Brighton, England.

Bio: Former professional musician now a senior lecturer on popular culture and popular music. Also a PhD Music candidate at University of Southampton. Has published book chapters, peer-reviewed journal publications, and conference presentations around a wide range of research interests. These include Bob Dylan, John Lennon, coffee and popular music, anti- and pro-war popular music, the use of music in HBO TV's "The Wire," Devo, Brian Eno, music festival practitioners, and performing popular music in arena concert spaces. Currently blogs about his 14 years as a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and ongoing developments in the post-AA recovery community. Enjoys popular culture, popular music, popular science and fly fishing. Own car, GSOH.

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  1. J · February 14

    Hi Jon, great site…i have enjoyed all you have written and salute you for breaking away and having a truly open mind. I have done years of 12 step attendance …had long sobriety tried some moderate drinking…it didn’t work out.

    Abstinence probably best for someone like me as was near death in 1999…so sober or die. Anyways am now going to meetings again as a few months back but looking to escape ASAP as like yourself i do not think AA/Na going to give me the best psychologically anymore, lots of trauma to deal with rather than character defects.

    You say you found online support can you be more specific as to where? Am under the impression i will need some support from somewhere.
    Kind regards


    • jonsleeper · February 14

      Hi J.

      Thanks for the comment. There’s no question that peer support improves most people’s chances of staying sober. So I definitely think it’s worth staying “in the zone”. Although I no longer attend there are some things I miss about AA: the sense of community, the petty dramas, most of all meeting new people. I think a “one foot in one foot out” approach is probably a good strategy. Fewer meetings, no service, etc. That way you can still have contact with newcomers — which provides a helpful reminder of how things can get. We forget the chaos and pain. Plus, these newcomers who want an alternative to the “no half measures” culty side of AA will meet people who are doing things in a more reasonable manner. Bill W attended meetings only rarely for the last few years of his life, and he did OK.

      For my own support and contact with newcomers, I use FaceBook groups: Frinds of Bill & Bob (lots of new people), The Rowdy RUM (full of AA cultists, some of whom hate me, but I enjoy the banter), The RUM Rejects (more liberal, lots of bad language), and Agnostics and Atheists in AA (much friendlier, although quieter). I also enjoy some non-12 step FaceBook groups. There many of these.

      I also have a handful of people, close friends and family, couple of contacts from FaceBook whom I’ve never even met in person, that I could call on for advice in a crisis — although I haven’t needed to yet. I trust their judgement. It’s not at all like having an AA sponsor. At 16 1/2 years sober I think I’ve grown out of that need now. In many ways the informal AA sponsorship system puts a lot of pressure on unqualified, uninsured, sometimes unemployed individuals to give advice and guidance they’re really not qualified to dispense. I sponsored a few people who are now 10+ years sober, but I don’t miss that element of AA. It now feels like that was an exercise in ego.

      Finally I keep busy. This is one of the good tips in AA and also SMART Recovery. Find your passion and immerse yourself in it. So I set myself goals and get on with it. I also enjoy other types of social groups, mostly Skeptics in the Pub and my local fly fishing club. You can make contact with others and talk through your problems in a non-AA environment too, it seems. I didn’t realise that was possible, but AA doesn’t hold a monopoly on such things. It’s just how humans interact naturally.

      I hope that helps. All best wishes. Jon S


  2. razorx · August 30, 2015

    I have been looking and reading and rereading other ways to recover, from harm reductionist to questioning the whole disease model here in the states. After spending 3 1/2 years in NA . Ive read some of the books you have recommended here. I am in a fight with myself over what and who to believe. But all aloug in my early treatment my gut told me differently from what these pros were. Pushed to 12 step. There is more to my story, but thanks for being here.. Ill be looking in as time gos by. And after “useing” for 34 years, im 4 years 7 months of cleaner living and such..Im damn proud of that. Tired of hearing how im not doing enough or doing something wroug from the people im around here…thanks again for your insight..raz…


    • jonsleeper · August 30, 2015

      Hi Raz. Thanks for the comment. I really believe in abstinence, and am grateful to have found that through AA – but at the same time I think it’s healthy to question things too, particularly once you get your self in shape. I wish I’d done so earlier in my recovery. 4 1/2 years is a fantastic achievement. Well done. Keep on keeping on, and very best wishes for the future. RecoveringFromRecovery is a good ongoing resource for updates and ideas. JS


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