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.

Here are just a very few of those helpful books:

Do Tell! Stories by Atheists & Agnostics in AA

Do Tell! [Front Cover]

“Storytelling is the practice and… essential dynamic of AA”. AA historian Ernie Kurtz Introduction: Reshaping the AA Culture By Roger C. Things change. At least that’s been my experience in life. And it’s the experience of everyone I have ever chatted with about change and their lives and the world … Continue reading

Key Players in AA History

Key Players Front Cover

Review by Roger C. Our friend, bob k, has written an exceptional book. But before we have a look at Key Players in AA History, let’s back up just a little bit. Bob first starting writing on AA Agnostica a little over three years ago, in December, 2011. He quickly became … Continue reading

Common Sense Recovery

CSR Cover

Foreword to Common Sense Recovery: An Atheist’s Guide to Alcoholics Anonymous, Second Edition By Ward Ewing From the beginning there has been tension around theism in AA. The connection with the Oxford Group movement meant that, in Akron, a more traditional understanding of God would infuse the emerging fellowship of … Continue reading

The Alternative 12 Steps – Second Edition

Alternative 12 Steps Cover 200

We are pleased to announce that AA Agnostica has published a Second Edition of the book The Alternative 12 Steps: A Secular Guide to Recovery. As valuable today as it was then, the new edition of this pioneering and exceptional book remains as it was originally written by Martha Cleveland and … Continue reading

A Freethinker in Alcoholics Anonymous

Freethinker AA

Reviewed by Thomas B. What a gratifying little book John Lauritsen has written about his 46 years of continuous sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous! I spent a wonderful day this week sitting outside in bright sunshine on the usual rainy coast of Oregon, delighting in his experience, strength and hope. He … Continue reading

Don’t Tell

Don't Tell

By Chris G. Who are we, we alcoholic agnostic, atheist, free-thinking people who come to this website? I sense that many of us are pretty lonely individuals looking for a community, and many are beginning to find it here and in others places. After haunting web-based agnostic AA for about … Continue reading

A History of Agnostic Groups in AA

A History

Review by Chris G. When the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, was being written there was an irritating atheist in the mix: Jim Burwell. He was responsible for the phrase “God, as we understood Him” in the Steps and for AA’s Third Tradition: “The only requirement for membership is a desire … Continue reading

The Little Book

The Little Book

Review by Jean S. This book offers a way forward for the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. The unstated goal of The Little Book is to widen the gateway of AA so that all who suffer might pass through, regardless of belief or lack of belief. The book presents the 12 Step … Continue reading

Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life

Beyond Belief

Review by Carol M. Finally! A daily reflection book for nonbelievers, freethinkers and everyone, Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life offers 365 quips for every alcoholic/addict. Drawing on quotes from writers, skeptics, entertainers, economists, religious leaders, philosophers, psychologists and varied recovery fellowship literature, Beyond Belief neither canonizes nor … Continue reading

An Atheists Unofficial Guide to AA

An Atheists Unofficial Guide

By Vince H. I am an atheist alcoholic who believes that many people who could be saved from drink by AA do not embrace the fellowship because they are put off by a higher power understood as “God.” I have written a book which tweaks the Steps and demonstrates that … Continue reading

A Woman’s Way Through The Twelve Steps

A Woman's Way

Review by Linda R A Woman’s Way Through The Twelve Steps by Stephanie Covington was published in 1994 and has become a favorite book for many women in AA.  Why do women have their own book? One reason is the effect on women of the religious language used in the original AA literature. And it … Continue reading

Waiting: A Nonbeliever’s Higher Power

Waiting A Nonbeliever's Higher Power

Review by John M. Marya Hornbacher is one enthusiastic and grateful recovering alcoholic. She is also an atheist. If you have been waiting for a recovery book to come along that speaks to the “non-God” in you, then perhaps your patience will be rewarded with the recent publication of Waiting: … Continue reading