So, I'm thinking about drafting an atheist version of the big book and making it available (free) online.


My reasons are twofold:


1.  The constant mention of Dog is a distraction for me.  I find that it actually clouds the underlying point.

2.  Some of us are put off by the religiousness of AA in such a way that it keeps us out using... 


I would have gotten sober sooner if I didn't have to deal either of these.


Could I just replace the word Dog in the big book with 'nature' and still have it make sense?  That would certainly be easy!


Any suggestions?  Comments?









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Comment: I belong to an atheist AA group--two, actually. The first is a face-to-face real-life atheist group, with a Group Registration number given to it by the General Service Organization, the operational center of AA. They don't have a problem with atheist groups--why should you? The second group is online, By no means is it the consensus that "the god part" is an excuse, but I think it is an excuse. I have been atheist since I was almost 5 years old. I got sober at 51. The purpose of AA is to help the still suffering alcoholic, and "when anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help.." the hand of AA is always to be there, and for that its members are responsible.

The agnostic recovery group We Agnostics rewrote the 12 Steps to take care of the "god thing"; my f2f group held a series of group conscience meetings to do the same thing, and that is what we read to open our meetings with.

Since 1978, the General Service Conference has brought up year after year the subject of literature for atheists/agnostics, since they have it for blacks, armed service members, women, etc, and because this topic has been contentious since 1935. Finally the 60th GSC last year approved the drafting of material:

"The committee recommended that the trustees’ Committee on Literature
develop literature which focuses on spirituality that includes stories
from atheists and agnostics who are successfully sober in Alcoholics
Anonymous, and bring a draft or progress report to the 2011 Conference
Committee on Literature.”
In fellowship,
Julio Espaillat
General Service Office Staff

There are many little pieces of parts, in AA literature already, that support the atheist position, such as this sentence from the book "Living Sober": "There is no prescribed 'right' AA way and no 'wrong' AA way."

And from the pamphlet to the Clergy, AA states that although it is built on spiritual principles, members are free to think of them in any way they wish, OR not to think of them at all!

Then there are the stories in the pamphlet, "Do You Think You're Different?", one from an atheist, one from an agnostic. The atheist is not an apologist and makes no bones that he is what he is, but also makes no bones that if you do what ever is necessary for YOUR own sobriety, that AA can work for you too, as I have found after nearly 5 years of sobriety.

So, if I was you, I would either wait for the atheist literature; or gather up all the pieces from here and there that support atheism in AA; or get a group who can help with rewriting the Big Book from a broader perspective than just one individual could do. And expect to be sued, because AA still has the copyright. If you re-write more than what is called "fair use", you're in trouble.

Curtis C
Thank you for these resources. I am so jealous that you live in an area that has a face-to-face atheist meeting. I would be happy if the meetings around here weren't blatantly Christian half the time.
It would certainly help to have more god-free literature in circulation, so give it a try. Nature might work in some places. Personally I've often said that commen sense is my "higher power". "It" knows and tells me that if I drink again I'll end up in a horrible mess, an arguement based on years of empirical experience.

Any atheist who has any sense whatsoever will never claim to be 'god like.'

A supernova, for instance, gives off something like a billion times as much energy in 5 seconds than our star does over the course of it's entire lifetime. How, then, can we meander around this Earth without a sense of that higher power.

Just to name a few really obvious ones: supernovae, mathematics, the milky way, the easter bunny and Chuck Norris...

: )
I have tried to substitute in "the cosmos" when I read (due to the "God is everything, or God is nothing" choice) and it works sometimes. I don't think you can pick any one term because the context varies. I like Ian's idea of common sense as a higher power. When people speak in meetings as though God is their personal best friend, though, I can't make sense of that.




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