I came to the rooms of ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’ and unfortunately for me, an atheist, found it to be ‘God Unanimous’!!! I understand the program of AA is spiritually based, but I did not realize the spirituality of AA’ers is for the most part based on a strong belief in God or some Higher Power. Oh well, so much for my ‘peace of mind’ in my meetings. I do have thick skin and am able to handle this most challenging exercise in patience and tolerance.
In part, the word 'spiritual' means relating to the soul. In part, the 'soul' is defined as a person's emotional or moral nature. If you are really an atheist you understand these definitions and should have no quarrel with them. When you apply the 12 Steps around these definitions there shouldn't be any problem with a term such as 'higher nature'...used often by atheist members of A.A. AND if any A.A. member at your meetings is having a problem with the idea that you can prove there is no god then it's their problem, isn't it.
Remember, the most important thing is to not pick up that first drink.
You said, "Remember, the most important thing is to not pick up that first drink." So true! It's the bottom line. No matter what happens to us throughout our recoveries we must not pick up the first drink one day at a time. Some members like to be spiritual giants in AA, solving the answers to the great cosmic questions or chasing spiritual highs, while others find fulfillment with paying their bills on time and experiencing the joys in the world, For me, waking up next to my wife, chatting about day to day things, seeing my daughter graduate college or just enjoying that first cup of coffee is fulfilling. Why does anyone need anything more than this in sobriety? This is something I don't understand but, I don't need too either.
Technically your post is in the wrong comment section being this is for the STEPS, however that said, I'm glad you have thick skin because it will come in handy. If you live in the states, AA meetings usually reflect the demographics of its areas. Like in the south you can get collard greens at McDonalds or in New Mexico you can get Green Chili on your cheeseburger. Same true in AA. In the cities or progressive states you can find agnostic and atheist AA groups. Being an atheist won't raise an eyebrow. In the bible belt you may encounter hearing the name Jesus. In an upper middle class suburban AA meeting you might hear therapy talk or quotes from new age gurus. I lived in an area where I was told I didn't belong in AA because I didn't mention god or the steps in my lead at the podium. In another area the plug was pulled on me being I said the word "pot" Love and tolerance are our code but, some people can't see the forest sitting in the middle of the trees.
There ought not be special interest groups in Alcoholics
Anonymous. Anyone entering A.A. anywhere would find the
same general format. The meeting would follow a natural course and would become a specialized group, without being
labeled as such.
I remember in the mid seventies when the "young people
in A.A." wanted to separate from the mainstream. And they
did that, violating the first tradition. I feel that if
most of the members are young people the group could be
a young peoples meeting without it being labeled as such.
When asked what is considered "young", I am told "anyone
with more growing to do". So why separate the "young"
from the "not so young"? I feel that some of the "sponsor
types" stay with the young people's groups to maintain
If we allow each group to evolve according to the
area or region, fewer alcoholics will be left out. But
groups must obey the second tradition and follow a
true, fully informed group conscience, not just the
wishes of a few.
Good, I love atheists. They're thinkers. Think you are a thinker? Think about this. Visualize a pie chart. The circle represents all human knowledge. A small slice at the top represents all of it that I know that I know. Clear so far? Beside it is another slice which contains everything that I know that I don’t know. A little tougher but no, it’s not a joke or a word game. I can’t speak Russian for example so that goes in the second slice, OK? Something I know that I don’t know. So what’s the rest of the circle? What I don’t know that I don’t know. No, it’s still not a game. I’m not particularly clever and I got it. An area where I don’t even know what the questions are let alone what the answers are. An area of information that I don’t even know that there are questions, let alone what they are. The amount of information in it is very real and it’s huge. If you haven’t gotten it yet, perhaps it’s easy to see an infant in this picture. His two slices are tiny but they have grown a little by the time he reaches my age. Recovery occurs in the third part of the pie, what I don’t know that I don’t know. It can only be seen looking back into it. That is because recovery occurs experientially. By experiencing. It is a result of doing not by thinking. I had 16 years of education and couldn’t read the 201 word instruction sheet hanging on the wall either. I finally learned and the rewards have been extraordinary.
I too love atheists & agnostics. They think, talk and argue more about "god" than any other group of people I know. I learn a lot by reading and listening to their posts and conversations.
I agree with you. Some of the most spiritual people I have met in AA are atheists and agnostics. I think in a way its because they have to fight for their sobriety. Believer's like myself don't have to worry about being attacked and threatened at meetings. We shouldn't treat anyone as a second or third class AA member because they think differently. Its awful the way we treat people who aren't interested in reading the Big Book or don't find it necessary to believe in God to stay sober. I'm sure Bill and Bob are out there somewhere shaking their heads. We had a countdown at our home group the other night. The first five members that stood up were all atheists and agnostics. The first man to stand up had 42 years, followed by 39, 36, 29, and 25 years. I was the first believer to stand up with 24 years. I'm grateful those members are in our group. They really set an open-minded positive tone that everyone picks up on. The majority of members in my group are believers but, its ludicrous to treat any member as inferior.
You said, "...its ludicrous to treat any member as inferior." Thanks man. So true. My sponsor died an atheist sober 37 years. He was the most spiritual man I had ever met. He never once criticized mainstream AA or discouraged me from reading the big book or working the steps. He encouraged me to follow the path that made the most sense to me. Being a Christian it was easy to follow Bill and Bob's path. This is what works with me to this day. I remember when my head would get all scrambled up from time to time he'd asked me what step I was on because he new that was my language in recovery in which I was comfortable with. He was a humanist and believed in love and the power that people have when they follow goodness and truth. I never met a more humble man in my life. He didn't believe in an afterlife but I do and in my afterlife we will meet again. Grateful to those on this site who share even if I see things differently.
I've checked and tried joining atheist recovery sites online and found exactly the same. It is an absolute desert for information about staying sober.
One problem with them seems to be that there aren't any atheists there. If I absolutely don't believe something I don't tell you "There absolutely couldn't be something" followed immediately by "and if there is it has to be like this.."
Try it. There is absolutely is no way there is human life on Mars and if there is...
After joining AA I changed from trying desperately to disbelieve in God to admitting there was a God and I was really angry with the mess he had made of my life. Then I started getting some feedback and a glimpse of who had made the mess.
SNR (Spiritual, Not Religious)
Your post demonstrates on the contrary that you do not love atheists and your thinking is very close-minded to anyone who does not get sober like you. We are free to accept AA's path or find our own. The suggested one is not a rule. We must remain open and diverse for the newcomer at all costs. I will never force anything on anyone in the rooms. Appearing rigid, hostile and dogmatic will only remind the newcomer of the very things that most likely drove them to drink in the first place.
A common AA idiom that everyone nods there head to without thinking is "My best thinking got me here" To me, this could mean "If I made a decision to come to AA that is my best thinking" However as it is regularly interpreted "I am stupid" which is false because having the disease of alcoholism has nothing to do with being smart or stupid. It's a brain disorder that requires medical attention.
Why does anyone really care how anyone else is getting sober? The only thing I can get from it is the person who spends more time minding everyone's business has a fragile recovery and is insecure about it. Live and Let Live
Original poster (of the pie chart) here. So you think I leave atheist unloved? In addition to alcoholism I also have heart disease. What would I tell somebody I loved that found out that they also have this disease? “This is what I did. This was the results I got. If it hurts your little feelings to hear that I gave up supersize the fries and wings, too bad.” I’m not going to tell them just do whatever you think will work and you’ll be fine.
"We are free to accept AA's path or find our own."
Absolutely true. However, if one chooses to follow a path other than that suggested by AA, why stay with AA?
Every day people who are unsatisfied with their particular church leave that one and find another. Folks who become dissatisfied with their political party leave it and tie in with another. I know a number of people who changed colleges because they didn't agree with the policies of the one they started out with.
I believe that anyone who stays in AA when he/she is convinced that AA's path is the wrong one is showing definite signs of insanity.
Hi you shared this, "I believe that anyone who stays in AA when he/she is convinced that AA's path is the wrong one is showing definite signs of insanity." That's an unfortunate and harsh position to take because you are assuming people who do not accept the suggested path are against the path. This is not true. There's a lot more flexibility and open-mindedness then you think in the rooms. Try a little love and see where it takes you because that power will definitely change your life. Whether one works the suggested path or not if they love they can do no wrong in my book.
You said, "However, if one chooses to follow a path other than that suggested by AA, why stay with AA?" And I would ask you with that line of thinking, "Why do people who believe in God in AA just go to church?" That should answer your question. If it doesn't let me spell it out for you FELLOWSHIP. Read the Preamble and you will understand AA better. Each member shares what helps them. Not all members share the same experiences in recovery. Not every bit of AA wisdom was discovered in 1935. The founders would agreed with me on that. Where is it written in AA that if someone does not work the suggested path they should be kicked out? No where.
This is what you wrote about the FELLOWSHIP of AA:
"Each member shares what helps them. Not all members share the same experiences in recovery. Not every bit of AA wisdom was discovered in 1935. The founders would agreed with me on that. Where is it written in AA that if someone does not work the suggested path they should be kicked out? No where."
Indeed everything you wrote is correct. Every bit of AA wisdom was discovered BEFORE 1935. Nothing, absolutely nothing was added after 1935. As Bill W. wrote (see Appendix II of the Big Book Fourth Edition, 2001) his inspiration was from the book by William James published in 1902: The Varieties of Religious Experiences. As also clearly stated by Bill W. in his article of July 1953, Volume 10, No. 2. of the Grapevine, "12 Steps in 30 Minutes".
Bill W. followed excatly the format presented by William James for the alcoholic recovery experiences, religious or not so religious stories, in the first edition of the Big Book. But where did William James get his ideas about drunkards helping other drunkards by relating their experiences, religious or not, of how they stopped drinking?. As he stated in his book, William James obtained them from an article by James H. Leuba published in the Journal of Psychology, Volume 7, No. 2, 1896, containing one story after another of recovery from drinking. Yes, 1896.
There is nothing more to the AA Fellowship than it takes one alcoholic to help another and that by helping another it helps the alcoholic remain sober. This is what Bill W. did. He never followed the 12 steps. NEVER. A sponsor? He NEVER had one. The word SPONSOR is not even in the first 164 pages of the Big Book.
So, with membership meetings (and also now online meetings) AA is providing a venue for alcoholics to come and share, with the hope that such will bring beneficial results, as such hope was already described in 1896, and maybe even prior to this.
Alcoholics Anonymous is known universally as a "Twelve Step Program." I have never heard anyone refer to it as a "Meeting Every Day Program."
One off you asked why those in AA who believe in God go to church? I ask you why those of you who want only fellowship come only to AA? For the cheap coffee? You can find fellowship in any church, organization, or bar. Go to any fast food restaurant in the morning and see if there isn't at least one table full of folks who meet there every morning for breakfast and fellowship. Fellowship can be found at any group therapy session. There is even a form of fellowship in mental hospitals.
I'm sure a newcomer feels welcome when you give him a hug and say, "I love you, Brother, don't drink and keep coming back."
But that won't solve the problem of someone who suffers from the mental obsession which compels him to drink and the physical allergy which forces him to keep on drinking. If he could 'just don't drink' he wouldn't need AA in the first place.
Another seems to know what the founders though. I suggest you read pages 274 and 275 in "Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers" to see what at least one of our founders actually thought about those who wanted sobriety but didn't want to work for it.
I agree, the Preamble says AA is a fellowship. It also says we share our experience, strength and hope. If the only strength someone has to share is his strong will power it won't do a lot of good to those who tried to quit on will power and failed.
"Why does anyone really care how anyone else is getting
sober?"?? I am always interested in success stories. To
me, they are the backbone of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Bill W. wrote in "Three Talks To American Medical
societies": You may ask: How does A.A. work? Bill answers
the question. Bill says that he could not fully explain
how A.A. works. Yet we say at most meetings "this is how
it works: HIW.
Bill wrote that we can only tell you what we do and
what seems to happen to us as the result.
I may have a fragile recovery and be insecure about
it, but I have been SOBER for 43 years.
I understand the pie chart. Thanks to the "thinker"!
Thanks for a message worth reading more than once.
"It can only be seen looking back into it". I believe this
explains why the word "directions" was changed to "path"
just before the Big Book went to print. The first hundred
members left us a path to follow. There is no one on that
path. God may be there, but we will probably not see Him.
"Recovery occurs experientially". We follow the path
by faith, willingly. The only authority is a member's full
consent, willingly given. We are not ruled by people, but
by principles, by truths, and, as most of us would say,
by God. Refer to page 8 in The Language of the Heart.
Yes, the rewards have been extraordinary. It grieves
me that our fellowship is so near death. A.A. was by
far the greatest gift I have every known: so much more
than I ever expected or deserved. ANONYMOUS
My soon to be ex-wife got a hold of my fourth step behind my back and made copies for her lawyers and family.
Now I'm finished. Can she use this in a court of law against me? I really got honest and there is stuff in there that will create all kinds of legal problems. Feeling like a chump.
Same thing happened to me 20+ years ago. I left my 4 the step on the coffee table and my wife read it. She wasn't pleased with my sex inventory. I complained to my sponsor that for the 1st time it "really " wasn't my fault. After further discussion, it was my fault. Who wouldn't Be tempted to read someone 's inventory?
I learned to keep my inventories in a safe place and yes, I continue taking a "written " inventory and am still happily married to my first wife.
Instead of looking at it in a negative light, look at it as a way of making amends. This may be your chance to deal with the past. However don't forget to use your higher power, your sponsor, and maybe a lawyer. You will continue to live only for today.
I know if some people knew what I did in my past I would destroy a whole family, and probably go to prison for a long time. Only my higher power and my sponsor knows. If it came that the people found out what I did, Iwould have to accept what is going to happen to me, and deal with the consequences of my actions. I know I'm not perfect and truly I ask if anyone has not sinned to cast the first stone.(not trying to be religious)
Yikes man it doesn't look good for you. We have to face the consequences of our reckless drinking and it looks like you will face them sooner than you wanted to. Drinking won't solve anything. I was told never to write a fourth step down on paper or on leave one on my computer. Mine was in the form of one drunk talking to another. Good luck.
Legal problems? Do you want information from a professional who is knowledgeable about your case and divorce law in your state or us.
The only qualification we need to have is that we are nuts.
But since you reached out:
Most of us sweat the same kind of stuff needlessly. I've been through it. Almost no-one can afford to go to court so it is unlikely the information will be put on display there.
Standards of misbehavior have changed since Henry the eighth got his last divorce. Judges see/hear it all every week so bizarre behavior like daytime TV doesn't even get their attention. They just want to get out of there and play golf.
I was told divorce is a business deal, its about money, for the most part there isn't a price tag on misbehavior. Where did the assets come from, how were they shared, for how long? "Bla, bla, bla, he did, she did, 50 -50, bailiff call the next case."
Now that I may have given you some ray of hope, get a lawyer and see if I have a clue what I'm talking about.
Thanks for your thoughtful replies. I must accept the fact that their were consequences because of my reckless past. This week a guy shared at our group that he was sentenced to two years in jail after he was sober a year and a half for things that caught up with him. He seems mature and sensible now and is grateful for getting honest.
Today is my 25th Anniversary... Thanks to HP & AA could not have done it on my own....
Did not think I could get 25 days in a row let alone 9,131...
bftgogtgi Thankful for the complete program off AA R. U. S. all 3 legacies.
AA needs to work with disabled people like myself. I have cerebral palsy ans don't feel welcome in my home town. step 12 is non existent and judging is the norm. I have relaspse many times but doesn't want to .
Sorry to hear of your troubles. You are not alone. Like many older AA's, I have a hearing disability. Mine is worse than most, some people I can never hear or understand. Others, however, I can hear perfectly if they put forth any effort to be heard. You'd be surprised at the number of people who have a hand over their mouth while sharing. I've asked people point blank to speak up or uncover their mouth. They are incapable of it for more than a few seconds. I'm sure some psychologist has an explanation for it but that doesn't increase the volume any. My observation is that they are simply oblivious to others. I'm the same in some areas and I'm sure that there are other acts of self-centeredness I'm still unaware of. It took years to notice that somebody else might want a refill of coffee while I am up. We lived in the ultimate world of self-centeredness, drunk, for years. At least some of us have been able to pick up the tools and deal with that and other improvement follows.
My recovery started with me looking inward not outward for character defects.
At the end of my first meeting an old salt asked me if I was willing to go to any lengths to get sober and I responded honestly that I didn’t know. He told me loud and clear “Then AA is no @*&!! place for you.” I went back about three months later with the conviction that if that building wasn’t big enough for both of us, he could leave. That was over thirty years ago and I haven't had a drink since that meeting.
My sobriety is not about THEM.
My sobriety is about God and me.
I expect to find the most self-centered, self-absorbed people in the world in AA and I find them. Eagles don't flock but I have found enough of them in AA to show me how it can work.
For thousands of years alcoholics didn't have a chance of recovery as we know it. We have a two hundred and one word instruction sheet that tells us exactly how we can recover. If you don't want to relapse use it.
There are hundreds of AA stories that can be listened to online. Just search for AA talks. There are excellent resources on YouTube and numerous online groups. Much of AA's literature is online and a Grapevine subscription is cheaper than your last drunk.
I don't know where the deal about read the first 164 pages of the big book came from, what are the rest for, toilet paper? I learned about what AA owes me and I owe AA when I read "Ok, go start AA in Detroit," "Go start AA in Chicago", "Go back to Canada and start AA, here are 400 letters asking for help".
Those who want to stay sober pick up the tools and with God's help stay sober, happy, joyous and free. It's up to you. I sincerely hope you join us.
I have been an active member of AA since 1992. I was a member prior to 1992, but didn’t find continued happy sobriety until I got a sponor, homegroup, and began working the steps with that sponsor. What I mean by active member is I attend and participate in my homegroup activities and duties, talk to my sponsor on a regular basis, work the steps as best I can, and sponsor or help newcomers when asked.
On average over the last 20 plus years I attend my home group once a week, attend a jail or other meeting, and a detox or other meeting, and speak at other AA meetings or public information workshops when asked. So, usually about 3 meetings a week, sometimes more depending on my schedule. What does this have to do with AA’s 12 steps? Well at last night’s detox meeting there were 6 patients and I knew 3. The three I know attend meetings and don’t work the steps. One was back after a couple months of not drinking and the other two around 7 months. All three seem to really want sobriety but are under the illusion that real alcoholics can stay sober by doing what hard drinkers do to stay sober. I have met a lot of alcoholics over the years and my experience is this- after participating in open, closed, jail, and detox AA meetings over the years I have never met a single alcoholic that has relapsed while practicing AA’s 12 steps. I have seen hundreds over and over that have tried other methods and failed. I am not theorizing, I am simply stating my personal experience. The statement in the big book is true, “rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path”. My experience is “never have I seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path”.
What I suggest to the alcoholics out there who have as yet not found happy sobriety is get a sponsor, homegroup, and start working the steps with that sponsor as described in our book “Alcoholics Anonymous”.
God bless you and keep you until then.
"Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly
followed our path". If we are trying to help another
alcoholic get sober or stay sober, and that person drinks,
would that not be called a failure? But who has failed?
I would say that the sponsor has failed. I believe that
most "sponsors" place the blame on the "prospect".
We blame the patient because the medicine we offer
him does not work. Maybe you will say, Well, he/she
refuses to take the medicine.
I believe that if we present the medicine in the
way Dr. Silkworth suggested to Bill W. in the spring
of 1935, most patients will take the medicine and we,
along with the patient, will rarely fail.
Note: I have never seen an alcoholic fail who has
followed this suggestion. "don't drink alcohol, and go to
alcoholics anonymous meetings". If we don't drink and
continue to go to meetings, how can we fail? ANONYMOUS
A definition of alcoholism is the inability to control drinking after consuming a small amount and the inability to stay away from that first drink. "Alcoholics Anonymous" is filled with examples of exactly that. In other words untreated alcoholics don't have the capacity to not drink. Sitting in meetings watching others recover works about like sitting by the pool watching others taking swimming lessons.
I heard or read somewhere that those who contributed to writing the BB wanted to include the line "NEVER have we seen a person fail...." but thought that statement might be a bit too boastful or unbelievable so they dialed it back a bit.
My experience over the years tracks with yours. I would feel comfortable using the word Never. Of course, the bar is high. How many who come to AA are willing to "thoroughly follow our path" and do the things called for on that path? It is a wonderful and miraculous thing to behold when it happens.
Not sure who first came up with the notion that Bill W contemplated using the word "never" to begin "how it works," but in spite of his tendency to hyperbole, he did not. To borrow from Pope, "whatever works best is best." I NEVER tell someone else how to work the steps or to work the steps. I merely tell them what I have done, what has worked, what has not.
So -- what has worked for u and what has not?
Can I skip Steps 6 and 7 because I don't think they work too good? The old-timers in my group are still full of character defects as far as I can see. And from what I read Bill W. had plenty of defects well into his recovery. Why would God remove my defects? If he made me then I must be perfect or does he allow the imperfections to live in me so he can remove them later? If my defects don't go away does that mean God doesn't exist?
No it does not mean God doesn't exist. God is always there with a hand, it is up to us to reach for it. We only need to be willing. besides if you want to skip 6&7 go ahead, you'll just won't be your better or if you will your authentic self. When I did my 6&7 I was free from my selfish bad defects of character. I mean how can you do 8&9 if you have an attitude problem, anger, inferiority complex, being selfish, and all the other stuff that made your life misery? Think about it, it's your life. do you want to live happy or not?
Hi, don't sweat it. Stay away from the first drink and your dreams will come true. Some personality types like to follow recipes in order to bake cookies but recovery is not a cookie cutter experience. Others have in them a mechanism that drives them to experiment with finding their bliss. I sponsor both types and so far both types are sober. It's often said that the two things that drive people to unhappiness is fear and desire. These characteristics will drive us to rigidity, close-mindedness and hostility, not to mention greed and territorialism. Some unhealthy groups and people are dominated by these characteristics in AA. I think these are the main characteristic's that fuel all addicts minds as well as the average person, however the average person won't wake up in the morning in a blackout in a strange place surrounded by strange people. They will just be the person most likely to be avoided at social gatherings.
Your comments sound like someone from a non 12 step program trying to trip up someone in AA. If your sober by using programs like "rational recovery " or group therapy, great. I'm greatfull for your sobriety. Please don't suggest members of AA nit work the steps of AA. The steps of AA are what individuals members of AA try to work as a daily program of recovery. Although none of us are required to practice the program, the progressive. Nature of alcoholism dictates whether one can stay sober without working the program.
Please review the Tradition Three checklist. It is available on-line. If I'm following your post correctly then you are saying if someone doesn't get sober like you than they don't belong in AA? Where is the love and tolerance in this message? Everything I share I have heard in the AA rooms or from long-time AA members. These alternative places you mentioned are not part of my recovery. And if you are suggesting I belong somewhere else than please feel free to bring this up with your sponsor. I personally love AA but unfortunately some members fall from grace often because their egos want to be more important than our principals or traditions.
No u didn't read my post correctly. I didn't say leave. I said u sound like people I know who are not in AA.
I believe without the steps, AA would be just another rotary club.
U mentioned love and tolerance. Big book page 84, it's our code, part of the 10th step, of course one must practice the first 9 to be at step ten .
What I really want to share is I have yet to see an alcoholic not recover by using our steps. I have seen hundreds die unwilling to apply the steps as a way of life. Why would I ever suggest not working the steps? Especially as a member having such a good time with the steps.
You said, "Why would I ever suggest not working the steps? Why would you? I wouldn't either but, I do tell them its not necessary if they are concerned. You also mentioned, "I have seen hundreds die unwilling to apply the steps as a way of life." Again, I see thousands get sober without the steps and I've seen the best of big book thumpers relapse. Whether one works or does not work the steps is not the key ingredient in whether one relapses or stays sober. One day I hope you discover the true reason for all of this.
I would NEVER tell an alcoholic to take the steps. I
would NEVER tell anyone, alcoholic or not, not to take
the steps. I share how the steps have helped me, without
implying that anyone else do the same. Attraction, no
promotion of any kind. Everyone is free to decide whether to work the twelve steps of A.A.
"Whether one works the steps or does not work the
steps is not the key ingredient in whether one relapses or stays sober". Your statement will rile many A.A. members,
although it is true. One day I also hope all A.A. members
discover the true reason for all of this. It is really simple. The steps are offered as suggestions (in theory).
Most of today's A.A. members do not know what is meant
by suggestion; or (in theory), for that matter. The 12
steps are suggestions; the Big Book is meant to be
suggestive only. Bill wrote that "more will be revealed"
But most of today's A.A. members consider the Big Book
to be a second Bible.
We are in the same book and seem to be on the same
page. Our cramming of the steps is written about by
Bill in the September 1945 issue of the Grapevine. He
cautions us about cramming the steps down anyone's
throat. Repeatedly reading HIW is cramming the steps,
in my opinion.
Six to Eight million suffering alcoholics have been
pushed away from A.A. in the past 20 years, due to
our spiritual pride and ignorance. ANONYMOUS
In 21 years I have never witnessed anyone relapse who is actively working the steps from the big book.
You said, "In 21 years I have never witnessed anyone relapse who is actively working the steps from the big book." My response is, "Great, and I would also add that in 31 years, I have seen people who have never read the big book or work the steps and stay sober. I'm one of them." That's the beauty about the Fellowship of AA. Some people like the suggested path and others like to find paths that better suit their recovery needs. Some people find it not necessary to be spiritual in AA and that doesn't mean they are evil-doers. Neither paths are better or worse. They are equal in value with equal results. I was never told there was only one way of getting sober and if I didn't follow that one way then I would drink again. Are people that closed in now? A mind that adheres to that kind of rationale obviously has missed the beauty and joy of sobriety because being sober is one of the greatest pleasures in an alcoholics life.
I will preface my comments by noting that I am a militant agnostic. Thus, step 3 took some consideration, as did step seven. But I ultimately concluded that my prayers at step three, as well as after step six, were basically my resolution not to act as I had for some long, impulsively and out of a warped sense of my own importance and entitlement. Thich Nhat Hanh writes that all of those traits we in AA refer to as character defects are always there as part of our store consciousness. My anger, for example, often emerges from where it has been resting. Rather than cursing some god for not taking away my anger, I recognize and embrace it as an old but often wayward friend, try to remember that "this too shall pass," and in the meantime try not to act out on that anger. I try to go through the same process when driving a car and in the check-out line at the grocery store. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But what the discussions in the rooms of AA provide is the help I need to identify the errant manifestations of my character defects.
Thanks you so much for you wisdom. People in my group attack agnostics but, your truth today saved my life. I was thinking about going back out until I read your post. Now I feel like I belong. I can go on another day because of you and will always be grateful for your anonymous post. I also believe we should treat every alcoholic equally and not discriminate over if they believe or do not believe in a higher power or what they work or do not work. I can see the real power in AA is when we share our personal experience.
"I was thinking about going back out until I read your post."
Let me see if I have this right? You were thinking about risking great harm to yourself (by drinking again) because some people in AA won't do what you want them to.
And this makes sense to you but asking a power great enough to create the entire universe and every atom in it to improve your ability to get along with others doesn't?
I am so sorry to hear that there are people in your group who attack agnostics. I agree with you that every alcoholic should be treated equally and no one should be discriminated against if they are an agnostic. I am fortunate to have found a group that treats everyone equally. No one in my group imposes having a Higher Power on other members of the group or enforces working the Steps. It is unfortunate that you ended up in a group that discriminates. The only requirement for membership in the group that I attend is the desire to stop drinking.
If you’re located in a larger city, you could look for another group that does not have members who attack agnostics. If you’re located in a small community, it might be more difficult to find another group. As was mentioned in another recent post, there are online resources for agnostics who are being attacked and discriminated against These resources can at least help to cope with the feelings that arise from being attacked and can provide suggestions on how to survive the vigorous evangelizing you are being subjected to. One of these resources is the AA online Intergroup. It lists on-line groups. Some of these AA on-line groups are accepting of agnostics.
how does a group "attack" an agnostic? how does a group "impose" a higher power or "enforce" working the steps? sounds like strong language. I have been attending meetings across the US and Canada for 20+ years. I have yet to see a group attack, impose, or enforce anything! It's alcohol's job to beat us up, not the group.
I have witnessed individual members acting up. I've seen fist fights after jail meetings, police called to meetings, even one member throwing another member into the christmas tree! But never, never a group, just some members who were simply being alcoholic like me.