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Save Our Selves
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Jim Christopher - A Brief Biography

James Christopher, a sober alcoholic since April 24, 1978, originally attended Alcoholics Anonymous, but broke from AA  early in his recovery due to his discomfort with the AA approach. Staying sober with his own “Sobriety Priority” program, he went on to found SOS (Secular Organizations for Sobriety / Save our Selves) in 1985. He arranged for the first SOS self-help support group to be held in North Hollywood, Los Angeles, California on a Monday evening in November, after giving numerous public lecturers and authoring numerous articles dating back to 1984. the key article “Sobriety without Superstition” was published in the national periodical Free Inquiry and received worldwide responses from recovering alcoholics and addicts, treatment professional and the media. 

James Christopher has since authored four books : How to Stay Sober (Prometheus Books, 1988), Unhooked (Prometheus Books, 1989), SOS Sobriety (Prometheus Books, 1992) and Escape from Nicotine Country (Prometheus Books, 1999). He was also a contributor to Substance Abuse : A Comprehensive Textbook (Williams and Williams, 1997).

SOS has grown from one meeting in Los Angeles to a data base of over 20,000 members worldwide. Each SOS meeting is autonomous and held on an anonymous basis at no charge to participants and stresses James Christopher’s “Sobriety Priority” abstinence-based, self-empowerment.
James Christopher has appeared on over 300 radio and television shows and the SOS alternative has received extensive coverage in hundreds of print media feature articles including the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the British Guardian, Newsweek, the Journal of the American Medical Association, Glamour, Playboy, Modern Maturity, Professional Counselor and Sober Times.

James Christopher worked as a Program Director for Priority One, an outpatient treatment facility in Beverly Hills, California for two years. He moved the SOS International Clearing House to Buffalo, New York, in June 1990, accepting sponsorship by CODESH, an international humanist organization. The SOS movement is separately incorporated as a non-profit organization and has been publishing a quarterly newsletter since 1987.

The US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration includes SOS in its official literature; the US Congress Employee Assistance Program subscribes to the SOS Newsletter, and since 1987, the Los Angeles Court system, as well as numerous courts across the US, have offered SOS as a viable recovery choice to persons mandated to attend a self-help program.

In February 1995 James Christopher returned to the Clearing House to Los Angeles and currently divides his time among three activities : SOS Clearing House duties, holding recovery workshops across the US and abroad, and doing research  on the evolution of the SOS Sobriety Priority program, described by James Christopher as the “CVS Method” (Cognitive / Visceral Synchronization).  
 

  SOS - A BRIEF HISTORY 
"During my first years of sobriety I questioned a number of alcoholics, searching for the common thread of their successes in maintaining a lasting sobriety. When I was about three years into my sobriety I began to challenge the concepts of Alcoholics Anonymous.... By the time I was sober five years I had compiled an extensive file of responses and, four years to the present day, I've collected data from more than two thousand « sobrietists ». Both from this research and my own experience of recovery, I have put together a specific secular approach to achieving and maintaining long-term sobriety. I call it the « Sobriety Priority ». I wish to offer it here as « a » way (beware of anyone who offers « the » way) to achieve and maintain sobriety for life” James Christopher, 1986.

The SOS movement began with an article in the Summer 1985 issue of FREE INQUIRY magazine, the leading secular humanist journal in the USA. 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 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 ones life over to a « Higher Power » was not compatible with current research which indicated that addiction is the result of physiology, not psychology.
As a result of the tremendous response to the article from those 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 in the USA and throughout the United Kingdom, Belgium, Australia and Israel. SOS has gained official recognition from health professionals, clinics and US court system. In 1987 the California courts recognized SOS as an alternative to AA for recovery programs and the Veterans Administration has adopted a policy which prohibits mandatory participation in programs of a religious nature. In 1998, the American Association of Psychiatrists published a chapter written by James Christopher in its main professional textbook "Substance Abuse".

   
        

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
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
Valerie White, Esq., Attorney at Law
Edward Tabash, Esq.,
Attorney at Law
William L. White, Ph.D., Psychologist, San José, Costa Rica
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

 


James Christopher

Marquis Who’s Who in the World, since 1995

Named International Man of the Year, 1993, by the International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, UK

 
Dictionary of International Biography, since 1995 (International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, UK)

Included in Five Thousand Personalities of the World, 1994/95 (American Biographical Institute, Inc)

Certified Addictions Specialist (C.A.S.), American Academy of Health Care Providers in Addictive Disorders, Cambridge M.A.

Certified Diplomat in Psychotherapy ( D.A.P.A), American Psychotherapy Association, Washington D.C.

Member, American Counseling Association

Member, American Council on Alcoholism

For further information
5521 Grosvenor Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90066, USA
Tel : (310) 821-8430 / Fax : (310) 821-2610
email :
mailto:sos@cfiwest.org

 

 
webmaster
Duaine Metevia

Save Our Selves (SOS)
4773 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90027
Phone# 323-666-4295
SOS@CFIWest.org

Find a Meeting
If you want to become a part of SOS let James Christopher know you're out there.  If there is no meeting listed in your area, it could mean that there are people in your area who are waiting for more people to come forward and start a meeting.  The way meetings start are people contacting the clearing house and leaving their contact info.  Some cities only have phone contacts, people who will talk to you or meet with you for coffee so please leave your contact info; don't miss out.

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