I don’t drink, but I always thought that it was unfortunate that the biggest group for helping alcoholics did so with a very religious outlook. Step 3 of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step Program asks members to, “make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understand him.” Your religious beliefs, or lack there of, shouldn’t hinder your attempts to get sober, nor should anyone rely on a mythical being for support… But that is another topic for another day.
Actually, there are some alcoholics being helped by AA WITHOUT the emphasis on God. A group in West Vancouver, BC is apparently joined by groups all over North America who have taken all religious emphasis out of Alcoholics Anonymous’s standard, religious 12 Steps.
Some of these non-theistic members still attend traditional AA meetings, and are tolerant of others’ religious views when discussing the steps, etc. Member George S. said, “I just had to keep my mouth shut about being an atheist at those meetings. I felt dumped on when I mentioned it. Like I wasn’t really a member of their club.” Not only did atheists feel excluded for their views, but the Vancouver administrative body for AA is not being quite as “christian” with their own views. Vancouver AA has removed the atheist-agnostic meetings from their list of regularly held meetings, claiming that a secular version of the 12 Steps does not match their original, religious guidelines. Sorry, I thought the goal was to get sober, however a person can. AA bodies in numerous other cities have supported their atheist sub-groups, keeping the main goal in mind.
AA Agnostica, for instance, is organizing its first international convention. The conference, titled, Many Paths to Recovery, will be Nov. 6 to 8 in Santa Monica, Calif.
Read more about it and the other atheist and agnostic support groups for alcoholics in a great article here, on the Vancouver Sun, by Douglas Todd.