By Gisele B.
Hello, my name is Gisele, 61 years old, living in Canada, the province of Quebec. I have been a member of AA since 1992.
I came to Alcoholics Anonymous because I desperately wanted to stop drinking, I wanted to know what was wrong with me. I was seeking help and someone suggested I go to an AA meeting. I went in the door sincerely hoping that I would find a safe place to go to, people who would understand me and tell me what I needed to do. And right from the beginning I felt I had found the spot I was looking for.
When I started out I was a devout believer in the God of the Bible but now, due to circumstances that have shaken my conscience about reality, I have come to not believe in any “God” or Higher mystic power of any kind. Finding out on Internet about the AA Agnostica website and groups that are not religious in their thinking or practice came to me just at the right time.
This new way of living the AA way of life now suits me just fine.
What I would like to share with you is that even from my religious point of view in my early days, there where occasions when I felt awkward in my approach to try and help a person who wouldn’t have anything to do with God. While on my way in recovery I quickly picked up on the importance of lending a helping hand to any alcoholic in need.
As I got into reading the AA literature I sometimes became confused with the discrepancies and contradictions, especially when it came to the fellowship’s position about whether believing in the God they would strongly suggest us to cling to was necessary or not.
One thing I had noticed soon enough was the phrase “to the care of God as we understood Him” in the third step. This part and the tradition saying not to engage in any controversy made me feel at ease in that I could believe anything I wanted to and so could anyone coming in, so we could concentrate on the most important thing: the only requirement to be an AA member is to want to stop drinking.
Then there was also the suggestion to look towards the strength of the group as a higher power, so this could be shared with someone without religious beliefs. But after a while a very important fact I noticed was that some members would not practice the twelve steps as they were presented mainly because they had no interest in dealing with Godly direction.
What also happened with my practice was I read the way these steps where written and understood that even though a person would confide in their God the writers pointed out that you have to also take action and help yourself. Tell another person, preferably your sponsor, about the nature of your wrongs. That your defects of character would not just, miraculously, go away but that you had to honestly do what you could to better yourself. That an invisible, silent God who more often than not wouldn’t answer sincere prayers was of no use.
Then there came a time when I stopped going in meetings and put the AA way of life aside.
I went for alternative ways of healing I could relate to. I also had to deal with my personal issues in coming to not believe in a God anymore, which I felt I couldn’t share with AA members.
Recently a good AA friend of mine reached out to me and her intervention prompted me to come back to the steps; now it time to try and take God out of the picture. I did some research on the net about the AA God. What I discovered was that lots of atheists were coming out about the problems they faced with this issue in AA. And so am I.
So, here I am now sharing my thoughts on an atheist AA site and very glad to do so. I believe that there is this synchronicity, an energy between a person’s actions and the needed answers that will come to attention that is fascinating. My text is a resume of what I could go on talking about, as I am interested in the cause. Sincere thanks to all pioneers who are doing what it takes to help non believers find their place in AA.
Keep on rockin, one day at a time!
Gisele is 61 years old and came to Alcoholics Anonymous in November of 1992. She is living happy retirement in a nice countryside with her boyfriend, their cat and a chihuahua dog. For the last few years she has come to terms with her change of heart and mind about switching from faith in God to an atheist standpoint in the practice of the AA way of life. Gisele is glad to have found agnostic AA members online and to share her thoughts on the matter with them.