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
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 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,
Save Our Selves (SOS)
4773 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90027 USA
Phone # 323-666-4295
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
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, non-delusional, 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
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
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 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
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.
- 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
International Advisory Board
Steve Allen, Humorist, Author
Ed Batis, C.A.S., Community Activist, Educator,
Domestic-Violence Issues, Drug and Alcohol Diversion, Los
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,
Veronica Redd, Television Actress
Elizabeth Hartigan, Co-Founder of SHARE! (Self-Help and
Lew Hollman, Esq., Attorney at Law
Ruth Hollman, Co-Founder of SHARE! (Self-Help and
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
Gerald Larue, Ph.D., Professor, Emeritus, University of
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
Edward Tabash, Esq., Attorney at Law
Valerie White, Esq., Attorney at Law
William L. White, Ph.D., Psychologist, San José, Costa
Betty B. Zavon, B.S.R.N., Senior Consultant, Ophthalmic
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.
Save Our Selves (SOS)
4773 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90027 USA
Phone # 323-666-4295
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