There’s one topic I tend to tiptoe around in my videos.

I’ve been reluctant to talk about AA, for fear of upsetting anyone.

Yet it seems increasingly important to point out the obvious: Alcoholics Anonymous isn’t for everyone.

(It certainly wasn’t my cup of tea).

For many people, there’s something about it that just feels… ‘off’ 

If you’re looking for an alternative to AA, I thought it was about time I explained why my approach is different.

Key points

If AA works for you, stick with it

I believe anything that helps people quit drinking is a good thing, so if the 12 step approach works for you, then great. But don’t let anyone tell you that you ‘should’ go to AA, get a sponsor or declare yourself an alcoholic. (You don’t need to use that word, as I explained here). 

 

Lifestyle upgrade vs lifelong battle

When I quit drinking, I knew it would only last if I could figure out a way to feel good about sobriety. I didn’t want to rely on willpower or feel deprived for the rest of my life. The idea of having to continually attend meetings felt depressing.

Nowadays, one of my biggest goals with The Sober School is to show women that alcohol free living isn’t a punishment – it’s a lifestyle upgrade. It’s not a stone in your shoe or a cross to bear because you failed at drinking ‘normally’. 

 

There’s nothing wrong with you

The 12 Steps of AA (which you can read here) focus on correcting your character defects. This is where my approach alters dramatically. I don’t think there is anything wrong with you – becoming addicted to an addictive substance is entirely predictable. You aren’t weak, broken or defective. 

If you want to change your relationship with alcohol, you need to learn how to change your response to your emotions. Most of us haven’t been taught how to do that. And when you’re consumed by all your supposed failings, the chances are you won’t ever do that work.

 

Looking for an alternative to AA?

We’re all just doing the best we can with the tools we have available to us. If you’ve decided that alcohol is a tool that’s no longer working for you – and you’d like to learn how to handle life a little differently – details of my online coaching programme are here

 

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