AA Alternatives: How to Quit Drinking Without Alcoholics Anonymous

It is estimated that up to 80% of those who find long-term sobriety had at least one relapse along the way. John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. He is the medical director at Alcohol Recovery Medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health . Buddy T is an anonymous writer and founding member of the Online Al-Anon Outreach Committee with decades of experience writing about alcoholism. Verywell Mind’s content is for informational and educational purposes only. Our website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. However, even your closest friends and family might not understand your struggle. You might be ready to face these triggers, or you might not feel comfortable yet. Your family members and loved ones should understand what you are going through.

It called for the establishment of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and dedicated funding for the study and treatment of alcoholism. The NIAAA, in turn, funded Marty Mann’s nonprofit advocacy group, the National Council on Alcoholism, to educate the public. The nonprofit became a mouthpiece for AA’s beliefs, especially the importance of abstinence, and has at times worked to quash research that challenges those beliefs. To treatment for drinking problems has roots in the country’s long-standing love-hate relationship with booze. The first settlers arrived with a great thirst for whiskey and hard cider, and in the early days of the republic, alcohol was one of the few beverages that was reliably safe from contamination. (It was also cheaper than coffee or tea.) The historian W. J. Rorabaugh has estimated that between the 1770s and 1830s, the average American over age 15 consumed at least five gallons of pure alcohol a year—the rough equivalent of three shots of hard liquor a day. I visited one of three private treatment centers, called the Contral Clinics, that Sinclair co-founded in Finland.

What Percentage Of Alcoholics Stay Sober?

In his mind, though, they were getting in the way of his drinking. For Ashford, community feels overwhelming right now, so she finds comfort in other helpful ways. She had so many friends at the beginning of her journey, and she burned herself out. “That’s why it’s so important for them to link up with others in the community to validate their pain and instill a belief in the possibility of their betterment,” he says. This rigid philosophy can also be bolstered by peer pressure, which is particularly potent as it can leave people fearful of their recovery. Now, let’s look a little closer at some of these effective techniques for staying sober without AA.

Is AA a selfish program?

Alcoholics Anonymous is not a selfish program. At it's core, it is quite the opposite. Selfishness is the root of our troubles, and we must be rid of it and practice selflessness at every opportunity if we are to remain happy, joyous, and free in sobriety.

Sometimes, Patterson notes, you may meet someone at a 12-step or SMART meeting who is simply attending these meetings and not getting professional treatment. In Marlon’s first year of recovery, he left his job, got a divorce, and moved. All three major life changes could have triggered him to start drinking again. One study found a 24% advantage for the more intensive 12-step treatment in terms of return to alcohol use rate. Many people do not have outlets for their stress and fear. The alcohol prompts them to hide behind their stress and fear instead of coping with it. Instead, they may want to consider looking at old photos. Old photos may help people remember how far they have come and given them the courage to continue down their path of sobriety.

Other Choices for Beating Drug Addiction and Alcoholism

There might be good intention behind tough love, but not only does it not work, it often makes things worse. Leaving someone homeless or starving or in a dangerous situation when they are intoxicated or dependent on alcohol and other drugs may be harmful. The Sobells returned to the United States in the mid-1990s to teach and conduct research at Nova Southeastern University, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Like Willenbring in Minnesota, they are among a small number of researchers and clinicians, mostly in large cities, who help some patients learn to drink in moderation. During those sessions, Willenbring checks on J.G.’s sleep patterns and refills his prescription for baclofen , and occasionally prescribes Valium for his anxiety. Doesn’t drink at all these days, though he doesn’t rule out the possibility of having a beer every now and then in the future. Hester says this attitude dates to the 1950s and ’60s, when psychiatrists regularly prescribed heavy drinkers Valium and other sedatives with great potential for abuse. Many patients wound up dependent on both booze and benzodiazepines.
recovery without aa
But it is possible to take baby steps and get your finances in order. Just keep in mind that your improvements won’t happen overnight. Having a chaotic or disorganized lifestyle can also hinder your recovery. It’s important to develop a structured daily and weekly schedule and stick to it. The symptoms involved in PAWS can be a barrier to recovery if you’re not careful. In addition to being able to recognize them, it’s important to know when to seek help. Some definitions of sobriety call for complete lifelong abstinence while others focus on developing coping mechanisms that can reduce harm with the understanding that setbacks are common.

Alcoholic Nose: Understanding The Effect Of Alcohol On Your Body

It’s not just your drinking buddies and drug dealers who can get you into trouble—sometimes those who are closest to you can contribute to a relapse. Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. As you meet other sober people, you will find many activities you can do for fun without drugs or alcohol.
recovery without aa
The report noted that 18 months after treatment, 22 percent of the men were drinking moderately. The authors concluded that it was possible for some alcohol-dependent men to return to controlled drinking. Researchers at the National Council on Alcoholism charged that the news would lead alcoholics to falsely believe they could recovery without aa drink safely. The NIAAA, which had funded the research, repudiated it. Rand repeated the study, this time looking over a four-year period. The efficacy of 12-step programs has been quietly bubbling for decades among addiction specialists. Just like you, I am addicted to pleasure…and air and water and just life in general.

It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals. Another way to stay sober without AA is to exercise regularly. Exercising canproduce endorphins such as serotonin and dopamine. These substances are chemicals in your brain that help you feel happiness, pleasure, and satisfaction. No matter your choice, developing Sober Home a sober support system, and enjoying the fellowship and connection that comes with it, is essential to healing and relapse prevention. You owe it to yourself to try a variety of meetings and groups until you find the one that’s best for your personality, your outlook and your personal preferences. But Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs don’t work for everyone.

  • Tracy Murphy, this community involves a secret Facebook group that serves as a confidential place for queer, trans, and questioning folks who are sober, in recovery, or sober curious to share together.
  • Here are eight common myths about drugs you’ll see on the silver screen.
  • The beauty of our technologically connected world is that you don’t necessarily have to be in-person to connect with others, which is one of the reasons digital alcohol treatment programs are viable AA alternatives.
  • Healthy lifestyle changes and relying on the support of friends and like-minded peers can help.
  • •Refuge Recovery is a mindfulness-based addiction recovery community that practices and utilizes Buddhist philosophy as the foundation of the recovery process.
  • In the 1970s, the couple conducted a study with a group of 20 patients in Southern California who had been diagnosed with alcohol dependence.