The Last Post

Last Post

In military tradition, the Last Post is the bugle call that signifies the end of the day’s activities.

By Roger C.

This will be the last post on AA Agnostica.

It’s an appropriate day to stop posting new articles: our anniversary. It was exactly five years ago that AA Agnostica was launched, on June 15, 2011.

After five years it is time to move on. To take the computer out of the living room and put it up in the attic. To get out and meet new people and develop new preoccupations and pursuits.

Maybe get a job.

Well, that’s going a bit far; forget that.

Many, many thanks

Let this last post begin where it also all ends: in thanking the many, many writers who shared their experience, strength and hope with us on AA Agnostica. Over the past five years, we have posted original and inspiring written works a total of 360 times. That’s an average of 1.4 articles every week. And these articles were written by a total of 166 different authors. We would have liked more, but we are pleased to report that 64 of these writers were women.

While we occasionally re-posted articles previously published on sites like the Grapevine or The Fix, the vast majority of the articles were submitted directly to AA Agnostica from women and men – all in recovery – from all parts of the United States and Canada. There were also great contributors – Laurie A, Steve K and Gabe S come to mind – from the United Kingdom.

What these folks wrote about in this “space for AA agnostics, atheists and freethinkers” was their understanding of recovery and their experience as members of AA. And how these two fit together. Or don’t. For newcomers to the website – often alcoholics doing Internet searches for a secular approach to staying sober or people who had been referred to the website by friends – there was frequently a huge sense of relief, a first-time realization that they were no longer condemned to the hinterland of AA: “Oh my God! I am not alone!”

Or words to that effect.

So: many, many thanks to the writers. And to the commenters! And to all those involved. And to the reader, and that would be you. Thank you.

Group Conscience

Over the years we have paid attention to our contributors, the comments and the emails sent to us by our readers. As a result we developed a sense of the “group conscience” of those involved with AA Agnostica – secular members of Alcoholics Anonymous. There is a consensus on a number of issues, and we want to share that now. Please note that while what follows is based on several hundred articles and over a thousand comments, it is still an interpretation, and not everyone would have come to the same conclusions.

God is not a part of our recovery

First, recovery from alcoholism and addiction for us has nothing to do with God.

In particular it has nothing to do with an anthropomorphic or interventionist God.

That’s the God of the Big Book. It is the Christian God as He was understood in 1935 by the co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. It’s the God that is mentioned over and over again in AA literature.

Even Bill Wilson understood that he had overdone the “God bit” in the early years of AA. Two decades after the Big Book was published he wrote:

In AA’s first years I all but ruined the whole undertaking… God as I understood Him had to be for everybody. Sometimes my aggression was subtle and sometimes it was crude. But either way it was damaging – perhaps fatally so – to numbers of non-believers.

But let’s repeat. A belief in God is not at all a requirement for membership in AA. It only seems that way at traditional AA meetings and as a result of the behaviour of some Intergroups – notably the one in Toronto – which are hostile towards agnostic groups.

Human power can relieve our alcoholism

We agnostics, atheists and freethinkers believe that what works for us in AA is the fellowship. It’s “one alcoholic talking to another alcoholic”. The sharing and caring that is part and parcel of any AA meeting or group.

Nothing has been repeated on AA Agnostica more than this idea and experience. We believe in the fellowship.

Oddly enough, the value of the fellowship is not elaborated upon or even often talked about in the Big Book.

Indeed, our main disagreement with traditional AA is found in “How It Works” in the Big Book where it says that “probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism” but “God and would if He were sought”.

Our experience is exactly the opposite.

It was also realized by the author of the Big Book that this was not entirely correct. Two years after the Big Book was published a second printing included a new appendix, which acknowledged that “with few exceptions” members of AA discovered that recovery was the result of having “tapped an unsuspected inner resource”.

And, indeed, what we have learned over eighty years of AA is that human resources and human support are essential components of abstinence and sobriety.

So be it. But it is this statement in “How It Works” that is our main difference with religious fundamentalism in AA.

In this respect the resistance of some Intergroups to listing our groups on AA meeting lists is different from the roadblocks experienced by other groups, such as LGBT groups. These other groups don’t challenge the idea that a God is key to removing our character defects and maintaining our sobriety.

We do.

And nowhere is that more evident than when it comes to the Steps.

Secular 12 Steps

Speaking of religious fundamentalism, it is hard to go to a traditional AA meeting these days without three things thrown in your face: a placard with the 12 Steps beside the podium; the meeting beginning with a reading of “How it Works”, which includes the 12 Steps and “no human power” and “God could and would if he were sought”; and people holding hands and reciting the Lord’s Prayer at the end of the meeting.

It’s as if they are deliberately trying to drive newbies out of the rooms. Or to clearly demonstrate that AA is “religious” and not “spiritual”.

We secularists in AA have two approaches to the 12 Steps. The first is not to do them. To simply ignore this “suggested” program of AA except perhaps for a few of them such as Step 1 (powerlessness over alcohol) or Step 12 (service).

And the second approach is to work them as part of achieving “a personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism” (the appendix again).

But what’s a non-believer to do?

The word “God”, “Him” or “Power” (with a capital P) is in six of the 12 Steps.

It would be a tad hypocritical for a non-believer to do the Steps “as written”. Maybe 80 years ago, when the Steps were first written, you could pull that off. But not today.

Many secular alcoholics create our own versions of the Steps. Indeed, one of the most popular places on AA Agnostica is the page, Alternative 12 Steps. As of today, that page has been viewed 53,865 times. Moreover, because of the very keen interest in secular interpretations of the Steps, AA Agnostica was inspired to publish The Little Book: A Collection of Alternative 12 Steps. And we found the authors of an out-of-print book originally published in 1991 and were given permission to published a second edition of The Alternative 12 Steps: A Secular Guide to Recovery.

Secular interpretations and versions of the 12 Steps are very much a part of the “group conscience” of we agnostics, atheists and freethinkers in AA.

Which is not to say that we want to change the original 12 Steps, published in 1939. Leave those alone. You don’t mess with archival material. If we choose to work the Steps, we need to develop our own personal interpretations, without having to accept anyone else’s beliefs or having to deny our own. Which, when you come right down to it, is the only way to do the Steps. As a friend wrote on AA Agnostica in its first year, in 2011, You Cannot NOT Interpret the Steps! Indeed, one of my favourite quotes from the 1991 book mentioned above, written by Martha Cleveland and Arlys G., is as follows: “We can learn the universal, generic pattern of life’s dance from the 12 Steps. But in our individual dance of life, we choose our own music and dance our own dance”.

Respecting the many paths to recovery

Which brings us to another important area of consensus within secular AA.

Early on in AA Agnostica, we discovered two gurus in recovery and AA: Bill White and Ernie Kurtz. And they introduced to us the idea of “celebrating” all of the many paths to recovery.

What an idea!

By and large, we secularists in AA wholeheartedly accept any road to recovery no matter what it may involve, be it the 12 Steps, the eight-fold path of Buddhism, psychotherapy, medication, a spiritual awakening or anything else. Whatever works, works, and we celebrate any person in recovery from alcoholism and addiction no matter how that is achieved or maintained.

And that raises two points.

First, in modern and secular AA, we do not object to someone who identifies herself at a meeting in this way, “My name is Jo-Anne, and I am an alcoholic and an addict”.

Second, we do not impose our views on others. We are, with few exceptions, not “militant” atheists. We do not do to others what we object to others doing to us within the fellowship of AA.

A number of years ago, a favourite author, Ernest Becker, wrote:

I have had the growing realization over the past few years that the problem of man’s knowledge is not to oppose and to demolish opposing views, but to include them in a larger theoretical structure.

He is describing the essence of AA with this statement. We are here in Alcoholics Anonymous to lend a helping hand to “anyone, anywhere” who reaches out for help. That’s the mission, the “larger theoretical structure” of AA. Not to impose our beliefs or to “demolish opposing views”.

Reverend Ward Ewing, the former chair of the General Service Board of AA, understood this perfectly and gave a compelling speech at the Santa Monica convention, underscoring this larger theoretical structure of AA, this “bigger picture”, if you will: “What we believe about something is far less important to living than what we experience. Experience is what transforms us; belief is our attempt to explain. Experience trumps explanation.”

We are AA

We atheists and agnostics and freethinkers grew up in AA. We owe our sobriety and recovery to the fellowship. One will very rarely hear anything else from those in our secular movement, a movement very much within the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.

And so, the next question is this: are we trying to change AA?

There are two answers to that question: yes and no.

Of course, we want AA to be less religious. Less emphasis on the Big Book: I mean, I respect the Big Book but it was written 80 years ago and is simply not worthy of modern day thumpery.

Less “God could and would if he were sought”.

Fewer meetings that end with the Lord’s Prayer.

What we want is an AA in which “non-believers… are not merely deviants, but full, participating members in the AA Fellowship without qualification”, as a trustee put it in 1976.

Intergroups that would welcome us “without qualification”.

Conference-approved literature that is written by, for and about agnostics and atheists in AA.

But you know, the real answer to the question is this: No, we don’t want to change AA.

Because all of the above is at the core of the mission of AA. It should be genuinely “spiritual not religious”. The Responsibility Declaration and Tradition Three tell us that AA is for “everybody, everywhere” with a “desire to stop drinking” and that is to be done regardless of their “belief or lack of belief”.

We are quoting AA now, and that’s the essence of AA. And so, no, we don’t want to change the core of Alcoholics Anonymous. We want AA to live up to its own mission and commitment.

In a 2016 sort of way.

Moving Forward

The above is, as we understand it, a brief summary of a general consensus among alcoholics and addicts who have been AA Agnostica readers, writers and commenters over the past five years. It is not meant to be exact for each and every one of us but rather a very general understanding of how we non-believers understand our place within the fellowship of AA.

So where to now?

The Convention

For those who can afford it, we would recommend attending the We Agnostics, Atheists and Freethinkers International AA Convention November 11 – 13, 2016 in Austin, Texas. You can buy tickets and book rooms here: WAAFT IAAC.

There will be a variety of speakers, panels and workshops. And as John S, at AA Beyond Belief, puts it: “No matter what, people will have fun. It’s really about getting together”.

He is absolutely correct.

We just started our own “We Agnostics” meeting in Hamilton, Ontario, and so far three of the seven members of our group are planning to be in Austin. Give us a couple of months and we will add to that number.

At the convention in Santa Monica in 2014, all lucky enough to attend experienced a brand new and totally revitalizing take on life in sobriety. It was awesome.

We are unstoppable

The first agnostic AA meeting was founded in Chicago in 1975.

In 2001, when a small group of New Yorkers started a website to list secular AA meetings, agnosticaAAnyc.org, there were 36 agnostic AA meetings worldwide. Today, well, there are over 300, as you can see in the chart.

WAAFT Meetings Worldwide

It’s not immediately obvious in the chart, but it is important to note that two thirds of the growth of secular AA has been in the last four years. And 2016 isn’t over yet. By the time it is, the line will be pointing straight up.

Let’s keep it happening. And you know, it will keep on happening because the need is obvious. The number of non-religious people – “nones” – is growing every year according to the Pew Research Center: America’s Changing Religious Landscape. There is an increasing number of alcoholics who simply can’t tolerate all of the “God” stuff at traditional AA meetings, meetings that invariably end with the Lord’s Prayer, and who simply turn around and walk out. Increasingly there are secular meetings that they can walk into and happily stay in order to work on the job of long-term sobriety. That’s what it’s all about.

And get involved in AA!

Become a GSR… Attend district and area AA meetings… Hell, become an area delegate and attend an annual General Service Conference.

The results of our involvement in AA can be phenomenal.

Almost two years ago, an article by life-j was posted on AA Agnostica, A Grapevine Book for Atheists and Agnostics in AA. This was the beginning of a campaign, led by life-j and Thomas B, to get the Grapevine to publish in one book some forty-two stories that the Grapevine had already published in its magazine since 1962.

No. In January 2015 the Board of Directors of the Grapevine met and decided not to propose to the General Service Conference – the permission of delegates at the Conference would be required – that such a book be published.

But the campaign continued. More letters were written. Various area assemblies in the United States were presented with motions about such a book and voted in favour of asking the Grapevine to publish it.

Yes. In January 2016 the Board of Directors of the Grapevine met and this time decided to propose to the General Service Conference that a book of its previously published stories by atheists and agnostics in AA should indeed be published.

The Conference agreed. The book is scheduled to be published in 2017.

This is just one of our victories as secular activists in AA.

If we want AA to grow and become inclusive of atheists and agnostics, NOT being involved in the service structure of AA is simply not an option.

Good Bye

We are coming to the end, dear friends.

Two final thoughts to share.

First, managing AA Agnostica was never a “chore”. It was always a privilege and a pleasure. From week to week, we so looked forward to, and were inspired by, the articles submitted to and published on AA Agnostica.

And the comments! The quality and thoughtfulness of the comments were more than outstanding.

Second, in closing, the final thing that we want to do is to wish everybody – each and every one of you – the very, very best.

We are, after all, AA. At its very core.

Ever onwards and upwards.


You can listen to a podcast about the origins and history of AA Agnostica right here: Roger C. and AA Agnostica. And Thomas B. – along with a number of other key players in secular AA – has put together this very  touching article, A Tribute to AA Agnostica.


AA Agnostica will remain on the Internet.

The website will be kept fresh and up-to-date. For example, it will continue to include and add new images and links to websites for and about secular AA meetings. We will simply not have new articles. Nor will we continue our efforts to start new groups – thank you Chris G for your work on this project! – as we have found that this function is not nearly as necessary as it was a few years ago, as agnostic groups and meetings are now much more common and accepted. We shall, however, continue to work with others on putting together our special project, The Practical Book.

Any questions or comments on any topics can be sent to admin@aaagnostica.org.


The 360 articles on AA Agnostica are broken down into 15 categories, which you can find on the upper left side of the website.

Categories

Here are just seven of the fifteen categories found on the top left hand side of AA Agnostica.

If you want to read a chapter in Do Tell!, for example, just click on the category Do Tell! All of the chapters will be there, in reverse order. If you want to read about the struggles over the years to get “Conference-approved” literature for secularists in AA, just click on AA Literature for Agnostics. There are 8 articles in that category.

We also have eighteen articles that focus specifically on God, Religion and Prayer. And just click on Grapevine, and you will find 17 articles that have been published in the Grapevine since 1962, written by atheists and agnostics.

And on and on. All of the articles on AA Agnostica are well worth reading. Indeed, a great number of them are worth reading at least two or three times.

So: Keep coming back!


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The Last Post — 44 Comments

  1. Hello Roger, You do not know me and I am introduced to you now in this final post. I feel a special connection that I found you as you are leaving, perhaps a hope of a new door opening in my journey of sobriety. I am so thankful that I have this reading, this website and others, and the hope of finding an agnostic AA meeting near me. I have 102 days of sobriety and I love my AA meetings, the only exception being the constant reliance on God as the solution to alcoholism/addiction. I love the fellowship and I love most of the stories; they both have been central to my sobriety so far. Thank you for all of the posts that are available to me. Thank you for the references given. And most of all thank you for having undertaken this wonderful project and having provided voluminous resources for we agnostic/atheist AA’s to take with us. I am thrilled to have met you! Deborah.

  2. Thanks Roger. Working with an Alcoholic newcomer who has his own understanding has been really fulfilling – he remains sober 15 months later – I discovered for myself the essence of AA as you beautifully articulated it. I have 31 years years in the fellowship and constantly remind other AAs that our tent is very large and must accept “Someone with a simple desire.” Thanks for helping me to continue to grow.

  3. I found this website 2 days ago by googling “12 steps without god”. After my first Coda meeting (modeled after AA), I wondered how I was going to work through a program that seemed to require “a higher power”. Finding the secular 12 steps on this website allows me to still feel included in the 12 step program without sacrificing my intellect.

    This site is not just for alcoholics. It’s for addicts of alcohol, addicts of emotion and people needing support in general. I am sad to see it go but grateful it was here and will continue to function in, if nothing else, a reduced capacity.

    My name is Jennifer and I am codependent. Thank you for letting me share.

  4. I am so very grateful to have found AA Agnostica and the support it has provided in letting me know I am not unique in AA, rather a part of a much larger all inclusive group. I have looked forward to the emailed articles and am sad to see them come to an end. I so appreciate the work behind the scenes that has been done to start, maintain and grow AA Agnostica. Thank you!

  5. Roger, I offer my deep thanks to you for your excellent work on AA Agnostica. I am an old-timer in long-term recovery, and an agnostic freethinker ever since I was in my teens. Your website and the writers that have contributed articles have been an immense support to me up here in the remote backwoods of Michigan. I have been delighted to discover that there are a lot of AA’s like me, and I feel much more connected–thanks to you, my friend. Best wishes on the next phase of your journey.

    Oren

  6. The developing significance of AA’s modernising secularisers was underlined in November 2014 when WAAFT held its first national gathering in Santa Monica attended by some 300, including visitors from Australia, Turkey, France and Spain, and addressed by the manager of GSO and the former head Trustee, both of whom warmly praised the group for what they offer AA as a whole. The modern secularisers’ perspective is best set forth in (books referenced) and at the AA Agnostica website. The secular approach and the growing reality of atheist and agnostic meetings in AA may become of increasing importance, especially in the USA…

    Ernest Kurtz and Bill White, joint authors, in their paper “Recovery Spirituality” in “Religion and Addiction” (ISSN 2077-1444).

    We are the future – “spearheads of God’s (sic) ever advancing creation” – and you lit the touch paper Roger. A thousand thanks and enjoy the next phase of your development.

  7. Thank you for this great service Roger. Our We Agnostics group on Maui will celebrate its 10th anniversary in August and it has helped many of us to stay in AA. That said, aaagnostica with its plethora of well thought out articles has deepened my sobriety more than anything. See you in Austin.

    • How will I find your group on Maui? I am going in Sept. to look at condos, and plan on moving there or to the BI. The availability of Agnostic meetings could be a big factor in my decisions and a must for planning my trip in Sept. Please contact me.

      • I will send Rich your email address, Joanne, but once again the meeting can be found by clicking on the image below:

        Wordwide agnostic AA Meetings

  8. Thank you for everything you have done in keeping this site going for five years, and keeping me connected to other free thinkers throughout the AA world.

  9. Jeez, Roger! What a beautiful farewell letter! I’d like to tell you what AA Agnostica has meant to me because I am so very grateful for your work!

    I was lucky enough to find out about AA Agnostica from a friend at a time when I was becoming more and more disillusioned with traditional AA and I was becoming disgruntled with the pervasiveness of “the god bit”. By the way, we AAAA’s here in Denver suffer from the same non-listing by our central office. There are now 4 secular AA meetings in the Denver/Boulder area, and two others; one in Fort Collins and one in Colorado Springs! Like Toronto, we have attempted to have our meetings listed but to no avail. The religiosity of AA here in Denver is rather prevalent.

    Anyway, my friend had attended one of the first secular meetings here and was very excited about it. Although I could not attend the meeting except for the rare night off due to work, AA Agnostica was part of the information disseminated at the meeting and thank goodness! It completely changed my AA world!

    At last I had found people like me who valued AA, were working on their recovery, were intelligent AND were making it happen sans god! What a relief!

    There is nothing else for me to say other than it was a major turning point for me and I simply wanted to thank you.

    • Please email me the address time of the Colo Springs meeting. Thanks in advance, Pete W.

      • Information on agnostic AA meetings worldwide, including in Colorado Springs, can be found by clicking on the image below (which can also be found on the top right hand side of the home page of AA Agnostica):

        Wordwide agnostic AA Meetings

  10. Thank you Roger. What an amazing journey you’ve shared with us. What an incredible website. The talent here is just beyond description.

    I hope you enjoy some well deserved rest. I know you will continue working in AA, but I hope you take some time to stop and smell the flowers from time to time.

  11. Thank You Roger! With 27 years of sobriety I felt more and more like I was out of place in AA. I eventually find AA Agnostica, I learn about an agnostic format meeting In Jersey City and drive the hour and a half to get there. There I learn about meetings in NYC. My sponsor and I hop on the bus and attend several. We learn how No Prayer meetings work, and we started one in South Jersey in January of this year. AND… AAs showed up and continue to show up. You have made a difference! Again, Thank You Roger!

  12. Oh Roger, I would still be lost without your help. I was out of the rooms for over 20 years because I felt like such a hypocrite, and it seemed dishonest to me to “Fake it”, to take just what I need while gagging on the prayers. I have most of 3 years now, and with this site I was able to translate the process and commit to doing the real work that is really helping me change and stay sober. And yes, it is the people, the support, the safe place to be honest and fallible and real that lets us change and grow. You have been a huge part of that fellowship to me. Thank you for making this huge undertaking a reality and helping me so very much.

  13. Thank you for your service. You and this forum will be missed. May you trudge the road to practical and happy destiny.
    JOHN LAKE TAHOE AREA

  14. Heartfelt thanks Roger for all the hard work and dedication you have given this site over the years. You certainly gave me a space to come to being the only AA atheist in all of Newfoundland. I will revisit the site periodically to charge up the batteries.

    Light and live brother in recovery. 😊

  15. For anybody wondering, AAAgnostica is/was AA service in action. I know Roger was tireless both in conceiving and supporting a meeting place for those who somehow couldn’t allow themselves to be fully accepted into the fold of regular AA. I am eternally grateful for this site and the work Roger, among others, has done to make certain we have a place to exchange thoughts, ideas and feelings. Why AAAgnostica was so reassuring to me is, it encouraged and challenged the imagination. It invited us to be creative, to think fearlessly and express our thoughts with equal abandon – as opposed to recklessness. I’ll miss it but the certain sign of vitality, of growth and positive evolution, is change. An AA that encourages free thinking and all that entails is an AA that stands a chance to remain relevant in this rapidly changing world. Thanks Roger.

  16. Thank you Roger. You have rendered a great service to AA and its members. I have learned more about AA from this forum than I have in 26 years in the rooms. I regularly purge my emails but have kept all the AAAgnostica emails. Best wishes. (Side note: A member of the “Children of Chaos”, the Austin, Texas meeting that is hosting the convention, showed up at our “We Agnostics” meeting this week. A couple of our member will be attending. Looking forward to seeing you all there.)

  17. No more AA Agnostica to look forward to each week?! Oh noooooo! While I am deeply saddened by this news, I understand (reluctantly) the reasons behind it. Coincidentally, I, too, am celebrating 5 years… of sobriety! A milestone for both of us, for sure. Thank you for making me feel connected to so many others like me the past five years.

  18. Thank you for your service Roger. May your sobriety (and mine, and for all those who wish) long continue, one day at a time!

    Your grateful friend and fellow member,
    Eric

  19. Thanks indeed for strengthening my sobriety and motivating me to understand AA’s governance, serving as a GSR and trying to fathom Intergroups’ place. We must never be “organized”, but we are accountable to those we serve.

    Genius is eternal patience. That’s what we all may be learning, patience and focus on what is important, like fellowship.

  20. One of my spiritual mentors, Thomas Merton, once noted that the most perfect prayer is “Thank you.”

    Thus, I pray to you, Roger, on this day of “The Last Post” THANK YOU eternally a day at a time for the rest of my sober life . . .

  21. Well done sir… well done!

    A deep and sincere thank you for your time and energy and doggedness. You are deserving of a break and the opportunity to relish your own changing world.

    A chapter closes, but the story moves forward!

    Your friend and brother.

    Larry

  22. Thank you Roger for all the time, effort and love you have given.

    AA Agnostica is a big part of the reason I am still here. In 2015, I was 26 years sober and fed up with how AA was changing. I no longer felt I belonged and was ready to pack it in. Depressed I was searching the internet for something, anything to give me direction. I found Agnostica. That lead me to Beyond Belief Suburban West’s inaugural meeting. I have found new life and purpose in secular AA.

    So thank you Roger, for providing a place of meeting, a place of learning and insight and a place of refuge.

    Kimberley S

  23. Thanks for allowing me to participate in these discussions, Roger, and for publishing the great review of my book! Mostly, thanks for all your good work in helping so many to find recovery!

  24. Roger, I want to express heartfelt thanks for your stewardship of aaagnostica. For many, myself included, it was a true light at the end of a tunnel that I found myself in. I borrowed your energy, your attitudes, and your self-reflexion powers. Your scholarship and your well-considered perspective on the theoretical basis of recovery in AA were invaluable. Without them, there was a real danger that disappointment and cynicism might have become chronic in me, and overcome the last shreds of attachment to this life-saving Fellowship. Thanks to your work, I am still a grateful member of AA. Thanks to your work, there is still a secular AA meeting in Spook Central, Colorado Springs, CO, Happy Heathens. (We are also 5+ years old.)

    Love and respect,

    Sasha Lee

  25. No, please don’t go. You have no idea how instrumental your site has been to my recovery. Yesterday I celebrated one year sober and while I love my home group, they are more god-focused than is good for me. Your site gave me the balance I need to achieve this goal.

    I do hope you’ll reconsider and continue publishing these wonderful stories by, for and about those of us who are in sobriety on our own; that is, without a higher power.

  26. Thanks for the last 5 years Roger. You have made a difference and the regular updates to this website will be missed.
    ~Russ

  27. Sorry to see you go. I enjoyed you post and meeting you at the last WAAFT Convention. I hope I see you at the Next Convention.

  28. Thanks of course to Roger whose firm but fair editorial style maintained the right amount of order and chaos. A community is the real personality of a site to which Roger has commented. The Internet and its contribution to connecting scattered and like-minded soles has been such a game changer for me and all of us in this community and the larger recovery community.

    AA Agnostica opened a few minds and hearts, and it brought together new friends for me and I think for many. Hope to see some of you in Austin.

    Roger, the spirit of Rotation is very much a part of AA culture. It takes courage to start, keep going and to pass it on. You are a great sample of the AA that I feel proud to be a part of.

  29. Roger, wow, I cannot put into words my vast respect for you, your hard work, your passion, and the profound encouragement (life saving in many respects) I have received from AA Agnostica. I found AA Agnostica very early on during a very critical and threatening period in my early sober journey. Then, I truly did feel “utterly alone,” and under daily attack by religious, and cultish elements of AA in my small city here on the Red Rolling Plains.

    Everything about AA Agnostica, the articles, the comments, even the short-lived ‘chat room’ served to help me see more clearly “the baby in the bathwater,” and helped me to keep my seat in spite of the daily holy war levied on the one open atheist in the home group.

    Ever in gratitude…

  30. Roger – your contributions to this “movement” and those of us in it have been invaluable and I suspect they will continue to be. Thank you for the time, thought and personal emotional risk you have put into these efforts. You are helping save lives and re-awaken a love for recovery and AA for your fellow Alcoholics all over the world.

  31. Thank you, Roger, for ALL you have done for our AAAg community! AA Agnostica was my refuge in my first year of sobriety, and continues to inspire so many of us on a daily basis. Will Beyond Belief be the online go-to for us now? (I confess I have not checked it out.) Looking forward to your next projects, and see you in Austin in November! 🎓Mo

  32. Dear Roger,

    It’s no coincidence that the number of secular AA meetings has tripled since you started aaagnostica.org. It’s been a literal lifesaver for many alkies I’ve talked with. Just like the first meeting most of us attended, it’s helped so many feel hope and acceptance for the first time.

    I have a tear in my eye as I think of losing the weekly aaagnostica.org essays, but I fully appreciate your desire to move on with your life – that’s what recovery is all about, isn’t it?

    You’ve helped so many things get rolling: the WAAFT conventions (Olympia will be in force in Austin); beyondbelief.org; MANY new or re-issued books serving our clan; regional gatherings, such as those in Arizona and Washington State; the forthcoming book of secular articles from the Grapevine; etc., etc.

  33. Your service has been invaluable to me, and obviously many others who have offered comments. A very special thanks for your efforts.

  34. Thank you Roger for five years of AA Agnostica. A lot of time and work for the benefit of myself and others. AA is suppose to help the alcoholic stop drinking not convert them to religion. I feel very fortunate to belong to the same group you founded in Hamilton, We Agnostics Hamilton.

    Thanks Again
    See you Thursday at 7 pm
    Richard J

  35. I have mixed emotions. Sadness that your very well thought out and heart felt commentaries will no longer be posted. And elation that I have had the privilege of finding a new path to recovery. I am one of those weened on traditional AA. And on June 20th of this year I will celebrate my 20th year of continuous sobriety. You have helped me get here. And so has my Beyond Belief Mississauga group. And so has my traditional Credit Valley group. I am a GSR for Beyond Belief. Our group was welcomed with open arms at District 6. My mantra is: I respect all paths to a better life including a religious one. All I ask in return is respect for my secular path.

    Again Roger, thank you so much for your inspiration.

  36. Hi Roger – It’s Faye. THANK YOU for all the work that you put into this and helping to organize ‘us’ in a ever-thoughtful and sensitive manner. It’s been wonderful to watch you grow with this. I moved back to Niagara and now living in St. Catharines. I hope to carry on some of our work here, after I get through some of my own ‘stuff’. Be well and I hope to see you soon.