i want help for sobriety, but not AA

Before I quit drinking, when i knew i was drinking more than i wanted to, I did some preliminary research on AA and decided it wasn’t for me.  I started watching the TV show “Intervention.”  I read some sober blogs. then i waited.  Several more months passed.  I would quit for a few days, once for as long as 9 days.  Then i’d start drinking again.  For months, i continued to work and run and host events and drink every night starting at 6 pm.

I’m not sure why i thought that AA wasn’t for me. No disrespect to AA.  it works super very well for whacks of people.  And here’s the truth:  If i had tried other things, and they didn’t work, then i’m sure i would have tried AA eventually.

But for me, at least to start, I knew I wanted something else, some other way to support my new sober journey.  But what’s available? There are other “groups” like Booze Free Brigade or Women For Sobriety.

But honestly, i just bristle at the thought of a group.  I wonder if maybe you’re the same as me?

I can’t be the only person who hates group fun. I hate joining things.  I hate organized anything. I hate broadcast emails where everyone gets the same polished message, nothing personal.

Me, I am too independent, rebellious, smart, difficult, willful [insert adjective here] for groups … for now. I know, that probably makes me my own worst enemy.

So instead, when i got to day 9 sober (again), and didn’t want to drink (again) last July, I started this blog.  Immediately there were people. Comments. Help. Opinions. Support. Phew. And I went from 9 days to 9.5 months. To today.

if you are someone who is not up for group support, for whatever reason, where does that leave you? if you’re drinking more than you want to, and you do NOT want to blog, AND you’re feeling anti-AA (or if you want additional support to supplement AA) … what can you do?  You can comment anonymously on other people’s blogs (not quite the same thing).  You join some facebook grops (that aren’t terribly anonymous).

Thankfully sober world has other supports. Like sober audios, and one-minute messages, and podcasts. Like having a sober penpal 🙂

I got this message from Carrie:

Thanks for your email … I am  sitting in the park reading this with tears in my eyes because I am still hugely touched every time you reply to an email from me. That someone would bother to take the time to listen to my problems … that continues to surprise and humble me.

I wasn’t ready to own up and admit my problem to a room full of people. I am not ready to wear a label, I may never be. But, I also wasn’t in denial and I desperately wanted to be saved.

Who knew that being saved didn’t have to involve a public fall from grace, hitting rock bottom, or shouting from the rooftops for help.

Just one tiny email was all it took to be sitting here with huge waves of relief gushing over me, that I found a lifeline in someone else who gets this and cares that I am staying sober today. I only wish that I had found this/you sooner and that more people knew that reaching out would make  a fucking ENORMOUS difference to this journey.

It’s a privilege to be getting to know all of you wonderful sober rocking chicks! I want to scream that from the rooftops now people! I feel guilty that I don’t blog myself, but don’t have the confidence and I don’t trust myself not to be found out as I am not very good at covering my tracks etc.

And maybe YOU would like a sober penpal. Almost every sober blogger has their email address on their site.  Find a blogger you think you’d connect with, and send them an email.  Ask them if they’d like to have a sober penpal.  Of course, you can email me too, and I’ll get back to you with some info on how we can be sober penpals. If you hate group fun, but you don’t want to do it alone, you don’t have to. My email is tiredofdrinking@gmail.com. You can email using your real name or a pseudonym.  You can create an anonymous email address on gmail. And if you’d like to try 100 days sober, you can read more here.

And what do we get out of it? Well, for me, I get emails like this one above from Carrie.  I get a built-in sobriety insurance program.

And slowly, over time, I get to know you, the cool sober YOU who’s in there waiting to come out 🙂 and that makes it all worthwhile 🙂



I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • I am an individual but that doesn’t mean l want to face sobriety alone. With Belle l belong to a group of individuals whose milestones in becoming sober are scarily similar so that we can support each other and yet be responsible for ourself. I’m an individual but l’m not alone. Thank you everyone.

  • Every one of us is unique, and we have unique needs. The internet has opened up an entire new world of finding the support, messages, help and encouragement we need to stay sober, for today. You get to choose when and how to ask for help, and how to offer it. AA perpetuates the myth that you have to hit rock bottom in order to get well. That is so not the case. Women and accountability go hand in hand, we’re hardwired for it. Congrats on your sober time.

  • I think the main thing to remember, or be open minded to, is there’s no right answer, there’s no magic bullet or pill. Nothing will instantly stop the problem, cure it, or make everything wonderful. However, there’s a lot of help out of there. Whatever any of us find helpful is worth doing and making an effort for. Personally, I think this blog is very similar to AA or any support group – people with similar problems and experiences sharing and helping each other. How we find help and support for ourselves, how we help and support others – who cares, as long as we can try and help ourselves and each other.

    I did a lot of AA this year. I only found this blog recently. It’s been a huge help to me. Different to AA but incredibly helpful as it’s the more day to day stuff, slightly more personal things we go through with urges, thoughts of why bother etc. AA taught me a lot, helped me a lot, but blogs and things like this really help me outside of meetings. That’s important.

    That’s been my experience anyway.

    I’m really grateful for this blog, the things people share, and the help I get them from that to keep going.

  • I have been sober for 9 months and like the idea of supporting anyone else out there in the world who just wants to feel less alone. You can do it

  • Groups aren’t for me either. I do so much better with one on one. I SO get what you are saying about groups.

    • Were never alone in recovery, while your doing a 12 step program or not theres so many people that are going through the same thing to some extent and that is comforting.

  • Thankyou so much for posting this blog. It helps me tremendously to know that I’m not the only one seeking another way to recover. Congrats on 9.5 months!!! just got 2 years sober and I’ve been in AA pretty much the whole time. But lately the attitudes of certain people in AA have given me a bad taste in my mouth and honestly some of the people I’ve done across have been emotionally abusive. I’ve never saw the point in that or how it is supposed to help anyone or demonstrate any kind of “spirituality” or being “loving, patient, and tolerant” I try to not let one person influence me enough to look at AA as a whole in a negative way. I’ve been trying to figure out other methods tho. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  • I feel that it’s sad that fellow sufferers are so passionately pro or anti AA. When I first went to AA, I was desperate, and I accepted that I needed help, from ANYWHERE.
    Personally, I would advise anyone with an alcohol problem to start with AA, and go to many different meetings. In my experience, they are different, and they have a different “feel”.
    Please don’t get me wrong, AA is not for everyone, and I have things that I don’t buy into, BUT…….it’s a start. At worst it’s somewhere to go to where drink is off the agenda, and you may meet one or two people that you connect with. In my experience, it’s a very useful tool in my toolbox. And goodness me, I need all the tools that I can get. Even if I hardly ever use them, they’re still there in case they are what I need at any particular time.
    Stay strong friends.

  • I would love a penpal…….AA is not for me in fact I’m not sure if anything is – feel like a lost cause.

  • I love having a sober pen pal for support – it has helped me get to day 25 and I am on my way to 100 days AF. I don’t have to leave home at night for meetings but I know I have support at the end of my email. We are all different so different support helps each of us – I love Belle’s supports, they’re working for me – sober pen pal, blogs and long or short podcasts – they all help. Thank you.

  • AA saved my life.

    Without it I would have been lost. It’s accessible in every town, and anywhere I go. I can walk into any meeting now anywhere and feel at home. AA is a common bond and connection with people that wouldn’t usually mix.

    I have made friends, I have a sense of community. I’ve built real authentic human connections. Even if I have trouble at 5am I know I could call any one of them who would help me though it, and they’d be happy to help.

    My life is on track. I’m 2 years sober and loving life, I’ve never want to go back to the pit of hell that was my drinking.

    I’m planning on starting my own company, and I’ve had many sober adventures 🙂

    I had reservations of attending AA at the beginning, but it was mostly lack of humility and compassion, and fundamentally an inability to connect with the world around me, once I became more inquisitive, open-minded, and less selfish I was able to stay sober, and surprisingly I was very happy about that.

  • Wow, really enjoyed reading about this subject as it so resonates with me. Readers Digest version: Started AA in 2001. Got 3 years then relapsed. Came back pretty quickly and got another close to 3. Again same story but also found WFS and I liked the idea of positive affirmation better. So last Dec 6 2014 I relapsed again after shy of 3 years (still in AA ) Here is the kicker~~~I have been trying to get long term sobriety since Dec 7, 2014. I now have 4 days. This disease is progressive and relapse is not a requirement for sobriety. I now do AA only for the fellowship. I have spirituality but found AA to be too “gody” even though they proclaim not. I do not believe that a divine intervention will relieve me of this obsession nor do I believe that the 12 steps will set me free. I have done them twice to the best of my ability. This is only my experience. AA is a wonderful safe haven for early sobriety. But the only thing that matters is what works for you. I am also doing WFS again and outpatient.
    Gratitude for everyone on this site and thanks Belle for your selfless endeavours.
    PS: John S. I read your post or blog or article about your experience and it was my beginning into a new way to look at AA
    So thank you!

  • I’ve found the sober blogosphere to be wonderfully helpful, but I have a request for help: can any of you point me to some sober blogs written by men, particularly 40-something or 30-something dads? I think it would greatly help me to find a few more blogs to follow of men closer to my situation.

  • I felt conflicted when I went to an AA meeting – I was more focussed on whether I fitted into the group/whether I had an alcohol problem than actually building motivation to stay sober.

  • In many areas, AA is all there is. I went through AA outpatient treatment, never really getting into the AA part of it, the steps and all that. One of the administrators told me to just take what I could from it and that worked. I became friends with people in the group, and eventually enjoyed going, just to see my friends. And I’m pushing 11 months sober. Belle helped too, of course. I guess what I’m saying is, find help wherever you can, blogs, books, whatever resonates with you. Having said all that, I never have found an AA meeting that I would go back to…..

  • “I’m sure you’d agree that a large piece of becoming and staying sober is learning to experience and sit with discomfort.” Actually no, I wouldn’t. That sounds like the “sober condition” myth that AA promulgates. You don’t need to experience and sit with discomfort, you can use tools developed after the 1930s (when the steps were written) such as CBT to ameliorate and even extinguish that discomfort through healthier forms of thinking. This is one of the areas where the undoubted success of AA has, in my view, been a block to progress. I was in the fellowship for 14 years before I discovered that “defects of character” don’t exist. Quitting the program and the fellowship was the second best thing I ever did … of course, the best thing I ever did being joining AA and stopping drinking in the first place. Since I no longer suffer from “the sober condition” of alcoholism, I’m no longer irritable and discontent. I’ve changed, for the better, using more up to date mental health technology drawn from CBT and evolutionary psychology. I think that’s the point some of us are trying to make here.

    • Hi , mom of 4 kids 14 and under.
      Need to be alcohol free, period.
      Can’t make it past 3 days unfortunately. This is the first time I’ve ever reached out for help. I’m afraid for my health and my husband and kids deserve a consistent wife and mom. What are some thoughts on how kick this journey off?

      • Hi Joan,
        I’m a mother of 2 who couldn’t control her drinking, almost lost my husband and kids, start with Belle’s 100 days challenge maybe, 100 days, not forever…for now, that’s how I started and I’m now over 200 days sober, it took me two attempts but now I don’t miss any moments with my kids, no hangovers, no “can’t believe I did/said this” mornings, just don’t drink today, not today and don’t think too much ahead, stay here, read Belle’s blog, she’s got tons of tools, that’s all her tools I’m quoting…

      • Try “Surfing The Urge” by Dr Allan Marlatt. It’s a method to use when you get that invincible urge to drink. Make room for the desire and let it punch thin air. Once you get dry for a week or so, the urges will start to get weaker and much easier to resist. This is my second attempt and it’s looking much more secure than previously. Best wishes.

  • Hi Belle —

    Don’t know if this has been addressed above, but I think what AA-ers are bristling at, or at any rate what I’m bristling at slightly, is that you touch on one of the (many) paradoxes of AA without fully recognizing it: that AA is a group of people made up of people who hate being in groups. I think your comments imply somehow that people who belong to AA are those who like or feel comfortable being in groups (as opposed to you) and for almost all of us, the reverse is true — in general, groups have been a painful and uncomfortable experience, prior to our overcoming this discomfort and sticking around in AA, discomfort be damned. And I’m sure you’d agree that a large piece of becoming and staying sober is learning to experience and sit with discomfort. In this way, joining and staying in AA is a palliative for what ails us. But we *all* balked.

    All of this said, I go to AA in New York City, where there’s basically a meeting at any given moment of the day, and it’s very easy to find a meeting, after some trial and error, where one feels really comfortable. My friend recently moved to Cincinnati, and he’s having a hard time finding his peeps. It really depends on context.

    So the diversity of AA is what makes it hard to make categorical statements about AA, and what pisses people off when someone does make a categorical statement, since as soon as someone makes a generalization about it, someone is sure to pipe up that her experience in AA is the exact opposite.

    All the best,


  • Anonymous: Here is the thing…If I don’t get under control, I’m going to die. AA does not work for me. No offense intended to those who subscribe, but clearly it hasn’t worked for me. For chrissake, what do I do now?

    • here’s the thing 🙂 if what you’ve been doing up to now isn’t working, then you need to do new things. add different things. it’s not really about trying HARDER, it’s about trying DIFFERENT. what could you add to your resources, your sober tools, that might help you going forward? hugs from me – belle xo

    • Do a bit of googling…..help for sobriety for example. There are lots of secular groups around. The trouble is, they are very localized, but most of them have online resources to tap into.

  • Congrats on your success so far.

    I’m in AA – it has worked for me for 10 years so I don’t feel the need to look for anything else. But my sobriety whilst AA is large in it is not all about AA – there are other bits as well. Everyone’s journey is different.

    One of the things I’m most happy about in my sobriety is those others who have asked me for help and got sober and stayed sober after talking to me. One is a member of my family – now a few years in and getting on well in the AA way. One is a friend who had a drug problem – I helped him get help to get to a rehab. When he re-surfaced from that he told me half way through he realised that he had a major drink issue as well. Now a stalwart of NA and sometimes AA.

    One other was a lady who is a friend and ex-colleague of my wife. My wife expressed major concern about her drinking and behaviour – her husband was getting extremely fed up. I went to hers sat in her kitchen and chatted with her over several cups of coffee for a long evening … into night…. At the end of it she said “Right. Simple. I just don’t drink alcohol again”. I explained in principle yes. She didn’t like AA as an idea – the openess in a group etc. freaked her. She is several years sober and doing fine. She called me recently – I took her brother to a few meetings and he is slipping in and out of AA at the moment on the rollercoaster that hopefully will result in long term sobriety for him.

    So – anyone out there needing help! ASK! Speak to those going through it themselves, they’ll have an angle which may be AA or SMART or blogging or whatever. But my plea to you out there struggling is at least reach out please.

  • AA was absolutely dreadful for someone like me … the first person I saw seated was the 75-year-old MOTHER of one of my good friends, and wife of a man who is in my husband’s Rotary club—I’m sure the look of horror on both our faces was photo-worthy! … I’m nearly three weeks into the 100-Day soberthon, and finding this site has been…huge. Huge. *Merci mille fois, Mme. Belle!*

  • I was sober in AA for 14 years, and my experience was that the fellowship and the 12 steps are a very old form of mental health technology.

    This is my opinion: the rooms of AA are not a safe place, and the “more experienced” AA sponsor is nothing more than a well meaning but misguided, underinformed, uninsured, unqualified wanna be therapist with no business telling you or anyone about how to live or how to stay sober.

    For those who do want to learn how to stay sober there are any number of more accessible, more efficient, more evidence based means of recovery than AA available today, but sadly no-one hears much about them …

  • I am very sorry to read that you are having trouble getting and staying sober. What you are doing is trying to create what AA has to offer online. This seems to me hiding. What prompted me to comment was your statement that you are too “independent, rebellious, smart, different, willful…” for groups which you believe AA is about. The adjectives you used for yourself IS your alcoholism. Every alcoholic who is new to recovery

    • Marina, i’m not sure who you’re referring to but if it’s me, I’m 2.5 years sober. It’s possible for some of us to be sober without AA. unfortunately your comment is just the kind of attitude that encourages people to stay away from AA.

    • Ahhh, sorry I don’t spend much time in this world & sent my comment before Inwas finished. I am much better in person rather than online. In any case. I was trying to make a point that I have seen every alcoholic express what you have when they are new to sobriety. Alcoholism is a disease of isolation. Also, AA’s recovery is not in the meetings…it is outlined in a book & recovery each person is guided through the steps one on one with a person who has more experience. All of the other stuff supports it & decreases isolation, etc, etc. This is likely more than you wish to read. AA has a saying that was applied to me when I was new…lovingly and with humor: “If you are smart, we’ll pray for you.” I hope this works for you, or becomes a step in a journey towards long term recovery. There is a difference between recovery & sobriety. Best Wishes

  • Hi Pat, or Festie.
    Yes, indeed. Sounds to me like you’re doing the right thing. In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king, and AA has been so successful it’s rather monopolized treatment options – even for those intellectually honest newcomers who won’t (or can’t!) surrender to a non-existent higher power.
    Nevertheless peer support is vital in early recovery, and AA does have many good things about it – including the sayings (or “thought terminating cliches”) that stop your mind from wandering onto a drink.
    Keep coming back, Keep an open mind. Stay sober one day at a time. Those days will soon add up. When you’re ready, you’ll know.
    Best of luck.
    Jon S

    • Oh I was sober two months when I wrote this. This AA group is not the average one. I still don’t ‘work the steps’ and my counselor knows I don’t intend to, nor do I attend meetings. We have group therapy 3 days a week, and that is what I look forward to. The counselor suggested that the group is my ‘higher power’ and I think he’s right. So many wonderful people with so much to offer. I believe I have been lucky to be placed in this group of people. When we ‘graduate’ we are allowed to sit in once a week and that is my plan……along with Belle and other sober blogs.

  • Am going to a senior AA ‘treatment program’ even though the steps and insistence on a higher power are not my thing at all. I have met some nice people there and I like the patient counselor. That is what keeps me going back. What keeps me sober are the blogs, including this one, that I have found online.
    Where I live, there are no secular programs that I can find, AA is firmly entrenched in Minnesota. Since I like to see things through, I will continue with AA until I ‘graduate’. However I believe I will continue with sober blog reading for many many years.

    • That is great to hear. As long as you can find something to help with your sobriety, whether it be online or through meetings. Staying sober is and should be your main focus and priority!

      Good luck to you and keep clean and strong!

  • Hi Belle.

    This is a great blog. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject and good luck with everything.

    I think the internet offers a new paradigm for sober fellowship that will be a game changed in relation to how we see groups like AA in future.

    I recently left AA after 14 years and have blogged about my own experience “Leaving AA, Staying Sober”

    My site includes links that might help others in the same situation: sober in AA but disillusioned with the fellowship and the 12 step programme.

    One tip I got from CBT is that your obsession with alcohol (that’s what they would say in AA concerning the phrase “tired of thinking about drinking”) will lift of its own accord when you put new things in its place. It’s an entirely natural process. (They won’t tell you that in AA, they’ll say “keep coming back” or the obsession will get you!)

    Best love. JS

  • Wow this is really powerful!! I was sober 11 days two years ago and havent been sober since. I tried AA – it was -ahgh ok I guess but I never felt like I fit in with the group there. No one seemed that interested in being supportive. They would welcome you back to more meetings but THIS is really something! I have also been tuning into Booze Free Brigade on Yahoo Groups and found that very supportive as well. I feel a step closer everyday … Thank you all for this wonderful tool!!

  • Hi,
    I need help with eliminating the obsession to drink and use coke. I’ve done the 12 steps, recovery, rehab.
    Just want to understand why I can’t stop wanting to fuck my life up.
    I have a beautiful 1 year old son who is a miracle baby. I am 41 yrs old. I just think it’s time for change and for good.
    Please help.

  • I just signed up. I am a 55 y/o female. I have always though of myself a moderate drinker (wine, thank you) until a 1 or 2 glass per evening habit morphed into a bottle-and-a-half an evening (at home). Invariably, I would “fall asleep” (pass out). It was beyond aggravating for my wonderful husband. Then it happened… My brother and his wife and daughter came to town for a visit. The day started with me having an early afternoon glass of wine, dinner at a nice restuarant (more wine), ending with me falling down in the back yard, cracking my head on a stone wall. Lots of blood. No real memory. That was it. I’m done! I’ve had a few false starts at quitting, but I’m ready. I don’t think I can go back to being a moderate drinker. I’m on Day 3 sober…the world has not ended. Ironically, in spite of the quantity I consume, I never feel bad in the morning. Nor do I have physical withdraw symptoms, I just need to find a way to live my life sans alcohol. I’ve read the posts before and believe this type of support network is what I need to make the journey. I hope to stay sober 30 days and go from there. Who knows what I may be capable of!

    • That is awesome! Good for you! Make sure you have the support around you. I’ve been sober for 5 years and I can say not having good support around me, I would have started again. If you find your self craving, do something else you like, such as shopping, walking, go for a run etc, the longer you are away from the alcohol, the less your symptoms become.
      Good luck to you and if you need a chat, I’m here!

      • Thanks Kelly! Day 4 and the world has not spun off its axis. I take that as a good sign. You are right. I need to find that gap filler for the time I sit down to watch news. I’ve never been a smoker, but I guess it similar as far as finding something constructive do with my hands/mind/body when you quit! Congratulations on your success with sobriety. I hope to join you as a success!.


    • Hi thereTracey
      well done you. I did 6 days awhile ago and havnt been able to maintain sobriety since. Doesnt it feel great to be on top of the Booze? Im trying to talk to myself tonight severly—that I dont need a drink! Keep going Tracey.

  • I went to the AA website, read a lecture, then got “booted” because I wasn’t “ready”. I’m not a young man. I need to stop drinking. Today is “day one” after a night of heavy drinking and acting the fool.

  • I’m really grateful for you Belle. I have tried to engage in AA since August of 2010. The one thing I find encouraging about the AA program is that I actually met people who have long term sobriety, but I am not a group person and what you have created for us here is so encouraging. Thanks so much!!!

  • Where ever it is that leads you to sobriety is a good place. Whether it is on your own or with a group. People drink differently and they also recover differently!
    Good for you and your sobriety.

    I did not think I was an alcoholic for a long time, the label just didn’t fit who I thought I was when I drank.
    My husband finally gave me an ultimatum and said, “It’s me, the kids or the bottle” after a night of fighting, running away to my daughters friends house and a 24hr + binge.
    I knew it was time to stop and I admitted myself into the hospital after my family got into the van and literally tackled me and threw me in the van to get me to the hospital. I told them I never wanted to see any of them again. I was so ashamed and the guilt was eating at me all the time. I sobered up and begged them to come see me and for my husband to not leave me.

    I said again I would go to AA, I did and I am so happy I did as I am 4 1/2 years sober and wanting to help others to see that a life without alcohol is truly living. I understand the meaning of “your birthday” (AA) 24 hrs without a drink. I believe you really are born that day you make a decision to stop drinking.

    I went to AA for 9 months and stopped attending and have made it this far with the support of family and friends.

    Nothing and no one can stop you from drinking except for YOU. You have to do it on your own.
    If you have the right support around you, you will succeed in sobriety.

    • I can relate, almost lost my husband and kids on December 22 after a lunch turned into a booze marathon, wasn’t the first time he ask me to quit but this time it was finally too much for him. Went to 2 AA meetings, 2 different places, last January after yet another binge but it didn’t feel right, not for me anyway. I might try other days, other places and see, I will take any help and would like to find someone to talk to who can understand. Did Belle’s 100 days challenge last January and thought I could start drinking again, like a normie maybe, but here I am again, day 8 and just can’t listen to wolfie anymore…

  • Just found your blog after starting my own up again. I was also not a big fan of AA and only went for a while before moving on. It is good to see other people pointing out that there are many alternatives and I hope to do this myself. No program can do recovery for you, it is up to you to take responsibility. I found building up self confidence and changing many of things I did in life was the answer. I am now much fitter and happier.
    AA gave me a group to go to for a bit of support but I found many things about it were not for me.

    • I, too, have discovered that AA is not for me. I am one of the folks that went to AA (21½ years ago and have stayed sober) but feel like I out grew it years ago. I’m convinced that I am able to stay sober without the rooms of AA and I feel relived that I can be free to be me and free from the bondage of AA!

      • I have 6 months this week and am slowly leaving AA…I know it’s not for me (and has never felt right) I’m very serious about staying sober but needed to find another support system. This sight seems promising to me. Glad I found you!

      • So one of the big things in AA is that you aren’t just there for yourself – the reason people who have been sober, say, 20 years keep coming to meetings each week is to provide a solution for those alcoholics still suffering: a setting which you were presumably met with upon entering your first meeting. Actually, the idea of healing yourself by focusing on things outside of the self underlies most of the program.

        It’s entirely your choice to continue attending or not; I only wanted to chime in about the purpose of continuing to attend meetings after maintaining some time of sobriety.

        Congrats to all maintaining sobriety! It’s a rough road, but worth it!

  • You know; I feel the same as you (from what I can tell. BTW, quotes are sweet!). Anyway; I know what you mean by anti AA. I’m a scientist and not surprisingly and atheist, which pretty much precludes a “higher power”. The best idea I have is that the real trick is in the support of others who feel the same. I truly believe that there is nothing more powerful than another human who understands where you are coming from.

    Great hopes for your efforts! You are not alone.


    the geek from California

    • hey there geek, thanks for being here. I’m sure i would try aa if I needed ‘more’ support. but for now, for me, the support I’ve gotten here has been enough. I’m still struck by the quote I posted a few days about from Molly, posted on Roger Ebert’s site: “For those hung up on the “higher power” aspect [of AA], I encourage you to count your blessings … you have not actually reached rock bottom. For when you do, you will gladly and easily give yourself up to a higher power. You will look at a radiator, a door knob, the person next to you, and you will know and cherish how truly lucky you are to be standing there, in that spot. You will trust anyone and everything that might even, in the slightest, help you make it through the next hour, the next day, the next week.”

  • Belle, you’re a star! It’s so great having you as sober penpal. You’re helping so many people, you should be proud of yourself, we certainly are. Well done x x x

  • In the spirit of this lovely post and your lovely ongoing support to all of Team 100 I have just added a ‘Write to Me’ page on my blog. Just payin’ it forward… xx

  • Rock on Belle, I think you’re doing an amazing thing and I love that you have brought so many people together to form a supportive and courageous community of individuals all with the same goal. While AA may not be for everyone, I do think having support in your first 90 (100) days, even if it’s just one person who knows you are not drinking and is in your corner, can make all the difference. It’s so much easier than going it alone.

    Proud of you–thanks for making a difference.

  • Having you as my sober pen pal changed my life. I stayed sober at first because you took the time to write me back, and I did NOT want to have to tell you “Oh, no. I drank.” I could not do it. I could not bring myself to let myself down again, and in the process let you down too. So I stay sober- now because even when it’s hard it’s so much better than being hungover and chasing the relief that I find every day easily just by waking up sober. And because I have my daily email to write to you.

    Thank you for taking the time to write me back, and for becoming the dear friend you are. An ocean of gratitude and big plates of cake. Beep beep. Forevah! 🙂

      • This is all good stuff here Belle. I’m surely one of the ones who wants to do it without the group (sorry, the AA comment here is exactly what stopped me from going 2 years ago after I’d participated for a couple weeks; I cannot take the AA arrogance..but like you Belle, if nothing else works I’ll go just to have a place to go)… I’m an early work in progress.

  • I’ve gotten a couple emails from people who read a blog post they could relate to, and I felt so touched and honored that I probably wrote a book in response. It’s amazing the feeling of connection and support…impossible to describe how much it helps me when others reach out. No idea if I’m helping them, but I hope so.

    I hear you on bristling at the idea of being part of a group. Groups have never been my thing. And here we are part of a collective group of people who all decided to do something about their drinking. Everything about that feels right, no matter how we decide to go about it.

    You’re a lovely individual in how much you reach out to others just starting out or even just thinking about it. Just wanted to say that.

      • Hi Belle and ByeByeBeer (I know you can’t change your name :)). I’ve read so many sober bloggers’ posts – that I forget what stories (posts) go to whom – it bothers me b/c I’m so connected/can relate to them. Pretty sure I’ve read ALL of you two’s posts and want to say thanks -!! I’ve posted before (my sober day is 6/15/12), I went to three AA meetings in the beginning and everyone there was really nice but wasn’t for me. I was able, from telling my mom about my drinking, get sober (without AA, a blog, therapist(I tried that one too). She knew I drank but she had no clue I was blacking out/driving/acting a fool, etc. What she thinks (of me) means the world to me so telling her and having to be accountable (to her) is prob what made the no-drinking stick. Truthfully, a little isolation helped a ton as well. Especially in the beginning I didn’t want to go anywhere really – especially not bars (duh)/with friends (of course most are heaving drinkers-drunks hang out with drunks). I didn’t get on Facebook – had to get the glorification of drinking out of my head and the statuses and pics revolving around alcohol (how stupid/get a life!) certainly didn’t help. I did some sober sites in the beginning but not too much then after a month or so of soberness I stopped b/c I didn’t want to continue to think about drinking (tired of thinking about drinking). That’s what I had been doing for 10+ years! But I do come and lurk /post at times to “feel a connection,” “I’m not crazy,” a TON of people are going/have gone thru the exact thing, have the same feelings on subjects, etc. So thanks to you sober bloggers for giving us lurkers/occasional posters so peace /comfort, happiness and (additional) hope! I admire you! (And, Belle, if I happen to need you – I’ll be sending an email :)).

      • hey there, thanks for reaching out! you’ve got a head start on my quit date (mine is 1-july-12) … so you can tell me what it’s like to pass the mark just before I get there myself! and sure, if you’d like a sober penpal to occasionally vent to, we’re here! here’s to all the lurkers just like you … getting sober in whatever way they can : )

  • I can totally relate to this – and sometimes – there are bloggers that I DO want to reach out to via email and can’t figure out how to find their email address!! I guess I just need to keep looking and your post has encouraged me to go BACK to the blog that I enjoyed and look again for an email address. As much as I love the spirit of blogging, it is really nice to get that one on one interaction as well!

    For me, having a VARIETY of tools has been the key. I am so incredibly lucky and grateful to have found an AA group that felt “right”. Any other kind of feeling and I would not have lasted longer than a meeting. About 8 of us stayed after today’s meeting goofing around in the parking lot. And I reached out to 2 of the women today to see if either were going to the Thursday night women’s meeting (at another location) and they both are – and were so excited that I would be joining them. I didn’t want to walk into a new meeting alone, and having them by the side will give me the boost of confidence that I need.

    This blogging world is amazing. Being able to virtually connect to people ALL OVER THE WORLD is sheer excitement and amazing. I did find that I had to limit the blogs that I read and comment on because as people who drink alcoholically, we tend to allow ourselves to get OVERWHELMED. When it becomes a chore to read and comment, I’m not doing it right. I have slowly settled into about 10 that I get really excited about seeing that there is a new post!

    You will never know how much we appreciate the 100 day challenge! The comradrie of having other folks by our side who are supporting us is incredible. Great idea and thank you again!

    I just feel so grateful lately. Grateful to finally be doing something about what had been niggling me for so long. Grateful for SO MANY things.

  • Great post! I think what is truly important is that whether it is the 100 day challenge group or the AA group, we stick together. There is strenght in numbers. I can’t but we can! And that is the real deal. Support from others who have been there or are going thru it now is just crucial to sobriety. We learn from eachother. We take steps together. We hold eachother accountable. We become friends that are real and honest, because this thing is cunning and baffling. But together we have the strength to get thru it!

  • Wow, 9.5 MONTHS!! Excellent …

    I think the biggest point here is that getting sober is a really tough journey, tougher if you’re alone. I’m not much of a joiner either, never having felt the love at AA, but I do love belonging to team 100 and am happily in this ‘group’ after lurking for a while. Reaching out does make a difference, especially when there is someone like Belle at the other end!

      • unfortunately this is just the kind of attitude that encourages people to stay away from AA. I know you’ve found something that works for you, and I’m glad for you. I’m sober nearly 10 months now and I’m doing fine. I appreciate you worrying about me, but my soul doesn’t need be saved : )

      • Dear Anonymous, you stated, “AA works better than anything else.” That thought alone is so judgmental. The 12 steps in AA teaches people to be loving and tolerant of others. You may be sober through AA but obviously not applying the steps in your life. The steps is the most important because they teach people to love themselves and others.

      • AA works better than anything else for you. Seems to me you may be the one who is a little bit arrogant. Just sayin’. The only thing that has ever worked for me, and I have tried almost everything is the fabulous blog. I say keep trying something different until you find the one or combo that works for you. Belle taught me that. ?

      • Not very helpful. I’m in AA but I’m lucky enough to go to atheist meetings in London. For some people AA isn’t what they want. Recovery is a very personal journey. Support is needed. You can’t do it alone. But there are alternatives.