& AA RELATIONS
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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."