Secular AA

July 31, 2022

By Andy F

Categories: Atheists, agnostics and freethinkers

Atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers in AA

More and more atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers are coming into AA to get sober. However, this can prove to be a challenge given that the 12 Steps of the program strongly encourage 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 quasi-religion. Their reasons are understandable.

The twelve steps can seem impossible for newcomers who don’t believe in God. They, indeed, were for me. Six of them mention God and a higher power. I was utterly 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 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 eventually found 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 an influential movement within the fellowship. It is guiding countless alcoholics toward 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 offer a secular path to sobriety.

Online resources

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 who 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. Nonbelievers achieve full and contented sobriety through adapted interpretations of the twelve steps.

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. Roger C set it up to support alcoholics who don’t believe in God. It is the longest-running website of its kind. Established on June 15th, 2011, it has been active for 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 it will now stop posting new content.

After a long and successful career, Roger C is retiring. He has done an excellent service for fellowship members who hold secular beliefs. I am sure I speak for all of us in wishing him a happy and peaceful retirement. Rogers’s website has some excellent content.

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 podcasts, Beyond Belief Sobriety is another excellent 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 who have found a secular path to recovery. These podcasts can be most helpful if you can’t attend a meeting. 

Rebellion Dogs Publishing

The creator and administrator of Rebellion Dogs Publishing is an agnostic old-timer named Joe C. He has been clean and sober since 1976 and is an active and committed member of the secular recovery community. The website offers visitors exciting articles, podcasts, and even online radio. Joe has published a 24-hour daily reflection book called “Beyond Belief—Agnostic musings for a twelve-step life.” His website shares the latest news and developments related to secular AAs.

Here is the link to Joe C’s website

The Secular AA website

Quote: – “Secular A.A. exists to serve the community of atheist, agnostic, and freethinking A.A. 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 A.A. You can follow the International Conference of Secular Alcoholics Anonymous on Twitter.

As an agnostic member of AA, I discovered that there were numerous helpful resources available to help me find a spiritual dimension to my recovery. I found the ideas of Mystricism helpful in discovering what a non-theistic higher power could mean.

I do hope you find this information helpful.

In fellowship,

Andy F

Link to the main AA website for the US and Canada

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