AA recognizes atheist groups, because we have one in Kalamazoo every Saturday. (See Events) But some atheists in the media think we ought to stay away from such groups because they are offensive to nontheists, when they "urge" us to accept a higher power and to turn to god, and to pray and meditate. It doesn't have to be that way. Being in a room full of atheists recovering from addictions is refreshing and uplifting. It's also helpful because we don't have to listen to theists explaining how their god lifted them from the gutter.

In the official AA publication called Box 459, they published a story recently about a man whose higher power is a GI Joe doll. That doesn't sound like a group hell-bent on forcing everyone to join a religious cult.

Even if you can't get to an atheist recovery meeting, do what I do: go to a regular meeting and talk about how you, as an atheist in recovery, can still make the Steps work to your advantage. You don't have to "believe" in god: The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using.

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They've discussed changing the early 20th century language to more modern vernacular, but they have decided to leave the whole thing alone because it took so much work to get it "right" the first time. Everyone in the original groups had to agree. That is what AA calls "group conscience." It's all very democratic. That is why each group is free to "work the program" in its own way, and why they wouldn't dare think of stopping our atheist group---it isn't up to them.

The fact that "higher power" and "the god of your understanding" are in there at all is because some people objected to the religious tone of the words. But what sounded very liberal once it was in print in 1939 now sounds outdated.

But the way it is means a great deal to many people, especially those "old timers" who knew the original group and what they went through.

My suggestion is just to have tolerance for them as they are instructed by the Big Book to have tolerance for you. You are free to ignore the parts you don't like, but those parts mean a great deal to more people than you can imagine.
Since I've come out as a non-theist I've really lost touch with all of my former AA friends. My "HP" less-ness seems to really tick some of them off and for what ever reason threatens others to the point at which they have become hostile. I don't prosletyze at all.
I stood up last night at a Central Forum. AA New York only holds 4 of these each year in the U.S., and this weekend it was in my home town. I stood up and identified myself as the GSR for the Atheists and Spirituality group, and I know I heard a few gasps in the crowd of 500. But NY gave me the registration number, and they knew I existed, and I'm not going to quit because of a few theist knuckleheads. As a matter of fact, every month I seem to find something new to get myself deeper into the "fellowship". I took on the alternate Grapevine rep. position for the District, and I'll take on the full position in my home group. That way maybe I can get the Grapevine to sit up and take notice of we who do it alone.




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