What is Secular AA?
Secular AA is a movement within Alcoholics Anonymous that seeks to widen our gateway so that all who suffer may pass through and find long-term sobriety in AA regardless of their belief or lack of belief in a god.
Many of us have found long-term sobriety in traditional AA, but we have not always felt welcomed or comfortable. We were frequently told that if we didn’t find god, we were going to die. Well, we didn’t and we haven’t. We hope many newcomers and people who previously left AA will come through our doors and find sobriety, those who may not be sober if secular meetings did not exist.
Many individuals identify as atheist, agnostic, or no religion. They walk into a meeting, see the word god on the wall, and walk out. But AA is for them, if they have a desire to stop drinking.
We emphasize that AA is a fellowship, not a strict set of beliefs. At our meetings, no one is forced to join in or conspicuously opt out of a prayer. We believe in honesty, open-mindedness, willingness and being true to oneself.
A lot of us continue to attend traditional AA meetings as well.
In the words of Bill W: ‘It must never be forgotten that the purpose of Alcoholics Anonymous is to sober up alcoholics. There is no religious or spiritual requirement for membership. No demands are made on anyone. An experience is offered which members may accept or reject. That is up to them.’
What about the 12 steps?
In 1957, in Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, Bill Wilson wrote: ‘The AA’s Steps are suggestions only. A belief in them as they stand is not at all a requirement for membership. This liberty has made AA available to thousands who never would have tried at all had AA insisted on the Twelve Steps just as written.’
Members who choose to follow the Steps are free to word them in a way that is meaningful to them. There are already many alternative forms of the 12 steps members could adopt. If they don’t like any they find, they can write their own, or forego the steps altogether. Whatever helps to preserve their sobriety – ‘Keep doing what you are doing’
What are we trying to accomplish?
We are not trying to change, convert or criticize anyone who stays sober with a belief in a higher power, if that works for you fantastic!! We are reaching out to people who don’t have that belief and likely never will. We want them to know sobriety is possible regardless of belief or disbelief. Further, we hope that secular AA will reach alcoholics who would not otherwise come to AA.
‘Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety. The power of one alcoholic sharing with another, works, regardless of belief.’