Don’t judge my post title just yet!
I don’t have anything against Alcoholics Anonymous as a whole.
And I freaking HEART the work the Public Broadcasting System does. Um, hello…Sesame Street!
But they are most definitely both a part of my path from broken to blissed-out 😳
I’ve been booze-free since 1/29/19. The whole happy and purposeful thing came later.
I truly struggled in my first year of sobriety. I tried all of the “traditional routes” to get sober. And I’m not just picking on AA! I tried EVERY program I could find on the Interwebs.
I’m talking about SMART and S.O.S. and Refuge Recovery and Women for Sobriety. The list is even longer, but I can’t remember them all, to be totally honest.
Mostly though, I battled it out with AA, cause you know…it was there and it’s what people did when they wanted to quit drinking, right? They went to meetings and read the Big Book.
I’ve been in and out of the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous for years. But I could never pull together more than 90 days of alcohol-free living.
So, how did I manage to get to 3 years of sobriety?
I quit buying into the bullshit. I stopped believing in the myth of AA.
I stopped buying into the same old story that everybody got sober in the exact same way, and that there was only one way to do it, and if I didn’t do it the AA way, I was going to die alone, miserable, and drunk.
I know, I know! That sounds kind of harsh. And I’m probably gonna catch some serious pushback from some folks over what I just said.
But here’s the thing…
That’s the vibe that AA puts out 🤷♀️
Or at least, that’s how it is in every AA meeting I’ve ever been to, either in-person or online. Of course, your mileage may vary, but this is my story, so I’m gonna stick with my truth.
My experience with AA is that it’s all about how “dry time” you had. Nobody seemed to care if you were happy or miserable. But they DID want to see the number on your chip.
So, after I got sick and tired enough of being sick and tired, I decided to figure shit out on my own.
I read every book and blog post, listened to every podcast episode, watched every documentary, and devoured any other source of info I could find on how to quit drinking without a 12-step program.
Ultimately, what worked for me was the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques that I found in This Naked Mind by Annie Grace. I haven’t wanted a drink since I read that book 🙏
Hell, I rarely even think about alcohol anymore, other than to be grateful that I’m no longer addicted to it. But once I stopped numbing myself with booze, I realized something…
I still had to deal with all of the shit that I got drunk over in the first place.
And that meant facing up to the demons of my past…withOUT letting fear get in my way 😬
I started out by trying to do traditional “step work” with a more open-minded member of AA that I found on the Stop Drinking Reddit group (which is a super-helpful resource if you’re curious about alcohol-free living BTW).
My guess is you probably already know how that worked out! While I’ll always be grateful to that woman for lending a stranger a hand, I just didn’t vibe with the 12 steps of AA yet again, so I went looking for an alternative, yet again.
I’m very happy to report that I found some great resources in the form of doing Shadow Work, and I was able to clear out a TON of crap that I’d been carrying around with me pretty much since birth.
PS: If you’re interested in learning specific details on what I did to free myself, and how I did it, just shoot me a message 💁♀️
My next step was learning more about mindfulness and meditation. But here’s the thing…
I had some SERIOUS issues with organized religion, so I wanted to avoid any mention of the “G-Word,” while also cashing in on the mental and emotional freedom I’d heard promised came along with being all Zen and whatnot.
This is where PBS almost broke me 😵 But in full transparency, that’s a tale for another day, and one that I’d rather tell you from the heart.
Soooo, here’s Part 2, also known as My Spirituality Story, where I tell you how I “got woke,” stopped lying to myself, and uncovered the REAL secret to blissful living!