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SOS & AA RELATIONS

 

SOS welcomes sobriety in whatever form it takes. We are not in competition with or opposed to AA or other 12 Step programs. SOS recognizes that AA has helped, and continues to help, many people to get and stay sober and clean. Although many SOS members consider 12 Step programs can have dangerous consequences, due to its cultist tendencies, it no doubt fulfils needs which a proportion of recovering persons can find success with. 

On the organizational level SOS cooperates occasionally with friendly AA groups or AA members at a local level and some members attend both SOS and AA meetings. This can be especially important to newly sober people, who need to attend as many meetings as possible and where SOS cannot provide the larger number of meetings which the longer established AA network can. AA members are welcome to attend SOS meetings, however, only on  the clear understanding that discussion of religious and spiritual ideas are not a part of our agenda and format. In a similar vein, though many SOS members have joined our organization as a consequence of some bad experiences in particular AA groups, we do not encourage SOS meetings to be "AA bashing" affairs. While understanding the need for some new members to vent their anger and disappointment with some AA experiences, we prefer that our meetings concentrate on the key issue of sobriety and positive recovery methods.

Having said this, the philosophy and methods of SOS and AA are quite clearly almost diametrically opposite of one another. SOS is for those people who find that the ideas of reliance on a Higher Power or God, "powerlessness" and the emphasis on character defects to be an obstacle to recovery. Also, many spiritual or religious people prefer to join SOS because they prefer a less cult like atmosphere and/or are uncomfortable with the white, middle class Christian character of many meetings. 
Instead, SOS is about self-empowerment, rational, free-thought and open discussion, where ideas, differences and exchanges are aired openly in cross talk, which is not permitted in AA and 12 Step meetings. Many people, religious or non-religious prefer the SOS forum, because it has a less rigid, more real and cult-free character and spirit and encourages individuality and self-reliance.

It should also be noted that even though SOS is secular and, many of its members are agnostic or atheist, there are also many SOS members who are religious or spiritual, be they Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist or New Age or whatever. SOS respects people's personal beliefs and does not enquire about them. They are considered personal and private issues outside of the meeting context or the SOS approach to sobriety. Furthermore, many religious SOS members also appreciate the strong emphasis SOS places on understanding the scientific and medical basis of addiction and our close, but independent cooperation with the professional sector.

SOS and AA do have one key thing in common and that is both are committed to total abstinence from all mind-altering drugs as the cornerstone of a person's recovery. Unlike AA, SOS does not consider itself the be "THE WAY" and, therefore, we extend an open hand of co-operation and mutual respect to all recovering people, including   AA members, who are able to keep an open and positive mind towards our secular alternative.  

Below is a quote from AA co-founder Bill Wilson from  a speech he gave to the American Medical Association 

 "We must also realize that the discoveries of the psychiatric and the biochemists have vast implications for us alcoholics. Indeed, these discoveries are today, far more than implications. Your president of the New York Medical Society and other pioneers in and outside of your society, have been achieving notable results for a long time. Many of the patients, having made good recoveries without AA at all, it should be noted that some of the recovery methods employed outside AA are quite in contradiction to AA principles and practice. Nevertheless, we of AA ought to applaud the fact that certain efforts are meeting with increasing success. Therefore, I would like to pledge to the medical fraternity that AA will always stand ready to cooperate, that AA will never trespass upon medicine, that our members who feel the cause will increasingly help in those great enterprises of education, rehabilitation, and research which are now going forward with such great promise."