobriety numerous times, at everything from 3 months to 33 months of sobriety. When I look back at those relapses, I can almost always trace them back to a resentment I wasn’t willing to confront and deal with. Keep an open mind. There are a lot of ways to make the 12 steps work in your life. Congrats on your time sober.

  7. Pingback: Risky Business | Realtime Recovery

  8. jim says:

    made me laugh – no one to make amends to. It’s cool, if you don’t feel you have to, why should you? Best way to make amends to people – stay sober.

  9. I’m curious – are you still sober? I am a bit of an alternative thinker myself at ten months sober, Your post is several months old. Is your method working?

    • Hi Marilyn, yes! I’m still sober and loving life! I’m just a horrible blogger, obviously. 😉
      I’m now a little over 18 months sober.
      Here’s what works for me at this time:
      I pray daily that I seek God’s will and ask for his help in keeping me sober.
      I don’t eat sugar and limit grains. Candy, chips, ice cream, etc are all binge foods for me, and bingeing makes me depressed and filled with guilt. Depression and guilt ARE NOT emotions that help me in my sobriety.
      I exercise most days.
      I make immediate amends when I wrong others or cause unnecessary drama or strife.
      I try to stick to daily routines and create a calm environment around me. This means I keep my house in (semi) order, follow a to-do list, keep to schedules, etc.
      I take it one day at a time.

      If you’re familiar with the AA program, you’ll recognize a lot of these ways are AA suggestions. I learned so much from AA and am forever grateful for the program for giving me a solid foundation. If I ever feel like I’m spiraling out of control, I’ll get to a meeting STAT. For now, these simple daily practices are keeping me happy, sane, and sober. Thanks for checking in!

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