My View of a 12-Step Program

It has been brought to my attention that I may be described as a zealot and someone that loves Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and can’t stand alcohol or alcoholics. To be clear I use a 12-step program to help me stay sober. I am open and honest about my recovery, but not everyone feels the way I do. In fact, a lot of people do not want to share that they are in recovery and I think that is great for them. Who am I to judge?

I have been very open with my attendance to AA. I know people judge me and that is on them. Years ago, I learned that what others think about me is none of my business. A 12-step program works for me! Is it going to work for you? I have no clue – I am not God! If you have a problem and need help, AA can be an option for you.

When Bill Wilson started the AA program, he felt that it needed the anonymous piece. He wanted people to get the help they needed without anyone ever knowing because the shame and social judgment associated with having a drinking problem back then – and today – is heavy and debilitating.

When you attend a meeting, you never use your last name. You only use your first. This enables you to make why you came to the meeting more important than who you are. The only thing you need when you go to a meeting is a desire to stop drinking. That is it. There is no discrimination – people are there to help! No money is necessary (they pass a basket for donations but, money holds no relevance in AA) and one’s attendance is kept in complete confidence.

The reasoning for the anonymity was not just due to shame, but if you said that you were a member and then drank it would reflect back on the program. You would never want to go to a program that didn’t work. Hence why I went. I had heard that AA helped people get sober. I was very fearful of the anonymity and it kept me away in the beginning. However, I felt I had no other options. I knew I needed help to stop drinking and I heard it worked. To this day, it has worked for me. But, I have no idea what is going to happen tomorrow, a week from now or a year from now. I live one day at a time.

Other people’s drinking is none of my business. If it isn’t a problem for you, go for it! For me I loved drinking! It was great, I did it all of the time. But, I can’t drink anymore because I have a problem when alcohol hits my lips; I can’t stop!

The most important lesson I have learned recently is that there is no one walking on this planet that is perfect! So, who are we to judge? I want people to be happy and if that is drinking, great. If they have a problem, I hope that they would seek help. Life truly is a gift and if you don’t think so, just look out the window! The trees, birds and spring have sprung. Everything is alive, so go out and enjoy it!