Leaving AA – A 22 Year Old’s Story

This young man stands for a large group of individuals – those who turn to AA for help, but who are filled with doubt and ambivalence and now feel ready to leave AA. The AA answer is to “fake it until you make it.” But this can take a tremendous toll on some people. And, of course, it may not be necessary. Particularly among young people, I have observed a large number who outgrow the assumptions of, and are keen on leaving AA – or for whom they never fit. In any case, this young man describes well the inner turmoil and anguish of someone who has been faking it in AA.


Dr. Stanton,

I been in AA about a little more then 2 years. I celebrated 2 years and then relapsed recently.

The so called relapse was due to surgery I had on my foot;  i got hurt dancing (i am a breakdancer) and the medication they gave me was percaset.

They told me to take a certain amount but it didn’t do that much so I took double the amount a got a little buzz from it and it was considered relapsing. That week since i thought i blew it I took the pills cause I was in a pain and had fun and felt good at the same time.

My problem wasn’t pills or weed or alcohol but basically everything, because I was young and had fun experimenting and didn’t know the truth where it could lead me. I am 22 and in college, Syracuse University to be exact. Going out at night with my friends that still drank didn’t stop me from having a good time.

There were so many times that I knew i would be able just to have a drink but didn’t because the people in AA that were ‘born alcoholics’ told me I cant and i will die. So i felt guilty to do so. And i have been in denial that if i do i will die, and somehow made my story worse then it was. I ended up telling myself I drank worse then I did so i knew 100% that I was an alcoholic when the whole time I knew i wasn’t.

I did go thru the steps but something was still wrong. I hated on people drinking because I couldn’t and knew that could, and a big part of my alcoholism was to impress people, i loved drinking the hardest stuff and as much as I could cause i wanted to impress people, but now i have so many things going on in my life I don’t need to impress people anymore.

I really wanna try to drink again but feel guilty to the people in the rooms (aa) that I love. Then there are some that i helped get sober. Its just that I feel I am ready to leave the AA.  I want to live a normal life for a 22 year old and this is constantly on the back of my head. Not sure what else I needed to say but thats where I am at. Thank you


Further Reading

Stanton Peele

Dr. Stanton Peele, recognized as one of the world's leading addiction experts, developed the Life Process Program after decades of research, writing, and treatment about and for people with addictions. Dr. Peele is the author of 14 books. His work has been published in leading professional journals and popular publications around the globe.



    I’m 24, 3 years sober, 2 years free of AA/NA indoctrination.
    I absolutely feel your pain. I lied to fit in, I accepted their broad sweep of what makes you an addict or alcoholic. It was only when speaking openly with ‘normies’ that I found out everyone feels insecure, everyone overthinks at times almost all the diagnoses of being one of them also made you one of 7 billion people on the planet.
    I am still dogged by the fear of chronic addiction (which was emotional and financial hell for me at one point) but my life suggests I’ve moved on. My mental health has improved (mostly), I exercise, I am now at university, I manage life better day to day and I am more confident of my self. I am fairly sure that I could drink again, the only way to find out is to try. I am not comfortable enough to do it yet, I am on a process of deprogramming from AA by learning facts.
    You did not relapse, this is nonsense, these lies ruined my friend. She took double her psychiatric medication when she found out a fellowship member committed suicide, she was told her 2 years were gone and she had relapsed, 2 years later shes selling herself for money for drugs.
    You are free to make your decision and accept your own consequences, do not live your life by the opinions of others. Just make sure your life is in order first !


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