Secular Organizations for Sobriety - SOS
Secular Organizations for Sobriety

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An Overview Of SOS: A self-empowerment approach to recovery

A publication of the Secular Organizations for Sobriety (Save Our Selves)

What is SOS?

SOS takes a self-empowerment approach to recovery and maintains that sobriety is a separate issue from all else. SOS addresses sobriety (abstinence) as “Priority One, no matter what!”

SOS credits the individual for achieving and maintaining his or her own sobriety.

SOS respects recovery in any form, regardless of the path by which it is achieved. It is not opposed to or in competition with any other recovery programs.

SOS supports healthy skepticism and encourages the use of the scientific method to understand alcoholism.

SOS Groups

SOS is a nonprofit network of autonomous, nonprofessional local groups dedicated solely to helping individuals achieve and maintain sobriety. There are groups meeting in many cities throughout the US and other countries. For information about a group in your area, or if you would like to start a group, contact:

SOS Clearinghouse 
(Secular Organizations for Sobriety/ Save Our Selves)
4773 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA  90027 USA. 
Tel : (323) 666-4295  Fax: (323) 666-4271
E-mail: sos@cfiwest.org

General Principles of SOS

All those who sincerely seek sobriety are welcome as members in any SOS Group.

SOS is not a spin-off of any religious or secular group. There is no hidden agenda, as SOS is concerned with achieving and maintaining sobriety (abstinence).

SOS seeks only to promote sobriety amongst those who suffer from addictions. As a group, SOS has no opinion on outside matters and does not wish to become entangled in outside controversy.

Although sobriety is an individual responsibility, life does not have to be faced alone. The support of other alcoholics and addicts is a vital adjunct to recovery. In SOS, members share experiences, insights, information, strength, and encouragement in friendly, honest, anonymous, and supportive group meetings.

To avoid unnecessary entanglements, each SOS group is self-supporting through contributions from its members and refuses outside support.

Sobriety is the number one priority in a recovering person’s life. As such, he or she must abstain from all drugs or alcohol.

Honest, clear, and direct communication of feelings, thoughts, and knowledge aids in recovery and in choosing nondestructive, nondelusional, and rational approaches to living sober and rewarding lives.

As knowledge of addiction might cause a person harm or embarrassment in the outside world, SOS guards the anonymity of its membership and the contents of its discussions from those not within the group.

SOS encourages the scientific study of addiction in all its aspects. SOS does not limit its outlook to one area of knowledge or theory of addiction.

Suggested Guidelines for Sobriety

(These guidelines appear in How To Stay Sober)

To break the cycle of denial and achieve sobriety, we first acknowledge that we are alcoholics or addicts.

We reaffirm this truth daily and accept without reservation the fact that, as clean and sober individuals, we can not and do not drink or use, no matter what.

Since drinking or using is not an option for us, we take whatever steps are necessary to continue our Sobriety Priority lifelong.

A quality of life—“the good life”—can be achieved. However, life is also filled with uncertainties. Therefore, we do not drink or use regardless of feelings, circumstances, or conflicts.

We share in confidence with each other our thoughts and feelings as sober, clean individuals.

Sobriety is our Priority, and we are each responsible for our lives and our sobriety.

The Network

The autonomous SOS groups are linked through the Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse is a center for the dissemination of information for individuals who may be looking for a secular program of recovery. SOS lends assistance in the formulation of new groups. The operational costs for the Clearinghouse are covered partially by subscriptions to the SOS International Newsletter, but mostly by the groups themselves donating a portion of the contributions they receive by “passing the hat” at local meetings, and by individual contributions to the Clearinghouse.

The History of SOS

The SOS movement began with an article in the Summer 1985 issue of Free Inquiry magazine, the leading humanist journal in the country.

James Christopher, the son of an alcoholic and a sober alcoholic himself, wrote “Sobriety without Superstition,” an account of the path he took to sobriety.

Christopher felt that there must be others who wanted to achieve and maintain sobriety through personal responsibility and self-reliance.

As a result of the tremendous response to the article from addicted individuals who wanted to maintain sobriety as a separate issue from all else, Jim Christopher founded the Secular Organizations for Sobriety Save Our Selves.

Today there are SOS groups meeting nationally, as well as in other countries. SOS has gained recognition from rehabilitation professionals and the nation’s court systems. In November of 1987, the California courts recognized SOS as an alternative to AA in sentencing offenders to mandatory participation in a rehabilitation program. Also, the Veterans Administration has adopted a policy which prohibits mandatory participation in programs of a religious nature.

The SOS Newsletter

The SOS National Clearinghouse publishes a quarterly newsletter that is filled with items of interest to all recovering persons, to professionals, and to the families and friends of addicted persons.

The SOS International Newsletter serves as an information source for group conveners and as a forum for SOS members. Subscriptions: $18 per year.

Additional Reading

How To Stay Sober: Recovery without Religion by James Christopher (Prometheus Books, 1988)
Christopher describes his own “recovery without religion.” He focuses on the practical aspects of his triumph over alcoholism and includes guidelines for the formation of secular support groups. $20.95
Unhooked: Staying Sober and Drug-Free by James Christopher (Prometheus Books, 1989)
Christopher recounts the evolution of SOS, invites the reader to sit in on a fictionalized SOS meeting, and offers further strategies for achieving and maintaining sobriety and self-respect. $18.95
SOS Sobriety: The Proven Alternative to 12-Step Programs by James Christopher (Prometheus Books, 1992)
SOS Sobriety describes the proven methods of alcohol and drug abstention advocated by Secular Organizations for Sobriety (or “Save Our Selves”), the world’s largest non-12-Step addiction recovery program. $18.95

All prices include shipping and handling. All three books are available through the SOS Clearinghouse.

Secular Organizations for Sobriety

James Christopher, C.A.S., D.A.P.A, Founder and Executive Director

International Advisory Board

Steve Allen, Humorist, Author
Ed Batis, C.A.S., Community Activist, Educator, Domestic-Violence Issues, Drug and Alcohol Diversion, Los Angeles
Joseph D. Beasley, M.D., Director Comprehensive Medical Care, Amityville, NY; Bard Center Fellow in Medicine and Science; Director, Institute of Health Policy and Practice of the Bard College Center
Kenneth Blum, Ph.D., President and C.E.O., SynerGene Global Inc., San Antonio, Texas
Bonnie Bullough, Ph.D. (1927-1996), Professor of Nursing, University of Southern California
Vern L. Bullough, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor Emeritus, State University of New York; Visiting Professor of Nursing, University of Southern California
Mauro Ceccanti, M.D., Instituto di Clinica Medico VI, Italy
Veronica Redd, Television Actress
Elizabeth Hartigan, Co-Founder of SHARE! (Self-Help and Recovery Exchange)
Lew Hollman, Esq., Attorney at Law
Ruth Hollman, Co-Founder of SHARE! (Self-Help and Recovery Exchange)
Patricia Campbell Hughes, Chartered Counseling Psychologist, North Wales, UK
Charlotte Davis Kasl, Ph.D., Psychologist, Author
Morris Kight, Commissioner, Commission for One, California; Commissioner on Human Rights, County of Los Angeles; Founder, Van Ness Recovery House; Founder, Gay and Lesbian Center, Los Angeles
Paul Kurtz, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, SUNY Buffalo
Zdzislaw Kutymski, Director, Federacja Klubow Abstynenckich w Polsce, Poland
John C. Langrod, Ph.D., A.C.S.W., Director of Admissions and Evaluation, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
Gerald Larue, Ph.D., Professor, Emeritus, University of Southern California
Christopher Lyon, Esq., Solicitor of the Supreme Court, North Wales, UK
James Monroe, Esq., Attorney at Law
Martin Nicolaus, Esq., Attorney at Law
Manijeh K. Nikakhtar, M.D., M.P.H., C.E.O. and Medical Director, SAT Health Center (Substance Abstinence Treatment), Beverly Hills, California
Wallace Sampson, M.D., Professor, Stanford University
Barry Solof, M.D., Fellow, American Society of Addiction Medicine; Kaiser Permanente, Los Angeles, CA
Julia Sweeney, Actress, Writer
Edward Tabash, Esq., Attorney at Law
Valerie White, Esq.
, Attorney at Law
William L. White, Ph.D., Psychologist, San José, Costa Rica
Les T. Zador, Esq., Attorney at Law
Betty B. Zavon, B.S.R.N., Senior Consultant, Ophthalmic Support Services
Mitchell R. Zavon, M.D., President, Agatha Corporation, Managing Partner, Ophthalmic Support Services


Publication of this material is made possible by support from SOS members and friends and by the Council for Secular Humanism, a nonprofit educational organization.

Copies of this and other SOS brochures may be obtained from the SOS Clearinghouse. This brochure was updated January, 2000.

SOS Clearinghouse (Secular Organizations for Sobriety/ Save Our Selves)
4773 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA  90027 USA. 
Tel : (323) 666-4295  Fax: (323) 666-4271
E-mail: sos@cfiwest.org

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