What If Going To AA Is Not It?


#alcoholism # addiction #cure

Having Coached hundreds over the past two decades, alcohol came up more often than I expected. Some clients were seeking approval, some empathy, some sympathy, all sought freedom from everything that is alcohol, especially the judgment and shame parts. I was, at one point, Coaching a few clients for whom alcohol had become an issue. Also common among them (by the time they spoke their truth) was a cautious side look at Alcoholics Anonymous.

So I read about the 12 Step Program and, by invitation, joined one client in going to an AA meeting. Disturbing. What were these people saying and what caused them to believe saying those things would bring them back to living their lives more fully? It didn’t feel helpful to me. But my client said this was his way out so I studied some more and asked people about their experience with AA.

Then this book showed up. The ad claimed the author to have uncovered the cure for Addicitons and Alchoholism.  I placed an order and read it carefully. It says two things that I immediately resonated with.

  1. Athletes will tell you that it is simply true that in order to succeed one must ‘see’ (feel, believe) themselves succeeding. My work as Coach has shown me the power of well crafted affirmations.  The affirmations that form the center piece of the AA Program actually affirm the participant toward failure. When the book pointed that out, I experienced a huge ‘aha!’ as it explained the disquiet I couldn’t, until then, fully put my finger on.
  • The second pivotal assertion from the book is that, when a person knows, clearly unequivocally knows, the reason that they drink or use drugs or avoid work/responsibility, whatever it is, that the option of choice to continue to do it or not, becomes present again. This idea returns the power of choice to the person. I felt emotional when I realized what this return of choice must do for someone who was living the affirmations referred to above. Wow, relief, hope, release; soaring joy.

The Alcoholism and Addition Cure, Prentiss ( 2007), certainly has more in it, but these two items, well, if that is all it said, I’d be ecstatic. A fabulous find.

To stand in public declaring ‘I am an alcoholic’, how would that feel to you? The word “alcoholic’ has massive baggage, images of a dirty beggar drinking from a bottle in a paper bag. Hopeless, useless, unreliable etc etc, is what many imagine when hearing the word alcoholic. Try this instead. Let this same person stand in public and say, ‘I was dependant on alcohol and have now decided (that is power) to be a nephalist. I am breaking that dependency forever’.  Which form of affirmation gives the best chance to make this change?

AA has changed much of that early doomsday negativity in their 12 step manifesto. Thank you. I have not been to a meeting since that time in about 2008. Maybe I’ll go again to check out how it feels now.

  • We must believe we are worthy of the changes we seek
    • We are allowed to make the change
  • We must see ourselves being successful in achieving those changes
  • We must make our own  choice to change and know that we are able to make the change
  • Add to these, knowing ‘the why’ we overindulge, helps it all make sense and puts a spotlight on the way out

Joseph Seiler MCC