Further Reading

Are there any resources for people 'recovering from AA'?

Dear Stanton:

I would like to find out if there are any resources for people 'recovering from AA'. My husband and I have lived a life that could be called 'Growing up AA'. He was 21 and I was 23 when we began, we are now approximately 17 years sober and after several years of desiring a transition out of that way of life we are on our way. We have even experimented with drinking alcohol...this was an incredibly big step after having been told for most of our adult life that we would lose everything if we tried. So many concerns and questions have been surfacing and I thought it might be nice to have some support in the transition. (As an aside, Moderation Management seems to have different concerns than what we are dealing with.)


Dear Nancy:

Thank you for sharing your story with me. I appreciate that MM is not for you. Indeed, the idea of people leaving AA after they have abstained successfully, and resuming drinking, fills people with dread. When behaviorists were the leading proponents of controlled drinking, Peter Nathan of Rutgers University attempted to create a controlled drinking program. When one person who was in AA volunteered for the program, Peter quickly dissuaded the man from joining!

But why can't people decide that they may want to drink after extensive AA attendance? Doesn't their attendance prove, even to AA people, that these drinkers have been willing to accept AA up to a point, and that they are making an informed decision? Oddly enough, while maintaining alcoholism is a disease, AA and other disease proponents ignore the standard therapeutic requirement that people be told of the alternatives and be allowed to govern their own health care decisions.

The appropriateness of permitting people to choose their own path is particularly true in your and your husband's case, since you joined AA so young. Youthful overdrinkers typically overcome their drinking problems without abstaining, as the NIAAA's NLAES study reiterated. Nonetheless, it is frightening territory for many. Let me alert you to a group that invites ex-AA members to subscribe. Perhaps you will find people with similar experiences to you there. Here is one (and there are several) such people at SPAWS.

Maybe you should start a group of recovering AA members?

Best wishes,

P.S. There is now a site: "Stinkin' Thinkin'"