The Twelve Steps for Dummies

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  1. Well done. Thank you for sharing. While I also firmly firmly practice the anonymity thing as well, I am glad to see AA (and addiction in general), getting some good press. I think it’s great to let people know there’s help if they want it (cuz i believe *everyone* would benefit from a little practice of the 12 Steps meself- it’s good therapy!), and that’s it’s not a scary cult where you have to believe in the Judeo-Christian image of God (unless that works for you). :) Thank you.

  2. Magnificent!
    KISS – Keep It Simple Surrender

  3. laura Novak says:

    Well written. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Julianna Parker says:

    Beautifully done! Your current focus on addiction is so well chosen — and this article is a gem. Thank you!

  5. AA is great in a lot of ways. It helped my dad get sober and gave him a sense of community and lots of new friends. However, the twelve steps, I think, are just unworkable if you’re an atheist like myself. The common suggestion to consider AA itself as a higher power strikes me as silly. By your own admission, AA is just a bunch of alcoholics trying to stay sober. At step 7, is an atheist to ask unto the assembled drunks, “I humbly ask you to remove my shortcomings”? How are they supposed to do that? They’re just people, as flawed as anyone else. They aren’t infinite, infallible, or omnipotent and they don’t hear prayers. Atheists don’t even believe in prayer, and yet step 11 asks them to do just that. Again, are they supposed to pray to AA? That doesn’t make any sense. The meetings I attended with my dad (our local group held meetings where the members were encouraged to bring family) all opened and closed with prayer. Again, I don’t believe in prayer. How is that supposed to help me?

    Seriously, I have a lot of respect for AA as an organization, but it’s attempts to be open to non-religious/non-spiritual people is kind of pathetic. Does anybody know any atheists who have gone through AA with any success? If so, I would love to talk with them about how exactly they applied the steps.

    • Steve,
      I just wrote you a long reply based on my 16 years experience in AA and accidently hit some button and erased the whole thing.

      Anyway, there is a man here who has been sober in AA a long time and he is as atheistic as they come. I’ll see if I can’t get your questions in front of him (name is Grant) and see if he can give you some insight. He’s a no-nonsense guy with a great sense of humor and a great deal of wisdom. We all love him and maybe he can help.

  6. Thanks for such a great article, it is AA at a glimpse. After 7 years sometimes I forget what staying sober is all about, this article reminds me there is still a lot of work to do.

    Oh! and Steve you would have to be there and get your own conclusions, who knows?

    • Steve,
      Im currently going through the same thing with my program. I believe in the power of the group and going to meetings and how that is helping me so much. But to sit and convince myself of a god is hard. I’ve been athiest my whole life. But people have led me to read the ‘we agnostics’ chapter in the big book. I’m sure you read it, but maybe read it again with the thought that we are not told to believe in god, we are to believe that there is something out there more imoirtant than you and me.
      It’s hard. i KNOW. im still struggling.


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