SOS is an alternative recovery method for those alcoholics or drug addicts who
are uncomfortable with the spiritual content of widely available 12-Step programs. SOS
takes a reasonable, secular approach to recovery and maintains that sobriety is a separate
issue from religion or spirituality. SOS credits the individual for achieving and
maintaining his or her own sobriety, without reliance on any "Higher Power." 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 is a non-profit network of autonomous, non-professional local groups
dedicated solely to helping individuals achieve and maintain sobriety. There are groups
meeting in many cities throughout the country.
All those who sincerely seek sobriety are welcome as members in any SOS Group.
SOS is not a spin-off of any religious group. There is no hidden agenda, as SOS is
concerned with sobriety, not religiosity. SOS seeks only to promote sobriety amongst those
who suffer from alcoholism or other drug 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 an alcoholic's or addict'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
non-destructive, non-delusional, and rational approaches to living sober and rewarding
lives. As knowledge of drinking or 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 alcoholism and addiction in all their
aspects. SOS does not limit its outlook to one area of knowledge or theory of alcoholism
and addiction. 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.
In James Christopher's book, How to Stay Sober: Recovery Without Religion,
Christopher, founder of SOS, 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. In Unhooked: Staying Sober and Drug Free,
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. In his most recent book, SOS Sobriety: The Proven Alternative To 12-Step
Programs, James Christopher describes the proven methods of alcohol and drug abstention
advocated by Secular Organizations for Sobriety (also known as "Save Our
Selves"), the world's largest non-12-Step addiction recovery program.
The SOS movement began with an article in the Summer 1985 issue of Free Inquiry
magazine, the leading secular 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. This path has led
Christopher from seventeen years of a fearful and guilty alcoholism to a fearful and
guilty sobriety with Alcoholics Anonymous. Christopher felt that there must be other
alcoholics who wanted to achieve and maintain sobriety through personal responsibility and
self-reliance. He also felt that turning one's life over to a "higher power" was
not compatible with current research that indicated that addiction is the result of
physiology, not psychology. As a result of the tremendous response to the article from
alcoholics and addicts who wanted to maintain sobriety as a separate issue from religion,
Jim Christopher founded the Secular Organizations for Sobriety.
Today there are SOS groups meeting in every state, 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 National Clearinghouse publishes a quarterly newsletter that is filled
with items of interest to all recovering substance abusers, to professionals, and to the
families and friends of alcoholics and addicts. The SOS International Newsletter serves as
an information source for group convenors and as a forum for newsletter subscribers.
Subscriptions are $18 per year.
For information about a group in your area, information on book purchases or
newsletter subscriptions, or if you would like to start a group, contact:
SOS International Clearinghouse
The Center for Inquiry - Los Angeles
4773 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90027
Phone: (323) 666-4295
Fax: (323) 666-4271
(Place "ATTN Clearinghouse" in the subject line.)
SOS is a program of the Council for
Secular Humanism, a nonprofit corporation. Gifts to SOS are fully tax-deductible and
should be made payable to "SOS/Council for Secular Humanism".