This young man stands for a large group of individuals – those who turn to AA for help, but who are filled with doubt and ambivalence. The AA answer is to “fake it until you make it.” But this can take a tremendous toll on some people. And, of course, it may not be necessary. Particularly among young people, I have observed a large number who outgrow the assumptions of AA – or for whom they never fit. In any case, this young man describes well the inner turmoil and anguish of someone who has been faking it in AA.

Further Reading

22-year-old struggling with leaving AA

Dr. Stanton,

Hi, how are you? I been in AA about a little more then 2 years. I celebrated 2 years and then relapsed recently. The so called relapse was due to surgery I had on my foot, i got hurt dancing (i am a breakdancer) and the medication they gave me was percaset. They told me to take a certain amount but it didnt do that much so I took double the amount a got a little buz from it and it was considered relapsing. That week since i thought i blew it I took the pills cause I was in a pain and had fun and felt good at the same time. My problem wasnt pills or weed or alcohol but basically everything, because I was young and had fun experimenting and didnt know the truth where it could lead me. I am 22 and in college, Syracuse University to be exact. Going out at night with my friends that still drank didnt stop me from having a good time. There were so many times that I knew i would be able just to have a drink but didnt because the people in AA that were born alcoholics told me I cant and i will die. So i felt guilty to do so. And i have been in denial that if i do i will die, and somehow made my story worse then it was. I ended up telling myself I drank worse then I did so i knew 100% that I was an alcoholic when the whole time I knew i wasnt. I did go thru the steps but something was still wrong. I hated on people drinking because I couldnt and knew that could, and a big part of my alcoholism was to impress people, i loved drinking the hardest stuff and as much as I could cause i wanted to impress people, but now i have so many things going on in my life I dont need to impress people anymore. I really wanna try to drink again but feel guilty to the people in the rooms(aa) that I love. Then there are some that i helped get sober. Its just that I want to live a normal life for a 22 year old and this is constantly on the back of my head. Not sure what else I needed to say but thats where I am at. Thank you



Published October 22, 2005