What AA Taught Me

Laura Silverman is the founder of The Sobriety Collective, a resource and blog created to celebrate recovery, especially through creativity, in all its forms. In 2007, at age 24, Laura pulled a 180 and went from insecure, anxious binge drinker to newly-minted sober 20-something. This scary step catapulted her into a journey of long-term recovery. 

I don’t love AA, but I don’t hate it either.

Kind of a revolutionary statement to make considering the whole reason I started The Sobriety Collective was to have a place where people who found sobriety and recovery in any way, shape, or form, could congregate. With close to eight years of continuous sobriety, I have long-term recovery I never imagined possible–most of which I achieved outside of “the rooms.” But I did learn from the program.

I CAME INTO THE ROOMS OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS NOT BY CHOICE, BUT BY FORCE.

The intensive outpatient rehab I checked myself into stipulated 15 hours of AA as a non-negotiable. So of course, besides feeling like I had crawled out of my skin and landed on a foreign planet—and I’m not talking about the meeting here, I’m talking about that “newly sober and not sure what the hell is happening” feeling—I also didn’t want to be there.

At the behest of my group counselor, I kept it up after I graduated from my five-week program and attempted, just attempted, to compare in instead of out (commonalities instead of differences). I went back for all my sober month-adversaries and tried the whole finding a sponsor thing. But it just wasn’t clicking. Even though these people intimately understood what I had been through, I still felt so alien, so less than.

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