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. Pop · April 2, 2017

    Thanks Jon, I very much want to try TSM despite my fears it would be contraindicatory (gastric damage), and my recent unscheduled weekend in hospital on a much needed morphine drip strikes a little concern at having an opiod blocker, however Naltrexone (like rehab) is not an option available to me although I’m a Londoner. Have seen some SMART meetings I might be able to walk to next week – just need to check if they are donation or fee based. Anyhow, I am glad I did not offend – with my wee rant.. Thanks again, I shall pop back and comment should I find success (or rather ‘effective tools’) with any alternative. I am just glad people like you, offer a voice of reason – for those whom the programme hasn’t proven effective, we face being damned to only be remembered as ones willfully defective and never really fully committed to recovery – because if it worked for x, y and z it must be our fault/choice that it did not work. Okay, here endeth the Sunday Sermon… (if I did smileys I’d insert one here. I don’t). Smile!


  2. Pop · April 1, 2017

    Hi Jon, apologies if the formatting is off – I have only the use of an old Nokia C2 on 3g! I just wanted to wish you ongoing good health. I’d like to add my thoughts if I may – those being that although my aa experience is limited (and I am not yet quite within sight of a path to recovery), the ‘God/Higher Power’ element rankles somewhat and can be counter-productive even to those already having a faith or spiritual values. The idea that we may demand assistance and have such suddenly become more available by virtue of being in the room or using the aa ‘creed’ only to then fail, actually feels detrimental to one’s spiritual well-being rather than a help. Anyhow, the cult aspect, the sober yet unhinged strangers intruding into your life, and the feeling of it being one big mutual emotional jer* off, (plus in my case my anonymity violated with irreparable damage as a consequence) leaves the whole affair a little unseemly for me. It works for so many and indeed did for you for some time. The rest of us need something else, and to not feel like we are have not been wholly invested in recovery just because the programme does not work for us – no matter how much we ‘work it’. Keep well whatever you do. Thanks again for sharing your experience and current thoughts.


    • jonsleeper · April 1, 2017

      hi mate. good luck with everything. have you tried the sinclair method or do you have any smart meetings locally? “one big mutual emotional jer* off” is a great way of describing some aa meetings! i may borrow that phrase in future. best wishes, jon s


  3. J · February 14, 2017

    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

    Liked by 1 person

    • jonsleeper · February 14, 2017

      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


  4. 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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