Atheists Chime in on Alcoholics Anonymous

To add to the current thread:

Frank B. writes at the Rationalist Association that even the godless can be saved:

If you are an atheist in AA and AA is your last-chance saloon, then you have to develop an authentic and powerful workaround to make sobriety breathe for you. Pioneering atheist and agnostic AA members fought long and hard to make it explicit that belief is not a prerequisite of staying sober. And I champion their bold lead. I do not participate in any of the prayers. I ignore any raised eyebrows. God is not looking after me and the Cosmos does not care if I relapse on cheap vodka or not. Outing myself as an atheist in AA proved to be an incredibly liberating act. It pared away any delusions or expectations of life. It gave me a way forward of simplicity and responsibility. It made me look deep inside myself for the answers. It made me embrace the strength and healing to be found in real unconditional human love and compassion.… It makes me take nothing for granted. Be simple. Live the moment. To not be afraid. And to know that by staying true to my disbelieving self and under no circumstance picking up a drink, a remarkable second chance at life is here to be lived.

A reader on the Friendly Atheist Facebook page had a very different experience with a similar organization:

After leaving an abusive marriage and going through a nasty divorce, I saw a doctor who prescribed me Xanax. Fast forward to my becoming addicted in an ugly way. I sought treatment, was medically detoxed, and sought out a group where I could stay clean.

Enter Narcotics Anonymous.

I was immediately shunned for my lack of belief. I was told numerous times I would never stay clean without a higher power. No one would sponsor me. It was a pretty low time.

I ended up going online and finding a person who had a similar situation. We helped one another in a loving, kind, and godless way to stay clean. Four years later and here I am: clean, healthy, happy, and still godless.

Those programs are evil. Who would tell a person who was struggling that they’d never make it, all the while talking about how great their higher power is? My experience is not unique. There are more of us and I am sure more have gotten the same treatment…

For groups so dedicated to helping people overcome they sure are a hateful judgmental bunch.

Feel free to send along your own experiences.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X