I Don’t Really Like AA, but I Might Need It


The other day I received an email from a lovely woman who expressed she does not really like AA.

The same struggle is shared by many. There is so much fear and confusion involved in stepping on a path to recovery. There are multiple routes that people step on to begin a path of recovery. There is not one way.

The 12 step recovery program was vital to my early recovery. It was accessible and provided me with a community full of support and accountability.

The concerns laid out by this community member are common to so many, and she granted permission to share this correspondence with the broader community.

I commented paragraph by paragraph in Bold.


Hi Tommy,

I started AA. Can’t say I’m in love with it but can say I need it right now.

Great insight.


It scares me. I hear people say they have been there for 25 years…I can’t imagine anything more depressing than being in a church Basement in even 3 years…I want to move on and live large so to speak.

The main characteristic of true Recovery is that you get to live the life you want to live and it’s an amazing life.  You are future tripping based on a few people who happen to be 25 years sober and who happen to be in the meeting you are going to.

I am 27 years sober and I am living a dream dreamt by my heart a long time ago. And it is simply awesome and beautiful.  I’m happy from time to time to attend 12-Step meetings in church basements or wherever, but that is not the totality of my life and it’s probably not the totality of the lives

Of the people who are scaring you by “still being there”.  As for the ones who have not grown, evolved, and who are not thriving, that is their business and they probably need a dose of Recovery 2.0.  At least they will need to inquire within as to why they are stuck, in pain, swimming upstream, etc.


I have already BEEN thru a lot of these steps. My poor sponsor is going to have a challenge with me and my big mouth.

Great. That is what sponsors are for.

And when a sponsor gets to see the lights come on in a sponsee’s eyes, it’s one of the greatest experiences in life.  

Do you realize what the 12-Steps offer?  A spiritual experience where you go from “me Consciousness” to “Universal Consciousness”.  It’s exactly the same in the practice of yoga.  So, therefore, the work of the 12 Steps is a yogic path.


I spent past weekend back at Kripalu with Dr. Alberto Viloldo and 4 Q’ero Shamans right out of the Andes. They have never left their villages. It was a treat.

Shamanic energy medicine. Very spellbinding weekend…fire ceremonies to release ancestors etc.….personal blessings from them to each of us. Beginning hands on healing techniques..

I Love Alberto. Powerful.

That is the kind of thing I want to follow and you. I feel like AA will crush the individuality out of me…and I don’t want to be attached at the hip with some sponsor person.

Do not believe anything, especially your own thinking.  Look for the Truth as it is revealed in your own experience.  Then instead of believing what someone else is telling you, you will KNOW based on direct experience.  The 12-Steps have TRUTH in them.  Move beyond your prejudices and find the Truth there and everywhere.
 As usual, I’m already getting ready to argue…I’m SO afraid of being trapped or locked into a box (AA)


 It’s a concept that is part of every spiritual tradition.  You probably see it as “giving up” and in a way it is.  You are giving up your own ignorance and connecting with Truth, and living from your own unique and beautiful heart-centered place.


But I’m going to see it through because of YOU. And the way you explained all the God God God steps…I was turned off today

Try to breathe and relax.  You are asking you to become you.  

Your resistance is to your own growth.

 And yet your intention is to grow.

 With the proper community of wise people around you, your collective intention to grow will outlast your resistance to it.


When this group recited the Lord’s prayer at the end…..”our father who art in heaven”… That is one of the things Alberto Viloldo  Pointed out about Christianity…[in their view]God is not with you “he“ is up there away from you in “heaven”. Unlike the Shamans who feel at one with God.

In my view Heaven exists here and now.  It is in my heart always. It is in the present moment always.  So when I hear “Our Father who art in heaven,” I’m like YEAH. Exactly.  I’m in heaven, I’m connected. It’s right here and right now. No problem.

I see God in All. The Divine presence of consciousness itself is everywhere including within you.  

Do not get caught up in words. It only gives your ego a boxing ring.

See the Truth within the words, within your heart, in between the words. 

Do not let someone else’s beliefs keep you from the Truth of what is trying to reveal itself to you now.

Stop fighting. Look for the answers, not the problems.  And you will be free.