By Roger C
As of November 2023, there have been over four million visits to this website, AA Agnostica.
This website was initially launched in June of 2011. That’s 12 1/2 years ago, as of November. And the four million viewers amount to roughly 26,500 a month, which is close to 900 each and every day.
Initially there weren’t a lot of viewers. In 2012, for example, there was a total of 55,570 views, which would be 4,630 a month. One of the best years was 2015 with 510,350 views which was 42,530 each and every month. That is roughly 10 times better than 2012.
There are a number of solid reasons for the visits to AA Agnostica. The primary reason is that it is a secular Alcoholics Anonymous website. Traditional AA is far too religious and does not relate to or resonate with a significant portion of the population. One of the very few “conference approved” books, The Big Book, mentions God (or Him, etc.) 281 times in its 164 pages. And many – most – traditional AA meetings end with the Lord’s Prayer. All of that might have been acceptable when AA was initially launched over 80 years ago. North America was then pretty religious but our population has become much, much less religious since the 1930s. And AA Agnostica exists precisely for those who don’t want religion pushed on them and who do indeed want to recover without religion.
Another solid reason for the visits to the website is the fact that from 2011 to 2021 we posted an article each and every Sunday and sometimes on Wednesdays. Over those ten years, a total of 742 articles were published. These were all about secular recovery and they were written by hundreds of different people from all around planet earth, but mostly by people in the United States, Canada and Great Britain. Let me mention just two of those articles (also known as posts).
In 2015 we published an article called Rewriting the 12 Steps for Atheists. Of course, that kind of article was essential for the many, many people who don’t believe in a God. The original 12 Steps – published by Bill Wilson way back in 1939 – has God (or Him, etc.) in six of the 12 Steps. So: these days, a version of the 12 Steps without a God is essential and to date over 110,000 people have viewed this particular post.
A popular book, written by Jeffrey Munn, is Staying Sober Without God. A review of the book was published in 2019 and then another six chapters of it were also shared on AA Agnostica. There have been thousands and thousands of viewers. Indeed, the best day ever on the website was on September 2, 2019 when there were 7,675 viewers of Chapter Three of Munn’s book, Recovering Without God. And, in 2023, a two hundred page “Workbook” for Staying Sober Without God was published by Jeffrey Munn.
There are also a large number of viewers of the pages on the website. If you look at the menu on the top of the home page, you will see How to Start an AA Meeting. To date that has had a total of 66,000 viewers, and as a result a large number of new secular AA meetings have been created and launched.
Another very popular page on the menu is the Alternative 12 Steps. This contains six secular versions of the 12 Steps and has been viewed by a total of 165,000 viewers.
Speaking of alternative 12 steps, let’s now discuss a few of the books published since the website was launched in 2011. The very first one – of a total of 12 – was called The Little Book – A Collection of Alternative 12 Steps. It was initially published in 2013 and a second edition was published in 2021. The book contains a total of 20 alternative versions of the original 12 Steps. It also has four interpretations of each of the Steps and these are done by excellent authors such as Gabor Maté, whose most recent book is The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness and Healing in a Toxic Culture and Stephanie Covington who wrote the book A Woman’s Way Through the Twelve Steps. An article I wrote is also included in The Little Book and that is The Origins of the 12 Steps. All in all, it’s a very popular book.
But – the most popular book I have published is called The Alternative 12 Steps – A Secular Guide to Recovery. This book was written by two women, Arlys G. and Martha Cleveland and the first edition was originally published in 1991. When I found this book it was no longer published. It took me a full year to find the two authors and get their permission to publish a second edition which was finally done in 2014. As the authors put it: “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.” A superb book.
Let me mention just one more of the 12 books I published. It was a real treat to publish the book Do Tell! Stories by Atheists & Agnostics in AA. It was created in 2015 when, as mentioned earlier, we have a huge number of viewers in the website. I invited a number of them to create stories about their recovery from alcoholism. We got dozens and dozens of articles and finally I chose fifteen by women and fifteen by men and the stories in the book alternate between those by the women and men. And these are all AA members who simply do not believe that a deity had anything at all to do with their recovery from alcoholism. It is a truly honest and wonderful book written by those who at some point decided that quitting drinking was absolutely essential if they were to live a more decent and better life.
A final thought. As I mentioned earlier, AA Agnostica was launched in 2011. Prior to that there had never been a worldwide secular AA conference. Never. But we did everything we could to support the very first international secular AA conference, which was held in November of 2014 in Santa Monica, California. We significantly increased the number of secular AA members from 2011 to 2014, we had a widget about the convention on the homepage of AA Agnostica and we posted five articles about the upcoming convention. During the convention I shared an article each and every day on this website. If interested you can see them here: Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3. It was truly wonderful. And my final article about this first ever secular AA convention was this one: The Impossible Becomes Possible.
Since then, there have been two more in-person international secular AA conventions. The second was in Austin, Texas in November of 2016. This article about it – The Secular AA 2016 Convention – was written by my friend life-j, who passed away in December 2019. Over a period of 6 1/2 years he wrote a total of eighteen articles posted on AA Agnostica.
You can enjoy an article about the third convention, The 2018 International Convention of Secular AA, which was held in Toronto, Ontario, in the month of August. It was written by another dear friend, Carolyn, who regularly attends a meeting called We Agnostics, which I launched in Hamilton, Ontario in 2016.
Of course these conferences were meant to be held every two years. However, due to the pandemic there have been no secular AA in-person conferences since 2018. HOWEVER, the next International Secular AA Conference will be on September 20 to 22 in 2024 in Orlando, Florida! You can register to attend here: International Secular Conference of AA. Of course, a link to this conference is on the homepage of AA Agnostica.
Alright, we are at the end of this article. Of course, this was written because we have had four million viewers on this website to date. And the plan now? Well, it would be nice to get to five million! That will no doubt take a few more years. And I do want to thank each and every viewer to date. Your interest in the articles and pages of AA Agnostica is much respected and appreciated. And here is one of the principles of the website: “Our only wish is to ensure suffering alcoholics that they can find sobriety in AA without having to accept anyone else’s beliefs, or having to deny their own.”
For a PDF of this article, click here: Over Four Million Visits to AA Agnostica.