Atheists, Addictions, 12 Step Recovery, and Alternatives


Atheists, Addictions, 12 Step Recovery, and Alternatives

Trouble with drugs (including alcohol) or other potential addictions? Tried 12 step recovery and found it wanting? You're welcome here.

Members: 120
Latest Activity: Dec 28, 2015

Desiderata (Revised)

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.

Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with it, whatever you conceive it to be.

And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

Discussion Forum

I was once a druggie, now overeating has taken it's place

Started by Gwen Bailey. Last reply by Gerald Payne Nov 1, 2015. 1 Reply

Sex, love, porn

Started by Misha H.. Last reply by Misha H. Jul 7, 2015. 5 Replies

Recommended reading

Started by Seth R.. Last reply by Misha H. Jul 6, 2015. 1 Reply


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Comment Wall


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Comment by Ian Mason on July 7, 2015 at 1:11pm

Reno, I wouldn't dare to suggest a tactic for you to adopt. I had a high sex drive for many years without the charm to get it sated. However, when I finally gave in to having my psychiatric problems treated (atypical OCD/depression) with SSRI medicins, the urge slowly faded. So I really don't know what to say. I still, after many years sober, feel the desire to drink but I counter that with all the bad memories of what the mornings after were like and of all the damage I did to others. That's about it. I wish there was more I could do for you. Have you any ideas yourself?

Comment by reno barber on July 7, 2015 at 12:25pm

Have tried lots of therapy..it is an addiction, just like yours...a compulsion, a feeling of joy and elation when feeding it, but of misery when not.... and, it is becoming more common...I need help, and am an atheist... was hoping it was here

Comment by Misha H. on July 7, 2015 at 9:36am
Ian, there are differences between addictive urges that require unique forms of support and therapy. Some urges are illegal, for example, such as narcotics, gambling, and prostitution. Others are deeply shameful, even to other addictive types. Some are inherently self destructive, and with sex addiction, usually destructive to others. So while addictive behaviors share psychological mechanisms, the hurdles faced by the addict seeking help are unique, and the types of therapy and social support vary greatly. An alcoholic or heroin addict can define "sobriety" more precisely than a compulsive overwater or sex addict, and so those addicts need particular help in developing healthy eating and sexual behaviors. I am super lucky to live in a city chock full of recovery industry help (only partly being sarcastic here), but in some parts of the world, there's nothing, or only religious groups.
Comment by Ian Mason on July 7, 2015 at 5:39am

I really don't know, Reno. Is the sex drive different from the urge to use intoxicants? Have you tried any form of psychotherapy?

Comment by reno barber on July 6, 2015 at 4:08pm

Is this group for me???? I am a struggling sex addict, and militant atheist, and not finding ANY secular help, anywhere..the 12 step groups say that they can help, just ignore the higher power part, but, when you go to the group, they wanna pray, pray for you, bless you, etc.... in need here

Comment by Misha H. on June 8, 2015 at 11:44pm

Thanks, Joe.  There certainly are a lot of metaphors in twelve step world.  I find a lot of good people and honesty, and a lot of nonsense, but I try to take it one metaphor at a time.

Comment by Joe C on June 4, 2015 at 11:05am

Hey Misha, you have that right - it's not just the theism in AA's twelve steps, it's also full of Judeo/Christian morality, too. The idea of powerlessness and insanity are contentious. Are these things true? It is for some and not for others. Is addiction a disease? NA talks about addiction the disease like it's a scientific fact; some AA's do, too, but for many, it's just a metaphor.

Blogs and podcasts from critics within AA:



You might already know TheFix.com, it has some critical exposes about 12-Step modality and culture. Some are harsh fault-finding rants (but still entertaining) and others are more analytical.

AA and NA are evolving. There is more literature for and by atheists in recovery than every before. In 2010 there were two books, now there are a dozen good ones. Some like to rely on SMART, SOS, Sobriety for Women for their main recovery platform and complement that with AA meetings. If you live in an urban area there are so many groups and they're all different: six people, six-hundred, ritualistic with lots of readings and protocol, anything goes discussion groups, liberal meetings, conservative meetings, religious overtones, secular meetings. Some meetings invite critical discussion and others are more evangelical.

I say meetings/groups are like bars; some of them make you feel totally uncomfortable and you can't wait to get out, some make you feel right at home, right away and still others take some getting use to.

Comment by Misha H. on June 4, 2015 at 12:48am

I am interested in critiques of 12 step work, not only based on the god/higher power terminology, but the religious structures built into the process - sin, confession, etc.   Anyone know of anyone who has written about that?   To me, while I appreciate meetings and such, my issues with the steps themselves can't be resolved by secularizing the vocabulary.   

Comment by Joe C on January 4, 2015 at 1:40am

Durker, I don't know if KC is driving distance for you:


Comment by Joe C on January 4, 2015 at 1:37am


That's a worldwide site of A.A. meetings for atheists & agnostics, no praying, no god-talk, just peer to peer help. there are several Facebook and Google and Yahoo groups for freethinkers, secular humanists, atheists, et al. more links can be found here:


there are now several books writing by nonbelievers about getting sober and clean with or without 12 Steps.


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