The Spirit of Rotation


By Roger C.

Dear readers – it’s time for a change. As of today, AA Agnostica will no longer be posting original articles every Sunday.

It’s a change that is a transition.

It is a positive change, for a number of reasons, as outlined below.

Online and Alive

First, AA Agnostica will remain online and alive. It is an important archive of articles and history. We have a huge and ever-growing viewership. Search engines are constantly delivering new readers to the website. For example, the article An Atheist’s Guide to 12-Step Recovery posted in August of 2012, as of midnight last night, has attracted 83,803 readers since it was published. Other very popular locations on the site include How to Start a Meeting and The Alternative 12 Steps.

Agnostic GroupsChris G. will continue to help people start new meetings via the new group form on the website (with the link on the right). If you have a website, please consider adding this link.

AND we will post chapters from the book Do Tell every Wednesday. There are 26 chapters yet to be posted, which means exactly another half a year of these posts on AA Agnostica.

We will also consider adding the occasional article on Wednesdays.

Most importantly, the 300 articles posted to date on the website about secular recovery within AA will remain available to Internet search engines for all those who find that information useful and helpful.

But we will not be doing the main work of posting original articles on Sundays.

New Website: AA Beyond Belief

Sunday articles by we agnostics, atheists and freethinkers in AA will now be posted by John S. at a brand new and wonderful website which has been created for that exact purpose: AA Beyond Belief.

John and I have been working together for the last two months to make the transition to the new website an easy one and comfortable for all. Today, the first article has been posted: Our Vision for AA Beyond Belief. And I am honoured to report that the first Sunday post is an article I’ve written called Platitudes in AA.

I heartily encourage readers of AA Agnostica to visit AA Beyond Belief. Subscribe there to receive notices of new posts. Add the website to your “favourites”. If you have a website, create a link to it. Tell your friends about AA Beyond Belief.

John is to be admired for taking on this project. He is the right guy to do it. He has the technical skills, having created the website We Agnostics AA Kansas City. Some of you will no doubt have met John at the Convention in Santa Monica. He has a wonderfully balanced approach to the reality and needs of we agnostics and atheists within Alcoholics Anonymous. That, my friends, is important. And the new website comes with a bonus! John is planning to post regular podcasts. These will include interviews with authors of articles posted on AA Beyond Belief. This is a very engaging feature and I expect will be greatly appreciated. All in all, AA Beyond Belief is a wonderful successor to the weekly posts on AA Agnostica. Thank you, John!

So, dear readers, please migrate over to the new website. Again, here is the link: AA Beyond Belief.

And writers on AA Agnostica: John is looking forward to your contributions. The themes, topics and lengths of the articles will remain much the same as they have been on AA Agnostica. And he too encourages more women to contribute as authors on the new site. He can be reached at Don’t wait! Be one of the first proud agnostics, atheists or freethinkers in our fellowship of AA to have an article published on the new website.


We are grateful to all those who have supported AA Agnostica since it was created in June of 2011.

The support we have received has been truly amazing and includes financial contributors, our readers and the authors of articles posted on the website.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Here are some numbers to celebrate. The website has been up now for 4 years, 3 months and 15 days. That’s 224 weeks or 1568 days. Original articles have been posted every Sunday with book reviews and articles about the Steps sometimes posted on Wednesdays. We have launched campaigns, such as the one to have the Grapevine put together a book of already-published articles by agnostics and atheists in AA (some 40 articles since 1962). We have made every effort to stay up-to-date and current, reporting, for example at the end of each day on the Convention in Santa Monica. And we have worked to build the movement, to help foster the development of new agnostic groups in AA throughout the world, and especially in North America. But mostly we have had one overriding goal: to let the still suffering alcoholic – especially the one who does not believe in an interventionist deity – know that she or he is not alone in Alcoholics Anonymous.

Again, thank you to all those at AA Agnostica – contributors, readers, authors, commenters – for supporting, encouraging and kindly nurturing the website over all those days, weeks and years.

Fear and Change

In 1965, Bill Wilson concluded a talk in which he discussed all the people who have entered the rooms of AA and then left never to return with a recommendation to the fellowship, “never fear needed change”. You can read about his talk here: Responsibility is Our Theme.

But our fellowship is afraid of change.

An antiquated belief in an interventionist Christian deity – an anthropomorphic “Him” to boot – tarnishes all of our Conference-approved literature and is a painful part of traditional meetings which invariably begin with “How It Works” and end with “The Lord’s Prayer”.

The inability of AA to accept the need for change is mystifying.

All of which is to say that what we are doing now at AA Agnostica is exactly the opposite: it is an acceptance of change.

Change, more often than not, is a good thing. It is inevitable. It is an essential ingredient in growth and maturity. Change is, well, change is part of life itself.

We understand, as humans in AA wanting to help other humans who reach out, the need to embrace change.

And it all fits so very well with the “spirit of rotation” principle which is a part of trustee, delegate and other roles and responsibilities within Alcoholics Anonymous.

Moving right along then: your next destination, friends: AA Beyond Belief.

See you there. Onwards and upwards!

24 Responses

  1. Denis K says:

    Thanks again Roger for all you have accomplished with this website, it’s a wonderful foundation for the fellowship we are collectively attempting to reclaim.

    Best wishes my friend.


  2. Jon S says:

    Thanks for everything you’ve done here. It’s a truly excellent site. JS

  3. Scott A. says:

    “CHANGE IS GOOD…. ummm… for other people!!!”

    Thank You Roger C., Life J., and all who have helped make the stellar “moment” it has been… a real milestone in the (hopefully) living/growing agnostic/atheist/freethinking “movement” within aa. Thank you for demonstrating the living embodiment of the real spirit of AA, including that of rotation.

    “Be the change you want to see.”

  4. Steve K says:

    Thanks Roger for all your work on the site. Agnostica has really helped me be true to myself within AA, and stimulated my interest in 12 step recovery. This site is an excellent resource for those in the fellowship of an agnostic, atheist or humanist persuasion. I’m sure others will have helped you with Agnostica and I thank them also.
    Best wishes, Steve K.

  5. Dave J says:

    Thanks, Roger. Your work was much needed and is much appreciated.

  6. Laurie A says:

    Hats off to you, Roger. Agnostica is the equivalent of a Godsend! Another shining piece in the AA kaleidoscope of experience. Here in the UK we don’t seem to suffer the same level of bigoted zealotry that occurs over the pond, but here as well Agnostica encourages agnostic/atheist members to speak our truth.

  7. brien says:

    Great website Roger thank you for all your work.

  8. John S says:

    When I realized that I was an atheist, I was first very depressed and afraid that nobody in AA would accept me. I found hope here. I still remember how hopeful I was on that July 4th, when I filled out the form to start an agnostic AA meeting in my town. It finally happened too.

    I am happy in AA for the first time in a very long time and I’ve grown incredibly in the past year. It’s nice to know at my age, that growth is still possible, and thank goodness for in my case it’s badly needed.

    Thank you Roger and Joe and Chris and Thomas and Adam and so many more who have meant so much to me and who have written me today. I am grateful to you all. We will give this our all and do our utmost to continue inspiring people as we have been inspired.

    Love to you all. Roger, have some fun and take it easy. You deserve a break.

  9. Alyssa (soda) says:

    ROGER, What a beautiful piece to embrace growth. First nations peoples never say goodbye. Being métis, some say, “see you later,” and “bye for now.” Nothing is Permanent and it is okay to let go of those ideas I’ve learned.

    This site aaagnostica has done more for my initial continued changing, evolving recovery journey than I ever could have imagined. In moderating the chat room and building confidence with loved ones online, I was able to begin my growth in the world beyond the screen. It is almost beyond belief 😉 It’s hard to imagine it’s only been a little under 5 years. Thank u to my amazing friends I’ve met on here who held me at first when I was just under 2 years sober – Regor, Turtle, Life, JHG, Jaye, Bob MC, Mark from texas, Real Neal, DJ, Tomm, Gord – Hord, Larry, and of course Thomas B & 9k. I’ve been fortunate to meet many of you face to face & I will always be your soda. See u guys SOON.

    Much love & friendly spirit, Alyssa 🙂

  10. Rich H says:

    Thank you so much Roger for this incredibly valuable website. I too am glad it will continue to be around as a repository of previous writings and articles. It is a valuable piece of A.A. history which must be preserved. You have brought cohesion and gravitas to the WAAFT movement. Hope to see you in Austin.

  11. Joe C. says:

    Oh, the spirit of rotation; I bet John is feeling a bit of pressure taking the baton in hand but Roger will be quick to say that it is the community that makes the difference. And it’s been a growing community at that. A few weeks ago I kicked off a discussion about AA demographics and what I had to say was overshadowed by thoughtful commentary.

    But still, Roger’s done a helluva job hosting this twice-weekly get together. What has gone on in AA over the last few years gives me cause for optimism. I’ll be back here regularly and I look forward to the new look and feel this Sunday.

    Mind you, I’m going to Washington DC Saturday so I might be a day late for the new AA Beyond Belief site. BTW, if anyone else is going to DC, We Agnostics (Washington) is 11 AM Sunday and I hope to attend; maybe we can meet there.

    Thanks Roger, thanks John for taking the next shift and see you all over there next week.

  12. JohannaO says:

    Oh Roger, thank you. I would not have made it to 15 months if I had not found this site. I had tried AA 7 years before, and 5 years, and 3 years, and 1 and found the rote repetition of magical thinking to be simplistic. I could not accept that if I just really believed in their interventionist god he would make me sober. Luckily I found AA Agnostica to temper the religious fervor, big book fundamentalists, and incessant prayer enough that I could make it through meetings. These stories of fellowship, human consciousness, personal growth, and service reinforced what I began to see really at work in the program. Now I know that it is the people that make the miracle. And the honest communication that you have created here is an essential part of that miracle. Thank you.

  13. Eric T says:

    Thank you Roger, and thanks to all who have contributed to the conversation here. I’m grateful to be sober today to see this change, and appreciate how important this community is to my recovery. May our sobriety continue through this change, and through many more to come.

  14. Bill G. says:

    Yes thanks for your work Roger. Your revisionist work of the 12 steps will help more people than you have any idea. I first came to this site with about 35 years of sobriety and was contemplating doing something myself about taboos in AA: no need after the fine job that you have done with correcting a little reality into recovery.
    Thanks Bill G. Northwest Michigan

  15. William P. says:

    I’m sure that everyone appreciates the fine work you have done. Thank you particularly for introducing me to the late Ernie Kurtz and for understanding the confusion which resulted from my ignorance. I have read and have greatly admired his book on imperfection. I have a copy of his book on the history of the Big Book and AA and look forward to reading it.

  16. Stephanie says:

    Love and gratitude to you, Roger. So much. xo

  17. Thomas B. says:

    Thank you, indeed, Roger for manifesting AA Agnostica initially and for authentically adhering to the most consistent constant we experience on this earthly plane: ceaseless change !~!~!

    You know how grateful I am for having found AA Agnostica several years ago when I was in a very dark space in Coos County, Oregon — without it I may very well have used again or certainly been considerably less serene than I have been able to be since becoming a contributing member of the AA Agnostica Community.

    John, I am eager to assist you with the AA Beyond Belief website in any way I can, especially after I return from my upcoming trip to the East Coast in mid-November. I have full confidence in your ability to carry forth “onwards and upwards” Roger’s initiatives begun on AA Agnostica.

    What a marvelous, bounteously gifted, trip it continues to be !~!~!


  18. Kimberley S. says:

    Thank you for all you have done. A huge amount of work creating, writing, maintaining etc. of aaagnostica. It has made such a difference to me and my sobriety. I wish you well and hope to see your name on occasion at AA Beyond Belief.

  19. Anton D. says:

    It is no exaggeration to say that AA Agnostica has singlehandedly prevented my departure from AA completely. I’m glad it will continue to be around as a repository of previous writings and articles, and I look forward to getting acquainted with the new web page.

  20. pat n. says:

    Gosh, I’m going to miss the Sunday articles – I always read them before going to my home group.

    Roger, I can’t begin to express my gratitude to you for starting, and all the other great things it has led to. You are the 21st century Jim Burwell, in terms of fomenting positive change for nonbelievers in AA. Your dogged determination to do whatever you can to reach out has been an inspiration to me, and renewed my commitment to carrying the message.

    Speaking of which, folks in Olympia, WA are moving ahead with plans for a 1-day workshop here on January 16th, modeled on the international convention in Santa Monica, and titled “Widening the Gateway”. As you know, activists in the Phoenix area are doing the same in November. More will be revealed.

    Many thanks again for all you’ve done. We both know there are struggling freethinkers who are finding sobriety today because of what you’ve done.

    Universe bless you!

  21. Christopher G says:

    Great change, Roger! Great addition! Looking forward to this Sunday! And thank you, John, as well! And all contributors and participants who make this movement within AA a life giving force!

  22. Andy L. says:

    Oh my, that IS a change. Best to all, and thanks for all the good works thus far.

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