A History of Agnostics in AA
What could our Fellowship do to be more accommodating of we alcoholics who attribute our sobriety to an inner resource (Appendix II of the Big Book) rather than to a Higher Power, whom many in AA choose to call “God”?
Big question. “God”, I thought (pun intended), “It would take a book to answer those questions!”
And so here’s the book.
Do Tell! Stories by Atheists & Agnostics in AA
These are personal and honest stories. All unique, all different. Moreover the style and tone of each author is different.
So refreshing, inspiring!
The stories in the book alternate between those by women and those by men and so we discover early on – if we did not appreciate this already – that the factors involved in addiction and recovery are often quite different in the lives of men and women.
Don’t Tell: Stories and Essays by Agnostics and Atheists in AA
This captivating book provides a wide view of the world of agnostic / atheist AA. There is a huge scope to the book: a set of “experience, strength and hope” stories, different interpretations of the 12 steps, book reviews, early and current history, and a dynamite section on the Lord’s Prayer. The final section, Moving Forward, is all about agnostic AA being alive and well and coming to a meeting near you.
As Ernie Kurtz (Not-God) and Bill White (Slaying the Dragon) write in the Foreword: “Broadening, welcome change… is of the essence of AA“. And that’s the essence of this book.
The Alternative 12 Steps: A Secular Guide to Recovery
“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.” (Chapter Three)
The authors, Martha Cleveland and Arlys G., show how the 12-Step program can be interpreted and worked by those who do not believe in an interventionist deity. At the same time they conscientiously maintain the intention and integrity of the program – its values, scope and depth. A chapter is devoted to each Step. This is a unique, inspiring and helpful book for anyone – regardless of belief or lack of belief – who would like to work the 12 Step program.
The Little Book: A Collection of Alternative 12 Steps
The book contains (1) Twenty alternative (and mostly secular) versions of the 12 Steps (2) Four secular interpretations of each of the Steps by well-known authors Stephanie Covington, Thérèse Jacobs-Stewart, Allen Berger and Gabor Maté (3) Templates so the reader can write her or his own personal interpretations of each of the Steps and (4) An essay that insightfully traces the origins of the AA 12-Step recovery program.
“A beautiful testimony to AA’s living history.” Ernest Kurtz, author, Not-God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Key Players in AA History
A very well researched and written history of the founders and early members of the world wide Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. The essays contained in this book are very informative and engaging, bringing the history alive! It also clarifies many myths and half truths which are sometimes heard in and about Alcoholics Anonymous. The author’s captivating writing style, mixed with a sense of humor and great knowledge of the subject, makes this book one of a kind.
A wonderful book, written in a lively and entertaining style and full of fascinating detail. A fascinating read!
Common Sense Recovery: An Atheist’s Guide to Alcoholics Anonymous
Common Sense Recovery integrates atheism and AA’s fundamental principles. Many can’t use AA’s powerful tools because they don’t share the religious beliefs inherent in the language of its literature and used by many of its members. Adam’s experience is that AA’s underlying principles work. He accepts them, but as an atheist, he understands and analyzes them “devoid of theistic interpretation.”
This book is so right on, and a discussion that needs to be put on the table! Adam is an eloquent writer, a deep thinker, and a bold human being for “coming out” atheist.
Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life
“A book of daily readings that really hit problems we face, with sound insights, and new ideas. All without referring us to God for a solution. I read it daily, and even with years in 12 step programs, find new ideas and things to ponder often. Very refreshing!” (A review by Annalia on Amazon)
A daily reflection book for everyone, Beyond Belief offers 365 quips for every alcoholic/addict and draws on quotes from writers, skeptics, entertainers, economists, religious leaders, philosophers, psychologists and, well, everyone! A wonderful read!
A Secular Sobriety
In the first three chapters of A Secular Sobriety – Including a Secular Version of the First 164 Pages of the Big Book Dale describes how he stayed sober in AA in Florida over the last 36 years in spite of “rampant Christian religiosity” in most meetings. In the subsequent dozen chapters he goes on to rewrite the first 164 of the Big Book, with “pertinent commentaries” for his revisions.
Pointing out that the stories at the end of the Big Book show a “decided bias” towards Christian belief, Dale ends his book with three new and original stories of recovery, all by women who attend secular AA meetings. A superb book!
Waiting: A Nonbeliever’s Higher Power
In Waiting, best-selling author Marya Hornbacher uses the story of her own journey, beginning with her recovery from alcoholism, to offer a fresh approach to cultivating a spiritual life. Relinquishing the concept of a universal “Spirit” that exists outside of us, Hornbacher gives us the framework to explore the human spirit in each of us – the very thing that sends us searching, that connects us with one another, the “thing that comes knocking at the door of our closed lives”. The wisdom and compassion contained in the pages of Waiting: A Nonbeliever’s Higher Power cannot help but guide the reader toward a renewed and deeper understanding of a spiritual life which she emphasizes exists right here, right now, in this world.
We are all aware of Conference Approved books published by the General Service Office (GSO), such as the Big Book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and Living Sober. Here’s what the GSO says about literature from other publishers:
(The term Conference Approved) does not imply Conference disapproval of other material about AA. A great deal of literature helpful to alcoholics is published by others, and AA does not try to tell any individual member what he or she may or may not read. (Service Material from the General Service Office)
Nonetheless, the term “conference approved” is quite unfortunate and it ought to be changed. No matter what the GSO says, it implies that something is approved and something else is, in fact, not approved. In many of the rooms of AA it leads directly to censorship. That’s the way language works, folks. And as a result many in AA avoid books that could otherwise be very helpful.