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  • Writer's pictureErik Frederickson - Life Coach and Recovery Coach

What if I don’t want to go to AA, but I do want to get sober? [Video]

Updated: Aug 31, 2022

Let’s talk about this.

I'll start with some of my own experience. Alcoholics Anonymous was extremely instrumental in my recovery journey, which started over 11 yrs ago. The structure, the community, the convenience, and the step by step guide to connecting with God and cleaning up my life was very much needed for me at that time.

I spent the first year and a half to two years of my recovery frequenting meetings, leading meetings, doing to the steps, taking others through the steps, speaking at meetings, and hanging out with fellow AA'ers. I needed the structure and I needed to be around people that understood the chaos of recovery from addiction.

For me, from the beginning of my recovery it's been about God, period. I knew a relationship with Jesus and a life based upon Him and His teachings had to become my life, that has not changed over the years. I have definitely changed, but my God first lifestyle has not.

I can say that I'm grateful for AA, and I recommend it to people for starting their recovery journey.


A 6 min video with some of my thoughts on "God and AA"


But let's take a broader look at this.

I now spend all my time working in the field of addiction and recovery with my own Recovery Coaching business. Everyday I'm talking to someone that can't escape the chains of addiction, connecting with treatment center representatives, loved ones of people caught in addiction, community organizations, and so on. It's safe to say that many people see AA from many different vantage points.

Let's start here.

Did you know that..." Bill W. stated in 1940 that of those entering AA, 50 percent never drank again. 25 percent remained sober throughout their lives after experiencing some early difficulties and the remaining 25 percent could not be accounted for. Bill stated that 75 percent of AA members back then got well -- they recovered. Group records indicate that in Cleveland, Ohio there was a 93 percent success rate for recovery in the early 1940's." -History of Early AA

The early days of AA had amazing success rates, especially by today's standards. Sadly these days they say, "Addiction specialists cite success rates...between 8% and 12%."

But is it all AA's fault?

My opinion? Yes, and no.

I believe one of the biggest draws of AA is it's convenience, and it's FREE. You can go to an AA meeting in just about every city in America, it's also all across the globe, and the cost of membership? FREE!

Those two biggest draws, are also leading factors for people coming through the doors of AA rooms with little desire to truly get sober. Often people come to AA that aren't even alcoholics, they need help with some aspect of their life but their not really alcoholics.

You get a decent amount of people that are court ordered to the meetings as well, and most of the time the people that are court ordered certainly need to change but they far from being ready to change.

I also believe that AA has deviated from the very things that made it so successful. AA was founded on Godly principles. Did you know that the principles from AA are from the Bible, and it was a pastor that guided them into the steps?

Bill W. once wrote in the A.A. Grapevine that “Dr. Sam Shoemaker was one of A.A.’s indispensables. Had it not been for his ministry to us in our early time, our Fellowship would not be in existence today.”

Bill W. made it clear that Sam Shoemaker “passed on the spiritual keys by which we were liberated.” The first three Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, the starting point for sobriety in the A.A. program, were inspired in part by Shoemaker. Bill further explained that “the early A.A. got its ideas of self-examination, acknowledgement of character defects, restitution for harm done, and working with others straight from the Oxford Groups and directly from Sam Shoemaker, their former leader in America, and from nowhere else.”

I believe that a lot of the early success rate was do to the fact that AA made it their goal to talk about God, and through the steps connect people to God. These days, in my opinion, far too many people in the rooms of AA cave to political correctness and talk about God less and less. Hence the horribly low success rates.

I still know many people, whose lives were far beyond repair, that have reaped the benefits of actually committing to the AA way of life. I have also seen many people live out beautiful and healthy recovery without ever stepping foot into an AA room. I also know more than a few people that started their recovery journey in AA and have since deviated from AA and are still living great recovery.

If you want some help in getting started in your recovery journey, and you're actually serious about getting clean and sober, AA can and will help. You will find good people, and some "characters", that will help you.

The principles that make AA work, well, they work. It's just that many people in AA don't stick to the principles, but do stick around in AA.

I haven't been to an AA meeting in about a decade. I do have a respect and appreciation for AA, but myself and many others would also say that, "AA is not the only way to recovery." I know people that have hit more rock bottoms than they could count and they got sober through a church, through working with a therapist or coach, through treatment, and other ways.

The truth is that if you are really ready and wanting to get clean and sober, you will, and AA can help you, and so can multiple other recovery avenues. But the people that I see living the healthiest and most powerful lives of recovery are the people that make God the biggest priority in their life.


A conversation between 3 people that should be dead, but are now in relationship with God and healthy recovery.


Erik Frederickson is Life and Recovery Coach. He has clients all over the world and he is considered an expert at helping people transform their life in powerful ways.

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