Secular Organization for Sobriety

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Secular Organization for Sobriety
Providing an effective alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous.

The Secular Organization For Sobriety or SOS for short, is an effective alternative to the Alcoholics Anonymous program. It differs from AA in a number of ways:

  • Sobriety and spiritualism/religion are not necessarily connected. Individuals make their own decision regarding the connection
  • No prescribed steps or plan to follow. There a suggested strategy but this is purely optional, and all ways to sobriety are respected
  • No sponsor, no prayers
  • Meetings are not substance specific. Addiction and the urgency of sobriety do not depend on the drug of choice
  • Meeting format is more flexible and open to change than Alcoholic Anonymous meetings

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Secular Organization for Sobriety
The Basic Philosophy

While the separate groups are autonomous, they all follow certain basic principles.

Rather than bylaws that each separate group must follow, SOS puts out Suggested Guidelines in order to help people who wish to start drug and alcohol addiction recovery groups in their areas.

One of the suggestions that most of the groups do follow is the daily Cycle of Sobriety, a three part process, in which they:

  • acknowledge their alcoholism,
  • accept that they have an addiction,
  • make it a priority each day to remain sober.

Secular Organization for Sobriety
Individual Groups

The meetings themselves are similar to that of AA where participants share with each other their stories of alcoholism and support each other in their recoveries. secular organization for sobriety

Anonymity is usually the policy, although it's not strictly a rule – it's up to each group to make that choice.

Participants are encouraged to share their feelings as they go through the process of recovery.

The main philosophy of SOS remains the Sobriety Priority – achieving and maintaining sobriety must be the priority of the alcoholic's life.

The participant is free to choose from any aids to their recovery but honest, open communication of thoughts and feelings is very much encouraged.

Groups assist each other with support when needed as well as the sharing of knowledge and ideas for staying sober.

Scientific Study Of Alcoholism

The other emphasis of the group is the scientific study of alcoholism in order to understand it and to overcome it. The group takes no stand on whether alcoholism is a disease or whether it is not – they leave that determination up to the individual participants in the groups.

They encourage members to educate themselves on alcohol and the effects on the body, as well as the mind, believing that education and awareness are key to becoming sober and staying that way.

There is no rule that participants must be secular humanists or disbelieve in a higher power.

All are welcome as long as their personal spiritual beliefs are not pushed on other members.

There is no discussion of any sort of religion or higher power at SOS meetings, which can be a difficult policy to enforce.

Where Can I Find A Meeting?

There are SOS meetings throughout the world, however, they can be hard to locate in certain areas. For a searchable database of meetings click here.

If you can't access a live meeting then it is possible to have online SOS chat, click here to access it.

Other AA Alternatives:

Secular Organization for Sobriety

SOS was founded by a man named James Christopher, an alcoholic who tried to follow the principles of AA but who was not comfortable with the religious aspects of the group.

He wrote a piece for the secular humanist journal, Free Inquiry, in 1985, which questioned those spiritual aspects.

There was a huge response to the articles from readers, with Christopher getting hundreds of letters from people who felt the same way he did.

Seeing the need, Christopher organized the first secular self-help meeting for alcoholics in 1986.

The organization has grown from there, with many groups forming based on the same principles.

If you or someone close to you wants help and advice on quitting drinking then take a look at the following pages:

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  • Discuss your treatment options


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