AA is not the Masons where, outside of gatherings, you keep in touch with code words or secret handshakes and conspiratorial ‘assistance’. AA lives by the distilled wisdom contained in the proverb, motto, and slogan – not ‘theory’. and Dr Bob, founded AA in Akron, Ohio, in the 1930s, when even to have stopped drinking was shameful – evidence of past ‘moral weakness’. The Serenity Prayer Few have heard it before they first attend an AA meeting, but once it's in your life it never leaves.
This isn’t exactly fair to them, and it’s not fair to you either because you miss out on building that strong foundation with them.
Occasionally, very occasionally, it’s a different story. Chips with everything AA is crazy about chips – or 'sobriety coins'. No two groups are the same Because AA is self-organising at the grass roots level, groups define themselves differently. Others are ‘participation meetings’, where everyone has a chance to share. There are men only meetings, women only meetings, and meetings for any variety of LGBT. Or so meetings like to chant at the end of the session, after reciting the Serenity Prayer. But it’s a refrain in the fellowship that AA works better than aversive medicine (the dreaded antabuse, Ebola in tablet form), white coats (cognitive intelligence therapy), or sermons from self-appointed experts who’ve never themselves been there but know all about it (which, alas, includes most of the medical profession. Nowadays, while sitting on appointment committees, I've seen personal statements in which the job seeker says they’ve been through AA (to counteract any mention of their drinking days in confidential letters of reference). God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference.
The most upmarket AA meeting I’ve attended was in Gstaad, Switzerland. You get a version of these small, key-ring medallions after 90 days, six months, and every calendrical milestone thereafter. I’ve had it thirty years and my thumb has worn the inscribed serenity prayer off its surface. Don’t try to work anyone else’s programme, is the guiding motto. Not exclusive (all are welcome), just self-selecting. But, of course, because of the anonymity rule, and no follow-up in the outside world, no one’s really that sure. Instruction about alcoholism at medical schools is abysmal). Never buy a car from someone in your group Likewise, never date anyone in your group.
Then they drop a bomb: “I used to be a drug addict.” They may as well have said, “I’m married.” But does one partner being in recovery automatically spell doom for a relationship?
Healthy Recovery, Healthy Relationships Most recovering addicts aren’t strangers to therapy and, as a result, have spent a lot of time working on themselves and their relationships.
Recovering addicts need to attend a self-help support group meeting, call their sponsor and have sponsees out of necessity.