Welcome to AA for Agnostics
A recovery resource for Agnostics in twelve step recovery - A book that offers a simple, practical and highly effective method of going through the steps without the need to become concerned about the use of the God word as a higher Power.
Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Andy. I am an alcoholic in recovery. I am sober today only with the ongoing love, help and support of Alcoholics Anonymous. In the AA program it is regarded as vital that if alcoholics are to be successful in their recovery, they should turn their will and lives over to the guidance of a higher power. This is usually referred to as the care of God ‘as we understand him’.
I am however an agnostic. Being an agnostic in AA has sometimes been an enormous challenge. For this reason, I plan to publish a book towards the end of 2020 entitled The Twelve Steps for Agnostics. The purpose of this website is to tell you about the book and my successful journey towards recovery as an agnostic in AA.
What Brought Me to My First AA Meeting
From the age of thirteen I drank almost daily until I went to my first AA meeting at the age of thirty. The consequences of my alcoholism was treatment in seven mental institutions before I was twenty-one and a prison sentence. I was homeless at seventeen and became a street drunk and a beggar. I was angry, bitter, lonely, and alcoholic. My feelings of rejection and abandonment that I experienced in childhood were overwhelming. They fuelled resentment, which fuelled my drinking. These resentments were so toxic that they condemned me to walk a path which would eventually lead to self-destruction.
When I came to AA at thirty, I loved the fellowship from my very first meeting. I was home at last! Here was the family that I never had as a foster child. Sadly, the moment I saw the God word mentioned in the twelve steps, my heart sank. My foster Mother was overly religious and went regularly to her place of worship. By the time I was eight or nine, I rejected the idea of God as ridiculous. I was so put off by the mention of God or a higher power in six of the twelve steps that I gave up any further attempt to go through them. This wholesale rejection of the twelve steps was like throwing the baby out with the bath water. It almost cost me my life.
Over the next thirteen years in AA, I became a “serial relapser.” I managed to get periods of abstinence from alcohol, but these were so chaotic, unmanageable and painful, that I always ended up drinking again. I felt miserable and hopeless even in recovery. Crippling depression and paralyzing anxiety were my daily companions. Suicide began to look like the only solution left open to me. I was a tortured soul, and this was my reality with or without a drink. Members of AA who had been sober for a long time told me that I was suffering from what in AA is called a “dry drunk” or “untreated alcoholism.”
I rejected these ideas too and tried every kind of counseling and psychotherapy. These talk therapies, though well intentioned, served only to make me more unwell. I then learned in the fellowship that I was trying to apply a psychological solution to what the AA literature describes as a spiritual problem. Bill W, one of the founder members of AA, frequently referred to alcoholism as a ‘spiritual illness’. How on earth was I going to embrace the idea of a spiritual solution to my problems as a confirmed agnostic? I was very cynical about the program because of what I saw as its religious influence. I wanted nothing to do with God and didn’t understand what the AA members meant by the expression “higher power.” Why did the literature mention God so often? This question baffled me completely.
I was continuously assured that spiritual principles would help me to stay sober, and more importantly, enable me to enjoy my sobriety. My book is about finding tangible and effective spiritual solutions as a non-believer. It is my account of a fascinating journey of discovery. I began to explore what the word ‘spirituality’ could come to mean to me an agnostic. Someone who is unable to embrace the traditional idea of God. This is especially true regarding the God of my childhood. This journey hasn’t always been easy, but it has been so powerful and healing that I want to share it with you.
I have had a non God-centered spiritual awakening that has transformed my life. I still consider myself an agnostic, but I have discovered that a spiritual awakening is by no means dependent on a God awakening. They are not mutually inclusive.
A therapist’s view of addiction Before I tell you what I have learned about the importance of rigorous honesty with an AA sponsor, I would like to share the following story with you. When I was quite new in recovery, I went into group therapy with other alcoholics and addicts. The group facilitator was a […]
When I first got sober, I was so self-obsessed and so consumed with fear that I was unable to listen to very much of what was being shared at AA meetings. It took a long time to adjust to life without alcohol. When I started to feel more comfortable, I noticed that a subject frequently […]
Step one “We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable” I arrived in AA on May 15th 1984 after a twenty-year addiction to alcohol and drugs. My drinking and using began at the age of thirteen following negative experiences growing up in foster care. By the time I […]
Stay in Touch
The book will hopefully be published by the end 2020. Please subscribe to my website and let me know if you are interested in purchasing a copy. I will keep you updated. In the meantime, stay well and stay safe. If you have just come to AA and identify as an agnostic, then please don’t be put off by the ‘God’ word, or any other references to a ‘higher power’.
By going to plenty of meetings, you have already accessed a powerful treatment for your alcoholism. It works whether you believe in God or not. AA itself and your fellow sober alcoholics in recovery are most certainly a power greater than you.
In love and fellowship