Agnostic groups: An asset for the future of AA

AA Chips

This is the concluding chapter in the book, Don’t Tell: Stories and Essays by Agnostics and Atheists in AA

By Roger C.

There are no doubt some who, having read Don’t Tell, will wonder if it is the goal of agnostics and atheists to “change” Alcoholics Anonymous.

The fundamental answer to that question is “no.”

It might even be: “No, not at all. Our goal is to help AA realize its unquestioned primary purpose, which is to lend a helping hand to the suffering alcoholic, all suffering alcoholics.”

So let’s take a few moments to deal with the quasi-criminal accusation leveled at us by some that agnostics and atheists want to change AA. We will do so by looking at three things: the individual agnostic in the rooms, agnostic groups and alternative versions of the 12 Steps.

The individual agnostic and atheist

A person does not have to believe a thing to be a member of AA. That goes from the day he or she enters the rooms of AA until forever. This declaration of individual freedom is contained in the Third Tradition: “The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.”

That tradition is often attributed to Jim Burwell, a “self-proclaimed atheist, completely against all religion.” He was one of the very first members of the fellowship and got sober in the late 1930s with Bill Wilson in New York. He was well respected within AA and started AA groups in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and San Diego. He died an AA member – and a sober atheist – on September 8, 1974.

Agnostic groups

What about groups, though? Can you have agnostic groups in AA? Of course you can. Here’s the long form of Tradition Three:

Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism. Hence we may refuse none who wish to recover. Nor ought AA membership ever depend upon money or conformity. Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an AA Group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation.

Don't Tell

You are reading the conclusion to Don’t Tell

That’s pretty clear, right?

Well, amazingly enough, sometimes it is not.

And sometimes it will be suggested that agnostics and atheists have “affiliations” to a website, or a Facebook Page, or a philosophy, or maybe even to science. So absurd. Those who make those accusations should be careful, especially if they hold their meetings in church basements and end them with the Lord’s Prayer.

And then there are those in AA who will either ignore the Tradition or, for their own purposes, attempt to interpret it with conditions.

The author of the Traditions, Bill Wilson, recognized this and so in an effort to fully explain Tradition Three he expanded on it in an article in the Grapevine:

So long as there is the slightest interest in sobriety, the most unmoral, the most anti-social, the most critical alcoholic may gather about him a few kindred spirits and announce to us that a new Alcoholics Anonymous Group has been formed. Anti-God, these rampant individuals are still an AA Group if they think so! (Anarchy Melts, AA Grapevine, July 1946)

Nobody can misunderstand that.

But it can be – and sometimes is – ignored, and there are those whose interests and beliefs are best served by pretending they are unaware of the meaning of this Tradition.

Rigidity is setting in in some parts of Alcoholics Anonymous. Moreover there is a canonization of the early AA literature, as though Bill and the handful of alcoholics who put the Big Book together were the equivalent of Moses coming down the mountain with the Ten Commandments.

Which leads us rather naturally to our next topic.

Alternative versions of the 12 Steps

The “true crime” for many is that agnostics and atheists – and particularly their groups – sometimes use an alternative version of the 12 Steps.

This has repeatedly been the excuse for barring or expulsing groups from AA regional meeting lists and Intergroups.

Two or three thoughts come to mind.

First, thanks to our friend Jim Burwell and a lively discussion at the time Alcoholics Anonymous was written, the Steps are “suggestions” only.

It says so right in the Big Book.

And again the author of the Steps was clear about what that means:

We must remember that AA’s Steps are suggestions only. A belief in them as they stand is not at all a requirement for membership among us. This liberty has made AA available to thousands who never would have tried at all, had we insisted on the Twelve Steps just as written. (Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, p. 81)

Moreover – and this is where it starts to get bizarre – from the very first day we enter the rooms of AA we are told that we can interpret the Steps as we wish. “God as you understand Him,” don’t you know. Some then decide their higher power is going be Good Orderly Direction and others will say it’s their home group of AA. So what’s wrong with entrusting “our will and our lives to the care of the collective wisdom and resources of those who have searched before us” as is suggested in a secular version of the third Step?

Nothing. Nothing at all, according to the long-standing practice within AA.

Except for some people who don’t understand, or who are confused, or who are just downright belligerent and insist upon equating Bill Wilson with Moses and the Twelve Steps with the Ten Commandments.

Or who are just a tad lacking in love and tolerance towards nonbelievers in AA.

Then there are those who will insist that the alcoholic will be confused if he or she comes into the fellowship and there are different versions of the Steps.

This fear of multiple versions of the Steps is highly exaggerated and over-dramatized.

For one thing, the newcomer, instead of feeling confusion, might very well feel a sense of freedom and liberation.

Besides – and some need to write this down somewhere – agnostics and atheists are not trying to change the original 12 Steps. Secular alternatives are not meant to replace the 12 Steps originally published in the Big Book, but are solely for the use of individuals and groups who may find them helpful.

Again, all in accordance with long-standing practice within AA.

Now, as we approach the end of this book, here’s a thought that might be worthy of consideration within all of AA.

And the thought is this: maybe agnostic groups are exactly what is needed in AA.

Maybe it’s not just a matter of tolerating our stubborn refusal to find a prescribed Higher Power, and of reluctantly acknowledging that we are alcoholics with a desire to stop drinking and so perhaps AA ought to find some way to accommodate us, even if only reluctantly and in the back rooms, so to speak.

Instead, maybe agnostic groups should be welcomed and encouraged by our fellowship.

Here’s why.

Increasingly these days AA is viewed as a religious organization. It’s hard – if not impossible – to avoid coming to that conclusion.

Meetings are held in church basements. There is usually a huge plaque beside the podium covered with the Twelve Steps, and the word “God” (or “Power” or “Him”) appears six times in those Steps. Moreover AA meetings have become increasingly scripted, and thus meetings now often include someone reading “How it Works” which claims that God – “if He were sought” – can and will solve a person’s problem with alcohol. Enough religion yet? There is more to come. Many North American AA meetings end with the Gospel of Matthew from the New Testament, Chapter 6, Verses 9 to 13, universally known as “The Lord’s Prayer.”

As a result of this, everyone of sound mind agrees that AA is religious.

Indeed, the Courts in the United States over the last decades have repeatedly, consistently and unanimously decreed that AA is a religious program.

And as long as agnostic groups are booted out of regional Intergroups for sharing versions of the Steps without the God bit, that opinion is reinforced. It is proven to be true, in fact.

AA ChipsBut now what would happen if the opposite were true and agnostic and atheist groups were welcomed and encouraged in AA?

Well, that’s a new ball game. That would “widen the gateway,” as Bill Wilson put it, and perhaps significantly alter the way AA is understood, both publicly and within the fellowship.

It might even be the true beginning of AA as a “spiritual not religious” program.

Ironically, agnostic groups may prove to be the very salvation of the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Nor should we be surprised by that. The only goal of any and all agnostic groups is to help AA realize its unquestioned primary purpose and to lend a helping hand to the suffering alcoholic, all suffering alcoholics.

In order to access the value inherent in agnostic groups in AA and for the fellowship to move forward as a contemporary force, however, we have to once and for all drop the “Don’t Tell” policy in AA. We need to discuss the place of agnostics and atheists, and our groups, in AA in an open, honest and intelligent way.

And that’s what Don’t Tell has, proudly, been all about.

———-

Don’t Tell  is available as a paperback at Recovery 101 (where discounts are also available for bulk purchases) and at Amazon.

The book is also available at traditional online retail locations as an iBook (for Mac and iPads) and as a Kindle or, Kobo, etcetera, ebook.

 

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Comments

Agnostic groups: An asset for the future of AA — 36 Comments

  1. And… I also wanted to comment on the changing of AA as we know it.
    I don’t think that it is possible to have the Christian, GOD fearing majority be more welcoming to the Agnostic or Atheist minority.
    Like Addicts had to venture forth to create Narcotics Anonymous many other fellowships have risen from the ashes of AA’s rigidity.
    LifeRing, S.O.S., Rational Recovery to name a few. These fellowships are tiny compared to the vast AA empire. It’s extremely hard to find meeting in some areas.
    We see that it is far more important to “Keep those Bastards Out” than to welcome them in.
    AA is losing it’s diversified message by not being open minded. I can see that resistance to AA is growing on all fronts, Christian Alcoholics want the all Christian message all the time and formed Alcoholics Victorious.
    Agnostic/Atheists Alcoholics are not feeling the love and are venturing towards new meetings, fellowships.
    AA is suffering a brain drain by being all of one mindset.
    Hopefully when enough Agnostic AA meeting get de-listed we will have are own fellowship.
    AAA – wait that one has been taken. lol

    • I would hope that as long as we remain Open Agnostic meetings, listed at least with GSO, that we will remain an inclusive part of AA. If they drop the ball then, yes, we will be a whole other fellowship. Intergroups have seriously dropped the ball though. Why can’t they just make a note in their directory codes along with the Stag, Gay, Open, Closed, Young People, Spanish, etc?

      • Yes, it would be nice to go to AA groups that are welcoming to other opinions, views and are not hostile to anyone who doesn’t tow the party line. I find no Agnostic AA groups listed or not listed in my area. :-(
        I found a group called Good Orderly Direction outside of town. I have always found that saying to be helpful and make sense. I will have to check them out to see what they are about.

  2. I am enjoying the breath of fresh air on this website, I too liked the well written article.
    I have been discouraged with fundamental, traditionalist AA meetings, I rarely attend AA meetings and don’t feel part of the fellowship.
    Luckily when I was a newbie, I was befriended by many kind, wise people who helped and encouraged me to gain sobriety. I don’t hear that too much anymore in the rooms of AA. I do hear a lot of Step fundamentalists, rigidity in doing it by the book and only by the book so help you God.
    I try not to speak program speak when I share. I recall one Big Book study that I attended when I said; I cross out all the Dogma in my Big Book, the God, Him, He, Creator parts.
    And there was a mighty Gasp from the crowd and I got group slammed on how sacreligious it was to alter anything in the book of Bill. lol
    I wish there were AA meetings for this Agnostic Alcoholic to go but, none around here in Rochester, NY I’m afraid.

    • I struck out a lot too. Chapter to the Agnostic is very offending and more like one giant lecture on what side of the fence to come down on instead of being accommodating for atheism. I loathe page 49 and refuse to read any of the chapter aloud. Page 49 should be burned, middle paragraph especially is pure crap, untouched from the original manuscript.

      • AA’s primary purpose is “to stay sober and help the suffering alcoholic to achieve sobriety”. Whether we have faith in God or not is, by AA’s own statement of primacy, a secondary issue. What is happening now with Intergroup and the difficulty secular meetings are having getting listed is a petty but divisive issue. Frankly, I don’t care what somebody believes or doesn’t, nor should I. The Free Thinkers should demonstrate that what drives them is AA’s primary purpose. And given that secular groups are popping up and are well attended tells us that there is a need for newcomers to have the option to choose. But there is no “win” in this, at least there shouldn’t be.
        Long before there was even the thought of holding secular meetings, atheists and agnostics attended regular AA meetings. They got sober and stayed sober. So while I think pressuring for recognition is clearly right and necessary, we ought to remind ourselves that we’re doing this in order to be of greater service to the new man or woman who comes through our doors. It should not be viewed as a victory over the “God people”.

  3. Another great article Roger! The Truth is there are people in AA who stay sober without a belief in God, and rather then being joyful that these members have been spared a miserable alcoholic existence, some members would prefer to see them drinking so that they themselves can bask in the glory of being RIGHT. Sad indeed!

    • There are people in AA who stay sober without believing any of the other stuff that AA preaches – personal inventory, confession, making amends, getting a sponsor.

      AA has always been about not drinking for me.

      Hanging around with others who are abstinent (mostly) helps me to keep that in mind. But mostly I go to meetings for social reasons.

      Although lately I seem to be going to a lot of meetings where relapse has been brought up frequently.
      Is God trying to tell me something? Is my HP sending me a warning about my complacency?

      All my relapses happened before I went to my first meeting, so it’s difficult for me to contribute to those discussions.

      I suspect an important reason for why I have not relapsed is why I drank. I did it because it was fun, not to mask feelings or for any of the other myriad of Inner Child defects often mentioned.

      Once the drawbacks of drinking outweighed the good times, it was pretty easy to not drink.

      This is what happened with my experience with MJ as well.

      I have smoke MJ about a dozen times, and it was always a very pleasant high. The last two times I did it, back in the 80′s, I got paranoid. If that’s what it was going to do to me, there wasn’t much point in taking the stuff, so I simply stopped.

  4. I am so happy to read this. I too have been an AA member and just had to quit going to meetings. I want to stay sober but I am an atheist. I would love to attend meetings with other atheist who have a drinking problem. I just want to be real. I think the “religious” stigma that comes with AA keeps alot of people from walking through the door.

  5. From the post;
    “So let’s take a few moments to deal with the quasi-criminal accusation leveled at us by some that agnostics and atheists want to change AA.”

    OK, but how true is that as a practical matter?

    First of all, are “agnostics and atheists” collectively so homogenous that all of them are comfortable with the position that there is nothing we wish to “change” about AA?

    I’m an atheist with a little over 30 years of sobriety—sobriety that I almost certainly would *not* have if AA did not exist—and there are certainly some things I would very much like to change.

    Just as one example, I would like AA to explore ways to make it more difficult for evangelical lunatics to pick on new members, some of them still trembling, by trying to impose their fundamentalist madness on them.

    Its been a while, but just in my own personal experience I have been variously told all kinds of crazy stuff;

    That I cannot derive the benefit of AA unless I accept a personal divine being.

    That I’m demonically possessed and cannot escape without divine intervention. I kid you not. Texas can be a strange place.

    That if I don’t “hit my knees” in a formal 3rd step prayer I will certainly get drunk. It’s only a matter of time.

    That in my case it might be a “good thing” for me to get drunk, as doing so might render me more “teachable” and less “prideful”….. I could go on for quite a while in this vein.

    Looking at all that silliness now, I can laugh at it. But how funny is it really, if you’re just walking in the door?
    Maybe not very.

    So yeah, I don’t necessarily want to remodel AA from stem to stern, but there are sure some things that I really think should be different, and I’m at a little bit of a loss to see how a different outcome can happen without changes of some sort being made.
    There’s all kinds of room for discussion about what *kind* of changes, but are we really happy to say we don’t want to change anything?

    I don’t think we *are* happy with changing nothing. The GSO attitude and willingness to accept input on necessary future literature from agnostic/atheists members, just as one example.
    The prospective new pamphlet discussed in the previous thread is a case in point – it’s a change, and we want it. We’ve wanted it for decades.

    Isn’t that just a start? Are there really not other changes that we could discuss as being something we’d like to see?

    Are we saying we’re “not trying to change AA” because that’s really, literally, what we mean, or are we trying to placate those who want to preserve AA in some kind of suspended animation as some kind of holy relic.

    The literature which guides AA was written before things like plate tectonics was respectable theories for goodness sake.
    So many of the pamphlets are so utterly dreadful I’m embarrassed to even think about giving them to any intelligent young person in the year 2014.

    AA is becoming fossilized and if it doesn’t change it will sink into being a mere historical curiosity, rather like the Oxford Group has.
    I do think agnostics and atheists can be a valuable, even indispensable part of that change.

    But change there must be, surely?

    • Yes, there must surely be change, David. What I was getting at is that none of us want to change the basic nature of AA, which is to provide life-saving support by means of “one alcoholic talking to another alcoholic.” That, to me, is the primary purpose of AA. Period. Full stop.
      Precisely in order to do that AA will change: the alcoholics of the late 1930s would appear to have been white well-to-do men with a Christian background. Today a much more diverse crew needs the support of the fellowship, including atheists and agnostics. Elements of AA need to change – meeting formats, literature, etcetera – to accommodate an evolving world and membership without, however, changing the basic nature and purpose of Alcoholics Anonymous.
      I trust that make a bit more sense to you, David. Your comment was much appreciated.

      • Yes, that did help. Thank you Roger.

        I think we’re on much the same page, actually. I, like you, think of the fellowship, the simple act of one human relating to another, as being the source (there may be a better word) of the power which resides in AA and it would indeed be a mistake to change that.

        Actually, the dynamic of fellowship, acting in concert with complete group autonomy and self sufficiency, should be all that’s needed to move nimbly into a new landscape of changing demographics and cultural diversity.

        Perhaps the only “changes” we need to seriously consider are to remove whatever influences we can identify which serve to obstruct that natural tendency toward diversity which is inherent, systemically, in the AA structural features of group autonomy and direct fellowship.

        Your observation that today “a much more diverse crew needs the support of the fellowship” is absolutely true.

        It’s also true that AA needs the support of precisely that same crew, otherwise those new faces will splinter away in schism and AA itself will be irreparably impoverished.

        I think it’s mutual or it’s nothing. We have to find way to reassure those fearful of change that it’s going to be not just OK, but wonderful.

        And to convince them that change is inevitable anyway, and the smart move is to understand in in the context of “life on life’s terms”.

        Carefully scripting everything to try ensuring that AA doesn’t “go astray” is in a way the exact opposite of what we should be doing.

      • I think they are two separate yet sometimes overlapping groups, us WAFT’s and the members of AA who want to change things, the latter faction being, well, most people in A.A.

        I go to traditional meetings from time to time. One group knows me well (counted days there) and folks there and are cool with my agnostic approach. When I was having coffee afterwards one morning, one of my friends from there joked “Well, you should come tomorrow, we’re reading from We Agnostics!”

        I looked at him sideways, and the whole table burst out laughing. “Don’t worry,” he went on to say, “we hate that chapter too!” Everyone else nodded and smiled.

        We’re not alone.

    • Dunno anyone else, but it’s been a very long time since a BB thumper tried to convert me.

      I tended to piss them off in my early days when they approached me.

      I remember one old fart who got on my case. I asked him why, if he was so spiritual and wise, he still smoked like a coal train?

      AA dogma is full of paradox, and it’s easy to fend of the Born Again Alcoholics by raising one of them at appropriate moments.

  6. With rehab being a topic of some interest these days, I have a rehab story that is relevant to what Roger has written.
    The last rehab I went to was considered to be among the best so I bit the bullet, paid cash and got admitted immediately. I spent just over six weeks there and would today endorse the place to anyone who seriously wanted to get clean and straight.
    Every morning we had a one hour lecture from one of the three doctors on staff. And when I say “lecture”, I mean of the sort a university professor would give as opposed the finger wagging type that parents and teachers were so good at.
    Anyway, one morning the doc’s lecture was about attending a 12 step program when we got out. He had the 12 steps printed large on heavy card stock and he read through them all. He then came back to Step 1 and asked how many of us agreed that we were indeed powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable. Only a smattering of hands went up.
    Recognizing most didn’t agree he picked somebody who hadn’t raised his hand and asked him how he might make that statement more accurate, a better reflection of his experience with drugs and alcohol. I don’t recall what the guy said but the doctor wrote it down. More people started shouting out words they felt were more relevant to their drinking and using. Eventually the doctor was able to cobble together an alternate first step that in essence said the same thing but in different words, words that simply were more palatable to many.
    The point I’m trying to make is, behind the words and language AA uses, are some fundamental truths and those are what need to be accepted and understood rather than the specific words chosen by Bill Wilson back when he was writing the Big Book.
    I’ve never understood the person who feels that every chapter, paragraph, sentence and word, not to mention the punctuation, is sacrosanct; untouchable and not open to debate. If that attitude persists, one day the Big Book will be suspended in amber, a fossilized relic of an organization that once provided a safe and supportive community for people bent on self destruction because they couldn’t control their use of mood and mind altering substances.
    AA was founded on the insight that one alcoholic talking to and supporting another in his or her effort to get sober, proved most effective in keeping alcoholics sober than anything that came before. Yet still we say, “no human power could have relieved our alcoholism”. There is a contradiction there but empirical evidence would support the former statement rather than the latter.

    • Well said Brent, I had a very similar experience in rehab. Neuroscience has indeed revealed more about how powerless we are in the addiction cycle when using. However I rephrase it, Step One certainly applies to me!

    • I think one reason that some hold every word in our Sacred Writings holy and untouchable is because they ascribe meaning to the text that supports their beliefs.

      I have never quite understood how someone can wrap their rational being, if they have one, around that approach.

      Our Sacred Writings were set down within the last century in North American English. Seems to me the meaning is pretty clear. It’s not like the Christian bible where one can argue forever whether some passage was translated properly from the Greek or Aramaic.

      E.g. I read the word ‘insanity’ in the Sacred Steps as meaning insanity in the generally understood sense of the word.

      I have met very few people in AA who qualify using that meaning.

      And if drinking is a symptom of insanity, why isn’t smoking? Smoking related causes probably kill more drunks than booze does, but it has near sacramental status.

  7. An excellent article, thank you.

    I was shocked when a youngish American visiting London England expressed his gratitude at a meeting that god had come down and handed the 12 Steps to Bill W. As you say in your piece It is akin to Moses receiving the Ten Commandments. It was then that I realised that my polite acceptance of religious overtones within the fellowship, for many years, was totally misplaced. I think that there are many like me. Since that time I have declared myself at most meetings as a Free Thinker ( which is what I am). As I write I am in Greece to attend the annual convention and at dinner just now I was asked if I would be attending the world Convention in Atlanta next year.My reply was “No as I dislike the religious ritual in America of holding hands and reciting the lord’s prayer”. I travel a lot and also go to AA meetings wherever I am and occasionally I have been asked to speak at international conventions. Seldom have I met hostility but I have met many who try to”convert” or “save” me. I never try to reason with them – I would consider such behaviour on my part to be bad manners.

    Thank you Roger.

    • Speaking of Atlanta, does anybody know if there is going to be an agnostic meeting at the convention? It has been done in the past.

  8. This is such a well-written and reasoned summation, Roger, of what we WAFTs seek by sharing our truth of how we experience recovery, some of us long-term recovery in AA, as non-believers. We seek not to change or dilute AA, but to make it available to all who suffer. Thank you.

    This afternoon after my Beyond Belief meeting in Portland, OR, I’m sending it to the Manager of the Portland Intergroup Office, who is currently determining if we are a “listable” group!

  9. Again, Roger, thank you, thank you, thank you!

    You write:

    It might even be: “No, not at all. Our goal is to help AA realize its unquestioned primary purpose, which is to lend a helping hand to the suffering alcoholic, all suffering alcoholics.

    What part of “keep it simple” did some of the traditionalist not get?

  10. Well said, Roger! This is the future of A.A. But It’s also reminiscent of its past: Bringing things back to the roots of A.A. meetings–before the Big Book, before the Central Offices, before any Conference approved anything… We were (and still are) just a group of drunks in a basement, desiring to achieve sobriety, sharing our stories in order to figure it all out.

    More me, the agnostic approach in A.A. goes beyond the God-stuff. Aside from being a safe space for non-believers and freethinkers by forgoing closing prayers, I most admire our tradition to freely express “any doubts or disbelief” about anything in recovery. Even recovering alcoholics who have a firm faith in a “Mr. Higher-Power” might have other questions or reservations about the ‘wisdom’ contained in these mid-century folk-psychology texts.

    Like all others who have a desire to stop, they are welcome at our meetings.

  11. Thanks for an insightful and interesting read, Roger. To add my two cents worth, when I was relatively new to the program, I was on a site, discussing some scientific events, which I find interesting. During some exchanges, I mentioned that I was in AA, and one of the site members replied, “You mean you’re part of that religious cult?” I was really thrown by that reaction and tried to tell him about the third tradition. He firmly said, “It’s still a religious cult.”

    After more time in the program, I began agreeing with him, since I’m in the deep south, and down here we don’t question “god” under any circumstances – at least until three weeks ago, when a small group of us (six to begin with) started our own meeting, called “Freethinkers of the Low Country”. The low country refers to our location on the coast. We’ve developed quite a bit of interest, and foresee us growing as an agnostic AA group.

    Thanks to you Roger, and all who are part of AA Agnostica for giving us the push that helped us get started on our own.

  12. I have been an on and off member of AA for 10 years. Until I found your site my days were numbered again as I just could not do another set of steps under the rigid AA guilt and browbeating tone. To be able to read about and participate hopefully very soon has been a breath of fresh air and has strengthened my recovery. Please keep up the great articles and further exploration.

    • Hi Peter,

      It always brings many of us great joy – yes, WAFT’s can experience joy too – to hear folks like you find “renewal” in AA by coming home to yourself by sharing your experience, strength, and hope with us at AA Agnostica in ways that are genuinely true for YOU.

  13. Recently our (tiny) group out here on the edge of the Atlantic had a member speak up and open the door for me. I had discussed my own non-belief with him privately.

    Well, he said he had come to the conclusion that he didn’t believe in a deity anymore and wanted others opinions on HP.

    I just about cried in relief. There was no animosity whatsoever in the ensuing discussion (our angry religionist died a year or so ago) so I was so very grateful that we were both given space without hostility to offer our non-theist approach to AA.

  14. I’m in Vancouver, and plan on attending the Tuesday meeting at the church on 12th Ave. Can anyone tell me what time it starts?

      • Lech,
        I am in Calgary this week; sorry to miss your visit.
        I let Hillary and Steve know you will attend the meeting; they will keep an eye out for you.
        When you walk in the door on W12th, walk straight ahead and turn right by the washrooms, then walk down that hall to the last door on your right.
        Cheers,
        Denis

      • I got a bit lost in the building, but eventually found the meeting.

        Met Steve and Hillary.

        I’ll be back next Tuesday.

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