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Recovery Without Religion

Recovery Without Religion

Many people say they cannot stop drinking or using drugs because they just can’t get imagine joining a bunch of religious people who go around saying that God has saved them. Even if you support your local church and attend services regularly, you just may not feel comfortable opening yourself up like that at an AA meeting, admitting that you have to turn yourself over to a Higher Power. As you ponder whether you need treatment for recovery from alcohol abuse, you are wondering, what are the alternatives?

SOS, or Secular Organizations for Sobriety, has its website on the pages of the Center For Inquiry-Los Angeles, a branch of CFI Transnational, which describes itself as an educational, nonprofit organization that promotes free thinking without religious values in the areas of science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values.  It was funded by Jim Christopher, a recovering alcoholic who spent years white-knuckling his way through AA before he decided to start a secular recovery group. The home page of SOS states that its funding from the Council on Secular Humanism, a separate organization, will stop effective March 2014. If SOS can raise $75,000 by March 2014, its funding by CSH will continue.  The Council on Secular Humanism and the Center For Inquiry-Los Angeles seem to be two separate organizations.

That being said, SOS does include a listing of meetings in all 50 states, and it invites people to start meetings in their geographic area if interested. SOS recognizes that sobriety is an individual responsibility but one does not necessarily need to face it alone. The individual SOS groups are self-supporting to avoid financial entanglements. According to the website, the courts in California have recognized SOS as a treatment alternative to AA or NA, so that may also be true in other states. SOS promotes sobriety by teaching the Cycle of Addiction, in which an addict confronts the chemical need as well as his learned habits and then denies both need and habits. You can also visit the California chapter at sossobriety.org, with the most recent newsletter at this writing dated Winter 2013.

SoberRecovery.com offers a website but no meetings, with the site funded by rehab centers in all 50 states that advertise on the website. You can fully access the site by signing up, and you are encouraged to create a totally anonymous email for yourself for that purpose by using free email services such as Hotmail or Yahoo. There are a wealth of articles and blogs on the website and plenty of forums, for everything from addiction news, family, newcomers to recovery, stories of recovery, and substance-specific threads, plus lots more. There is even a chat option, ostensibly for someone who needs immediate support.

Rational Recovery, at rational.org, offers both free and for-cost treatment services for the person who doesn’t feel that religion has a place in recovery. Like the other sites, you can access more of it if you actually create a user name and email for yourself. Why not use the anonymous email you created for SoberRecovery as your email address for Rational Recovery?

It was founded by Jack Trimpey, who has written several books that you can buy on the website or from Amazon. It promotes therapy through AVRT, a copyrighted program to treat the Addictive Voice that drives the addict to destructive behaviors. There is a page-by-page AVRT© Crash Course on the website, and you can also pay $2,500 to attend a seminar.

While most treatment professionals who will help you in recovery from alcohol abuse apply the teachings of traditional 12-step groups like AA and NA, there is little to be lost if you’ve tried and failed at one of them, as long as you browse the websites carefully and keep a hold on your pocketbook. 

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