Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2003 23:53:08 -0700
To: Doug Allchin <>
From: David Bedford <>
Subject: Re: Alcoholics Anonymous
In-Reply-To: <>

Hi Doug,

You make a good point about not handing your life over to someone who can't look after his own house.  I going to use that one for sure.  As for AA, I checked out the 12 steps and 7 of them involve that higher power thingy.  Some steps can be totally disregarded and some have meaningful content if you reword the higher power part.  I know some atheists that are recovering alcoholics that manage to stay away from both AA and alcohol.  Keep speaking out about it.  If enough people do so the availability of no-God AA groups will increase.

Darwin Bedford

At 02:51 AM 8/24/2003 +0100, you wrote:
Dear Darwin,

I am becoming deeply disconcerted by the expansion of "religion" into AA. I've
been clean and sober for 27 years, yet I am constantly bombarded by fellow
members (all of whom so far have much less sobriety time than I do) saying
that "without a higher power, a loving god, I cannot hope to stay sober for
more than a few weeks at best!" When I point out that I HAVE been sober for
many years without "him" they seek to deny this is possible.. which just
about sums up their problem, they are not living in a world that is based on
fact, but on "faith". It has now come to a head as I took exception to their
mindless chanting at the close of meetings "Whose father keeps us sober? Our
father, which art in heaven..."

I pointed out that this is really offensive to all those not of their faith,
not only atheists but bhuddists, wiccans and anyone not a christian?

Their reply was that I need not join in if I don't want to, which rather
misses the point. I can just about stomach "the god of my understanding" but
this shows the disturbing trend I have found as a visitor to North America,
namely the hijacking of every facet of one's life by the god-botherers...

It seems that people here confuse the statement that "everyone has a right to
their beliefs" with "everyone's beliefs are equally right". They seems to
assert that "spritual" knowledge is somehow of a special class, that is not
required to be supported by any kind of demonstrable evidence, indeed the
less likely an event, the more this shows the mystery and ineffability of
god, and thus acts as a certain proof of his existence!

What really worries me is that those who have this sick co-dependent
relationship with their imaginary friend (a sure sign of psychosis?) are put
on some kind of moral pedestal. In any other circumstance, persons claiming
to "hear voices" in their heads would be escorted to a psychiatric ward and
locked up.. yet instead they are called on to comment on every event in
American life!

I'm afraid they didn't take too kindly to my asking why they were locking up
the church after the meeting either. They said it was to prevent vandalism
and theft. I asked them "could not god look after his own property?" - I
thought it odd that they were willing to hand their lives over to a deity who
could not even, despite his omnipotence, keep his own house secure? I think
if I was looking for someone to take over responsibility for my life (and as
an adult I'm not) then I'd pick someone with a little more clout? :-)

So, as an atheist Brit (and I'm proud that only 2 - 3% of British citizens
attend church these days) how best should I confront what to me is a
completely alien culture?

Hoping you have some good ideas,

Doug Allchin