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by Abigail Van Buren

Man Feels Helpless to Stop Drinking

DEAR ABBY: I am a 28-year-old man with a serious drinking problem. I function normally at work, but I have no real life outside of work or drinking.

I tried AA, but didn't feel comfortable in an organization that emphasizes God as part of the path to sobriety. I am desperate to find a way to recover, but I feel helpless. Please point me in the right direction. -- ADDICTED IN KANSAS CITY, MO.

DEAR ADDICTED: Because, for the reason you stated, Alcoholics Anonymous isn't for you, I'm glad to offer secular alternatives. The first is SMART Recovery, a four-point program that encourages motivation to abstain and provides help in coping with cravings, managing negative emotions and finding a healthy life balance.

SMART Recovery offers face-to-face support groups worldwide as well as online meetings. Its goal, like AA, is lifetime abstinence, and its meetings and help are also free. Unlike AA, lifetime attendance at meetings is not required. To find more information, visit

Another resource is Secular Organizations for Sobriety (also known as Save Our Selves). You will find a list of meetings at Whichever you choose, I wish you a successful recovery.

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