My name is Bill, and I am currently involved with the NA program. Im not a cookie-cutter member of the fellowship, as it were. My program does not involve the use of a god, and I feel my recovery is solid, as I have mulitiple years clean. My current journey brings me to the position of confronting the fellowship as a whole, about the inherent bias that runs through the literature/mtgs. They (NA, and the ppl involved) say that it is up to the individual to decide what works for them, but they portray a completely biased point of view of what could work. The basis of the program is the application of the principles that are contained in the steps, that change one's thinking, attitudes, and behavior, into more positive actions. The issue of god is strictly an outside issue as far as im concerned. The principles are a "power greater than", but only through my application. Without me applying them to my life, they are just a set of words. Im about to petition the fellowship to accecpt a new version of the steps, where the personal responsibility required for recovery to happen, depends on the individual, not some supernatural deity. Please if anyone in this group has questions, or would like to see the version of the steps that Im trying to get through, or the emails that I have, with responses from NA World Services regarding this issue, please feel free to contact me through this group/site.
Also, if anyone has tried something like this, I would be greatful for your experience.
Where there is doubt, there is freedom.
When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.
I would like to see them as well.
I have included the alternate version of the steps, along with an alternate version of the "How it Works" reading. All of my emails with World services of NA are in my email. Not quiet sure how to link those, but who ever is intrested in seeing them, please forword me your email and I will gladly send them out. I brought this up at my NA Area service meeting as a motion from my Homegroup, it went back to all the groups in my area, and out of 60 groups only 4 voted yes to it. This was an exercise in open-mindedness and NA in my Area has failed at it. This will not deter me tho, their are others who are willing to fight this with me, so...the Battle continues.
So I was online last night and I am always searching for others in recovery that believe as I do, and even though we are few and far between we are out there. I googled "atheists in recovery" and this was as the top of the search results. I honestly had never considered trying to change the twelve steps however when I read the doc that you posted I was definitely moved by it. I really feel like you are on point and that's pretty much exactly how I had viewed them. I am very interested in seeing your emails to world and how that went especially since I am involved in service at the area level also. Anyways, I sent you a friend request and hopefully you will be in touch to talk more about this. Thank you for that.
I would be interested in viewing your emails to NA World. You are not the only one that struggles with this! email@example.com
Please check your email, I sent everything I have up to the present day.
Not a good chance of getting the fellowship as a whole to adapt a new set of steps. However, I don't think it's needed. Sure, the word "god" appears all over the place, but i simply replace that with POMU (the power of my understanding). It's a trick to be sure, but it works for me.
Everyone in the fellowship needs to come to their own conclusion of the power of their understanding, and the texts support this. I wrestled with this for some time, and it was finally in writing my second step that I was able to articulate what it was for me. Considering the joint authorship of the NA texts, I find them to be more acceptable than the writings of one man (i.e., Bill Wilson). The relationship I have with a sponsor and others in my "network", as well as with the people in the rooms as a whole is also important. I strive to associate with those who are truly working the program and show results (not just abstinence). The bible may have not gotten everything right, (an understatement!), but "in a multitude of counsel there is wisdom" was spot on. I can apply the idea of "a loving god" (POMU) to the individuals I know, as well as those that wrote the texts. I've become comfortable with the idea that I don't know as much about recovery and restoring myself to sanity as the NA program and the people in it do, and with the fact that I can't accomplish either without their help. The power of my understanding thus becomes the sum total of all those things. I also have adjunctive facets of the POMU, such as what I call the Jiminy Cricket phenomenon (that small voice in you that knows what you are doing is crazy), and something that I stole from Bucky Sinister, which is the idea of an ideal self (WWMISD - what would my ideal self do?).
At other times the power greater than myself can simply be lawyers, doctors, or what have you. As far as spiritual principles, I simply view these as the higher moral aspirations of mankind. Things like honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness, (as well as empathy, compassion, integrity, etc.) aren't bad things to strive for. If practicing these makes me a "spiritual" person, I'm down with being spiritual.
Yeah, everyone has their own higher power, and most folk choose to call it god. I decided to quit fighting battles that had nothing to do with my recovery. It was liberating. I found that the power of my understanding had one will for my life, and that was my recovery. (see above and this makes sense). I may "pray" more by seeking answers actively, and "meditate" by being willing to consider the advice I get even if I don't much like it. All of these words bothered me, but they don't so much any more. I still cringe when someone claims that god's will for them was to get a job, have their kid move back with them, etc., and the idea that there are no coincidences. I just view these differently. There are coincidences, but I find that being somewhat restored to sanity, I can see the opportunities for learning and the opportunities for bettering myself in some other way that were there all along.
First I would like to say that I am glad you have found a way for this to work for you, as that is the end result. That would unfortunately be the only thing I would have to agree with in your post. I do, as do many others I have talked to over the years, think that something like an alternative set of steps would be a great thing. Im not sure how long you have been around, or what NA is like in your neck of the woods, but in my area, there are alot of people who come in without a belief in a god, or gods, and they do not feel this can work for them. Having an alternate, yes, alternate being the key word, set of steps would open the door wider to truly accept anyone regardless of what they believe. As it stands, as it is stated in my opening post in this group, please feel free to read it again, there is a level of extreamly biased information in the Texts. But this is only half the truth, as you have pointed out. For newcomers, they may not be able to disseminate the literature like those of us who have already dedicated years of time to such an educated inquiry. The problem also lies in peoples misconceptions of what this program is. It is in every reading we hear at every meeting we attend. I do believe, as do others, that this starts with uneducated sponsors spewing their misconceptions on the new comers. If a newcomer does not believe in a god, or gods, they need to be told that is fine, not "you will", or "you cant do this without god". As these are responses that I have heard a plenty over the years, and as a matter of fact, have been told plenty myself. I am truly grateful that I did not sway in my own personal belief system.But that has kept me out of the rooms for upwards of 15 years, until I met someone who was not afraid to stand tall in his beliefs, regardless of what the masses think. I took what he learned, and adapted it to my life, as is what I do with anyone who asks me to sponsor them, they get treated as the individual that they are.This attitude that you "need god" has turned many an addict away from something that has the potential to save ones life, if the willingness is there. People need to be educated on why this works, the facts, they do not lie. If you would like to know more about how my program works please feel free to ask. Once again, I am glad you found a way that is suited to you.
Every once in a while, I have to eat some crow. (Sometimes these "whiles" come fast and furious).
I have to apologize for posting this in your thread rather than starting my own, I was a bit rushed and didn't navigate enough to start a new one and haven't had a lot of internet access lately (life on it's terms and all). Funny thing, I ran this by my sponsor, who has 29 years of actual recovery and is NOT an atheist (but he's a very atypical theist). Damned if the bastard didn't say - "yeah, I think they should change the language." To be fair he didn't see your version, but his sentiment was the same. Once again Ivan -0/other team -1. Oh well.
I think I'd word some of the stuff differently, although I think my sponsor's take was that it should always say "the power of my understanding". To be sure, the texts themselves word things in ways more difficult than the steps in terms of translating them into non-theistic speak. I'd love to hear more about how your own program works - I always like to hear how other atheists manage. I do tend to identify myself as an atheist when I share (when appropriate) only to encourage others who may be there that it can work for them.
I wish I could say I think your efforts will be successful, but I have my doubts. We are a minority sadly.
What is is that you would like to know about how I apply this to my life? I could give you the crib notes version I guess. Just let me know, and I will be more than glad to share with you. Have you even looked at the alternate version? To be clear, I did not come up with the alternate version, It has been used for over the passed 20years within the AA fellowship, who has specific mtgs for agnostics in the NYC area. If you need or would like a copy, email me from your email, and Ill send everything you may be interested in. Oh, Im ok with the minority thing, that is where I have been all my life, but if we can have people open their minds, and understand what our concepts say, when the lone voice is the one we should heed the most, then we will be getting somewhere.
I see this post is rather old, bu I came on here today because I guess I'm looking for how people stay clean and go to NA, or any other 12 step program and be an atheist. I have been clean and in recovery for almost 1 years and the past few havent worked steps due to nursing school and the crazy religion/god aspect of the 12 steps (the basis of any 12 step program). So bottom line, I'd like to meet and chat with people that may have had this same issue. I have no desire to use, but due to my "not being in the middle of the boat" and lack of meeting attendance, my mind is getting crazy. Anyways, I'd love to see your ideas and your version of the 12 steps. Thanks C
Scan up to my post from may14th. it is up above, you just need to open the file. If an issue presents it self, get back to me with your email address, and Ill email you a copy, with anything else you may be intrested in. If you would like to talk more about how this works for me personally, Im open to that as well, just let me know.