I haven't posted on here in a while, but after reading back a bit I have seen a lot of talk lately about the good and bad in AA.
I was sober for about 2 years before I went to an AA meeting. It was a good thing that I did, because I was on the edge of picking up again. I spent the next few years in AA, and contribute that as an important part of my sobriety.
Keep in mind that my personal journey through AA was different then most; I didn't follow the "canon" to a T but took what I could use and set aside the rest. Everyone has the right to work their own program, and I had serious issues with the religious part of AA and never got into that. There was also a lot of hypocrisy and "us versus them" mentality in a lot of the rooms that I went to, and a huge amount of drama which is anathema to me. In the end, I couldn't find a room that didn't have these elements, and I set the meeting aspect of AA aside and continued my program with the added tools that I found in the rooms. It's continued to work for me for over 14 years now.
One thing that people should realize is that when AA was formed, religion was still a driving overall force in society. Nearly everyone went to church then and religion was taken as a social standard. Being as the books hold true to the original works, it will probably always be a part of AA. That doesn't mean that you have to accept that part - I have seen the religious aspect scare off a lot of people who truly need the help that AA can provide.
There has been mention here that "5 to 10% of people in AA succeed" but remember this - if there was no AA, that success would be 0% for some people.
It IS possible to attend AA, work the steps, and get sober without becoming religious or becoming a "book beater." So you shouldn't let that stop you from at least giving it a try. Like me, you can decide to attempt to work the program using what works for you and leaving aside what you can't come to terms with. But you need to accept the fact that your recovery may be harder, and you may not succeed the first few times.
The truth is that if you go to AA, and follow every single line, you will stay sober. You may only be a dry drunk, but you will be sober and can hopefully "fake it until you make it."
I am coming up on a trip which is probably going to stress some very deep and very emotional triggers for me. I am going back to my home town for the first time in over 10 years, and will be dealing with family and friends of my family that I haven't spoken to since I was a kid. I will have to deal with discussing the rift with my father, whom I have not spoken to in 20 years. All of these things are troubling to me, and I know that even with the time I have, I am going to have to be on "high alert." Even in longer term sobriety, you must never let your guard down.
The holiday season can be one of the toughest for those of us who are alcoholic. Stay strong, keep your phone close with a friend you can talk to, and take it one day at a time. Or a minute at a time. Or a second at a time. Strength and positive thoughts to you all.