Where do I go for help now that I am out of AA?

Readers Question Readers Question: (Name changed for privacy)
Stanton Peele Response by: Dr. Stanton Peele
Posted on June 14th, 2012 - Last updated: March 21st, 2018
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I am 35 years old and have had problems with alcohol on and off since I was about 15 years old. I have never been physically addicted to any susbtance/alcohol other than nicotine. I had several incidents that have made me feel very remorsefull and ashamed about my behavior including 2 DWI’s. About 3 years ago I was arrested for my second dwi and attented AA for about 1 year. I remained abstinant for about 2 1/2 years but recently started drinking again. I have had serious problems with the AA program. In my recent drinking I have had a few incidents that make me very worried. In particular I drove a vehicle. I wish to stop again but I don’t want to go to AA and RR does not make any sense to me. I may not drink for 2 to 3 weeks but when I do I usually drink to much or do something stupid. I feel like the AA self fullfilling profecy may be comming true in my life. I do not want to crawl back to them and I know thats what they are waiting for.

Please help.


Dear Al:

It is difficult for me to help you at this distance. You may want to have a look at our Alcohol Recovery Program. I appreciate that (a) you had problems with AA in the first place, (b) you really don’t want to go back to them now, but that does place the onus on you to take active steps on your own behalf.

It is not uncommon for people who remain in AA to have these abstinence-binge cycles. There are different alternative strategies to try. One would be, if it were feasible for you, to try to drink more steadily but without the extreme consumption days-periods. Or, you could develop a strategy of abstaining, and when you begin to fall off that wagon, resort to one of several relapse prevention techniques.

But implementing any such approach will require work, and perhaps alternative treatment (with, perhaps, a cognitive behavioral therapist) — not just avoiding AA. I appreciate that you have also not found RR helpful — neither do I — and so you might try SMART Recovery, an abstinence-oriented program, or else MM, one which is geared to prevent the extremes of drinking you have been undergoing.

But, you are right to be troubled by your drinking-driving. Whatever problems you are having with alcohol, you need to regulate your life, on your own, with the assistance of people you know, with a support group, or with professional help, to prevent your drinking from leading in life-threatening directions. This must be your top priority.

Otherwise, what can I say? If you are in dangerous waters, want help, and can’t find it, then perhaps you will need to swallow your pride and accept AA as the best available alternative right now.

Stanton Peele

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.

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