Someone recently asked me if it’s possible to stay sober without AA. I am here to tell you that it is absolutely possible. I am NOT here to bash AA or to tell you not to go to AA or that it isn’t a wonderful tool, because it is. It really bothers me to see people trash a program that is free and accessible to anyone who wants it. For a lot of people, it’s the ONLY resource available. And if one is willing to do the work, it works. But so do a lot of other paths. I know a LOT of people who are in recovery and have never been to an AA meeting. I know a lot of people who have been going for years and continue to go because they love it. I have been on the fence about whether or not AA is for me for about three years now. It was great for me in the beginning. I think it’s a great place for everyone to start. It’s where I first found sober community. Community is so important. This is true for everyone in recovery of all kinds. Not just addicts and alcoholics. It’s extremely helpful to have someone who has walked the path before you and can help you navigate a new way of being in the world. Recovery is scary. I can’t imagine how hard it has been for the people getting sober since the pandemic hit. The meetings stopped and everything went on Zoom. My hat is off to anyone with a 2020 sobriety date. That never would have worked for me. In early sobriety I needed to have my ass in a room full of people that I didn’t want to be with, hating everyone in front of me. But that’s just me. AA is not the end all, be all that it once was. Technology has changed what sober support looks like for so many people. I think if you are out there living life and loudly sober, anyone who cares about you can be your sober support. Instagram has a ton of sober accounts and ways to connect. There are apps to connect you and guide you, online coaching programs, FB groups, online programs with meetings and tons of other meeting type programs that aren’t AA. I used to be big on telling people to find a path and stick to it. Now I feel like that’s not the best advice and one should find what’s working for them right now and stick with it. But as we grow, our needs change. What was once a lifeline, might not seem that way anymore. And it’s OK. That’s where I am with AA today. There is a lot of fear around leaving AA and it comes up often in a lot of the groups I belong to. We don’t hear about the people who make it out and live a wonderful life. We are taught in AA that when we stop going to meetings, we will relapse. Of course plenty of people stop going to meetings and do relapse. Also, lots of people stop going and live happy, sober lives. There shouldn’t be fear or guilt involved around leaving. Period. In the past year I went to three meetings. I am in no jeopardy of relapsing. My entire existence supports my recovery. The majority of my friends are not in recovery. But they also do things with me that aren’t centered around alcohol. Because they love me. Truth be told, I built the community I needed because it didn’t exist. In the beginning I built a small community of people to meditate with me. A community to sit together in silence every week. Because that’s what I needed. As I grew, I needed more in my life and so I kept finding more. What I couldn’t find, I created for myself. That community has grown and evolved. That community supports and sustains a LOT of women. Not just me. It was never really about me. Isn’t that beautiful? We always know what we need if we are willing to slow down and listen. Now that Covid restrictions are lifting, and I am scheduled to have my second vaccine, I may go to a few more meetings strictly because there are people there who I have missed and would love to see. But I also might just go to lunch with those people. Because at this point, it’s all the same to me. That’s not how it was those first few years and I wouldn’t be here without AA. I know this to be true for me. But many people do just fine without it. Recovery is never one size fits all. We are all different and beautiful and unique and we all get to decide what works for us. As far as AA goes, I will always tell people who ask me about it that it is a great place to start. Also, I know me so even if I think I am leaving, and I might, I’ll also always keep a foot in the door because when I do show up, it still feels a lot like coming home. There’s no rule that says I have to go every day/week/month. I also suspect that as Covid restrictions start to lift, a lot of new people will be rolling into those rooms. The amount of Covid related alcohol consumption I see on social media is ridiculous. But that’s another blog for another day.