Are Sobriety and AA Mutually Exclusive?

Alcoholics Anonymous is a big commitment. It’s a lifestyle more than anything. Or at least that is what I have gathered thus far. There are a lot of good things about AA. The community, the “fellowship”, the stories, and the people. It’s all about the people. Joe Strummer, lead singer of the band The Clash, said, “Without people you’re nothing.” I agree with that. Everybody I’ve met in AA has been cool. Some people are a little wonky but who isn’t? The local AA community here in New Hampshire has been very warm and welcoming to me. I’m not even from here really but none the less I’ve found the halls to be inclusive and friendly. But today, I’m not feelin’ it.

I’m trying to start over since dropping out of college (again). Third time’s the charm, bro! I take my sobriety very serious. It’s hard not to after the nasty relapse I’ve just gone through. As much as I’d like to be doing the AA thing, I don’t want to half-ass it. From what I understand, it seems like ya kinda gotta be all in. I’m all in on sobriety 100%. But like most others who suffer from addiction, I also am struggling with depression and anxiety disorders. My mental health is BALLS. I’d really like to sort that stuff out with medication and therapy and manage it before I make a big lifestyle commitment to ANYTHING. College, career, and all those things. I don’t want to sound like a toolbox (too late I’m already writing a blog lololol) but I really don’t have a whole bunch of time to get immersed in AA the way that I’d like to. Do I have time to hit up a meager one hour meeting per week? Yes I do. I even got time for two meetings a week! I do really like the meetings but I think I grabbed a sponsor too soon.

One of my worst habits is isolating. This is dangerous. But at the same time, I feel like I need to take a moment to get my head screwed on right rather than just jumping in to anything. I am getting better about reaching out to my friends. That was the whole reason I started this blog with my two best friends from high school. Two weeks in and it’s been the best thing that I’ve done for myself since getting sober. I love my friends and reading the articles they have writen has kept me going. We’re all spread across the country and rarely see each other. I’ve moved around a lot in my life and all of my best friends live someplace else: Seattle, LA, Portland, Toledo, Chicago, NY, Boston, and even New Jersey. I don’t talk to all of the people that I love and grew up with as much as I’d like. I really feel like a jackass because I sound like Drake but really “no new friendz” isn’t what I’m trying to say. Before I get involved in the AA community, I want to get back in touch with the people who have kept me going and stayed with me through the tough times. The people who have always been there for me even when I wasn’t strong enough to reach out. The AA crowd’s cool but I still need to get back in touch with my old friends because the truth is that I’ve been a shitty friend. A wicked shitty friend.

Sobriety and Alcoholics Anonymous are not mutually exclusive. People can stay sober with or without AA just like how people can also fail to stay sober both in AA or out of it. I’m not against AA. I think it’s a good thing and so far I’ve enjoyed my time in AA and it’s been a very good experience. However, I’ve gotta get a job first. I’ve gotta sort out my meds first. And as far as addiction goes, I’m craving weed more than alcohol and I need to find out why.

I have not had any real cravings for alcohol specifically in a long time. I can’t remember wanting to drink at all since I went to detox. But I keep having weed cravings. And AA is not talking about weed. I need to talk about weed.

The “Big Book” is rad….but it doesn’t talk about marijuana. What in the fuck is the deal with the pots? That’s what I’m trying to figure out right now.

I’m willing to admit that I’m in over my head with Alcoholics Anonymous and I do not have the juice to be committed. And I don’t want to feel like a fraud for attending the meetings but not “working the program”. Maybe later, when I don’t feel like a fucking lunatic, sure I’ll work the program. I’ll RIP through those 12 steps. Slam dunk ’em like Serge Ibaka! JUST WIN BABY! In the meanwhile, however, I just want to watch Sunday Night Football, man.

What I’m concerned with is getting judged. I have no real reason to be preemptively worried about this. Literally, nobody’s been a dick and I don’t expect them too. I just do not what this to get awkward when I blue ball my sponsor. You feel me?

Hopefully, everybody in AA remains cool. I expect that they will. Mostly, I’m wondering how everybody else’s experiences in AA have been? Hope your sobriety is going well.


  1. Nikita · November 8, 2015

    Lol. I think you’re right that it will be helpful to get a job and sort out other stuff, while still being open to AA. Stay open to other possible solutions as well – there may be a book out there or perhaps an online community that can more directly address your issues. My bf is highly involved in AA and committed to the program – It is indeed a lifestyle and it works for him. Find what works for you, whether that be AA, something else, or a combination of AA and other stuff. I also met an alcoholic last night who struggles with relapse and feels she doesn’t completely fit the alcoholic profile in that she doesn’t completely relate to the personal stories she hears in meetings. I can definitely empathize. No two people are alike and sometimes it can be very difficult to find an entire group of people with whom you truly relate with. On the other hand though, I enjoy going to open AA meetings myself even though I am not an alcoholic, only a chronic depressive. It makes me feel better knowing there are other people out there who have intense struggles like I do.

    Anyway, best of luck with this issue! It seems you are being positive about it as you figure it out. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. TEDESTEN · November 8, 2015

    Thank you very much, Nikita! I really appreciate the comment. Thanks for the perspective I am definitely interested in still giving it a try. My only worry is half-assing it and being a scrub and a burden to my poor sponsor who’s really just trying to help my dumb ass out. I love the stories! And the book is pretty good too. But as a fellow chronic depressive, it is A LOT of work. I’m do want to practice being balanced and doing less black and white thinking. I’m definitely staying positive! Right now my relationship with AA is a big, “It’s not you, it’s me!” George Costanza from Seinfeld kind of thing haha thanks for the support!


    • Nikita · November 8, 2015

      Awesome. You have the right attitude, and I have faith in you from the little I’ve read so far. 😀 You will in all likelihood experience some failure here and there, but from that you’ll still learn what doesn’t work. So you really can’t lose. 🙂


  3. Robert Crisp · November 8, 2015

    I relied on AA a great deal when I got out of rehab, and I make a meeting a week these days. I do it to be around other people who get me and understand the journey, but I don’t socialize with them outside of the meeting. Maybe I will one day, maybe I won’t. I’m also married and have two young children, so there’s plenty to do. I treated my family pretty damn badly right before I entered rehab, and I’m enjoying being sober around them.

    Take your time with AA. I got a sponsor and worked the steps, which took me about nine months. I was all gung-ho and ready to knock them out, but I had a mellow sponsor who told me to slow down. I’m glad he did. Good for you on working on being balanced and trying to avoid black and white thinking. Keep up the good work, man.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. TEDESTEN · November 8, 2015

    Hey thanks a lot, Mr. Crisp! I appreciate the input. There is a lot that I do like. And these people in AA are good people and I respect them. I think that maybe my biggest hang up is feeling like a huge fraud sometimes. It might be that I’m not 100% sold. Or it might be as simple as — to put it childishly — “it’s hard and I don’t wanna do it.” Everybody who’s in recovery is rad. AA’s one solution but I’m not sold that it’s my solution and since that’s how I’ve been feeling after a few weeks, it’s starting to feel like “work”. Not even just the work it takes just staying sober but like a whole other work load on top of staying sober, like I need to gas up and then go to AA. It’s also a little to dark. I need a little more levity than the big book provides. Addiction’s not one size fits all and neither is recovery. I may come to AA with some intense enthusiasm later on but right now it feels like a job. That’s my only real hang up. I don’t have anything against the ideology. I think it’d be waaay more childish to be like, “ugh–high power” and rolling my eyes than it is to say, “this is too hard and too much and I’m not enjoying it enough to keep doing it.”

    Thank you for sharing too. I think what I really want is some feedback and to hear others’ personal experiences. Especially early on. That’s part of why I’ve been one foot in one foot out; everybody in the halls is just like THIS IS RAD. Which I get, but I want to hear from other people who just got out of rehab like I just did. Somebody’s gotta sell this to me. I’m not cynical; I just know myself too well. I NEED to want it so badly that I won’t stop for anything. Essentially, I need to want AA (or any program for that matter) more than my addiction wants drugs and alcohol.


  5. danielrappletonyahoocom · November 22, 2015

    Reblogged this on thepageofdaniel and commented:
    Sobriety is a transitory state ( Trying to sound Zen / Daoist ). From what I understand about AA, one’s life apparently goes from being about drinking to being about AA. It becomes a lifestyle, sounds like. Like I said, I’ve had no experience with AA. Zero, zed, nada.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. TEDESTEN · November 22, 2015

    Yeah, at a cursory glance it is sort of like a lifestyle overhaul and switching from drugs/drinking to AA and that’s not just like my own interpretation but that’s what a lot of people say. “I’m now addicted to meetings” is a common refrain. And that’s not a terrible thing because at least it’s healthy and it’s social and to me I think that whatever you need to do to quit drinking is a good idea.
    For me personally, I need to get my own shit together before I make a commitment this big. What I’ve realized is that you can’t really half-ass it. One does not simply half-ass AA.


  7. The Sock Mistress · December 9, 2015

    Good luck, I’m a daughter of an alcoholic and I know how hard this journey is.


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