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 by James G. on April 26, 2009 at 2:19am
Why is the URL to this group http://atheistnexus.org/group/atheistsin12steprecovery ? Was that the original name? While I am not a dogmatic atheist; I don't see how atheists and freethinkers in their right mind can support 12 "programs" like AA. It has some of the worse elements of religious dogma, indoctrination and anti-rational thought sentiment I ever encountered... and I was Catholic! lol

The whole "spiritual not religious" thing is an insult to any rational person. Even when I was a superstitious believer it never made much sense. I am still a spiritual person as an atheist and i know what secular spirituality is and what religious spirituality is and AA is religious spirituality. Yoga, meditation, certain elements of Buddhism, REBT, art, humanism, naturalism, psychology, philosophy, and various ways of reaching mindfulness are spiritual and not religious.

Personally, while my experience with AA was negative, AA did help me in becoming an atheist by it's clear displays of the absurdity of religion, mythology, faith healing, suspension of rationality, and insults to the secular.

Thanks for a place to rant ;)
Comment by Wendi on March 25, 2009 at 4:34pm
Hi Luke,

My perspective is from the "inside" of the AA program (i.e., I'm an alkie), and I can tell you that there is essentially no quarter given to atheists / agnostics in the program. If one makes a claim to be atheist / agno, the typical response from seasoned group members is either a). you may not believe in God now, but you'd better or else YOU WILL DRINK; b). you may not believe in God now, but you will come to believe in God if you stick with the program.

Emotionally this is pretty manipulative stuff...most of the new people I've seen in the program are scared shitless and very desperate not to return to their old behavior patterns. These newcomers are continually reminded from those with more sobriety that they must "be willing to go to ANY lengths" in order to stay sober. But this is a pretty open-ended statement, and it begs the question of _who_ gets to decide what those lengths are, and on _what_ authority? The 3rd step of the program is to "turn our will and life over to the care of God as we understood him", and the theme of surrendering individuality and free will remains consistent throughout the program. Questioning the process happens frequently, but is generally discouraged as "stinking thinking" that will inevitably lead one back to a drink.

I'll admit that for many drunks even this level of surrender of free will is acceptable given the alternative of drinking again, but as a long term approach to living a sober life I find it obviously lacking, and not only on the basis of religious content. As many before me have stated, AA seems to foster dependence upon the group and / or sponsor as a means of ending dependence on alcohol. For many people this is no problem, but not everyone (alkie or no) has an easy time adapting into group situations, and to draw parallels between individuality and addiction / alcoholism is a very slippery slope.

I have more to say, but I'll ping this back to you to keep things flowing...thanks for posting, Luke!
Comment by Luke on March 25, 2009 at 9:16am
Hi Wendi. This is a bit of a quiet group. I've been reading the Rational Recovery book at the moment. I'm finding it very interesting, useful and enjoyable.

I've read half of the AlAnon book (for families of alcoholics or drug addicted people) but I just couldn't overcome the higher power aspect of it all. When the RR book arrived int he mail I set the AlAnon book aside. It is one thing for them to say that the higher power could be anything but we all know they are talking about the christian god.

Anyway, if we keep chatting we might draw a crowd. :)

Comment by Wendi on March 23, 2009 at 11:33am
Hi everyone, I just joined -- looks like no one's posted in a few months, but I''m hoping I won't be all alone here. ;-)
Comment by Michelle on November 30, 2008 at 10:34am
Hi. I just joined al-anon. I was hoping that I could "take what I need and leave the rest". I knew that god was a big part of the program but I was still surprised to find that 7 of the 12 steps require faith in something outside my own head. I haven't figured out how to circumvent that yet. I know I am not writing anything that you all don't already know. I am grasping at straws and trying to cobble together some sort of personal path out of my current struggles. I haven't been able to solve things on my own. I can't "let go and let god". I am living in a small town surrounded by well-meaning prayer sheep. I am glad this group is here.
Comment by Kevin on November 28, 2008 at 2:34am
I just had a thought on recovering without a god. I have been on other sites and have argued with theists and it seems that it is another replacement for something that us alcoholics seem to want or need. It seems to me to get into being a christian and religion replaces the need for alcohol. So if we feel he does not exist then all it is is finding the strength in not only ourselves but to find it in others. I mean I have been at lots of meetings and I liked the people. Now I know it is the mind game I have and also stop going to the bar lol.
Comment by Kevin on October 23, 2008 at 10:31am
Hello, I am interested because I am an alcoholic and an atheist and I am not drinking right now and don't plan on it. I went to AA meetings before I was atheist so I do know what you mean about higher power. I have thought of what you are talking about and my son is going to AA so my ex said stop with the atheist emails.

I think that we have the power in us that AA is talking about I mean it is all in how we look at things and attitude. My dad was also an alcoholic and he became a non believer later in life before he died but he did quit drinking until his death and he was a very happy person. I don't know how he dealt with the higher power but I know I just know that humans have the power and they always have. Connecting and talking about it is the key I believe. I need to go to work but I want to talk with you soon.


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