Let’s start with a clarification: we think AA is incredible. It’s helped millions of people quit drinking. Its program can be incredibly effective for those who believe in a higher power. We think Drinker’s Helper can be a complement to AA meetings to help out in between sessions; we don’t think the two are fundamentally incompatible.
However, we do have some differences both in our understanding of the problem and in the way we attempt to help.
Here’s a quick overview of how we are different from Alcoholics Anonymous:
We hope to help people a little earlier in the process. Alcoholics Anonymous in its Big Book describes the ‘alcoholic’ as someone who drinks extremely heavily and can’t seem to give it up despite very severe impact on their life. We hope to help people when they realize they might have a problem, and are deciding whether or not to do something about it.
We acknowledge moderation as a valid goal. This is partly tied to #1 - if you are meeting the AA Big Book description of an alcoholic, you’re probably past the point where moderation is feasible for you. But for many people who are not dependent on alcohol, but do drink to excess, moderation is possible if they know the right limits to aim for, can track progress, and can acknowledge the reasons for their drinking and fix the underlying problems.
We believe it’s possible to get past the struggle phase. In AA, once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. Every day is a new challenge; a new potential relapse. It requires hard work to stay sober. But when you understand why you drink, really change the way you think about alcohol, and change your thinking and circumstances, we believe it’s possible to get to the point where you simply don’t want to drink anymore, at all. We know because we’ve done it!
We don’t require that people believe in a higher power. The core of AA is surrendering to a higher power and allowing it to remove your character defects that lead to drinking. We try to help with underlying problems through therapeutic exercises that don’t rely on belief in a higher power. While we respect others who believe in God, we don’t, and we want to ensure everyone has the tools they need to address the underlying issues that lead to their drinking.
If you want to know more about our approach, download the app today! We help people quit or cut back on drinking with tracking, insights, exercises, and support groups.