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Alcoholics Anonymous, Now Available Without God

Posted by on Feb. 26, 2014 at 6:12 PM
  • 158 Replies


If I were addicted and wanted help, I might rather suffer the consequences of abusing drugs or alcohol than pretend that the required verbal ablutions in Alcoholics Anonymous meant anything to me at all.

Six or seven of the famous twelve steps refer to God or to prayer. The final step is to achieve sobriety and experience it as a “spiritual awakening.” Through it all, prayer is a staple at almost every AA meeting.


No thanks. The only AA I’ll ever join willingly is this one.

But things are changing, as the New York Times points out.

The boom in nonreligious A.A. represents another manifestation of a more visible and confident humanist movement in the United States, one that has featured public figures such as Bill Maher, Sam Harris and the late Christopher Hitchens. Yet this recent trend within A.A. also marks a departure from the organization’s traditional emphasis on religion.

“A.A. starts at its core with honesty,” said Dorothy, 39, who heads the steering committee for the We Agnostics and Freethinkers International A.A. Convention. “And how can you be honest in recovery if you’re not honest in your own beliefs? If you don’t believe in the God they’re praying to, that’s not honest practice.”

[A] religious tone [had become] the norm within A.A. What it meant for alcoholics like Vic was an anguishing choice between sobriety and hypocrisy. To participate in a typical A.A. meeting felt to them like hiding, if not violating, deeply held secular beliefs.

Over the past dozen years, non-religious AA groups have begun to mushroom. Another AA member, Glenn, found

… “a fellowship of concerned, loving people,” … a secular version of the “Higher Power” to which A.A. literature refers. Humanist A.A. groups also have drafted their own nontheistic versions of the 12 steps. Instead of needing divine assistance for recovery, for example, one step states that “we needed strengths beyond our awareness and resources to restore us to sanity.”

Thanks to the Internet, it’s now easier than ever to for people who need help with addiction to find an AA group that doesn’t force them to pretend to believe in gods. In New York, the website that lists those meetings is at agnosticaanyc.org. Meetings in other locales, including some non-U.S. ones, can be found here.

Previous Alcoholics Anonymous posts on Friendly Atheist here, here, here, and here.


http://www.patheos.com/...

by on Feb. 26, 2014 at 6:12 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Goodwoman614
by Satan on Feb. 26, 2014 at 6:13 PM
2 moms liked this

Is there anyone in this group (non religious) who found the higher power stuff in AA to be an obstacle?

TranquilMind
by Platinum Member on Feb. 26, 2014 at 6:15 PM
2 moms liked this

Whatever.  I will stick with God.

And I've never been to a meeting nor have I had a drink in over 20 years. 

onethentwins
by Bronze Member on Feb. 26, 2014 at 6:23 PM
6 moms liked this

I often wondered about this? I mean what if it were religion or religious people who drive you to drink in the first place? What if religion or "God" were triggering?  Interesting, thanks.

4evrinbluejeans
by KK on Feb. 26, 2014 at 6:26 PM
3 moms liked this

IMO, if someone actually felt that they would rather drink because higher power is used in AA and that was their only reason for avoiding sobriety then they aren't actually ready to quit.  

There are other programs if that really is a stumbling block so using it as an excuse to drink is just that an excuse to keep drinking.  

Goodwoman614
by Satan on Feb. 26, 2014 at 6:31 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting 4evrinbluejeans:

IMO, if someone actually felt that they were rather drink because higher power is used in AA and that was their only reason for avoiding sobriety then they aren't actually ready to quit.  

There are other programs if that really is a stumbling block so using it as an excuse to drink is just that an excuse to keep drinking.  

Well, I do know of people who attended AA to further their sobriety but for the non believers this can be a huge stumbling block.


Goodwoman614
by Satan on Feb. 26, 2014 at 6:37 PM
6 moms liked this

One option for women is Women in Sobriety, http://www.womenforsobriety.org/beta2/.

Besides being talored for women's specific psychological and other needs, it does not rest it's principles on religiosity.

4evrinbluejeans
by KK on Feb. 26, 2014 at 6:37 PM
7 moms liked this


Quoting Goodwoman614:


Quoting 4evrinbluejeans:

IMO, if someone actually felt that they were rather drink because higher power is used in AA and that was their only reason for avoiding sobriety then they aren't actually ready to quit.  

There are other programs if that really is a stumbling block so using it as an excuse to drink is just that an excuse to keep drinking.  

Well, I do know of people who attended AA to further their sobriety but for the non believers this can be a huge stumbling block.


This isn't a new problem, and often is addressed by accepting that their "higher power" may be their community rather than an invisibile master being.  Others see it as a higher purpose.  There are certainly ways for one to work the steps without acknowledging a higher power.

Here are the Agnostic 12 Steps: 

An agnostic's 12 steps:


1. We accept the fact that all of our efforts to stop drinking have failed.

2. We believe that we must turn elsewhere for help.

3. We turn to our fellow men and women, particularly those who have struggled with the same problem.

4. We have made a list of the situations in which we are most likely to drink.

5. We ask our friends to help us avoid those situations.

6. We are ready to accept the help they give us.

7. We earnestly hope that they will help.

8. We have made a list of the persons we have harmed and to whom we hope to make amends.

9. We shall do all we can to make amends, in any way which will not cause further harm.

10. We will continue to make such list and revise them as needed.

11. We appreciate what our friends have done and are doing to help us.

12. We, in turn, are ready to help others who may come to us in the same way.

joyfree
by Silver Member on Feb. 26, 2014 at 6:47 PM

Just curious--- did you ever try to quit more than once and can you still have a drink occasionally?

Quoting TranquilMind:

Whatever.  I will stick with God.

And I've never been to a meeting nor have I had a drink in over 20 years. 


nelopyma
by Bronze Member on Feb. 26, 2014 at 7:19 PM
1 mom liked this

Interesting.   I work for a recovery center that relies on the 12 steps.  There are plenty who believe in God, but there's also the occasional person who is no longer interested after finding out that it's a faith-based program.  It's not for everyone.

TranquilMind
by Platinum Member on Feb. 26, 2014 at 8:26 PM
6 moms liked this

 Yes, I tried to quit on my own power for a long time.  But God...that's all I can say.

God removed the desire when I got serious about it.  It was just done one day - but that was after months of prayer and me coming to terms with the fact that I couldn't continue to worship at the altar of this "god" (alcohol).  I had to be ready to walk away.  When I did, it was over.

That's the cool thing about deliverance the Lord's way. The world says to struggle daily, "one day at a time".  God says "You are free - now go and make the life you were supposed to have."

No way....I'm not going back there again.  So no, I don't drink now.  Why would I do that?  "What God has done endures forever" scripture says.  Why would I ever want to mess with that. 

Quoting joyfree:

Just curious--- did you ever try to quit more than once and can you still have a drink occasionally?

Quoting TranquilMind:

Whatever.  I will stick with God.

And I've never been to a meeting nor have I had a drink in over 20 years. 

 

 

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