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Magicjax

12 steps to AA

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Magicjax

My girlfriend is now going to AA meetings (Congrats to her for making her first 30 days Yesterday).

Anyway, she wanted me to go to a meeting with her just to see what it's like and meet a couple of people. Of course with me being deaf I wouldn't be able to sit with their group and listen in. But there was a waiting area so I could just watch from there.

Now I have nothing against these AA meetings and I'm glad they are there for those who need it. But as I was sitting there I realized how much of the meetings are religious based. I can understand this and I'm not really complaining because most of the population is religious. But as I read the 12 steps of the wall I started to wonder about something. First let me share what the 12 steps are.

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Now what kind of concerns me is that believing in God seems to be a requirement. Like I said I'm all for this and I know they have helped a lot of people. But I wonder. What if someone comes to these meetings and they do not believe in god? Will they hold that against them? Would they view this as a result of their addiction and try to talk them into believing?

This is more of a curiosity post so I wonder if any of you happen to know or have experienced this. If it where me I wouldn't even bring up my religious belief unless I was asked but it seems that it would be required and brought up from what I can see. That concerns me for those people like me who do not believe in god. It does not make them any less of a good person and if they need help it should be there for anyone regardless of their religious belief.

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KennyB

Magicjax, I had exactly that problem. I am an agnostic and I recognised right quick that I was in with a bunch of 'Bible beaters'. When it came my turn to stand up and give my little speech, I said, " My name is KennyB and I am an alcoholic but I am also an agnostic. However, I see from some of the little posters on the wall, one that says 'The only requirement for membership is the desire to quit drinking' and I have that". Nobody said anything. I continued to go to regular meetings and quit drinking for 13 years. KennyB

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ChloeB

Now what kind of concerns me is that believing in God seems to be a requirement. Like I said I'm all for this and I know they have helped a lot of people. But I wonder. What if someone comes to these meetings and they do not believe in god? Will they hold that against them? Would they view this as a result of their addiction and try to talk them into believing?

My stepdad went and I'll just say that you can expect people there to probably try to get you to go to church with them and claim it will help in the recovery. I know I started getting hauled to church on Sundays because of some of his AA buddies. I can't say the organization itself will, but I remember them chanting in meetings that "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the wisdom to know the difference" all the time so it would be an awkward situation for someone who doesn't believe in God from what I witnessed.

Funny bit of AA trivia....

* Bill Wilson the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous used the Ouija Board to contact spirits.[25] His wife said that he would get messages directly without even using the board.[26] For a while, his participation in AA was deeply affected by his involvement with the Ouija board. Wilson claimed that he received the twelve step method directly from a spirit without the board and wrote it down.[27]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouija

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Omnaka

My girlfriend is now going to AA meetings (Congrats to her for making her first 30 days Yesterday).

Anyway, she wanted me to go to a meeting with her just to see what it's like and meet a couple of people. Of course with me being deaf I wouldn't be able to sit with their group and listen in. But there was a waiting area so I could just watch from there.

Now I have nothing against these AA meetings and I'm glad they are there for those who need it. But as I was sitting there I realized how much of the meetings are religious based. I can understand this and I'm not really complaining because most of the population is religious. But as I read the 12 steps of the wall I started to wonder about something. First let me share what the 12 steps are.

Now what kind of concerns me is that believing in God seems to be a requirement. Like I said I'm all for this and I know they have helped a lot of people. But I wonder. What if someone comes to these meetings and they do not believe in god? Will they hold that against them? Would they view this as a result of their addiction and try to talk them into believing?

This is more of a curiosity post so I wonder if any of you happen to know or have experienced this. If it where me I wouldn't even bring up my religious belief unless I was asked but it seems that it would be required and brought up from what I can see. That concerns me for those people like me who do not believe in god. It does not make them any less of a good person and if they need help it should be there for anyone regardless of their religious belief.

I think the twelve steps are a good thing, Not meant everyone, but can help anyone.

Some need accountability structured out for them as a way to get better, others don't.

I do not feel it is a religious or aa attributed thing , but what a person neds to fulfill their spirit's Need.

God bless those who use the twelve steps, and God Bless those who can better themselves w/ the love That does not require any rules and or dogma.

There is no right way or wrong way to Being Better than one is, or wants to be.

Just keep on striving for the best of the best.

Congrats to you're Girlfriend.

Love Omnaka

(Gotta love that spell check)

Love O-

Edited by Omnaka

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The Infidel Guy

Wow lets just believe "God", whatever that is, helped us being cured from such difficult addictions rather than believing the human will to carry out such tasks..... <_<

The human will to survive is amazing and there are numerous cases for this, it doesn't mean an imaginable external influence was at play.

One such event comes to mind where a man severed off his own arm in outback Australia because he was wedged between rocks and the only way to survive was to cut off his arm to break free and seek help. The human will to survive is an amazing thing and definitely not influenced by some imaginable "friend".

Peace

T.I.G

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Omnaka

I think if someone gets rid of an addiction which hurts some one els'e, and attributes it to God. a tree, or self, it's fantastic!God bless The bro/ sis that wants help.

InfidelGuy , I agree with allot of your post, but your signature says you think God is responsible for what you choose.

Maybe it's just a pun?

Adiction is an

education in self Imo.

Love Omnaka

Edited by Omnaka

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Paranormalcy

In the AA my uncle and cousin went to, it basically said that you chose your "Higher Power", and it could be whatever you wanted, an angel, God, hypnosis, science, it didn't matter, just pick SOMETHING, some concept that inspires and comforts you and that you respect and try to show positively in your daily life. I also had a little trouble with the "God thing" when I went to a few Overeaters Anonymous meetings, as I'm also agnostic, but I'm amiable enough it isn't such a big thing to sort of handwave it and I just generalized it to some generic force of the universe.

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momentarylapseofreason

My girlfriend is now going to AA meetings (Congrats to her for making her first 30 days Yesterday).

Anyway, she wanted me to go to a meeting with her just to see what it's like and meet a couple of people. Of course with me being deaf I wouldn't be able to sit with their group and listen in. But there was a waiting area so I could just watch from there.

Now I have nothing against these AA meetings and I'm glad they are there for those who need it. But as I was sitting there I realized how much of the meetings are religious based. I can understand this and I'm not really complaining because most of the population is religious. But as I read the 12 steps of the wall I started to wonder about something. First let me share what the 12 steps are.

Now what kind of concerns me is that believing in God seems to be a requirement. Like I said I'm all for this and I know they have helped a lot of people. But I wonder. What if someone comes to these meetings and they do not believe in god? Will they hold that against them? Would they view this as a result of their addiction and try to talk them into believing?

This is more of a curiosity post so I wonder if any of you happen to know or have experienced this. If it where me I wouldn't even bring up my religious belief unless I was asked but it seems that it would be required and brought up from what I can see. That concerns me for those people like me who do not believe in god. It does not make them any less of a good person and if they need help it should be there for anyone regardless of their religious belief.

I have quite a few friends who are now suddenly religious since they went to AA but they seem to help.

But sometimes the unreligious/unbelieving partner will have a hard time accepting this. It's as if one addiction is repleced with another and it's difficult when you suddenly have diffrent worldviews. For me it puts a silent uncomfortable distance between us, but alcohol is even worse.

I see it as a foggy state of mind to the next foggy state of mind. They simply can't deal with reality and the world as it is. But that's my opinion

I really suspect that addictive personalities have a need to distort reality because they cannot deal with it. It's understandable

When my sister has doubting phases, she starts relapsing, so i don't argue with her anymore about her beliefs. When I create doubts or if she reads something to cause herself doubts, she becomes afraid and loses hope. I do find it sad and pathetic but maybe being sensitive like this is good. I just distract myself with my fears, probably with my own form of addiction (internet, work, beach, adventure, yoga)

Edited by momentarylapseofreason

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momentarylapseofreason

In the AA my uncle and cousin went to, it basically said that you chose your "Higher Power", and it could be whatever you wanted, an angel, God, hypnosis, science, it didn't matter, just pick SOMETHING, some concept that inspires and comforts you and that you respect and try to show positively in your daily life. I also had a little trouble with the "God thing" when I went to a few Overeaters Anonymous meetings, as I'm also agnostic, but I'm amiable enough it isn't such a big thing to sort of handwave it and I just generalized it to some generic force of the universe.

I honestly wish I still had some beliefs to give me more comfort. I try to act like it all doesn't matter and to just let things be. I can't figure out if I'm doing myslef a service or diservice but i can't force myself to believe even though i want to in an emotional sense. It would make alot easier to bare.

Alot of Atheists/Agnostics (former non-believers)claim the first thing they do is cry alot for over a long period of time

Edited by momentarylapseofreason

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eight bits

To answer the questions in the OP, it may be helpful to consider the twelve traditions that guide the organization. They are a bit long to quote, but short enough to read easily, if someone has questions about the organization:

http://www.aa.org.au/members/twelve-traditions.php

There is also onsite commentary on the Twelve Steps. The phrasing of the commentary is peculiar to the Australian site, but is nevertheless "orthodox" worldwide.

http://www.aa.org.au/members/twelve-steps.php

What if someone comes to these meetings and they do not believe in god? Will they hold that against them?

From the third tradition:

Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism. Hence we may refuse none who wish to recover. Nor ought AA membership ever depend upon money or conformity.

This is amplified in the Australian commentary on the Twelve Steps

People who are new to AA are not asked to accept or follow these Twelve Steps in their entirety if they feel unwilling or unable to do so.

They will usually be asked to keep an open mind, to attend meetings at which recovered alcoholics describe their personal experiences in achieving sobriety, and to read AA literature describing and interpreting the AA program.

Notice that the emphasis is on the ritual, the meeting and the talks that are the main event there. A ritual is the enactment of a myth. The Twelve Steps are the synopsis of the myth.

Note the form of the Steps: the recitation of a journey already taken by specific characters. It is a hero's narrative. Every AA talk is a hero's narrative, too.

Myths are read for the truth to which they point, not for their surface expression. To reject The Odyssey because "It didn't happen" is to miss the point. To think The Odyssey has nothing to say about your life because you don't believe in Athene is like saying the same because you don't own a boat.

What is true of The Odyssey is true of the Twelve Steps.

Would they view this as a result of their addiction and try to talk them into believing?

What you are describing, if it happened, would be psychological manipulation. The correct response is to run, not walk, away. Do not look back, but do find another meeting.

It is a known weakness of the organization that there is little "quality control." Again, from the third tradition:

Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an AA group...

So, you may need to shop around. The underlying problem is human, not organizational. Where prey gather, predators will be found. Heads up.

Obviously, religion is a preoccupation of the atheist. Many AA groups meet under the auspices of a church. To complete the third tradition:

... provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation.

If that is insufficiently clear, then the tenth should dispose of it:

No AA group or member should ever, in such a way as to implicate AA, express any opinion on outside controversial issues—particularly those of politics, alcohol reform, or sectarian religion. The Alcoholics Anonymous groups oppose no one. Concerning such matters they can express no views whatever.
But as I was sitting there I realized how much of the meetings are religious based.

No, the ritual is based on human truths that are older than any religion, and that will still be true so long as we are the species we are, even if all religion were left behind.

Religion exists and survives, in part, because it supplies words and images to describe what is inside of us. For all sorts of reasons, that is more easily discussed as if it were outside.

Don't be so sure that Homer didn't know that. Don't be sure that the founders of AA didn't, too.

And closing with Brother O testifying joyously:

Adiction is an education in self Imo.

Yes, and overcoming addiction is one form of spiritual journey, one way in which The Odyssey is enacted by Everyman. God help him.

Edited by eight bits

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a vampire wears my boxers

i went to an aa meeting with a friend of mine even though it wasnt for alcohol.(could not find a narcotics anonymous) i found that the religion aspect or at least a higher power aspect was prevelant. i listened as the stories were recounted. addiction is very powerful. hell, its chemical. i am not very fond of organized religious groupings, but i can voice no objections to the usage of a deity to help overcome the urge until the mind and body can fully recover. it is when the recovering begin to preach that the ONLY way to succeed versus addiction is through a deity that i find rediculous. it may work for some, but not all.

my friend and i went to the bar afterwards to show off our chips. diabolical huh?

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