By Roger C.
Today – on this very day – AA Agnostica is six years old!
The website was first launched into the internet universe on June 15, 2011. And it quickly became a very unique and special “space for AA agnostics, atheists and freethinkers worldwide”.
Imagine that. Who would have thunk it? A website devoted exclusively to non-believers within Alcoholics Anonymous, a fellowship for those in recovery from alcoholism.
And it has thrived, my friends. While six years is also 312 weeks, AA Agnostica has posted – counting today’s article – a total of 404 articles. And these have been written by hundreds of women and men from different parts of our planet Earth.
But wait! Hold on a second!
Hadn’t AA Agnostica chosen to stop actively posting articles?
The Last Post?
Hmm. Yes. That’s true. Exactly one year ago today – on our fifth anniversary – an article was posted called The Last Post. And it said, very specifically, “This will be the last post on AA Agnostica”. And there were no articles posted on the website for a full two months.
So what happened?
At the time – a year ago – we were working with John S. as he launched the new website, AA Beyond Belief. John is very talented, both as a website manager and as a writer. And he is a hard worker. AA Beyond Belief was meant to be a successor to AA Agnostica. And it was. And it is, with a commitment to regular posts and podcasts every Sunday.
So why more posts on AA Agnostica? We’ll fire a few bullets to answer the question:
First, inspired by our Torontonian origins, we felt obliged to post articles dealing with the Human Rights Tribunal and the resolution of the excommunication of agnostic AA groups by the Greater Toronto Area Intergroup. Obliged. We felt.
Second, people often express appreciation for articles posted on AA Agnostica and that, my friends, is an inspiration and mighty hard to resist.
Third and last bullet: Our secular movement within AA continues to grow. We actually need more than a few websites for us folks to share our stories. And that is exactly what has happened over the last few years.
More on this – and the role of AA Agnostica – towards the end of this post.
But first let’s talk about the past year. And the past six years.
Over the past year we have posted a total of 42 articles. Bob K., the author of Key Players in AA History, wrote the most: four articles. And we published three articles by our friend, life-j, one of which was published in the October 2016 issue of the AA Grapevine: Open-Minded.
And guess what?
We published two more books! That brings to eight the number of books published over the past six years.
A History of Agnostics in AA
It was rather inevitable that one of those books would eventually be published, and it is called: A History of Agnostics in AA. Many of the articles posted on the website have been about our history, and our struggles, within Alcoholics Anonymous. And nine of the articles posted on AA Agnostica over the past year have been, in order, the chapters of the book, beginning with a review by Robin R, a member of the We Agnostics group in Hamilton. One of my favourite chapters – I could maybe be a tad biased though – is the first one: An Agnostic in AA. There are a total of sixteen chapters in the book and all of them will be posted on AA Agnostica over the next few months.
And we will post two of the appendices. Appendix I contains three secular versions of “How It Works”. Imagine! There are not only secular versions of the 12 Steps but now there are rewritten and secular versions of the “God could and would if He were sought” part of the Big Book. One of them, written by Hilary J., a member of the Sober Agnostics group in Vancouver, was originally posted in mid-September of last year: An Updated “How It Works”.
Finally, A History of Agnostics in AA also has an appendix which contains the histories of ten agnostic groups in Canada. This is most interesting and will also be posted on AA Agnostica.
Each Breath a Gift
And just two days ago we published another book. It’s a memoir by Thomas B., who has written 18 articles for AA Agnostica and another 5 articles for AA Beyond Belief. Thomas is in his 45th year of sobriety and his book is called Each Breath a Gift: A Story of Continuing Sobriety. The Foreword is written by Joe C., author of Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life, and here is an excerpt from it (also included on the back cover of the book):
Storytelling, vulnerable and sincere storytelling, unites us. More than just an ageless form of teaching and entertaining, storytelling is healing and nurturing for both the teller and the audience. Books, songs, movies, podcasts, chat-rooms, YouTube videos and meetings are places where gifts given are also gifts received. Each Breath is such a gift. Thomas may be new to authorship, but he’s a master storyteller.
The entire Foreword will be posted on AA Agnostica very soon, along with information on where the book can be acquired.
As mentioned earlier, to date 404 articles have been posted on AA Agnostica. Plus there are five pages: “About Us”, “Links”, “How to Start an AA Meeting”, “Alternative 12 Steps” and “Literature”. Let’s have a bit of a look at some of the most popular posts and pages over the last six years.
This popularity is generated by and based upon the use of search engines. It’s what women and men are looking for online, and finding at AA Agnostica. And, of course, the numbers grow over the years.
Without question the most popular post to date is An Atheist’s Guide to 12 Step Recovery. Written by Frank M. and published on August 12, 2012 it has now been viewed just under 150,000 times. We have considered making it into a pamphlet but that is ferociously expensive and distribution is still far too complicated and difficult.
Two articles have now had roughly 30,000 viewers each. One is Rewriting the 12 Steps for Atheists which was originally written by Tracy Chabala and published by RehabReviews.com. It was re-posted on AA Agnostica on July 26, 2015. The other one, oddly enough, is called Bill Wilson’s Experience with LSD. It was written by Thomas B. and posted on May 10, 2015. Both of these posts in 2017 have attracted roughly 50 viewers each and every day.
The most popular page on the website is the Alternative 12 Steps. It has been around since the beginning and has had just under 100,000 viewers. Again, that amounts to roughly 70 per day over the last year, 2017.
That is interesting. People apparently do seek a “program” to assist them in their recovery. Clearly many are driven to or are personally interested in the “suggested” AA program, the 12 Steps, but would like a version without all of the “God bit” that was included in the, you know, perhaps slightly outdated 1939 version.
Just a thought.
So, where to now, folks?
AA Agnostica will remain online.
As demonstrated above, there are a large number of posts and pages that are of interest to readers, and especially those women and men in AA who are turned off by the “God bit”. They need to know that they are not alone. That is precisely what AA Agnostica has been doing for the past six years and why it will remain part of the worldwide web universe for the foreseeable future.
As mentioned above, we will continue to post the chapters of A History of Agnostics in AA on the website. That will happen roughly once a week and thus won’t be completed until September.
And shall we post other articles from time to time?
Yes. Occasionally. When something strikes us as of special interest to we agnostics and atheists in AA and really ought to be posted. For example, last Fall we simply couldn’t resist posting some of the articles that were published in the October issue of the AA Grapevine, an issue devoted to “Atheist and Agnostic Members” of AA.
So we will post the occasional article on AA Agnostica.
But these posts will have a hit and miss quality to them, which is to say articles will not be posted regularly.
For regular posts, I would invite folks to visit AA Beyond Belief. It’s a rich and wonderful website. And John S. and Doris A. recently announced that AA Beyond Belief will be alternating between podcasts and articles each and every Sunday.
And now I can’t resist mentioning two other websites. A website well worth visiting for the musings of an agnostic in AA is one created by Joe C., Rebellion Dogs Publishing. Just after the Austin Convention, a great website came into existence in our online and Wi-Fi galaxy and it is very simply and clearly called Secular AA. It now has the list of agnostic and atheist meetings worldwide. It has lots of wonderful information on starting a secular AA meeting. Also check out its Events tab for info on upcoming secular roundups and conferences. The creation of this website is a clear sign of the growth and importance of our secular movement within the AA Fellowship.
Back to AA Agnostica.
Six years old!
We celebrate this anniversary today. Then it’s back to the old normal work stuff. Posting chapters from A History of Agnostics in AA. Working with others and posting the occasional article on AA Agnostica. Getting ready for SOAAR (Secular Ontario AA Roundup).
As we like to say, folks: Onwards and Upwards.