Need more help to stay clean and sober? Try online counseling. Click here for more info..

Blog - 12 Step Online

The Best Person I Ever Knew, and How I Let Him Down

The worst thing I ever did – and that would be an absurdly long list, if I had to write it all down (yeah, I have, but I won’t share it here) – still haunts me. And I’ve got myself to blame for that. To a certain extent, alcohol was to blame, sure, but I was the one who picked up the bottle that morning. The best friend I ever had was a guy who stuck with me through absolutely everything, and he got sick with something called ”acute lymphoblastic leukemia” around the age of 35. It’s a cancer that eats you from the inside out, and it takes a whole lot of heart and grit to beat it, but he did. In the end, a bad bone marrow transplant – what they try to replace after the cancer’s destroyed everything you’ve got, but you somehow beat it anyway – did him in. I was there when he was sick. I was ...

Espionage, Intrigue, and AA

I was kidnapped once. Perhaps “abducted” would be a better word, I was in my twenties. I was in Jamaica with my then-wife, and the airline had lost our luggage, so we ventured out of the hotel into a local market. Two large men with a car convinced my ex that they were, in fact, a taxi, and that they’d take us to a better, cheaper place to buy clothes. My ex didn’t give it a second thought, and when I turned to look for her, it was implied that I could also get into the car, or these large men (one of them not-so-subtly armed) could leave with her. Their intention wasn’t all that malicious, considering: they could have done worse things to us, they just took us to a store whose owner they were coordinating with. We were strongly urged to buy extremely overpric...

The Unfounded Fear of Face to Face

There’s absolutely no way I’m going to tell you that online meetings and communities for support, discussion and enhancement of a recovery program aren’t an incredible resource. I’m thankful daily that this resource exists, and if participation is any factor in determining this site’s popularity, so are many other people. Online communities like this one provide a unique service to the recovery community; objectively, there aren’t many that work very well or meet with regularity, but they often serve segments of the community that would otherwise be relegated to youtube videos or transcripts. Some live far north of the Arctic circle, some (as I was, once) are homebound due to severe physical disability, some suffer from clinically diagnosed mental illnes...

Depression, Industrialists, Drinking and You

It seems like you’re hearing about depression a lot more now than ever before. Life, in general, creates more stress these days than at any point in the past; ours is the first generation who will not reach or exceed our parents’ success; a full-time job no longer promises you the ability to pay for both food and electricity. And after all of that, they still canceled Guardians of the Galaxy 3. A lot of things go into causing depression, though, even if you don’t consider external sources and pop culture as the driving forces behind your daily mood (that’s really just me?). A lot of people are facing situational depression – something happened, and they’re upset about it, and that’s totally valid. An external trigger like a death in the family, the...

We Could Be Heroes

I’ve decided to upgrade; the title from this one is a Bowie lyric rather than Britney Spears. I hope you appreciate that. Most of the time when I’m writing these entries, I’m trying to illustrate my personal opinion on a certain aspect of sobriety, maybe trying to explain something that I feel I understand fairly well to people who haven’t experienced the things I have, or haven’t experienced them in the same way. This entry will be a little different, but I hope you’ll find it interesting, because I plan to examine a hero’s story: yours. As your standard single guy in his 30s, I both own a lot of and know a lot about comic books. Some people find this to be a childish endeavor, but often the stories are as complex as any novel, the art comparable ...

Sobriety as a Social Construct

One of the questions I see the most from people who have recently decided to try sobriety is the vague, but pertinent, “what do I do now?” It’s a good question, because if we really examine the reasons we were drinking to begin with, we’re now forced to address the issues drinking appeared to resolve on our own. Many of us would drink because we were simply bored – whether it was a football game without much going on, a Tuesday night where we didn’t have other plans or we were sitting online in the middle of the day. Even those of us who didn’t drink in solitude to alleviate boredom often used alcohol as a crutch in situations where we were out and about with other people. There’s a reason alcohol is referred to as a “social lubricant&#...

Square Pegs – Atheists, Agnostics and AA

It’s unfortunate to begin an article with a caveat, but I think it may be a good idea. Concerning religion, spirituality, personal philosophy toward recovery that involves faith in the supernatural, or whatever you choose to call it: this writing doesn’t exist to insult or degrade or detract from anyone’s personal belief systems. Discussion of agnostics and atheists in Alcoholics Anonymous is not, and should not be, a threat to your program. This writing exists because so often we hear from newcomers that they don’t believe and that they can’t possibly resolve participation in AA with that lack of belief. Someone will walk into a room and read the steps, noting how often the word God or the importance of confession and reconciliation are mentioned. It’s ...

Postmodern Philosophy vs. 12-Step Recovery

know, inherently, that the title of this post itself is incredibly pretentious. I promise you, though, that I’ve got a point. When people refer to postmodernism, they’re talking about the pervasive sense of cynicism, irony and painful self-awareness in media and culture. What used to be funny is now, supposedly, stupid, cheap or lame. What used to be earnest is now, supposedly, naive. There’s an inherent conflict between postmodernist cultural norms – painful self-awareness, jokes about jokes, memes, ironic detachment – and a spiritual recovery program. By definition, a spiritual recovery program relies on the fact that you believe in something. It doesn’t matter what it is, and I don’t want to get into the argument about spirituality vs. religion ...

Oops, I did it again

Yes, I’m a 37 year-old man who used the title of a Britney Spears song for this blog post. So. Yeah. It happened again. I relapsed. I’ll get into the why – or at least what I think the true “why” of the relapse was – in just a moment. I first want to stress that while relapsing isn’t a good thing and should of course be avoided, it isn’t rare. The published numbers regarding AA members who go out and come back in aren’t a big secret. It happens to the most responsible and adherent of us and doesn’t discriminate by race, color, creed or what the last chip you collected is. If you’re reading this with a smug attitude, basking in the glow of your perfect sobriety that will last until the heat death of the universe, congratulati...

Of Moths and Men

Just as we addicts of all stripes often try to find the easiest way to get as un-sober as possible as often as we deem necessary. This behavior can be reflected when we’re seeking a way out. It’s very easy to make an appointment with the next available professional who deals with your problems in some way, shape, or form. And it’s easy to assume that your responsibility ends there. There’s an old joke, and I’ve got no idea who came up with this, but I know it wasn’t me: A moth goes into a podiatrist’s office. ”Doctor,” the moth says, ”my life is a mess. I hate my job. It doesn’t fulfill me. I don’t enjoy my work and I can’t stand my boss. I don’t make enough money, and my friends don’t respect me.” ”My family,” he continues, ”they do not respect me. My children are ashamed of what I’ve bec...

Self Will Run Riot

When I first stepped through the doors of AA, I had heard this term used quite often. I never knew what it had really meant. All I could think of was the word “riot”. What did this mean? Surely, I had everything under control. Throughout my 30 plus years drinking and drugging I had my life together. Or so I thought. “If the rest of the world would only behave; the outlaw safe cracker who thinks society has wronged him; and the alcoholic who has lost all and is locked up. Whatever our protestations, are not most of us concerned with ourselves, our resentments, or our self-pity? Selfishness – self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate...

More About Alcoholism

I have read the Alcoholics Anonymous book “The Big Book” several times over and have spent countless hours pondering and relating to the ideas in it. Bill W., one of the AA founders, was the author of the majority of it. Being new to recovery and accepting the fact of alcoholism as a disease can be a hard concept for many newcomers to grasp. Although the entire book, the first 164 pages especially, are excellent relevant reading for the newly-sober person or for those pondering if they are truly alcoholic – I feel that none of the text relates quite as well as “More About Alcoholism” for the newcomer. You can read the chapter here – More About Alcoholism. “Most of us have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics. No person likes to think he ...