Secular Organizations for Sobriety - SOS
Secular Organizations for Sobriety

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A 'Net Note' from Duaine

SOS E-Groups

Home E-Group of SOS
SOS Save Our Selves International E-Support Group °™ Support and Information:

SOS Women E-Support Group °™ Set up to meet the needs of women in SOS.

SOS International Journal E-group

The purpose of this site is not to obtain feedback from others.  It is, rather, a forum where people can write their thoughts and feelings as an alternative to pen and paper, can share their writing with others for the purpose of assisting those who are still struggling, or just to vent feeling around urges, possibly preventing slips and relapses.

SOS Posting Board

SOS Posting Board ®C Discussion Board allows us to open a topic & follow it through in some detail.

I look forward to meeting you in cyber space. And if you know of other online places to meet, please let us know at

Click here for SOS Web Sites, Yahoo Groups, and other online resources 

SOS International Advisory Board

Steve Allen Humorist, Author (1921-2000)

Ed Batis, CAS 
Community Activist, Educator Domestic-Violence issues, Drug and Alcohol Diversion, Los Angeles

Joseph D. Beasley, MD 
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, PhD 
President and CEO, SynerGene Global, Inc., San Antonio, TX

Eric R. Braverman, MD 
Director, PATH Medical and the PATH Foundation, New York, NY

Bonnie Bullough, PhD (1927-1996) 
Professor of Nursing, University of Southern California

Vern L. Bullough, PhD 
Distinguished Professor Emeritus, State University of New York; Visiting Professor of Nursing, University of Southern California 

Mauro Ceccanti, MD 
Instituto di Clinica Medica VI, Italy

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, PhD 
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, PhD 
Professor Emeritus, SUNY/Buffalo

Zdzislaw Kutymski 
Director, Federacja Klubow Abstynenckick w Polsce, Poland

John C. Langrod, PhD, ACSW 
Director of Admissions Evaluation, Albert Einstein College Of Medicine of Yeshiva University

Gerald Larue, PhD 
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, MD, MPH
CEO and Medical Director, SAT Health Center (Substance Abstinence Treatment) Beverly Hills, CA

Veronica Redd 
Television Actress

Wallace Sampson, MD 
Professor, Stanford University

Valerie White, Esq. 
Attorney at Law

William L. White, PhD 
Psychologist, San Jose, Costa Rica

Betty B. Zavon, BSRN Senior Consultant, Ophthalmic Support Services

Mitchell R. Zavon, MD 
President, Agatha Corporation, Managing Partner, Ophthalmic Support Services

Brief History of the SOS Movement

James Christopher arrested his addiction to alcohol on April 24, 1978. He initially 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 1986 in North Hollywood, California, on a Monday evening in November, after giving public lectures 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 response from recovering alcoholics and addicts, treatment professionals, and the media.

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 a contributor to Substance Abuse: A Comprehensive Textbook, 3rd ed. (Williams and Wilkins, 1997).

SOS has grown from one meeting in Los Angeles to a database of over 20,000 members worldwide. Each SOS meeting is autonomous and held on an anonymous basis at no charge to participants, and stresses Christopher's "Sobriety Priority" abstinence-based self-empowerment program.

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 Manchester Guardian, Newsweek, the Journal of the American Medical Association, Glamour, Playboy, Modern Maturity, Professional Counselor, and Sober Times.

SOS 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 nation, have offered SOS as a viable recovery choice to persons mandated to attend a self-help program.

SOS Meetings and SOS Friends°≠
An overview by Jim Christopher, SOS Founder

Since its inception SOS has had both friends and meetings. Meetings-as with any self-help peer support group-wax and wane. An SOS friend, I've observed over the years, may be an individual who starts or attends an SOS meeting (or not) long term (or briefly) and values SOS for having "been there" when needed.

Typically, many SOS friends are "freethinkers" and "non-joiners" and may not attend SOS meetings regularly after they reclaim their lives. They stay sober and "get on with their lives." Through the process of the deliberate "leaderless" SOS approach, they become the leaders of their own lives (by tf tech melissa). Some choose to help with SOS meetings; some choose to not do so, but most SOS friends choose at least to "check in" with SOS from time to time. Many SOS friends stay connected via the SOS newsletter, the SOS web sites, and the SOS chat groups.

They may be regular financial contributors to SOS°≠they may help with various projects such as SOS prisoner outreach. Since the SOS self-empowerment approach allows folks to reclaim their own power, SOS friends tend to develop an individual "internal locus of control."


SOS Friends, Meetings, and "Structure"
(excerpts from the SOS International Newsletter
(vol. 3, #2, Summer, 1990)

by Jim Christopher

Q: What is SOS?
A: Our name says it all: Save Our Selves and Secular Organizations for Sobriety. This is what we are. We hold that sobriety is a separate issue from all other issues. Sobriety is our priority, and the sense of urgency of our "sobriety priority" is conveyed via our acronym, SOS. By achieving and maintaining sobriety, we can Save Our Selves and experience individual recovery, i.e. human growth, self-esteem, empowerment, and learning, without mind-altering chemicals or debilitating habits.

Q: Which words, if we were to pin a label on SOS, would best describe the atmosphere/environment of an SOS meeting and the persons attending?
A: Freethought and freethinkers.

Q: Are non-secular or religious/spiritual persons welcome?
A: All who seek sobriety/recovery are welcome. Some members of SOS are secular or non-religious, while others hold their religious or spiritual beliefs as a separate issue from their sobriety.

Q: What program does SOS offer?
A: SOS does not require a belief in a "higher power," nor does it offer a "spiritual 12-step program" or "design for living" as AA does. We utilize a suggested strategy for achieving and maintaining sobriety called the "sobriety priority." However, all pathways to sobriety are respected.

Q. What meeting format is used? Are SOS formats standardized?
A. SOS does have a suggested meeting format. However, each meeting is autonomous, and, in practice, formats vary considerably, reflecting the desires of the individual group. In SOS, the meetings are as unique as the members.

To sum up: sobriety, recovery, autonomy, - that's SOS.

SOS Recovery Connections contains general information re: some of our meetings (times, dates, location, contact persons, etc.). This information is listed alphabetically by state and then, within each state, alphabetically by city.

SOS Recovery Connections also lists -- alphabetically by state alphabetically by city, within each state -- SOS "sites of activity" i.e., there could be a new SOS meeting in the planning stages, or a new SOS meeting already in place or SOS friends to contact in the area. The code shown -- along with state, city and zip code -- is SOS International Clearinghouse (ICH) and the twenty-four hour phone number for SOS. THIS IS TO PRESERVE CONFIDENTIALITY AND TO PROVIDE A "LAYER OF PROTECTION" FOR OUR SOS FRIENDS AND MEETINGS.

SOS Recovery Connections clearinghouse volunteers will make every effort to put those requesting support in touch with folks in their geographical area or to help them start a new SOS meeting in their area.

SOS International Clearinghouse
Recovery Connections
SOS Meetings and SOS Friends

4773 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA  90027 USA
Phone (323) 666-4295, Fax (323) 666-4271

Secular Sobriety


SOS Behind Bars







Prometheus Trade Catalog

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| Books | Leader's Guide | Contact 
SOS Meetings Around The World