Atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers in AA
More and more atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers are coming into AA to get sober. This can prove to be a challenge given the 12 Steps of the program strongly encourages a belief in God. In the past, too many alcoholics have walked away from AA because of the God word. I suspect, that even more have avoided the program because they see it as some kind of quasi-religion. Their reasons are understandable.
For newcomers that don’t believe in God, the twelve steps can seem like an insurmountable obstacle. They certainly were for me. God and higher power are mentioned in 6 of them. I was completely incapable of believing in God and using it as a mechanism to get sober. In childhood, I had negative experiences with religion and religious people. I was so full of resentment about the very idea of God that I simply refused to surrender and work through the twelve steps. In my mind therapy was a much better idea. Rejecting AA’s suggested program was a grave mistake that almost cost me my life.
After many years of relapse, I was finally shown a way forward. The twelve steps worked for me without the need to believe in God. I was introduced to new concepts of powers greater than myself. These new ideas were tangible and practical. They helped me achieve contented sobriety. In fact, despite being an agnostic, they did for me in one year, what ten years of therapy failed to do.
Secular AA, now an international movement
Secular AA has now become a powerful movement within the fellowship. It is guiding countless alcoholics towards a meaningful recovery. Peaceful and contented sobriety is now within reach for those with secular beliefs. These days, it is enough to look on the AA website of most countries to find meetings for atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers. There are helpful websites that encourage alternative approaches to the 12 steps. These are now freely available. They do not require a belief in any divine deity. Many books are available on Amazon that offers a secular path to sobriety
Regarding the God word, over the last decade, AA has changed radically. There is now a great deal of guidance and support for those alcoholics that feel unable to use God as a helpful recovery tool. With these new resources, atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers are now staying in the fellowship. The fact that they don’t believe in a monotheistic God is no longer an obstacle. Through adapted interpretations of the twelve steps, non-believers are achieving full and contented sobriety.
Here are some resources that may be helpful to the recovery community with secular beliefs.
An authority website
AA Agnostica has become an authority website. It was set up to support alcoholics that don’t believe in God. It is the longest-running website of its kind. Established on June 15th, 2011, it has been active for the past eleven years. It has enjoyed 150,000 viewers over the past decade. The website has published 747 articles about secular sobriety. Sadly, the website is about to stop producing new material. It will remain online but no new content will be published.
Roger C, who is the founder and administrator of AA Agnostica is now retiring. He has done a great service for members of the fellowship who hold secular beliefs. I am sure I speak for all of us in wishing him a happy and peaceful retirement. There is some excellent content on Rogers’s website.
Here is a list of links that AA Agnostica offers to support a secular path to recovery
Also available on Rogers’s website is a list of worldwide groups for atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers.
Beyond Belief sobriety
If you enjoy listening to podcasts, then Beyond Belief Sobriety is another great resource. John S is the creator, administrator, and host. His website offers a “secular path to addiction recovery” As of July 2022, there are 282 podcasts available on beyondbeliefsobriety.com – These are the testimonies of addicts and alcoholics that have found a secular path to recovery. These podcasts can be most helpful if you can’t get to a meeting.
Rebellion Dogs Publishing
The creator and administrator of Rebellion Dogs Publishing is an agnostic old timer called Joe C. He has been clean and sober since 1976. Joe is an active and committed member of the secular recovery community. The website offers visitors interesting articles, podcasts, and even online radio. Joe has published a 24 hours daily reflection book. It is called “Beyond Belief – Agnostic musings for a twelve-step life.” His website shares the latest news and developments as they relate to secular AAs.
Here is the link to Joe C’s website
The Secular AA website
Quote: – “Secular AA exists to serve the community of atheist, agnostic, and freethinking AA members by supporting worldwide access to secular A.A. meetings.” They are “fostering mutual support within a growing population of secularly-minded alcoholics”
They are also responsible for organizing the International Conference of Secular AA. Due to Covid 19, the event scheduled for the 29th – 30th of October 2022 has been canceled. It will now take place on the zoom platform. Please keep your eye on the website to get login details. They will be published closer to the time of the conference. You can also follow the International Conference of secular Alcoholics Anonymous on Twitter
I do hope you find this information about Secular AA helpful.
Author of “The twelve steps for agnostics”
E-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org
Link to the main AA website for the US and Canada