Am I Welcome?

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.
Hitch
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Am I Welcome?

Post by Hitch »

Hi all, new here. I am dry & have been for some time, but I wonder if AA is right for me.

I am, without any shadow of a doubt an Alcoholic, and when I drink it is chronic. Drinking took me to all the places I shouldn`t have been - Jail, court, community service etc...
I have been to a lot of meetings & I have enjoyed the positivity & shares of my fellow sufferers. It has galvanized my resolve to stay stopped.

However reading the twelve steps, it is pretty obvious I could never get past step one.
You see I am an atheist, I can`t believe in any `God` or anything `super natural` and apart from step 1, Where yes I am totally powerless over a drink if I take one, the next step requires me to abandon my core belief in science & logic.
I agree that the disease is mental as well as physical, but I don`t have a `spirit`.

I do not wish to impose what I believe on others, nor do I wish to offend any of you & I apologise in advance if my words have caused offence.

I have read the chapter on `Agnostics` but I am not Agnostic (derived from the Greek Ag Non - without knowledge) I am sure there is no celestial being, no Heaven, no Hell. I have seen no evidence to prove other wise.

Can I still go to meetings & share? or would I not be welcome, as I can`t believe in the unbelievable. Would I be a `fraud` AA member if I cant complete the twelve steps? even if I don`t drink.

Thank you in advance - and once again I whole heartedly am sorry if I have talked out of turn.

happycamper
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Re: Am I Welcome?

Post by happycamper »

Well, I only know what worked , and didnt work for me. Drinking did not work. AA has worked and I needed something to fill that hole that the booze took care of.

I do thank you for being here cuz' you help me to realize just how much I do believe in a God and how much I really need that God in my life. I have a tendency to feel bad for ppl who cannot or will not believe.. I dont know how they survive.

Welcome to eAA group!
Faith without works is dead

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leejosepho
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Re: Am I Welcome?

Post by leejosepho »

Hitch wrote:... I am sure there is no celestial being, no Heaven, no Hell. I have seen no evidence to prove other wise.
"Here are thousands of men and women, worldly indeed. They flatly declare that since they have come to believe in a Power greater than themselves, to take a certain attitude toward that Power, and to do certain simple things, there has been a revolutionary change in their way of living and thinking. In the face of collapse and despair, in the face of the total failure of their human resources, they found that a new power, peace, happiness, and sense of direction flowed into them ...
"When many hundreds of people are able to say that the consciousness of the Presence of God is today the most important fact of their lives, they present a powerful reason why one should have faith." ("A.A.", the book, pages 50-51)
Hitch wrote:Can I still go to meetings & share? or would I not be welcome, as I can`t believe in the unbelievable. Would I be a `fraud` AA member if I cant complete the twelve steps? even if I don`t drink.

Thank you in advance - and once again I whole heartedly am sorry if I have talked out of turn.
Nothing wrong with anything you have shared, and you would be welcomed in any meeting I might attend.

You would certainly not be the first among us who came in believing there is no god and then later changed his/her mind after taking the Steps -- trying the way of faith -- to truly find out for oneself.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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Tosh
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Re: Am I Welcome?

Post by Tosh »

Hitch wrote: I have read the chapter on `Agnostics` but I am not Agnostic (derived from the Greek Ag Non - without knowledge) I am sure there is no celestial being, no Heaven, no Hell. I have seen no evidence to prove other wise.
You'll find plenty of atheists and agnostics in A.A., but in my experience it doesn't really matter what your beliefs are in this area.

The co-founder of A.A. said:
8Q - What about the alcoholic who says that he cannot possibly believe in God?

8A - A great many of them come to A.A. and they say that they are trapped. By this they mean that we have convinced them that they are fatally ill, yet they cannot accept a belief in God and His grace as a means of recovery. Happily this does not prove to be an impossible dilemma at all. We simply suggest that the newcomers take an easy stance and an open mind; that he proceeds to practice those parts of the Twelve Steps that anyone's common sense would readily recommend. He can certainly admit that he is an alcoholic; that he ought to make a moral inventory; that he ought to discuss his defects with another person; that he should make restitution for harms done; and that he can be helpful to other alcoholics.

We emphasize the 'open mind,' that at least he should admit that there might be a 'Higher Power.' He can certainly admit that he is not God, nor is mankind in general. If he wishes he could place his own dependence upon his own A.A. group. That group is certainly a "Higher Power," so far as recovery from alcoholism is concerned.
For me, the power of the program is found not in the mental positions, but in the actions; making the inventories, speaking about it to another man (my sponsor), making my amends - all this stuff deals with the wreckage of our past. And the daily steps, 10, 11, and 12 can all be secular; yes, even prayer and meditation can be secular and non religious. It is a very powerful process.

Clancy I also does an excellent share on XA Speakers about how he thinks the first three steps have kept more alcoholics out of A.A. than anything else. I'll see if I can find it for you and PM it to you; it's very good.

And stick around; A.A. is not a religious organisation, it's spiritual - and spirituality for me is no more than working with our own minds.

And welcome to the forum!
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

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leejosepho
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Re: Am I Welcome?

Post by leejosepho »

Tosh wrote:A.A. is ... spiritual - and spirituality for me is no more than working with our own minds.
Albeit however unintentional, that is a misrepresentation of A.A. We are people who have learned to embrace spiritual principles first shared with us by a few clergymen who had understood our need for the transformations of our minds ...

"To get over drinking will require a transformation of thought and attitude." (page 143)

.. and we are not a kind of people who could have ever done that for ourselves.
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

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ann2
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Re: Am I Welcome?

Post by ann2 »

I invite us all to google "The Dilemma of No Faith" by Bill W.

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

Mike O
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Re: Am I Welcome?

Post by Mike O »

Thanks, Ann.

Hitch,

Welcome to the group. I hope you'll stick around and contribute.

-Mike

Jaywalker Steve
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Re: Am I Welcome?

Post by Jaywalker Steve »

Tradition 3 comes to mind.
The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
Welcome! I've found that my conception of God (or lack thereof) was never in conflict with the AA program. It has since changed though through keeping an open mind and practicing our principles.
Every group has men and women who put too much thought and effort into their daily sobriety and not enough of themselves into their daily living. - Ed B., Akron, OH

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Duke
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Re: Am I Welcome?

Post by Duke »

Of course you're welcome. I promise not to argue with you, just share my experience. If you do the same, you'd be welcome at any AA meeting I attend including this one.
"If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.", Mother Teresa

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Tosh
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Re: Am I Welcome?

Post by Tosh »

leejosepho wrote:
Tosh wrote:A.A. is ... spiritual - and spirituality for me is no more than working with our own minds.
Albeit however unintentional, that is a misrepresentation of A.A.
I didn't claim to represent A.A., so I can't misrepresent it - I'm just sharing my experience - and read my post; I said "spirituality for ME...'.
leejosepho wrote: "To get over drinking will require a transformation of thought and attitude." (page 143)
Spot on; and we do this by working on our minds. Spiritual is derived from the Latin Spiritus; and essentially this means 'mind'; later Abrahamic religions gave it connotations with the 'soul', but this was not the original meaning. So, yes, transforming our thoughts and attitudes is exactly right; it's all done through working on our minds; hence it's called a spiritual program of recovery. I think we both agree on the same thing here, just my terminology maybe confusing. Apologies; I'd have been quite happy to have used the phrase you have used.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

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PaigeB
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Re: Am I Welcome?

Post by PaigeB »

You see I am an atheist, I can`t believe in any `God` or anything `super natural` and apart from step 1, Where yes I am totally powerless over a drink if I take one, the next step requires me to abandon my core belief in science & logic.
I agree that the disease is mental as well as physical, but I don`t have a `spirit`.
Welcome Hitch! I am an alcoholic AND an atheist too. Did you happen to come by your nickname through the recently deceased Christopher Hitchens? Sad day, that one, his input to this life will be missed.

I am glad you are here. I don't normally announce that I am an atheist, same as I don't announce that I am married & unemployed. The only thing that matters is that I am an alcoholic who wants to get sober. I too thought that I might be thrown out on my ear but I was not. In fact, I found a sponsor (who is not an atheist) and worked the steps same as anyone else in AA. (I am actively engaged in Step 9) Granted, there are semantics involved; god & go0d... Good Orderly Direction.... Step 2 is completely possible!! I have done it. My experience is that AA has restored me to sanity.

And there is the matter of prayer to an HP. Having no inter-active deity I do not pray or expect answers. So how ARE these folks getting and staying sober? More importantly, HOW CAN I? Well, people who pray are open minded, so I remain open minded. Prayer is a rather positive meditative state, so I meditate on positive things. I heard folks in meetings and my sponsor say things like, "This is an action program." and "Get busy doing service to another human being." Surely I am capable of doing these things.

Thanks to the AA Program & Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous I haven't found it necessary to take a drink since August 1, 2009 and for that I am very grateful. This thing works.

In the 'spirit' of the holiday I say: Be good for goodness sake! :wink:
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them. page 124 BB

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Tosh
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Re: Am I Welcome?

Post by Tosh »

Hitch,

A.A. also has a history of people who did not believe in deities:

Image

I couldn't get the screen shot right; I'm a Geordie; but it's easy enough to Google information about Jim.

There is no requirement to believe in deities; as it says in the screen shot; 'we may refuse none who wish to recover.' You're definitely welcome!

And as Paige shows, you can do the Steps and recover; no problem at all.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

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Tosh
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Re: Am I Welcome?

Post by Tosh »

Actually, I'm not sure if I've broken a forum rule with that screen shot. If I have, mods, you're quite welcome to delete it and I'll type the relevant information.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

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leejosepho
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Re: Am I Welcome?

Post by leejosepho »

Tosh wrote:
leejosepho wrote:
Tosh wrote:A.A. is ... spiritual - and spirituality for me is no more than working with our own minds.
Albeit however unintentional, that is a misrepresentation of A.A.
I didn't claim to represent A.A. ...

... we do this by working on our minds.
Who is the "we" you mention?
=======================
"We A.A.s do not *stay* away from drinking [one day at a
time] -- we *grow* away from drinking [one day at a time]."
("Lois Remembers", page 168, quoting Bill, emphasis added)
=======================

Hitch
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Re: Am I Welcome?

Post by Hitch »

Thank you all so much for your feedback. I do feel welcome. :)

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