‘Alcoholics Anonymous saved my life, but now I’ve lost my faith’ Podcast

‘Alcoholics Anonymous saved my life, but now I’ve lost my faith’ Podcast

Today the Observer newspaper published a piece about Jon Stewart and his 14 years in AA. You can now read it here http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/nov/29/alcoholics-anonymous-saved-my-life-but-i-lost-my-faith . I feel it is a well balanced piece about Alcoholics Anonymous and some of the more modern alternatives such as Smart Recovery or the Sinclair Method. I know Jon well and have recently done some podcasts on the steps of AA which you can find on this site. We decided to have a quick chat about what he had said in the interview that was done a few months ago, and also mention some of the comments that the online version of the piece received.

As you can see from many of the comments, opinion is very divided about AA and if the piece is good or not. This does not surprise me at all and I feel it shows that not everyone is going to do well in AA despite the claims and that people do need to be helped to find a solution that is going to motivate them, rather than a solution that somebody who now works in a treatment center has been through. There are many ways to recover but AA does tend to be resistant to change and will not acknowledge problems. There is resistance from some in AA to any criticism such as the film, The 13th Step Film which was made by Monica Richardson, which is mentioned in the piece. There is also resistance to discuss any other solution such as The Sinclair Method or Smart recovery, which means newcomers do not find out about solutions that could save their lives.

The comments are interesting as there are many people who are like myself, who have made use of AA and then moved on. You tend not to hear from these people as they do not have a voice, and many members of AA believe that you cannot stay sober without meetings. They only meet the people who come back to meetings after relapsing rather than those who are living good, sober lives. AA does help those who enjoy being part of it, but it is not for everyone and it can cause problems and Jon talks about his experience in later recovery where things get tough for him until he leaves and learns about CBT. Jon has his own blog https://jonsleeper.wordpress.com and does many talks on the subject.


  • jonsleeper
    Posted at 17:22h, 29 November Reply

    Hi Mike! Very prompt! Thanks for that. There’s now 300+ comments on the Guardian site. About 70% supportive. Only a few “Angry From Plumpsteads.” Maybe we could do another chat some time to go through more of them? Best love, Jon S

    • Michael D
      Posted at 17:56h, 29 November Reply

      It would be great to another podcast on this, let me know when you want to do it. Thanks again, I think it is a good piece and I hope it reaches a lot of people.

  • Nancy
    Posted at 21:45h, 10 December Reply

    Michael & Jon, I really enjoyed this podcast. I am now working through the steps podcasts as well. I read the article when it came out and WOW! Eye-opening! I am moving away from AA and the 12 steps, and after reading the article, it really opened up a whole world of online content that I never knew about. I am now actually educating myself on alternatives. I really thought I must be allowing “my disease to talk to me” with some of the doubts I have been having, but now I am so happy to know that I am not alone in thinking that defining myself as powerless is unnecessary and even harmful. I also really appreciate your balanced views on AA. I see and hear no AA bashing from you, and that is really quite refreshing. I, too, have gotten quite a lot of good stuff out of AA, and I feel it is important to remember the positives. Many thanks for your work and effort on these podcasts and your websites, too.

    • Michael D
      Posted at 23:26h, 10 December Reply

      Thanks for your comments. I do not really believe in bashing any support group as they generally help people who wish to take part. I do point out that those who are made to go, sometimes have issues and that you can have problems if you are over trusting. I do talk about the anti side in the podcast with Gary. I will ask Jon what the book is when I talk to him and put a link on here. I think I am doing another podcast with Jon this weekend and I will probably post it next week. I might have a break over Christmas but then will try to do some more. I also have a blog called http://www.recovkeringfromrecovery.com which covers similar topics.

  • Nancy
    Posted at 21:50h, 10 December Reply

    Ah, one more thing: Jon mentioned a book on the history of Jesus in one of the podcasts. I can’t remember the title. If you happen to see this, might you let me know what it is called? Thanks again!

  • jonsleeper
    Posted at 17:19h, 11 December Reply

    Hi Nancy
    Bart Ehrman’s done a few books on this subject but the one that I enjoyed most was the audio book of his The Great Courses course “Historical Jesus” which sums up all his work really well and is easy to listen to. http://www.thegreatcourses.co.uk/courses/historical-jesus.html
    You can get a deal on it if you purchase through Audible (available at Audible or via Amazon).

  • Nancy
    Posted at 23:09h, 12 December Reply

    Thank you both for your replies. Keep the podcasts coming! They are great!

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