What is Spiritual River all about?
Overcoming addiction with non-traditional recovery methods.
How did this all come about?
The author of this website drifted away from mainstream recovery about ten years ago, and found an alternative path in recovery that worked better for him. So he decided to share that journey with others in order to try to help them.
In the beginning, it was difficult for people to support each other in this alternative path. It was either “go to AA” or do it alone. Now, people all over the world come to this website and support each other to stay clean sober, while still following their own path in recovery.
What is the mission of Spiritual River?
The biggest challenge we face is in bringing this support to addicts and alcoholics who are trying to recover on their own, but are struggling to do so. According to internal census data from Alcoholics Anonymous, about 80 percent of everyone who goes to a 12 step meeting will leave within a years time and never come back. So that is a whole lot of people out there trying to recover on their own, without much help. If they reject the 12 step path, they could find help and support here at Spiritual River, and also get help directly from the discussion forums. It is an alternative path in recovery that works for some people. Of course it is not for everyone….but clearly, neither is AA.
What does this mean for you?
It means that there is hope.
It means that you can design your own program of recovery, and be successful.
It means that you can get support from people online who are following an alternative path like you are.
At some point, everyone who is living a successful life in recovery realizes that they are not strictly following the program that got them clean and sober. Some people panic at this and then force themselves to get “back to the basics,” and start regressing towards their original recovery solution. Others realize that they can succeed with an alternative approach, one that they design for themselves and that is custom fit to their life and their needs.
There is a common mindset in the recovery community that if you deviate from an early recovery program that you will surely relapse. This mindset is actually dangerous because it keeps people stuck in their recovery. Instead of pushing themselves to get creative and strive for personal growth, they are told to “keep coming back” and end up falling into an endless cycle of weekly whining sessions in group meetings.
People who get stuck in such a cycle often reassure themselves that they are “working the steps,” but what they are actually doing is coasting through their recovery without really challenging themselves to grow.
They argue that their higher power is keeping them sober, but actually their sobriety hangs by a thread as their only real recovery tool is venting and whining at regular meetings.
Instead of becoming empowered in their recovery and helping others to find a similar path, they give their power away by relying on daily meetings to keep them sober. Dependency on regular meetings is a liability, but those who preach the “keep coming back philosophy” see it as an asset. Real progress in recovery should not depend on group support to sustain sobriety.
Twelve step programs are not the problem. If you actually live the 12 steps and actively work with struggling alcoholics as instructed in step 12, you can experience real growth and success in your recovery. But how many people in the fellowships actually practice what they preach? How many really reach out to struggling alcoholics on a regular basis, and make it a significant part of their lives?
I have been living an alternative approach to recovery for over a decade now and I have learned a great deal about addiction recovery. It’s not the program that keeps you sober, it’s how you work it. Passion and commitment trump careful planning any day when it comes to recovery.
You can recover with or without a 12 step program. I actually recommend that newcomers give the fellowship a chance if they are just starting out. But ultimately, no one has to depend on daily meetings to recover from addiction and alcoholism.
That is the story of Spiritual River. I found an alternative path in recovery, and have chose to share that path with the world.
If you want help on your own path in recovery, you can get free support right here in the forums.