Yesterday, I got a voicemail from a woman I met in AA 2 years ago. She and I started going to meetings at about the same time and saw eachother a couple times a week in the beginning. I never became friends with her, but was aware that she had her share of ups and downs and relapses for a while. I was surprised she called, but it turns out she was calling for a favor related to her new job-not AA related. Anyway, we chatted for a minute and she noted that she hadn't seen me in a long time. "Are you going to different meetings?" I told her I wasn't doing AA anymore. The first question, of course, was "Are you drinking?" No, I told her, I'm not. Then, "You're ok without AA?! You can do it without meetings?!" I just left it as, yeah, I'm better off without AA. I'm good. It struck me that a lot of people really don't believe that they-or anyone-can remain sober without AA. Of course, I knew this. It's just been a while since I had a real, live person react with such disbelief to this simple truth: you can be ok without AA. It's astounding, really, that the idea that one must stay very close to AA to have any hope of staying off the sauce. I know where it comes from; I know the people who taught her this. They told me the same thing. It's unfortunate that the notion of not drinking means going to AA meetings is the only message that a lot of folks pass on. Meeting makers make it, AA is my medicine, I need to be here... I hope it works for her and she continues to benefit as much as she can. I hope, also, that she takes the message that you don't need AA to be ok to heart.