Support the Kelowna Secular Sobriety Group

If you don’t want to be part of Alcoholics Anonymous because you don’t want to give yourself to a “higher power,” there are alternatives, but none in the city of Kelowna (British Columbia, Canada).

That’s why a group of people are trying to start the Kelowna Secular Sobriety Group:

The KSSG uses the SMART Recovery program, which is based on cognitive behavioural therapy. Instead of reliance on a “higher power”, as in the AA’s 12 step program, the SMART Recovery program emphasizes personal responsibility and the power of each individual to overcome their addiction.

The group needs a permanent place to meet, so that it can continue its important work, while providing stability and predictability for those working through addiction recovery.

The Unitarian Fellowship has kindly offered the Kelowna Secular Sobriety Group the use of their space at the discounted rate of $20 an evening. The KSSG meets once a week, which means that one year of rent is $1040.

They’ve raised nearly half the money they need to have rent covered for the next year, but please help put them over the top if you can!

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.

  • Zena Ryder

    Thanks for posting this, Hemant. To clarify, the Secular Sobriety group does already exist; it’s been meeting for a few months now. But it needs a permanent location — which is why we’re fundraising for the rent to pay for a weekly space for a year.

  • Heathen Mike

    Zena, could you talk a little about guiding philosophy of your group? I’d be fascinated to hear. I am a psychotherapist and work for a medical establishment that runs a treatment program. Not only does my organization’s program REQUIRE all participants to attend 12-step support group meetings, so does every other treatment program I’m aware of in this region. I’m in the Deep South, solidly bible belt. I spend a part of my work in addiction education groups I lead just trying to help agnostics/atheists/non-religious addicts to reinterpret the AA paradigm in a way that works for them, so that they can not obsess over the “Higher Power” stuff to the point of being turned off altogether. How much better it would be not to have to even bother with that stuff. I have to be careful, though. Not only are most of our participants Christian, but so are the clinical authorities I work for. I’m in the South…..(sigh). Having a group like yours to refer people to sounds wonderful; it also sounds like a pipe dream, here.
    I do recognize the value of AA, honestly. But it is not in its “higher power’ notions. The benefit is in the reality of a support community to help people avoid isolation and counteract their feelings of shame at their condition and history. It would just be so much better for people to have a choice to connect with a support community that they can really relate to as non-religious people in recovery. AA seems thoroughly entrenched in the awareness of “the establishment” here. But maybe with enough publicity, someday that establishment will be forced to recognize there are valid alternatives to AA.

  • Zena Ryder

    Hi Mike, the group uses the SMART Recovery program. There’s more info about it here:

    The facilitator of our group received training through the Canadian version of this organization and the group uses their resources.

    Good luck!