A lot of people wonder, “is AA the only way to get clean and sober?” Today, we consider both sides of the question.
First, let’s consider what the whole point of AA is in the first place. The whole point of AA is to gain freedom from our addiction to alcohol by the Grace of a Higher Power. All too often, people in AA forget that this last part is just as significant as the first part.
It is also this last part that leads us to the Twelve Steps. The sole purpose of the Twelve Steps is not to get us clean and sober; it is to facilitate an introduction to what we perceive as our Higher Power.
Now, these two concepts established, we can begin to see an answer to the original quest, “Is AA the only way?” Can we gain freedom from our addiction to alcohol by the Grace of our Higher Power without AA? Yes—of course we can. Can we establish a relationship with a Higher Power without using the Twelve Steps? Again, yes—of course we can.
So why would we need AA? After all, if no human power can relieve us of our alcoholism, why would we need to go to these meetings, have a sponsor, take commitments, take newcomers through the Book, etc.?
Quite simply: because we are naturally selfish and self-centered people who don’t think rationally.
We tend to be able to justify nearly anything in the heat of the moment, and—let’s face it—our impulse control as addicts and alcoholics ranges slightly between none and “are we sure we have any?”
We need others to help us. Otherwise, our best thinking would not have gotten us into this quagmire in the first place.
That said; do we need to go to AA to find these people? No—not necessarily.
Many find churches or other organized religions to be sufficient. AA itself even encourages us to find a church if that is what we feel will help us enrich our spiritual lives.
However, many alcoholics tend to discount those who do not share similar experiences as our own, and if people outside the Fellowship hear some of our stories from when we were in our active addiction, it is very possible they will scatter in every which direction.
That isn’t to say it isn’t possible, but many of us find the ability to relate an indispensible feature of a Fellowship to which we are members.
Besides, many of us have gone down this path before, hoping that this time, if we find the right church, the right pastor, the right circle of friends; it will be different.
Ring any bells?
So, is AA the only way? No—but most of us find that it is the best chance of finding what we need to find in order to have a chance at a new life.