God and AA

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God and AA

Postby Soberguy27 » Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:12 pm

AA as I was taught was a spiritual program and not religious, even though most meetings end with a christian prayer and most who speak of god at meetings where I live make it obvious that they speak of the christian god which to me is in contradiction to our preamble, you know, not allied with any sect or denomination. Being an atheist it was hard for me to swallow. Even the god as you understand him didn't cut it for me as it still to me refereed to some sort of supreme being. So, what I realized was that I did not have to accept anyone's concept of a higher power. When others share about the christian god I now know that they are sharing THEIR experience and even though my experience is very different than theirs, I am open to listen for the similarities and not the differences. AA can be hard for those like myself who are atheist,agnostic, humanist, or free thinkers. So those who share at meeting are sharing their own personal experience so when I keep a open mind I can almost always find similarities. So for those who are atheists, agnostics, humanists, and free thinkers AA can work for you. I know sometimes it can be a bit much depending on what meetings you attend but luckily for me there are many meetings in my area and even a few agnostic meets as well. I go to both and enjoy them both. It has worked for me for over 28 years now. So if this godless person can do it, you can too!
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Re: God and AA

Postby positrac » Thu Jun 28, 2018 3:37 am

Why is it necessary to label anyone who believes in "god" as closed minded and not free thinkers like yourself? This program is for everyone and not just for you! There are several people on this site that participate regularly who say they are agnostic/atheist and don't feel the need to make their beliefs "unique" just because they may or may not be in the majority.

Believe it or not your experience about the drink or drug is very much like everyone else who is powerless over our addiction(s) and so telling people how to maybe overcome certain aspects of AA in which you/them may not see eye to eye is so much more free thinking and open minded instead of continently positing the same ole spew.

I've posted before I could careless what your beliefs are as long as you are sober, and a productive citizen in this world and if that isn't free thinking and being open-minded then put me in the pasture because I don't belong in AA because it has lost what I know works for every soul on this earth who has worked the steps and accepted AA for what it represents.
I've attended meetings all over the world and god is what you make it.
Work hard, stay positive, and get up early. It's the best part of the day.
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Re: God and AA

Postby Soberguy27 » Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:13 am

I only speak for myself and as an atheist. My post was for those who are like me and feel the same. Believing in God doesn't make you close minded and I never suggested that. I have been to meetings however where some Christian members are very closed minded and have approached me me after meetings trying to convert me. It happens more often than you think. My post was meant to offer some like minded atheists suggestions as to how to not let the God thing keep them from leaving AA. I'm sorry you took this the way you did but, if you don't give a S*** about what I believe then why did you answer this post?
Just sayin. I've been sober over 28 years and all without the God thing. Just trying to show others like me that it is possible. No need for hostilities.
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Re: God and AA

Postby positrac » Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:59 am

The issue is if "they" want to get sober then "they" will go to any length and putting this post up for new comers is not helpful and only clouds up the intent. One thing I've learned over the years is that the world doesn't care about our sobriety as much as it cares we aren't being a nuisance! Now for religious choices it is what you believe and to convolute the waters on this topic is not confrontational to you, outside of the real intent. We take the message to the alcoholic who still suffers; if they want it then they'll get with the program and if not then we are free because we have not power. Keep it Simple is for a reason and not for easier softer way is my point. Just because you bring the horse to water doesn't mean the horse will drink; unless you add a lot of salt to his food.
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Re: God and AA

Postby PaigeB » Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:03 am

free thinkers

... Is sort of a "term of art" within the atheist community. I do not think of it as "free thinker" vs "closed-minded"... Free thinker is often used in place of "atheist". We are strangely adverse to religious labels. :wink:
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Re: God and AA

Postby positrac » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:11 am

PaigeB wrote:
free thinkers

... Is sort of a "term of art" within the atheist community. I do not think of it as "free thinker" vs "closed-minded"... Free thinker is often used in place of "atheist". We are strangely adverse to religious labels. :wink:

Not to split hairs on this; my experience is that newcomers don't need any additional excuses or cop outs and should learn then how any why of the program uses terms that cause friction to some people and then when these points are being brought up then explain that the "word" in the religious context is merely between their ears. For me this is free thinking and it also educates and quite possibly makes a better sober mentor/sponsor for the next individuals who walk in the rooms with the desire to stop drinking.

Paige you've been at this for a minute and so you've given a lot of your life for AA service and the points you've learned over the years and also remembering our early years helps. I don't care to know people's beliefs as much as they are clean and sober and know "differences" on Higher Power as it directly results to inner clarity of the HP points in the program. Hinge words in AA can cause resentments that lead to going out and getting drunk and to what end?
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Re: God and AA

Postby avaneesh912 » Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:46 am

I think the whole issue is, we end up trying to find this God thing in step 2. If we can tell the newcomers that at this point all we have to do is see that something in working in those that have recovered and that can work for them too. The restored to sanity part comes way later in the process. I think thats where we are losing people. Every 2nd step discussion would invariably end-up in shares like I was this, I was that...Yeah we all know that. Lets talk about what we need to get re-connected.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: God and AA

Postby positrac » Wed Jul 11, 2018 5:20 am

exactly. simple program for complicated people.
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Re: God and AA

Postby PaigeB » Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:03 am

Hinge words in AA can cause resentments that lead to going out and getting drunk and to what end?

Very True Posi. Yes yes yes. And I did not tell (in this thread) about my experience with the word "god". I should have.

I was very lucky to have called the hotline and gotten a gal who really gave SO much of herself for me. She talked to me late at night for hours - yet I did not know she had to go to work at 5am... She called other people when I would not have called them and got me to my first meeting - She could not find me a ride, but she found someone who needed a ride and she told me where they lived and when to pick them up. I did it. I have not had a drink since.

She also talked to me for weeks, pretty near daily, about semantics. We talked about how the words were just symbols and I could call my HP anything I wanted. I called mine MeEgo. I later sponsored a gal who called her HP "Fred". Anyway, the deal was that I could not change the Big Book and I could not change what other people called their HP. When I heard the word I COULD CHANGE the way I THOUGHT about the word itself... I could just hear "my HP" instead. Soon, with some practice & without having to call her, when I heard the word "god" in meetings my brain automatically heard "AA". Today I hear the word "god" and my understanding of god is in there. I use the word god too often for my atheist son (lol) and I have no objections to what anyone else says about their HP. If they have a problem with mine I feel a little sorry for them. I have some good stories about these kinds of chats, but they are all short and NONE of them are antagonistic. Only one person even made it to my 8th Step list and that might have to do with some other stuff and not so much the one time she hurt my feelings. God or no god, I can be pretty pushy when it comes to running the show and I am sure I stepped on her toes.

We all need to be free thinkers when it comes to "god as we understand god". We need to practice Love & Tolerance ~ it is "our code" (pg 84). We especially need to meet the newcomer where they are at. I am only sober because people did this for me. No one ran me out - in fact they begged me to stay and said that my experience would save the lives of others. Maybe they are right, but I will likely never know how My HP uses my assets or my defects of character. It is a pretty anonymous program and My HP likes to remain anonymous.
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Re: God and AA

Postby positrac » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:19 am

Thank you Paige, I am rough on the words and yet you expressed my thoughts and points on this topic in ways I obviously could not. =biggrin =biggrin
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Re: God and AA

Postby Greywolf » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:41 am

positrac wrote:Thank you Paige, I am rough on the words and yet you expressed my thoughts and points on this topic in ways I obviously could not. =biggrin =biggrin

Yes! In particular I find that Paige's posts express who she is and not who she wants you or I to believe she is. While she's not the only one by far, she is IMO one of the clearest.
I don't care how much you know until I know how much you care.
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Re: God and AA

Postby Theo50 » Sun Jul 15, 2018 2:34 pm

PaigeB wrote:
Anyway, the deal was that I could not change the Big Book


I am still struggling with "the wisdom to know the difference between the things that I cannot change and the things that I can"

A statement such as your above brings me conflict, as in my mind, the Big Book of AA can be changed as shown by the fact that I am reading the 4th edition of it.

This is also true of the Constitution of the United States and even the Bible. Both of which were written as well as changed by humans.

Someone had to decide that these written documents could be changed as well as having the "courage to change them".
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Re: God and AA

Postby Greywolf » Sun Jul 15, 2018 4:52 pm

Theo50 wrote:
PaigeB wrote:
Anyway, the deal was that I could not change the Big Book


I am still struggling with "the wisdom to know the difference between the things that I cannot change and the things that I can"

A statement such as your above brings me conflict, as in my mind, the Big Book of AA can be changed as shown by the fact that I am reading the 4th edition of it.

The BB can be changed and it is an arduous task to do so. Lot's of procedures, etc. What I hear Paige saying is that she can't change the word(s) as she reads it, but she can change how she thinks about the word(s).

That truly is Accepting what she cannot change (the words in the BB as she reads it) and while by following due process the words can be change and I suspect Paige knows that what she might want changed would never make it through the machinery. =biggrin

The Courage to change the things she can (how she thinks about the word or words)

And she is demonstrating the Wisdom to know the difference.

This is also true of the Constitution of the United States and even the Bible. Both of which were written as well as changed by humans.

The Constitution of the United States cannot be arbitrarily changed by any one individual regardless of that individual's courage.

Someone had to decide that these written documents could be changed as well as having the "courage to change them".
We can change the rules of these Forums but it will take more than courage to do so.
I think you will find that there is a due process for changing the Bible and the Constitution as well, not simply courage to change those two.
I don't care how much you know until I know how much you care.
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Re: God and AA

Postby Theo50 » Sun Jul 15, 2018 6:28 pm

Greywolf wrote:
What I hear Paige saying is that she can't change the word(s) as she reads it, but she can change how she thinks about the word(s).


Thank you for your insight Greywolf, you have given me an interesting way of thinking about what I can change.
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Re: God and AA

Postby PaigeB » Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:56 am

A couple of things come to mind... one is the saying:
If it works don't fix it.

But also that what I said was I can't change the Big Book. Now, WE can change the Big Book if WE go through the process to do so. History says we have changed very few words to the Constitution over the duration that the document has been in existence. The same holds true with the Big Book (It has been voted one of the 100 must influential books by the Library of Congress!) By that I mean "the basic text" - the 1st 164 pages... the subsequent editions have changed the stories quite a bit. And looking at the originals of the rough drafts of the Basic Text are VERY educational in understanding what the author(s) were going for as they came to final decisions about wording. Some great info is in the book AA comes of Age, but the rough drafts are available in the AA Archives.

But I alone will not be doing such Grand Work as revising a book that has literally saved millions of lives. My Purpose in this Life is likely a bit more humble. And I pray that I can live up to that Purpose.
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
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