Peer to peer support may not be essential for everyone trying to get and stay sober, but for me, and I think for most, it is a very important aspect of maintaining sobriety. It seems to be one of the things that’s most helpful about AA for people who are able to use that program. It was vital in helping me attain six year’s of sobriety in the early 90’s and it’s invaluable as I move forward in my new recovery.
What makes good peer-to-peer support? First, you must be able to relate to your peers. For many of us, that makes AA basically useless for the purpose. True, as addicts trying to recover, we can all relate to the misery and hopelessness that the addiction creates in our lives. But what about relating to the new lives we’re trying to build? Is it helpful for someone who doesn’t believe in a higher power to be told to memorize christian-oriented prayers? Is it helpful for people who have never developed a healthy ego to be told to focus on character defects as a means to sobriety?
It amazes me that people are still being told that AA is THE way. It amazes me how many times I have been shut out, told I’m in denial, and been offered absolutely nothing else that might be helpful. If an addict seeking recovery says AA doesn’t work for them, they should be listened to and helped in finding what will work. No wonder so many give up before they’ve even gotten started.
There are viable alternatives out there, but until the treatment industry decides to quit being lazy and uninformed, most people will continue to be offered a maintenance program that is at best unhelpful and at worst downright damaging.
Most treatment professionals are less well-read than I am on their subject. Why? Because a majority of them got sober through AA and are part of what has become a very dysfunctional system. They honestly believe that there is something magical about the AA program and that if an addict doesn’t get it, it’s their fault.
If we want good peer-to-peer support, we’ve got to make it available ourselves.
Thank you for visiting Eclectic Recovery.