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Alcoholics Anonymous, Now Available Without God

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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
Replies (151-157):
joyfree
by Platinum Member on Mar. 9, 2014 at 6:34 PM
1 mom liked this

Thank you. It's nice to hear an opinion that's not laced with biting sarcasm under the guise of supposed "critical thinking".

bow down

Quoting PamR:

The twelve steps refer to a higher power. 

If people find religion helps them stay sober, great.  If they don't, fine.  Whatever works.


joyfree
by Platinum Member on Mar. 9, 2014 at 6:52 PM
2 moms liked this

I apologize to those who I might have offended by hijacking this post about AA without "God".

It goes to show that this wonderful world has a lot of people who are continuing to be hurt by the effects of alcoholism. Some will seemingly fight to the death for their right to be "right".

My sponsor has a saying, "Would you rather be right or happy?"

I'm sure some would be respond, "I AM happy because I  AM right!", all the while displaying the fact that they are clearly not "happy".

I am just another "Bozo on the bus" as we like to say in AA. My AND your experiences do not necessarily reflect that of others.

For those of you who may have been turned away from AA because of the at times juvenile exchange I have had here with another CM, please do not let that turn you away from trying AA or Alanon, if you need help.

I am merely human, just like everyone else, with my own faults, eccentricities, and the like, but AA did help me save my life. I'm sorry that there are people out there who for some reason known only to them choose to badmouth this simple spiritual program of recovery because they do not agree with it.

That is very sad. 

Namaste.bummed_out

Goodwoman614
by Satan on Mar. 9, 2014 at 8:10 PM
1 mom liked this


Quoting joyfree:

I apologize to those who I might have offended by hijacking this post about AA without "God".

It goes to show that this wonderful world has a lot of people who are continuing to be hurt by the effects of alcoholism. Some will seemingly fight to the death for their right to be "right".

My sponsor has a saying, "Would you rather be right or happy?"

I'm sure some would be respond, "I AM happy because I  AM right!", all the while displaying the fact that they are clearly not "happy".

I am just another "Bozo on the bus" as we like to say in AA. My AND your experiences do not necessarily reflect that of others.

For those of you who may have been turned away from AA because of the at times juvenile exchange I have had here with another CM, please do not let that turn you away from trying AA or Alanon, if you need help.

I am merely human, just like everyone else, with my own faults, eccentricities, and the like, but AA did help me save my life. I'm sorry that there are people out there who for some reason known only to them choose to badmouth this simple spiritual program of recovery because they do not agree with it.

That is very sad. 

Namaste.bummed_out

Well, it is my post and I absolve you for your role in the hijacking, lol.

As a personal reflection, having survived being raised by a family with substance abuse issues (among other disfunctions) I am not alone in having developed very good skills of perception. Especially for certain types of people or people who have particular personalities. Or paticular *unresolved issues.*

To say that this thread confirms that is like saying the Towering Inferno confirms the neighbor was correct in calling the firefighters. I've gotten used to seeing what others miss in people like this.

In the end, I will say again that the gifts of this thread for me were to see again (and appreciate) the true healing and progress I've been able to make in my life, and to hone my sense of compassion for those who, so clearly in pain, have not.


Proud2baMuslim
by Member on Mar. 9, 2014 at 8:43 PM

 

Quoting Goodwoman614:

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

 I have a friend of almost 30 years who is in AA for about 10 years now and I can't hardly stand to be around  him every since he has been in AA. It's like he has been brain washed by some kind of cult or some thing. He is so brain washed by AA that in his mind anyone who ever had a drink in their life is a drunk. I can 't even have a conversation with him any more because anything and everything the conversation is about he has to incorporate the 12 steps or the ideology of AA into the conversation some how.

I flat out told him once that they are full of shit when they say they do not endorse religion in any way. He then went on to give me that famous AA bull shit about it not being about religion but a "higher power" ..... Duh what the fuck do you think embracing a higher power is? And what's up with holding hands and reciting The Lords Prayer at the close of their meetings? Sounds like religion to me and the fact that they try to deny it and give it another name like "higher power" instead of just being honest screams "CULT"

joyfree
by Platinum Member on Mar. 10, 2014 at 8:46 AM
1 mom liked this


Quoting Proud2baMuslim:

Some Alcoholics Anonymous can go overboard in their endorsements, like your friend. They are NOT the norm. The group is a "spiritual" program because it does not endorse a particular religion and I don't think that Jesus Christ is referenced at all in the first 164 pages, which is the actual program of recovery.

The fact is that Bill Wilson, one of the two co-founder, was an agnostic for many years himself. For that reason, the founders attempted to keep the emphasis on no particular entity in general.

My own sponsor has opted out of the Lord's Prayer at the end of meetings for many years, because she feels that it conflicts with the ideals of the program to be inclusive rather than exclusive.

In the meetings that I personally attend, we do not endorse any particular religion because many of us grew up as church outcasts in that we never felt that we "belonged" there. We HAD to be "bad" people because we had done such bad things to others as well as ourselves. Most of us remember this and try to shut down the "Bible-thumpers" because we feel that they drive away newcomers.

However, the search for a higher power IS the purpose of the Alcoholics Anonymous book, and I do agree that it is tricky ground. Still, It works for me and countless others who attend with open minds and hearts.

Quoting Goodwoman614:

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

 I have a friend of almost 30 years who is in AA for about 10 years now and I can't hardly stand to be around  him every since he has been in AA. It's like he has been brain washed by some kind of cult or some thing. He is so brain washed by AA that in his mind anyone who ever had a drink in their life is a drunk. I can 't even have a conversation with him any more because anything and everything the conversation is about he has to incorporate the 12 steps or the ideology of AA into the conversation some how.

I flat out told him once that they are full of shit when they say they do not endorse religion in any way. He then went on to give me that famous AA bull shit about it not being about religion but a "higher power" ..... Duh what the fuck do you think embracing a higher power is? And what's up with holding hands and reciting The Lords Prayer at the close of their meetings? Sounds like religion to me and the fact that they try to deny it and give it another name like "higher power" instead of just being honest screams "CULT"


Proud2baMuslim
by Member on Mar. 10, 2014 at 6:09 PM
1 mom liked this

 

Quoting joyfree:

 

Quoting Proud2baMuslim:

Some Alcoholics Anonymous can go overboard in their endorsements, like your friend. They are NOT the norm. The group is a "spiritual" program because it does not endorse a particular religion and I don't think that Jesus Christ is referenced at all in the first 164 pages, which is the actual program of recovery.

The fact is that Bill Wilson, one of the two co-founder, was an agnostic for many years himself. For that reason, the founders attempted to keep the emphasis on no particular entity in general.

My own sponsor has opted out of the Lord's Prayer at the end of meetings for many years, because she feels that it conflicts with the ideals of the program to be inclusive rather than exclusive.

In the meetings that I personally attend, we do not endorse any particular religion because many of us grew up as church outcasts in that we never felt that we "belonged" there. We HAD to be "bad" people because we had done such bad things to others as well as ourselves. Most of us remember this and try to shut down the "Bible-thumpers" because we feel that they drive away newcomers.

However, the search for a higher power IS the purpose of the Alcoholics Anonymous book, and I do agree that it is tricky ground. Still, It works for me and countless others who attend with open minds and hearts.

Quoting Goodwoman614:

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

 I have a friend of almost 30 years who is in AA for about 10 years now and I can't hardly stand to be around  him every since he has been in AA. It's like he has been brain washed by some kind of cult or some thing. He is so brain washed by AA that in his mind anyone who ever had a drink in their life is a drunk. I can 't even have a conversation with him any more because anything and everything the conversation is about he has to incorporate the 12 steps or the ideology of AA into the conversation some how.

I flat out told him once that they are full of shit when they say they do not endorse religion in any way. He then went on to give me that famous AA bull shit about it not being about religion but a "higher power" ..... Duh what the fuck do you think embracing a higher power is? And what's up with holding hands and reciting The Lords Prayer at the close of their meetings? Sounds like religion to me and the fact that they try to deny it and give it another name like "higher power" instead of just being honest screams "CULT"

 

 There is no doubt that the program has helped many like my friend J and I know all members are not overbored like that. I know a couple others who are but not as bad as him. I don't think he realizes all he did was replace his addiction to alchol with the addiction of being a fanatic about AA and people who don't drink or are not in the program don't want to hear about it constatly and have conversation they engage in somehow always end up being tied to what the "big says".

Any how your friend who opted out of the Lords prayer is right it does conterflict. I used to have a friend (he was killed last year) but back in the early 2000's I drove him to some meetings because he was not allowed to drive (only a couple) that was enough for me.

I know allot of people depend on those meetings and I think it's great that they have that if that's what they need and i think it's great that there is such a huge organization of like minded people for them that they can turn to. Being that i am not a member I don't really care but I do still think it is hypocrital to say they do not embace any religion. They may not embrace any one religion religion in particular but they do embrace religion. When meetings are opened with a prayer, closed with a prayer, and so much of the program is centered around embracing a higher power who ever that higher power may be that is religious. And not only do close with a prayer but The Lords Prayer which is a Christian prayer. I see nothing wrong with it except that they are not honest about it and refuse to admit to any religious aspect.

How many post have you seen in this group, on this site about people being all bent out of shape for less concerning religion and school, the court, anything open to all that is not private. If someone pulled up an article about any public school opening the day and closing the day with prayer, the Lords Prayer at that people would be having a fit.

As I mentioned i am not a member so it really is not a concern to me personally I'm just stating my opinion when I say if they expect people to get honest and not be in denial about their addictions then they too should get honest and quit denying that there is any form of religion embraced in the program.

My self being a believer in God think it is nice that prayers are said and what not but I don't like they are not honest about it.

I'm sure many who could use the help and support of the program have also been turned off because even though some of us think the idea of prayer or embracing a higher power is great not everyone does. There are Atheiths, Agnostics, and people who might be believers but don't practice and probably would prefer to keep their recovery on a secular basis. It would be different if the program was through a church, mosque, or even stated that yes they do embrace a religion of some sort and kind and being that the closing prayer is the Lords Prayers it leans more Christian than anything else but this is supposed to be a nation wide organization for all to be welcome who need and want help and no doubt many have been turned away.

too lazy to spell check right now... sorry lol

 

suzanneyea
by on Mar. 10, 2014 at 6:11 PM
1 mom liked this

There have always been meetings for agnostics, nothing new. Meetings for atheists too. Always have been, at least in NYC.

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