From the October 1981 magazine.

. . . As We Understood Him

ONE SUNDAY afternoon, I was talking to a nonalcoholic friend, telling him my story and how God had removed the compulsion to drink from my life. He marveled and said that he couldn't begin to conceive what it must be like to be addicted and held in bondage to a substance for twenty-five years and then to be freed by the power of God. I told him that it was possible for any drunk who wanted to stop drinking to do so by following the AA Twelve Steps program. I then had him read the Steps, and he asked why it was written in two of the Steps "God as we understood Him" instead of just plain "God." I answered as I usually do when either an AA or a non-AA asks that question--by explaining that some drunks are atheists or agnostics, and those added words give them the choice of forming their own concept of God and using whatever power they feel is greater than themselves.

I explained that in the infancy of AA, there were objections to the unequivocal use of the term "God," and that the founding fathers wanted AA to be there to help alldrunks, even if they didn't believe in God. So the clause "as we understood Him" was added, and that satisfied the objections.

-- F. H.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

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