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”?
This book is divided into three main parts: Our History, Problems in AA and Moving Forward. Our hope is that Alcoholics Anonymous adapts and moves forward, with greater inclusiveness. A History of Agnostics in AA is meant to contribute to that goal.
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.
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 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.
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.
And it’s super good! The author, a university professor of biology, explains the “what”, “why” and “how” of alcoholism / addiction and shares the purpose and usefulness of the 12 Step program – its values, scope and depth in an eminently readable and helpful fashion.
All without the God bit…
Staying Sober Without God is an approach to the 12 steps that empowers the individual, reframes spiritual changes as real-world psychological events, and adds a few concrete actions that can aid in the lifestyle and personality changes needed to bring about lasting recovery. They are devoid of anything outside the realm of the natural world. Rather than requiring the help of the supposed creator of the universe, we are building confidence in our own ability to rewire our brains, establish new behavior patterns, and make the choice to live a better life. (p. 24)
“I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in 12 Step Recovery. If you are just starting out on your journey into recovery and are put off by the “God stuff” in the 12 Steps, this book will help put all of that in perspective. Archer does a brilliant job explaining how the steps can be worked from a purely secular perspective. We use this book at my home group and it makes for interesting discussion and I think it’s particularly helpful to the newcomer.”
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!
As Archer Voxx puts it in his review of the book: “…exploring the subject of emotional sobriety and incorporating its principles into your recovery toolkit is a wonderful way to enhance your recovery experience.”
Just one of several excellent books written by Allen Berger, a popular public speaker and nationally recognized expert on the science of recovery.
In this poignant and powerful memoir, David B. Bohl reveals the inner turmoil of warring emotions he experienced growing up as a relinquished boy. Adopted at birth, David battled throughout his earlier years to keep up a good front yet ultimately became a raging alcoholic.
After several seizures and blackouts, it was time to make a drastic change. David struggled with traditional recovery fellowships and sought out secular support, where he finally fit in. This approach allowed him to learn the stark facts about mental health and addiction…
But he is not the hero of his autobiography; he’s celebrating the people, places, awe and terror that life has gifted him. Each Breath is unabashed and authentic.
Now, let the adventure begin…”
From the Foreword by Joe C.
John Lauritsen, an accomplished author, is unabashed and articulate about his views of what makes AA viable and what would make the fellowship much better. As a freethinker, John is the whole package; he expresses his love for AA and his critical view of what could be improved. He doesn’t look for bobble-headed agreement. Rather, he tells his story with truth, candor and love. He argues for a more secular AA.
For a relatively short book this is intellectual dynamite. Great stuff for agnostics and freethinkers in recovery. There is HOPE!
Common Sense Recovery: An Atheist’s Guide to Alcoholics Anonymous 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.
“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!
From the Preface: Since AA has only one primary text, the book Alcoholics Anonymous, and only one recovery program, the 12 Steps, neither of which are ever going to change… I decided to write a Big Book based meditation book that was secular in nature, hoping to broaden the gateway to everyone, but especially to… all those who have a problem with the “God stuff” in their recovery.
In Daily Reprieve, much of the text of the first 164 pages of the Big Book is presented sequentially, covering each day of the year. Below each day’s citation is a Consideration and meditative question taken from my experience.
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!
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.
And it is at least four books in one. To begin with, it has 366 daily inspirational entries. The book also tackles one step a month and includes pages on the Traditions and Concepts towards the end of each month. Finally, it has ideas for topic meetings that can, of course, be chosen at random.
Everyone’s an Addict is aimed at everyone. The hypothesis is that we’re all addicts and that addiction robs us of time that could be spent in improving our lives…
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, well, not to be trusted. In many of the rooms of AA it leads directly to censorship. As a result many in AA avoid books that could otherwise be very helpful.