Chapter 10: Conformity and Conventional AA

Chapter 10: Conformity and Conventional AA

Conventional AA meetings can be both religious and conformist. Religiosity: There can be a lot of God on placards and in readings and in Conference-approved pamphlets and books on literature tables. And meetings can end with the Lord’s Prayer (even though AA claims to be “spiritual not religious”). And this … Continue reading

Chapter 8: Accepting Special Composition Groups

Chapter 8: Accepting Special Composition Groups

Since the very beginning, there have been special composition groups in Alcoholics Anonymous. And their acceptance, sadly, has always posed a problem. “‘Special’ groups have always been viewed with suspicion, alarm and sometimes outright hostility within AA.” (Special Composition Groups in AA1) We nonbelievers are thus not alone when it … Continue reading

Chapter 7: Agnostics and Human Rights

Chapter 7: Agnostics and Human Rights

Let’s begin by looking at some dates of historical significance. May 31, 2011. Two agnostic AA groups, Beyond Belief and We Agnostics, are voted out of the Greater Toronto Area Intergroup (GTAI) and off of the area AA meeting lists. The motion to de-list the groups was carried by a … Continue reading

Chapter 6: Changing the 12 Steps

Chapter 6

As time passes our book literature has a tendency to get more and more frozen – a tendency for conversion into something like dogma. This is a trait of human nature which I am afraid we can do little about. Bill Wilson, Correspondence, 1961 Much of the controversy with regard … Continue reading

Chapter 5: More Rejection

Chapter 5

Service, not Governance One of the co-founders of AA, Bill Wilson, wrote this in the July, 1946, 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 … Continue reading

Chapter 4: Early History

Chicago It all began, ironically enough, in a church, the Unitarian Universalist Church. And it was started by a guy by the name of Wilson, but not Bill, Don Wilson. Don was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church and had been for a number of years. He had first … Continue reading

Chapter 3: The “God Bit”

Chapter 3

The “God” part in the 12 Steps comes from Bill Wilson. The rest of it, “as we understood Him”, was Jim Burwell’s contribution. But let’s start at the beginning… AA’s soon-to-be co-founders met on May 12, 1935 (Mother’s Day), with Bill trying to help Dr. Bob sober up at Dr. … Continue reading

Chapter 2: Rejection

A History III

Two agnostic groups – We Agnostics and Beyond Belief – were booted off of the official list of AA group meetings in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) on May 31, 2011. This was done by the GTA Intergroup. Beyond Belief had been around for more than a year and a … Continue reading

Chapter 1: An Agnostic in AA

Chapter 1

I went to my first AA meeting when I was in rehab back in 2010. It was a speaker meeting and there was a fellow on stage who talked about how he owed his sobriety to “the Guy in the sky”. I thought, “Are you kidding me?” But, of course … Continue reading

Introduction: Time to Rally

A History

A few days ago I got an email from a woman, Emma. It was not at all an unusual email and followed a rather common motif. Emma had spent a bit of time reading various articles on the AA Agnostica website and wanted to know why we agnostics, atheists and … Continue reading