To A.A. or not to A.A

I need some advice. I have been sober for 118 days. Of those days, 13 were with A.A. I started going because my husband recently decided he is finally ready to be sober too, and he wants to go the A.A. route. However, neither of us feels 100% that we HAVE to have a sponser and HAVE to do the steps. Any advice for or against going to meetings but not actually having a sponser and doing the steps would be greatly appreciated. Something that really resonated with me recently on this was being told that having a sponser and doing the steps IS the program. With that in mind, I almost feel like a fraud going to meetings but not having a sponser or doing the steps. Thoughts?


Sounds like AA as you are doing it, is working for you. My understanding of the program is you get out what you put in.

I haven’t tried AA, but this doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t. If I felt my sobriety was threatened, it would mean that I need something more…and that something more would be AA. Right now, what I am doing is working.


It really depends, I started program almost straight away, I got very lucky with my sponsor and the great people in my group.

I don’t get as often now as I travel so much with work but when I do go a weight that might be hanging over me lifts. I didn’t make it yesterday and feeling it today. Need to work on my priorities, nothing bad happened, but slipping out of my program mindset let’s my thoughts wander in directions they normally wouldn’t. I was feeling it today and used my program to connect to HP for a solution and it worked out to get me out of an uncomfortable situation without much hassle. Things like this work a lot and happens more frequently when I live my program.

There is power in the program that we don’t even realise, I’ve certainly learned that and I continue to be pleasantly surprised, even when I make foolish choices, my moral compass sees the error of my ways and helps me get back to the right direction.


Tradition 3: ”The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking”.

That means - You have all the right in the world to be there if you have that desire. Getting a sponsor and working the steps is a recommendation and it is usually necessary to improve the quality of your sobriety. Being a part of the program is having a program, meaning working the program with a sponsor or in your daily life. However it is NOT a necessity in order to have the right to be there. You can be part of the fellowship without a program. No worries! You don’t have to feel like a fraud. We all have our path!

For me personally I was part of the fellowship for 15 months. That meant going to meetings, hanging out with people from AA and such. But I didn’t work the steps and in my opinion at the time, no sponsor was ”good enough” for me. I relapsed - big time! Was out for several months. When I came back again I guess I had the Gift Of Desperation so to speak. I was just willing to go to any length and I got a sponsor and started following what they say. I still have moments when I don’t want to listen or want to work the program. But nobody can judge me for that. It is My own business how I work or don’t work the steps. Tradition 3 gives me the right to be at any AA meeting (except mens meetings) and whoever is judging me should look at their own program :wink:

For me the steps are now necessary for me to stay sober but it has taken me a long, very long time to understand that!

I wish you all the best, whichever you decide. Just keep going back if sobriety is what you wish for. If you continue to go back all will fall to place eventually :pray::purple_heart:


When i first started going to AA i did not have a sponsor for the first 59 days. I was sober, but not working through the steps. I thought i was doing ok, until i had a really bad day and nearly drank. I realized in that moment that I needed more. So I went to a meeting after dumping the bottle of vodka out. Found a sponsor that night and have been working the steps. I have made more progress in the last 13 days then I did in the first 59.



It all starts with showing up!

Then it’s the greatest tool you can ever find.

It’s completely up to you… whether you work it sometimes slower or sometimes faster.

Just know, each meeting you attend brings you one step closer to the promises.

Don’t worry about being expected to do anything more than 'keep coming back

You will know when you’re ready to move forward… Don’t ever feel pressured to move forward before you are ready. It does not work that way… It only works when you are ready.


I had a guy in AA tell me today: you can just show up and listen and learn some but if you dont get a sponsor and work the steps its like going on a diet, eating a bunch of tofu and kale, but not actually losing weight or getting healthier…if that makes sense. I say if youre gonna go, you may as well go all in and see where it leads.


i came in and i got a sponsor. i was so desperate for a way to stop drinking i was willing to do whatever, getting a sponsor seemed very encouraged so i got a sponsor - someone to work the steps with. it’s important they recommended it to me, 'cause with my bad attitude i know that if i had come in and they said “you HAVE to get a sponsor” i’d have said “i don’t have to do shit fuck that” but, yea, my bad attitude hadn’t helped me out much in the past :ha.

shortly after i changed sponsors. the first guy was a great guy, i still talk with him, but i changed sponsors early. my current sponsor and i meet once a week, and i hardly talk with him in between our meeting days. though i do talk to others in the program frequently, and in some of the harder moments i’ve experienced my sponsor was not the first person i called. i called several other people who all helped me tremendously. sponsors do their sponsoring differently so if you decide to get one keep that in mind - everyone is gonna have their style and you might prefer someone different. i picked the guy i have because he seems pretty happy and he’s been sober for three decades.

i do a lot of discussing the steps/struggles with several of the other people i’ve developed friendships with in the program often, then i meet/do the work with my sponsor as i mentioned once a week. it works for me and i have no plans to change that up.

i’d say keep going to meetings and try and put into action what you get from the tables/meetings. because if you just go to meetings and don’t put it into action outside the rooms you’re a lot worse off than going to meetings but not having a sponsor. i hope that makes sense. i heard someone say “i can’t just sit in a garage and expect to become a car” and that really struck me. a good reminder that i have to do the work outside the meetings i can’t just show up and expect things to happen.

also way to go on 118 days! that’s fantastic! keep it up! :slight_smile:


Thank you all SO much for your input. I’ve decided that I’m moving forward with getting a sponser after tonight’s meeting and reading all your comments. Meeting with a nice lady tomorrow night :slight_smile: Thanks again!!


The Promises… Already working!!

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through.
We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
We will comprehend the word serenity, and we will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.


Lol… I showed up asking for a sponsor.
Cause I didn’t have a clue, just what I saw from Sopranos and Breaking Bad.

I just assumed it was someone to answer questions and show me the ropes… but then no one jumped at the chance to sponsor me.

Got a lot of numbers and offers of assistance anytime with any questions. I guess I really had about 12 sponsors in reality. But they wanted some time to check me out… just like most should take to check out the people there.

And NEVER FORGET!! You can always change your sponsor. Don’t let anything stand in the way of your sobriety. If you ever feel your sponsor doing more harm than good. Either by not being good at it in general… or totally unexplainable personality conflicts and no fault of their own, does not matter. GET A NEW SPONSOR!!


Hi @Jenni1985! I feel like this is a great question. I personally did not go to AA but I found a counselor (not to be confused with a therapist) who specialized in sobriety. I was able to talk with her about other private matters in my life and this may be a good option for you. Always happy to share more if you need questions answered.

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Hi! I decided to go to AA after realizing I needed more support, accountability, and face to face interaction. I thought maybe I’d just go and maybe not get a sponsor and just see how it went, however after my first meeting a woman introduced herself and we started talking, and she asked me if I would like her to sponsor me, even temporarily. I knew that this was a sign, so I accepted. I figured if I am going to go to AA, I am going to fully commit myself to the process and listen to people who can show me how to succeed. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain!
Good luck :slight_smile:


I’m closing in on 60 days after many failures. I haven’t been to AA because I’m not comfortable being around 40-50 plus men and I’m under 30. It’s a different world.

I think there’s a young people meeting when I’ve got another activity going on. Also there is one LGBT meeting but again I can’t go.

I tried getting into SMART but the online meetings filled very quickly.

My issue with AA is I think claiming to be powerless can be a cop out. Staying sober has gotten easier with meditation, mindfulness, and learning it’s okay to be alone. It’s not perfect but I had to confront my issues.

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Hey amigo…howve you been?

I hear ya…im finding w AA, the powerless part ends up creating a sense of freedom which is empowering. Just admitting that I am powerless over alcohol gives me strength. I have so much evidence telling me that I cant drink alcohol like a normal drinker. I am truly powerless when it comes to the substance but not at all within myself…if that makes any sense.

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I have found the longer you go to AA there are those there who will judge you because you don’t have a sponsor and have not done the steps. I have done all the steps over 3 times over and still got drunk. It’s a individual choice my issue was to many sponsee’d put way to much power into their sponsor and sponsors can take advantage of that. I don’t want to give any human being that power over me. In my opinion after it’s all said and done they are just human like everyone else so I would go to LifeRing? Pick up hobbies workout and found it much more beneficial for me. All individual choices.

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I would agree here. I no longer feel powerless at all but when drinking I was pretty powerless over alcohol. It ruled my head.


This is the reason why I personally need step work. What it does for me is giving a new outlook upon life and how I interact with the world around me.


Good for you :purple_heart: Way to go Jenni!