AA and God

New to AA? Got questions? Here's the place to ask. Note that no one person speaks "officially" for AA. AA meetings in your local area are always the best source of information. Note that anyone may post and reply to messages in this forum.

Re: AA and God

Postby Veronique » Wed Jul 20, 2005 12:40 pm

Hello,

This is the first time I react to any message on this forum. I'm European just like the person who began this topic and it's true we approach religion in a different way over here. Still I'm sober through AA and I use the serenity prayer often.
I do however not accept that anyone tells me how I have to see "God". It is my firm belief that "God" is inside us, is part of us, or rather that we all together are part of him. I don't go to church and I don't pray sitting on my knees.
I will say amen to the serenity prayer because amen only means "this is true". I mostly will not say that to any other prayer which is used at meetings.
That's my choice. If we all respect each others choices and beliefs, I'm sure AA can lead to sobriety for everyone.
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Re: AA and God

Postby Blue Moon » Wed Jul 20, 2005 2:27 pm

Originally posted by Veronique:

I'm European just like the person who began this topic and it's true we approach religion in a different way over here.
Hi Veronique, welcome to the forums of e-AA.

Is it true that religion approach is so different? My experience is that it's geographic in terms of rural vs. urban area rather than by country. I live in a rural area, where the religion seems more profound somehow, yet if I travel 90 miles I'm in New York City and the biggest difference I perceive to London is not religion but the colour of the taxis.

Perhaps the UK is too similar to the US to make any religion distinction?

I was just remembering how, in the early days, I once had to turn off an AA speaker tape where the person (I think it was Chuck C) was talking about "Love". I had the same feeling as I would get when people talked about "God".

I also remember how churches always used to be "spine-chilling" for me, even as a kid. I just assumed that's how everyone felt in a church.
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Re: AA and God

Postby hardhead_05 » Wed Jul 20, 2005 6:57 pm

My name is Sid, and I am an alcoholic. Religion has no role in AA. This is a spiritual program, not a religious one. A friend once had this to say. "We don't care what your concept of a higher power is, so long as you have one."

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Re: AA and God

Postby Veronique » Thu Jul 21, 2005 1:55 am

Hello Ian,

Thanks for replying but I think somehow I didn't express myself clearly. I don't mind anyone being very religious. In truth sometimes I envy them. And I do have my beliefs, I know the meaning of HP by my own experience, but it doesn't fit into any religion. (Don't really know,did not actively search on that point)
And in fact I agree pretty much with an earlier author, Jim I think. I don't care that different prayers are used in the on line meetings. Just as long as it is my decision to say amen or not.
WhatI mean to say is : everyone can experience his or her HP as they want to, as long as I can too.
And I don't know about England, but if I were to use St Francis Prayer or the 3th step prayer in any of our F2F meetings, there would be a lot of people that would be sincerely shocked.
As to churches, I visit them often, in search of silence, art, a place to meditate... But I don't go to mass.
Please don't lift just one sentence out of my reply, but read it as a whole. As English is only my third language I think you do understand that one sentence lifted out of it's context, could say something entirely different than was my intention to say.
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Re: AA and God

Postby ann2 » Fri Jul 22, 2005 12:50 am

Originally posted by Blue Moon:

Is it true that religion approach is so different?
I think it is. After all, Sweden still had a state church until just a couple of years ago. When people in Sweden talk about being part of the church, they are talking about one church. In Finland it's even more restricted, there IS only one church, except for one or two deviations. Everybody in Finland celebrates holidays exactly the same. There is no understanding of personal ideas of spirituality whatsover.

When our ancestors got to America they didn't have a priest caste in place with a lot of power. Sure the Puritans kinda had that perspective but they themselves were rebelling against the hierarchy of the church, so no matter what was going on (witch burning etc.) they still had to agree that it was okay to read the Bible on your own and have a personal relationship with God.

However over here in Europe, the folk who *didn't* emigrate were still under the thumb of the Church, which was more of a power and government than anything else. A good book I can recommend along these lines is "The Emigrants" by Vilhelm Moberg. Gives a good understanding not only of the pressures that existed religious and otherwise but also the incredible bravery shown by our forefathers in changing homelands.

Churches in Europe by and large still think they need to tell everyone what to think about God. Churches in America, by and large (except for the Catholic), still have to go along with the basic protestant idea that we normal humans are good enough to come up with a meaningful understanding of God on our own.

My f2f group here in Finland has a lot of prejudices against the concept of God. Instead of criticizing them, I have learned to understand and relate to them where they are. After going to some church services here I can relate a lot, trust me!! Awful stuck up clergy for the most part.

So, I agree with Sid, keep religion out of AA. We just don't have the basic experience of everyone in the world with churches and what they have been preaching all over the world. We simply can't make assumptions about the bad intentions or the innocence of religion, there's just no way of knowing what someone has been through.

I had a relaxed, liberal upbringing and that allowed me instant comfort when I came to AA and heard the Lord's prayer. Someone else might come to AA and hear it and immediately have a flashback to a terrible experience and walk out the door. It's no good telling that person that "this means *your* conception of God" if that person has been told over and over again that God is vindictive and punishing.

Patience, tolerance, kindliness and love--and I think in this case patience, patience and more patience.

Love,

Ann

<small>[ 07-22-2005, 01:18 AM: Message edited by: ann2 ]</small>
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Re: AA and God

Postby patty143 » Sat Jul 23, 2005 1:16 pm

I have found that this is a spiritual program. Having a God/Higher Power is a part of that.
I like to think of myself as a spirtual being having a human experiece. Each day is new and if I can come from a place of love and not hate, angry or indifference I just might stand a chance of learning something. Religion is different from spirituality. that is just this alcoholics opinion.

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Re: AA and God

Postby mstone449 » Tue Aug 09, 2005 9:33 am

CanuckinNetherlands,

Hey my man......hang in there. I am 7 years sober and have found that AA is much less tolerant than it believes itself to be. Step 2 says that we Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. When I first got here I met men who I wanted to be like when I grew up and they told me that they became that person by working the steps. So I came to believe in step 2. Step 3 however makes a HUGE LEAP to calling that higher power god. Understand that AA was once a fundamentalist Christian organization that included 6 steps. People would witness from the podium that Jesus had saved them from alcoholism. Bill took the 6 steps and made them 12. AA is much like your basic religion in that it does not adapt with the times. I strongly suggest that you read "Pass it on". I believe that you will feel better about your place in AA once you are through with this book. I am agnostic , do not pray or say the lords prayer. I have worked all my steps several times and have found that the more I share that I am agnostic I pick up sponsee's along the way. Do not expect people to agree with you or support you however. They will be angry and threatened or they will patronize you and tell you to read something in the big book and pat you on the head like a little kid.
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Re: AA and God

Postby stephbridget » Tue Aug 09, 2005 10:13 am

AA is spiritual to me. Religion is different from spirituality as someone above said and I agree with. I was raised Catholic but came to find a HP that I CHOSE to call GOD. There are no rules about GOD in AA--we come to believe in our own HP.
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Re: AA and God

Postby Blue Moon » Tue Aug 09, 2005 10:16 am

there was no mention of God at all in the first 5.

<small>[ 08-09-2005, 07:31 PM: Message edited by: curt ]</small>
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Re: AA and God

Postby mstone449 » Tue Aug 09, 2005 10:45 am

I was simply trying to help him feel comfortable about being agnostic as well as finding a place in AA. If there is no mention of god In the first 6 steps than I stand corrected. Thank you for letting me know.
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Re: AA and God

Postby mstone449 » Tue Aug 09, 2005 10:47 am

As I read my earlier post I didnt notice anywhere mentioned that god was in the first 6 steps?
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Re: AA and God

Postby mstone449 » Tue Aug 09, 2005 11:22 am

John,

I am very sorry for offending you. I am not trying to change AA and I do believe in a higher Power. I was simply responding to the gentlemans post. He was and is having an issue with it(god) and so I shared my experience with him. It was not for you but for him to know that it is possible to be sober and not believe in god. I do believe in a higher power but do not call it god.
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Re: AA and God

Postby Dean C » Tue Aug 09, 2005 11:29 am

"Almost in the same mail a letter came from a Presbyterian minister out on another A.A. front. He said, 'For a long time I've been trying to get a group started here in Thailand. Recently a highly educated Thai, speaking fluent English, came along. He was a terrible case of alcoholism, and he desperately wanted to get well. Now he has had a promising period of sobriety and is eager to translate the entire A.A. literature into Siamese. He and I are already at work, starting groups. Can you give us a hand?' The minister continued, 'We took A.A.'s Twelve Steps over to the largest Buddhist monastery in this province. We showed them to the priest at the head of it. After he had finished looking over the Twelve Steps, the monk said, "Why, these are fine! Since we as Buddhists don't understand God just as you do, it might be slightly more acceptable if you inserted the word 'good' in your Steps insted of 'God.' Nevertheless, you say in these Steps that it is God as you understand Him. That clears up the point for us. Yes, A.A.'s Twelve Steps will certianly be accepted by the Buddhists around here.'"

"To some of us, the idea of substituting 'good' for 'God' in the Twleve Steps may seem like a watering down of A.A.'s message. But here we must remember that A.A.'s Steps are suggestions only. A belief in them as they stand is not at all a requirement for membership among us. This liberty has made A.A. available to thousands who never would have tried at all had we insisted on the Twelve Steps just as written. ..."

-- from "Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age ... a brief history of A.A." Copyright AA World Services, Inc. Reprinted with permission.
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