AA haters will probably dismiss this as an AA horror story or as proof of their arguments against AA. One-wayers will probably see this as evidence that it will work for everyone if they just work it.
I have no interest in this argument. The truth is that there are plenty of people who have left AA and are doing fine, and there are plenty of people who left AA and are doing terribly. I just found this to be an interesting peek inside the experience of a guy who left AA.
He’s quit drinking for a month to take a break.
Danielle: How has the month been for you?
Chris: Challenging. First two weeks were especially tough. I was going through withdrawals—dramatic mood swings, going to sleep late, waking up late, couldn’t eat because my digestive system was all fucked up, then eating a lot of sugar. But now it’s pretty good. I started working out again, spending more time with my dog, being more productive; it feels like my brain started working since I started having creative ideas again. I stopped engaging in as much deviant behavior.
On the time since he left AA:
Well, the first year was not bad at all. Being sober had pushed my compass back towards acting again and so I was working a lot. Believe it or not, when I am doing something that I creatively want to do, I don’t really think about drinking. Acting is an addiction in itself but it’s a trap because when the work dries up, the drinking is always there. I think I drink to numb out the boredom. But in the last six months, I haven’t done any acting and a lot of that is because I have been drinking a lot. I haven’t been writing as much or pushing myself to be a better actor. It’s also because I have been working a lot at my bar job and making money, which is another addiction. Making money makes me feel good.
On relationships after leaving AA, with and without alcohol:
I feel kind of like I am warped now as far as relationships. I am so not used to meeting someone and talking with them sober, it’s just like drunk hook ups that lead right to sex. And now since I have been sober [this month], I don’t even want to talk with women in that capacity because all those new and sober feelings are coming out—all my little insecurities and problems, all the shit I drank over, are now rearing their little heads and I have to compartmentalize it.
On whether he’s an alcoholic:
I know I am an alcoholic; the question is, what do I do with it? Am I going to be dramatic and go back to AA or am I just going to fucking have to deal with it? And hopefully it doesn’t get that bad or hopefully I find something else that will push it down, like acting or anything creative. So that’s what I am doing. But I know that alcohol is always going to be there and I have resigned myself to the fact that it will always be a problem for me.