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Thu Jan 19, 2012, 07:21 PM

Spirituality vs the "God" idea.

It took me a long time to understand this, and it is my view, but it may help some get thru..That is all this is about.
AA, OA, EA and CODA that I am a member of, allow an individual to seek his/her own higher power. I will not speak for
other 12 step groups, but I am a member of those.

Spirituality means you have some kind of power greater than yourself that you feel comfortable with. That is ok, it is
your higher power.

... For me, it is a feeling of peace and goodness in the rooms that I attend. That feeling that comes from helping another
with an idea, or some kind of thought or action that takes my mind off of myself on to another is it.

The common good of the
group is.. it too. That common good, peace and kindness has helped tens of thousands to live with their addictions one day at a time. and lets get this out too.....
" People helping people in need," is not exactly new. AA didn't invent it and can't claim it. Most of us don't think it is God. But that strength is truly greater than me.

You do not need to call it God, and to me it isn't

Oh, one more thing.."The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking" That is all there is....
That works for me, I hope it helps you..

49 replies, 5866 views

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Arrow 49 replies Author Time Post
Reply Spirituality vs the "God" idea. (Original post)
Stuart G Jan 2012 OP
NMDemDist2 Jan 2012 #1
Tripod Jan 2012 #2
Old Codger Jan 2012 #3
tavalon Feb 2012 #15
Old Codger Feb 2012 #20
Stuart G Feb 2012 #21
progree Feb 2012 #23
NMDemDist2 Feb 2012 #27
tavalon Feb 2012 #38
Old Codger Feb 2012 #31
tavalon Feb 2012 #33
tavalon Feb 2012 #36
demosincebirth Feb 2012 #35
tavalon Feb 2012 #37
demosincebirth Feb 2012 #39
progree Jan 2012 #4
Rhiannon12866 Jan 2012 #5
progree Jan 2012 #6
Stuart G Jan 2012 #7
tavalon Feb 2012 #16
progree Feb 2012 #24
tavalon Feb 2012 #26
NMDemDist2 Jan 2012 #8
progree Jan 2012 #9
NMDemDist2 Jan 2012 #10
progree Jan 2012 #11
NMDemDist2 Jan 2012 #12
progree Jan 2012 #14
Stuart G Jan 2012 #13
tavalon Feb 2012 #18
Tripod Feb 2012 #22
progree Feb 2012 #32
tavalon Feb 2012 #17
Rhiannon12866 Feb 2012 #19
progree Feb 2012 #25
NMDemDist2 Feb 2012 #28
Stuart G Feb 2012 #29
dixiegrrrrl Feb 2012 #30
progree Feb 2012 #34
mrjackshuman Apr 2013 #40
NMDemDist2 Apr 2013 #41
cordelia Apr 2013 #42
Lil Missy Apr 2013 #43
Rhiannon12866 Apr 2013 #44
progree Apr 2013 #45
cordelia Apr 2013 #46
Stuart G Apr 2013 #47
Rhiannon12866 Apr 2013 #48
progree Apr 2013 #49

Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Thu Jan 19, 2012, 11:39 PM

1. thanks Stuart

very well said

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 03:33 AM

2. Nicely put.

Have you ever had an intuition, or a spirit, or a feeling of love, or evil around you? Most of have experienced these type of things before. We can feel it in the rooms, Thank goodness, but it is huge. I hope you find it. Maybe you have already. But I will always search for more, even though I am greatful for so many true experiences in my life. God bless you.... please don't take offense.

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 01:05 AM

3. Agreed and well said

I also took a while, 2 trips through a recovery program and many many meetings to finally see what was meant by that part of the program. Many many people have managed to work out some sort of "higher power" I have heard of light bulbs having that distinction, but it comes down to whatever works. The actual spiritual feeling that comes over me at a meeting makes it work every time... the group can be the power you are seeking, I advise never ever pick one person, they can fall and fail t=you but the entire group will always be there regardless of changing faces.

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Response to Old Codger (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 1, 2012, 03:33 AM

15. Once I invited my higher power back into the driver's seat,

she offered such grace and support. I have a hard time understanding why I ever set her aside.

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Response to tavalon (Reply #15)

Thu Feb 2, 2012, 12:05 AM

20. My own opinion

And only my opinion. Most if not all of us went to any lengths to maintain our habits whether it was drugs or alcohol, we spent a lot of effort in finding ways to indulge ourselves, we lied we cheated some stole things, money or other items of value. BUT anyone who truly wants sobriety will go to at least the same effort to get and remain sober/clean regardless what it takes..

Personally I feel anyone who nit-picks the system is looking for an excuse to continue on their path of destruction... I spent a lot of time at meetings both attending and chairing them and I have seen as have many other who have been around for a while many many come and go, I have seen miracles happen, people who have truly hit bottom and below come in and stay and get clean/sober none of them managed on their own and the ones that made it did whatever it took no matter what to do so, if than means faking it somehow or maybe bending your beliefs somewhat then do it. you allowed alcohol/drugs to be a higher power so why not something else... forget the bible and religion, I am an avowed atheist but found a way to make it work, if I can anyone can.

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Response to Old Codger (Reply #20)

Thu Feb 2, 2012, 12:43 PM

21. Thank you for that post above.

It really says it all......Stuart

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Response to Old Codger (Reply #20)

Fri Feb 3, 2012, 02:57 PM

23. That is cult talk - don't tell the truth, don't make waves. Don't try to make any changes

Old Codger > Personally I feel anyone who nit-picks the system is looking for an excuse to continue on their path of destruction... maybe bending your beliefs somewhat then do it <

It is NOT nit-picking to object to the Lord's Prayer - straight out of the Bible Matthew 6 and Luke 11, with explicitely Christian themes. It it is NOT nit-picking to say the program is religious (and to point out that it is hypocritical for A.A. to claim it is not religious), it is just acknowledging the obvious, as all the highest courts have found.





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Response to progree (Reply #23)

Fri Feb 3, 2012, 04:29 PM

27. easy there

this is a safe forum for folks who are using WHATEVER method they find best for them to recover.

While you certainly have the right to your opinion, I'd ask that you be very aware of other's feelings and be cautious of denigrating some one else's path to recovery.

Thank you.

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Response to NMDemDist2 (Reply #27)

Thu Feb 16, 2012, 11:09 PM

38. And what you just said, in a nutshell,

Is why, during this part of my recovery I spend far more time here than, say, GD. While I appreciate the dialogue and differing opinions, there isn't the infighting here. It's the same sort of live and let live that I see at F2F meetings and on the main recovery board I use. Recovery is frickin' hard and all I want to give or get is a listening ear, a kind word or two and support.

Thank you NMDemDist2. You are a good host/moderator/group leader - whatever your title is, you're good at this and I'm grateful that you are wiling to be of service in this way.

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Response to progree (Reply #23)

Fri Feb 3, 2012, 09:08 PM

31. Well

I had my last drink at 5:00PM on march 24th 1984, I have been to a lot of meetings over the years and I have never ever heard the lords prayer voiced at any of them. I do not know where you go to meetings but I am sure that if you look hard enough you can find several that do not recite prayers. I will stand by my statement "if you want to get clean/sober bad enough you will go to meetings and learn how regardless of anything else, this is a proven method, if it won't work for you there are a lot of alternatives that you can use, but coming into a group and badmouthing the most successful system there is is not a good way to maintain any type of sobriety (IMHO) I have sen many many come and go and sen many many die because they could not take the steps required to live. You have the right to your opinion also I sincerely hope you find whatever it takes to get sober/clean I really do.

for the record I am probably the most anti-religious person you may ever meet. but I am willing to accept anything that will save my life and AA did so.


(on edit)
I would bet that whenever you are using and in dire need of a fix/drink you would not give a flat rats ass who was preaching what if that got you what you needed.

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Response to progree (Reply #23)

Sat Feb 4, 2012, 11:01 AM

33. Maybe you need to be the next Bill

Write a big book for atheists and agnostics and pagans, oh my. No seriously, you see a dearth here. Mine it. Help, and be of service.

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Response to Old Codger (Reply #20)

Thu Feb 16, 2012, 10:54 PM

36. Well spoken!

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Response to tavalon (Reply #15)

Thu Feb 16, 2012, 10:29 PM

35. When I was drinking I was an agnostic. Now after many years of sobriety I have Him with me. Every

night I get on my knees and thank Him for delivering me from the depths of hell. Remember, "if you're praying for potatoes, grab a hoe."

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Response to demosincebirth (Reply #35)

Thu Feb 16, 2012, 11:02 PM

37. Yeah, I think you hit on a sticky spot for some

Admitting powerlessness and requesting help from a higher power sounds like it's an easy out. get the God to do the work. But the reality on the ground is that while we are submitting to a higher power, we are simultaneously doing a lot of work. Anyone on step four knows that only too well!

I like that phrase, "if you're praying for potatoes, grab a hoe". As I've said many times since I went down the rabbit hole with the addict, "I was on my knees with despair, so I decided to pray", but that doesn't begin to describe all the other things I have done to heal. While my higher power gives me the strength and resolve to do what I must do, I'm still the one responsible for doing it.

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Response to tavalon (Reply #37)

Fri Feb 17, 2012, 04:26 PM

39. I've been sober over three decades -- have met few who don't believe in a Higher Power and there

sobriety varies from one to five years. Of course, there could be more (not many) that I haven't met, but they will, one day realize that trying to stay sober and changing your life completely 180 degrees, and that's what you have to do, is impossible without the help of the Supreme Being who created you. I remember a phrase in How It Works, "half measure availed us nothing.'" And that in it self is the effing truth, believe me. God bless.

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 09:48 PM

4. Kind of hard to endure the religious proselytization about a prayer-answering favor dispensing deity

Though they might not require belief in God; the whole program, Steps, and literature is proselytization about a prayer-answering favor-dispensing deity, one who will restore us to sanity, remove our shortcomings, manage our lives, care for us, love us, listen to our prayers, give us power, and guide our groups (this list from the 12 Steps and Tradition 2),

and who in Step 11 you pray to for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out - the same God that you turned your will and life over to in Step 3.

They pressure you to work the 12 steps -- AA's literature tells you that "Unless each A.A. member follows to the best of his ability our suggested Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant" .

And whose Big Book spends a whole chapter (Chapter 4 "We Agnostics") demeaning non-believers as rather vain, foolish, prejudiced, perverse, and obstinant.

For these and many other reasons, four Federal Courts of Appeals (Second, Third, Seventh, and Ninth circuits) and Two State Supreme Courts (New York and Tennessee) have ruled that Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are religious and that nobody can be coerced by government authority into attending these organizations (as that would violate the First Amendment's prohibition against the state establishment of religion). No Federal Court of Appeals and no State Supreme Court has ruled otherwise. To date, the United States Supreme Court has declined to consider any of these rulings, thus letting these ruling stand.

Here is a Duke Law Journal article that discusses the religious aspects of A.A. and the definition of religion for constitutional purposes (first amendment establishment clause). http://www.law.duke.edu/shell/cite.pl?47+Duke+L.+J.+785

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Response to progree (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 25, 2012, 01:44 AM

5. I've met folks from County Drug Court in the rooms

And they're required to attend a certain number of meetings per week. I'm not religious, either, but AA has helped me get and stay *knock on wood* sober for almost three years. I choose to look at the religious references as a sign of the times from when AA was started. And if someone is helped by belief in a "Higher Power," that's fine with me. For me, I think it's the tools I've learned and support and "power of the rooms" that have worked. For now, I choose to "leave the rest."


AA works for those who believe in God.

AA works for those who don't believe in God.

AA doesn't work who those who believe they are God.

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 25, 2012, 07:16 AM

6. It is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

according to the highest courts that have ruled on these cases. According to these rulings, they have to offer secular alternatives.

"AA doesn't work who those who believe they are God. "

IISSSHHHSShhh. That is the kind of insult that makes A.A. so odious to so many. You claim not to be religious, but only a religious type would impugn that non-theists -- or people who have a problem with a religious program falsely claiming not to be religious -- think they are God.

"I choose to look at the religious references as a sign of the times from when AA was started"

LOL, it is just as religious now as it was in 1935. I don't get it, because it was religious in 1935, its not religious now?

"if someone is helped by belief in a "Higher Power," that's fine with me"

Fine with me too. Its when people are coerced into A.A./N.A. and having a prayer-answering favor-dispensing deity called God crammed down their throat that I get really upset, and I don't choose to "leave it".

I also get upset when A.A. does this bait and switch where they claim to not be religious, and then it is God this and God that and God God God, and not just any God, but a prayer - answering favor-dispensing deity that we have to "pray to for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out". (Don't tell me I can pray to a light bulb or a door knob or the group).

Don't get me started on the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6 and Luke 11). You'd feel the same way if you were coerced into Mohammed's Prayer straight out of the Quran.



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Response to progree (Reply #6)

Wed Jan 25, 2012, 12:47 PM

7. In answer to this quote...from above post..

" Fine with me too. Its when people are coerced into A.A./N.A. and having a prayer-answering favor-dispensing deity called God crammed down their throat that I get really upset, and I don't choose to "leave it"."

At the meetings I go to, we don't do that. Please..
go to meetings you are comfortable at..
...there are many meetings that will work for you...
good luck..

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Reply #5)

Wed Feb 1, 2012, 03:37 AM

16. Your last line says it all

After I felt sufficiently recovered the last time, I put my higher power on the shelf and took over the driving - effectively chose to be my own personal God. I sucked at it but didn't realize it until the addict took me to my knees. And since I was down there anyway, I decided to "pray" and thank goodness for that and the "power of the rooms". I'm recovering but I don't think I'll ever decide I'm recovered if it means I'm going to play God again. It's not good for me.

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Response to tavalon (Reply #16)

Fri Feb 3, 2012, 03:01 PM

24. It is not "playing God" to not believe in a prayer-answering favor-dispensing deity - NT

Because I find the program to be religious (as all the highest courts who have ruled on this issue have) does not mean I'm playing God. Thinking for myself does not mean I'm playing God. And don't give me that line about "all your best thinking got you here". Whenever I decided to drink, I knew it wasn't my best thinking at work.

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Response to progree (Reply #24)

Fri Feb 3, 2012, 03:08 PM

26. There were lots of "I" statements in my post

I'm not asking and definitely not telling you to do it my way. If all the suggestions of alternative ideas for "higher Power" haven't worked for you, it's okay. Just because something works for me doesn't mean it can or should work for you in my way. 12 steps (different programs each time) have helped me save my life. But there are other ways of achieving the same success, probably many other ways.

The harder thing for me this time around is going to al anon, when my qualifier is a prescription pill addict but I know that since it isn't about him at all, but rather my way of responding to him, until I can find a better fit, it's off to Al anon I go.

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Response to progree (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 25, 2012, 01:10 PM

8. there has been much controversy about court ordered attendance for sure

both in and out of 'the rooms'

but i wonder what this has to do with Stuart's post? the constitutionality of AA/NA isn't addressed in the OP and I'm wondering why you felt you needed to bring that controversy into this thread

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Response to NMDemDist2 (Reply #8)

Sun Jan 29, 2012, 01:37 AM

9. All the groups I've been to ... (2) Why I brought all this up

Thanks much Rhiannon12866 and Stuart and NMDemDist2 for your thoughtful and well-tempered responses.

Progree> and having a prayer-answering favor-dispensing deity called God crammed down their throat

Stuart> At the meetings I go to, we don't do that. Please.. go to meetings you are comfortable at.. ...there are many meetings that will work for you... good luck..

At every meeting I've attended (Minneapolis and western suburbs) -- and I've attended several hundred and at least 20 A.A. groups (not to mention almost as many Al-Anon groups) -- we read the 12 Steps and usually the Traditions. As I said before, though they might not require belief in God; the whole program, Steps, and literature is proselytization about a prayer-answering favor-dispensing deity, one who will restore us to sanity, remove our shortcomings, yada and who in Step 11 you pray to for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out ...

"God" is in 5 of the Steps -- 4 explicitely and once implicitely (the "Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings" of Step 7).

A Step is the topic at least some times in all of the groups I've ever been to, and I have to explain why some of them don't apply to me as a non-believer in deities. For example Step 11 (see above) for obvious reasons.

Or Step 3 - "Made a decision to turn our will and lives over to the care of God as we understood him". On Step 3, if I'm to do an honest share, I have to say I don't believe in anything that I would turn my will and life over to. I don't believe in a deity. Turning my will and life over to a light bulb or a tree is just plain silly to me and everyone else I know. That leave some kind of human or group of humans or a human institution or program -- and I'll never, ever turn my will and life over to any human institution or group, as they are all seriously flawed. Particularly a religious program that claims to be not religious while exhorting "rigorous honesty".

I have to endure endless shares about a deity version of "God" doing things for them, like making traffic lights green or giving oomph to their car batteries (meanwhile millions starve but who cares -- apparently it only happens to subhumans in far-away lands.).

To me that is getting religion crammed down my throat. It is a personal thing. If it is not religious cramming to you, then good for you.

I won't get into the Lord's Prayer, since its true that in my area anyway, a fair number of groups don't use it (at least in A.A.). In Al-Anon, they virtually all do, and that is causing me great difficulty (I'll save that for another post)

In your original post you said "Most of us don't think it is God."

I've never been to a meeting where less than 90% or so didn't believe in some kind of deity that was involved in human affairs.

#######################################################

NMDemDist2 > i wonder what this has to do with Stuart's post? the constitutionality of AA/NA isn't addressed in the OP and I'm wondering why you felt you needed to bring that controversy into this thread <

My post was titled: "Kind of hard to endure the religious proselytization about a prayer-answering favor dispensing deity". It was in reaction to his post saying "AA, OA, EA and CODA that I am a member of, allow an individual to seek his/her own higher power." and "The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking".

I was just pointing out that, though a belief in a deity is not required, the steps, Tradition 2, and the literature proselytize about a specific kind of God - a prayer-answering favor-dispensing deity (called Creator and Maker in the BB). As for "the only requirement", I was pointing out that there is a second requirement -- the willingless to put up with the proselytization and hypocrisy.

The only reason I brought in the court cases was to point out that I wasn't alone in feeling this way.

-Progree

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Response to progree (Reply #9)

Sun Jan 29, 2012, 11:36 AM

10. i'm sure you're not the only one. i stated that in my first response

it's been controversial IN and out of the rooms. Believe me when i tell you AA has had a lot of heartburn with court ordered attendees all over the country.

we aren't running out begging for new members, people come to AA hoping for an answer. court appointed people aren't there for an answer usually. some find one there anyway, some don't.

as for your "Kind of hard to endure the religious proselytization about a prayer-answering favor dispensing deity" statement, that's one way to see the fellowship of AA i suppose and an easy one to latch onto. I held onto the "only requirement is a desire to stop drinking" one instead. I didn't let people beat me over the head with God and thankfully most never tried that tactic.

They just told me not to drink one day at a time and to keep coming back. they asked me to be honest to the best of my ability and to find someone to talk to about how to live differently. I didn't need or want religion, i needed a way to stop drinking. i needed a way to live comfortably in my own skin. I didn't have those skills when I came into AA but i saw people in the rooms who seemed to be able to do it.

They asked me to be open-minded. they asked me to just listen and try a few actions. so i didn't drink one heartbeat, one minute, five minutes then one day at a time. they told me to clean up the wreckage of my past, to look at the things in my past that were haunting me and to talk to someone about them. then they suggested i stop doing those actions that made me feel bad about myself. to start acting in a manner that would allow me to respect myself and those around me.

I used an oak tree, a 6' tall invisible white rabbit and the old timer's God (and I quote "If you don't have a God, use mine" so whenever there was a prayer that was expected I said "Dear Neil B's God) as a HP over the first few years. I have a core of faith in the universal law today that works fine for me.

like I told someone in another thread,
don't let some bible thumper in the rooms deter you, just smile sweetly and say "And where is that in the Big Book?" and they can't show you because Bill was VERY careful not to put it in there.


so bottom line? if you hate AA don't go there. if you think every one's a hypocrite and trying to be a religious proselytizer, don't talk to them. not everyone in AA is trying to cram religion down your throat and be assured I spend quite a bit of time rescuing newcomers from those "the Other big book" thumpers. and i take a lot of lumps in the rooms because of it, but the joke's on them, I'll be celebrating 20 years sober February 28th.





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Response to NMDemDist2 (Reply #10)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 12:04 PM

11. Its not Bible thumpers that bother me... its the religious proselytization in the 12 Steps and Lit.

On the Bible thumping thing -- aside from the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6, Luke 11), which is a big issue...

I've never been to a group that let anyone who started doing Jesus this and Jesus that go on and on without a gentle reminder about how we are spiritual but not religious, and that A.A.'s membership has people of many religions and none etc.

What I object to is the religiosity of the 12 Steps, the religiosity of the program itself, the religiosity of the meetings, and the religiosity of the literature. I think I've described that very well and thoroughly enough in my previous post - it is the constant prayer-answering favor-dispensing deity thumping. And the God God God thumping. (Again, from a program that claims to be (a) not religious and (b) extols rigorous honesty). It has nothing to do with Bible thumping (again leaving aside the Lord's Prayer).

And literature that demeans non-believers as:

"Handicapped By Obstinacy" (p. 48), "prejudiced" and "unreasoning prejudice" (p. 48) "Rather Vain" (p. 49), "No Reasonable Conception Whatever" (p. 49), "Biased And Unreasonable" (p. 51), "Prey To Misery And Depression" (p. 52), "Couldn't Make A Living" (p. 52), "Full of Fear" (p. 52), "Our Ideas Did Not Work" (p. 52), "We Couldn't Quite Step Ashore" (p. 53), "Leaning Too Heavily On Reason" (p. 53), "Abjectly Faithful To The God Of Reason" (p. 54), "Whirling On To A Destiny Of Nothingness" (p. 54), "Fooling Ourselves" (p. 55), and on and on.

(in the groups I attended, we are encouraged to read the Big Book, and agnostics are particularly encouraged to read Chapter 4 "We Agnostics", from which the above list was obtained from).

" don't let some bible thumper in the rooms deter you, just smile sweetly and say "And where is that in the Big Book?" and they can't show you because Bill was VERY careful not to put it in there."

Well, Bill sure put a lot of insulting stuff to non-believers in the Big Book, of which the above listing of demeaning phrases is just a tiny sample. And a ton of proselytization about his particular vision of God, Maker and Creator etc.

" be assured I spend quite a bit of time rescuing newcomers from those "the Other big book" thumpers. and i take a lot of lumps in the rooms because of it, but the joke's on them, I'll be celebrating 20 years sober February 28th. "

Sincerely, good for you for the work you do and for the 19 11/12 years.

As for hating A.A., hardly. Luke warm, maybe. I do love the following web site, as I believe A.A. is effective for many, and helped me in early sobriety: http://www.green-papers.org/

-Progree
== Recovery Without Proselytization About A Supernatural Loving Personal Favor-Dispensing Entity Called "God" ==

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Response to progree (Reply #11)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 01:49 PM

12. i dunno

that chapter you are quoting made me see myself way too much for comfort

"Handicapped By Obstinacy" (p. 48), yes I was
"prejudiced" and "unreasoning prejudice" (p. 48) was I prejudiced?? i had to ask
"Rather Vain" (p. 49), yep, that's me
"No Reasonable Conception Whatever" (p. 49), true
"Biased And Unreasonable" (p. 51), maybe...
"Prey To Misery And Depression" (p. 52), for sure that was me
"Couldn't Make A Living" (p. 52), me again
"Full of Fear" (p. 52), me again
"Our Ideas Did Not Work" (p. 52), i sure couldn't stop drinking
"We Couldn't Quite Step Ashore" (p. 53), nope, couldn't buy that "God Stuff'
"Leaning Too Heavily On Reason" (p. 53), was I?
"Abjectly Faithful To The God Of Reason" (p. 54), again, was I?
"Whirling On To A Destiny Of Nothingness" (p. 54), that was a depressing thought.....
"Fooling Ourselves" (p. 55), and on and on.

you may not have these issues in your life and more power to you. I had most of these and more, so again I was desperate enough to lay it aside and get on with the action of cleaning up my life.

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Response to NMDemDist2 (Reply #12)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 05:01 PM

14. What I resent is that it all these characterizations are directed at the agnostic / atheist

and this in a program that claims to be not religious. If it were directed at alcoholics in general, or even people in general, that would be different. As an agnostic / atheist, I resent being singled out as having these characteristics. And no similar chapter "To The Christian" or "To The Religious". And yes, I don't buy the "God Stuff" and it does NOT mean "I can't quite step ashore."


that chapter you are quoting made me see myself way too much for comfort

"Handicapped By Obstinacy" (p. 48), yes I was
"prejudiced" and "unreasoning prejudice" (p. 48) was I prejudiced?? i had to ask
...
"We Couldn't Quite Step Ashore" (p. 53), nope, couldn't buy that "God Stuff'
...

you may not have these issues in your life and more power to you. I had most of these and more, so again I was desperate enough to lay it aside and get on with the action of cleaning up my life.

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Response to progree (Reply #9)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 04:39 PM

13. I do not believe in this, and never have...

Your comment........


"I was just pointing out that, though a belief in a deity is not required, the steps, Tradition 2, and the literature proselytize about a specific kind of God - a prayer-answering favor-dispensing deity"
_________________________________________________________________________________________
my thoughts....

Maybe so, but I do not believe in this...havn't for many years, and don't, and won't...sometimes, there are circumstances that look like
there might be, but that doesn't mean there is...

That is the truth.
People helping people is not new. That strength and goodness of people helping people .... is what I believe in.
There is a peace and serenity in the rooms that I go to. You can argue literature, you can argue form..
Yes, there are people who believe in that "..prayer answering favor dispensing deity..."

Many people do not.

That strength can keep someone sober and for me ...abstinate...(in OA ..free from icecream, pies, cakes, cookies..etc)..No it isn't easy, but it is doable. There are many kind people to relate to, that are not into what you are talking about..Try it..
There is something, and it works..at least for me. Accept that idea that you can accept, forget the rest and work the program as best you can...
Prayer is the most personal part of it...
. ...look for that situation you feel ok with, when you see it, it will be clear. I sugggest that you do not dismiss all of us, and our meetings for ....."the idea of a prayer-answering-dispencing diety." The quietness of a walk in the forest can be your prayer and
meditation..or thinking of that quietness of a walk in the forest listening to Moonlight Sonata..can be it..The process of scilencing the
clatter in our minds is prayer sometimes..if you want it to be..but I would say...Don't give up...sobriety and clarity of mind is worth
what we need to go thru to get there.......................good luck...
Stuart

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Response to Stuart G (Reply #13)

Wed Feb 1, 2012, 03:43 AM

18. Prayer to me, is the time that I stop chattering

and just quietly commune with my higher power. And when I quiet my mind, the answer I need is often sitting there, quiet and gentle. It was probably there all along, but I didn't shut up long enough to hear it. If my kind of prayer sounds like meditation, that isn't a surprise because it's really very indistinguishable from meditation.

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Response to Stuart G (Reply #13)

Thu Feb 2, 2012, 11:06 PM

22. Wow, nicely put.

Only on a good day could I write like you today. I see your point, I get it.

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Response to Stuart G (Reply #13)

Sat Feb 4, 2012, 03:05 AM

32. God in the Steps and literature sure sounds like a deity who does favors and answers prayers ....

Last edited Wed Nov 6, 2013, 11:51 PM - Edit history (4)

Stuart>>Your comment........

"I was just pointing out that, though a belief in a deity is not required, the steps, Tradition 2, and the literature proselytize about a specific kind of God - a prayer-answering favor-dispensing deity"
____________________________________
my thoughts....

Maybe so, but I do not believe in this...haven't for many years, and don't, and won't...sometimes, there are circumstances that look like
there might be, but that doesn't mean there is...

Yes, there are people who believe in that "..prayer answering favor dispensing deity..."

Many people do not. <<


Again, I'm talking about what the steps, Tradition 2, and the literature say, taken literally and according to dictionary definitions, not what you believe or what I believe or what many people believe. And I'm saying it is wrong for a program that claims to be not religious (and extols rigorous honesty) to be pushing a religious program. And I'm saying it is wrong for A.A. to be helping the government and employers to coerce people into it --

{#} A.A. cooperation with coerced attendance

See:
A.A.® Guidelines
Cooperating with Court, D.W.I. and Similar Programs
from G.S.O., Box 459, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163
http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org/en_pdfs/mg-05_coopwithcourt.pdf

where it is suggested that A.A. members create local Cooperation With the Professional Community (C.P.C.) committees and provide the courts with a list of open A.A. meetings. And suggesting ways that A.A. groups and members can help enforce court-ordered attendance, by signing attendance slips for example, and even suggesting other schemes for verifying coercee attendance for groups that don't want to sign attendance slips (See section "E. Proof of attendance at A.A. meetings.").

{#} Doesn't this "God" sound like a deity, something other than human?

More specifically, as for not believing "for many years" that "the steps, Tradition 2, and the literature proselytize about a specific kind of God - a prayer-answering favor-dispensing deity" --

Let's start with the deity first. When you first saw the 12 Steps, did not a deity come to mind? You know, God this and God that and God God God? Isn't deity and God pretty much synonyms? (They are in my dictionary) . I don't think the first thing that came to mind when you saw God was Group Of Drunks.

Do not the Steps and Tradition 2 describe this Higher Power (in Step 2 capitalized) and God (in Step 3 and beyond) as one who will restore us to sanity, remove our shortcomings, manage our lives, care for us, love us, listen to our prayers, give us power, and guide our groups? Kind of hard not to think of this "God" as a deity with some pretty impressive capabilities and characteristics?

and who in Step 11 you pray to for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out?

If you were thinking God = Group Of Drunks, then were you perplexed a bit by Step 5 which said "Admitted to Group Of Drunks, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs?" Didn't you think, uhh, I already admitted to several human beings -- the Group Of Drunks -- the exact nature of my wrongs? So why yet another human being?

Or in Step 11, were you wondering if there is some special small group session where you prayed to the Group Of Drunks for the Group Of Drunks' will for you and the power to carry that out?

Did your group ever read the first part of "How It Works", Chapter 5 of the Big Book, p. 58-60, (many groups do at every meeting) --

p. 60: Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventure before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.

(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.

(c) That God could and would if He were sought.


If your concept of GOD was something human, like perhaps the Group Of Drunks -- the warm welcoming loving smiling people in the church basements (so long as you don't maintain that all this is religious) -- were you shocked to see that one of the 3 pertinent ideas said "probably NO HUMAN power could have relieved our alcoholism?" So AA's conception of God apparently isn't any kind of human power, judging from Pertinent Idea #2. Then the third pertinent idea -- that God could and would relieve our alcoholism and manage our lives if He were sought -- doesn't that kind of sound just a little bit like a prayer-answering favor-dispensing deity?

Perhaps you thought, nawww, this must be a bit of a fluke, maybe one place where Bill W. got a little carried away. So you started reading further on in "How it Works", hoping to get back to the generic "God can be a shoe, a lightbulb, a tree, a Group Of Drunks" of the AA apologists' imagination, and instead you encounter many passages where God is clearly described as a rather powerful micro-managing, favor-dispensing deity:

"Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal, we are His agent. He is the Father, and we are His children." - BB p. 62

"We had a new Employer. Being all powerful, He provided what we needed, if we kept close to Him and performed His work well." - BB p. 63.

"Take away my difficulties" - 3rd Step Prayer, BB p. 63 {quite a tall order for a Group of Drunks or any group of humans}

"We trust infinite God rather than our finite selves. We are in the world to play the role He assigns." - BB p. 68 {infinite - another characterization of God, as well as the assigner of roles}

"Our sex powers were God-given" - BB p. 69


And in the first 11 chapters of the Big Book, God is called Creator (12 times), and Maker (2 times). Pretty specific concept of God, no? Since he is all powerful, he is going to provide what we need, if we keep close to Him and perform His work well? And why not, since he gave us our sex powers (something neither a light bulb nor a tree nor a Group of Drunks ever did for me).

If you ventured into the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (aka the 12 X 12), were you surprised to see on page 109 what certainly seems to demean the Group Of Drunks version of higher power:

"From great numbers of such experiences, we could predict that the doubter who still claimed that he hadn’t got the “spiritual angle,” and who still considered his well-loved AA group the higher power, would presently love God and call Him by name". -- p. 109 (12 X 12)


{#} If it's not religious, why are agnostics being so ferociously attacked?

If you thought A.A. wasn't a religious program, were you at all perplexed by Chapter 4, where they spent page after page dumping on agnostics, calling them, "Handicapped By Obstinacy" (p. 48), "prejudiced" and "unreasoning prejudice" (p. 48) "Rather Vain" (p. 49), "No Reasonable Conception Whatever" (p. 49), "Biased And Unreasonable" (p. 51), "Prey To Misery And Depression" (p. 52), "Couldn't Make A Living" (p. 52), "Full of Fear" (p. 52), "Our Ideas Did Not Work" (p. 52), "We Couldn't Quite Step Ashore" (p. 53), "Leaning Too Heavily On Reason" (p. 53), "Abjectly Faithful To The God Of Reason" (p. 54), "Whirling On To A Destiny Of Nothingness" (p. 54), "Fooling Ourselves" (p. 55), and on and on?.

And on page 28, the Big Book implies that agnostics are not members of A.A.:

"In the following chapter, there appears an explanation of alcoholism, as we understand it, then a chapter addressed to the agnostic. Many who once were in this class are now among our members."

It seems like when agnostics are assaulted, nobody cares. But what if a chapter was added to the Big Book titled "We Jews" that called Jews vain, prejudiced, obstinant etc? Or "We Muslims" or "We Catholics" or "We Buddhists" or "We Wiccans" or "We Pagans"? Would you just shrug your shoulders and say critics are being overly sensitive?

{#} Some more from the Big Book suggesting God is not other people or human

"we simply do not stop drinking so long as we place dependence upon other people ahead of dependence on God. Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." - BB p. 98

"The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power." - BB p. 43

Remind the prospect that his recovery is not dependent upon people. It is dependent upon his relationship with God. - BB p. 99

"This Power has in each case accomplished the miraculous, the humanly impossible. " - BB p. 50

"5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs." - Step 5, BB p. 59 {So God isn't human}

"As to two of you men, whose stories I have heard, there is no doubt in my mind that you were 100% hopeless, apart from divine help. " - BB p. 43 {a doctor commenting on Jim's (p. 35) and Fred's (p. 40) cases )

"only an act of Providence can remove it from us." - 12 X 12 p. 21, referring to the obsession for destructive drinking

"Much has already been said about receiving strength, inspiration, and direction from Him who has all knowledge and power." -- BB p. 85 {Wow. And he is called "infinite God" on p. 68 and has "Infinite Power and Love" on p. 56 and "loving and All Powerful Creator" on p. 161. So yup, he is one powerful dude. Loving is a bit hard to swallow though -- why does somebody who has all knowledge and infinite power and the ability to create the entire universe let millions starve while dispensing favors to wealthy American alcoholics? }.

"Your job now is to be at the place where you may be of maximum helpfulness to others, so never hesitate to go anywhere if you can be helpful. You should not hesitate to visit the most sordid spot on earth on such an errand. Keep on the firing line of life with these motives and God will keep you unharmed." - BB p. 102 {I wonder if A.A. has ever been sued for that advice when Infinite God didn't show up to help?}


And several implications that there is ONE God over us all (aside from all the reference to Maker and Creator)


"There is One who has all power - That One is God. May you find Him now!" - BB p. 59

"all of us... are the children of a living Creator with whom we may form a relationship" ... as soon as we are willing and honest enough to try." - BB p. 28

"Being wrecked in the same vessel, being restored and united under one God" - BB p. 161, describing the variety of people in A.A.


This is relevant counter to those who argue that there's some God helping us individually or us wealthy American alcoholics or whatever, and an entirely different God or gods that presides over, and neglects the starving millions. If there is one God who presides over us all, one can't duck and dodge the question of why this ONE God of infinite power, knowledge, and love, chooses to dispense favors to wealthy American alcoholics while letting millions starve.

How about all of the prayers in the Big Book? Rather specific characterizations of God contained in those prayers too. And certainly religious to anyone who is constitutionally capable of acknowledging the obvious. -- Please see the "Big Book Prayers" at http://www.blisstree.com/2009/01/12/mental-health-well-being/big-book-prayers-16

It is interesting that the two well-known Big Book "Step Prayers" are to the "Maker" (Step 3 Prayer, p. 63) and to the "Creator" (Step 7 Prayer p. 76).

The other well-known step prayer is the Step 11 Prayer in the 12 X 12 p. 99 ("Lord, make me a channel of thy peace -- that where there is hatred, I may bring love ...") .

While calling Him "Lord" (twice), rather than some form of creator, it brings in the religious concept of eternal life -- "It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life"

This one is not from the Big Book, but rather from the Concepts:

"Freedom under God to grow in His likeness and image will ever be the quest of Alcoholics Anonymous" -- Concept XII, Warranty Six, "The World Concepts For World Service, Illustrated", P-8) http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/p-8_thetwelveconetps.pdf ) (Kind of sounds like a religious agenda to me).


{#} If it is not religious, why is The Lord's Prayer so often used to close meetings? Why doesn't A.A. have any official position on it other than leaving it to each individual to decide whether to participate or not?

Given that it is a prayer straight out of the Bible (Matthew 6 and Luke 11) with explicitely Chrisitan themes which was preached by Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount (the Lord in the Lord's Prayer is Jesus) and that clearly departs from our claim to be not religious?

And pushes the boundaries or violates numerous Traditions (non-affiliation, non-endorsement, outside issues, unity, primary purpose)?

That breaks with A.A.'s attempt to present a generic god and instead present an explicitely Christian God out of the Christian holy book?

For more on the Lord's Prayer, please see http://www.democraticunderground.com/1144174#post25

{#} All 4 federal appeals courts and both state supreme courts that have heard these cases have concluded that A.A. is at least religious in nature and coercion into A.A./N.A. is a violation of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause

Four Federal Courts of Appeals (Second, Third, Seventh, and Ninth circuits -- the latter one twice) and Two state supreme courts (New York and Tennessee) have ruled that Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are religious and that nobody can be coerced by government authority into attending these organizations (as that would violate the First Amendment's prohibition against the state establishment of religion). No Federal Court of Appeals and no State Supreme Court has ruled otherwise. To date, the United States Supreme Court has declined to consider any of these rulings, thus letting these rulings stand.

For more on these court rulings: Court rulings other than the 9th Circuit ones: http://www.angelfire.com/journal/forcedaa/courtopinions.htm
and the 9th Circuit Court Of Appeals rulings:
Inouye v. Kemna, 2007: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/09/08/BA99S1AKQ.DTL
and Hazle v. Crofoot, 2013: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/08/24/5676856/atheist-parolee-wins-federal-appeal.html

Here is a Duke Law Journal article that discusses the religious aspects of A.A. and the definition of religion for constitutional purposes (first amendment establishment clause). http://www.law.duke.edu/shell/cite.pl?47+Duke+L.+J.+785

{#} Listening to stories of God doing favors for wealthy American alcoholics (while millions are starving)

So far, I've only talked about how the literature and steps proselytize about a prayer-answering favor-dispensing deity. But probably the most annoying form of proselytization is members in meetings sharing how "God" or "my Higher Power who I choose to call God" did them favors no human power could do. Here are just a few that I've heard:

- gave "oomph" to my dead car battery, so I could start my car and get to the meeting on time to hear something I really needed to hear

- miraculously cleared the left lane so I could get into the left turn lane in time

- made available a parking spot near the front door, even though the parking lot was jammed full and overflowing

- Burned down some troublesome rental property I owned, resulting in a great insurance settlement

- My chain saw came loose from my pickup truck and fell out of the truck, and was dragged for 50 feet (it was still chained loosely to the truck). But the saw wasn't damaged other than nicks and scratches. This was my Higher Power gently warning me to be more careful in the future.

In all their shares, they go out of their way to make it clear that it was something other than human that intervened to make the blessed event happen, something supernatural usually named "God".

Particularly all the ways this deity "God" is helping their cars and their driving -- I keep thinking of when I lived in Accra, Ghana, and I didn't see any wheel chairs, but rather people with very long distended less-than-useless legs (polio?) got around by "walking" on blocks strapped to their forearms.

Why was some deity God (and the Big Book makes clear there is one God) helping wealthy American alcoholics with their cars while these poor people with their forearm blocks are begging in the dirty sidewalks and streets?

Or what about those millions in the 3rd world who starve, or who die long agonizing deaths in parts of the world where there are no morphine drips or other effective painkillers?

Listening to narcissistic wealthy Americans talk about God helping them with their cars in a world where so many people live and die miserably is not at all spiritual to me.


{#} Step 11 -- Praying For Knowledge of God's Will For Us and the Power To Carry It Out is a lot more than listening to nature or one's own thoughts

Stuart>>The quietness of a walk in the forest can be your prayer and meditation..or thinking of that quietness of a walk in the forest listening to Moonlight Sonata..can be it..The process of scilencing the clatter in our minds is prayer sometimes.<<

It's a good description of meditation. However, it doesn't sound like Step 11's praying for God's will for us and the power to carry it out. If anything, it sounds like listening to one's inner thoughts, which gets us into the dangerous area of praying to oneself, becoming one's own God, self-will run riot and all that.

Stuart, I appreciate that you are trying to be helpful, and I thank you. But I've been around the rewms in and out of maybe a half dozen 12-step programs over the past 30 years. And as time goes on, I get more radicalized by the religiosity, not less. I'm involved with Americans United For Separation of Church and State (www.au.org) and, like many Democrats, I am appalled by the increasing religious penetration of our government and classrooms.


-Progree
== Recovery Without Proselytization About A Micro-managing Supernatural Loving Personal Favor-Dispensing Entity Called "God" ==

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Response to progree (Reply #9)

Wed Feb 1, 2012, 03:40 AM

17. Wow, I've never been to a program

that ended with anything but the Serenity Prayer and "Keep working it because it works if you work it and you're worth it!"

And my first time around, I was in San Antonio, Texas, which is pretty Bible Belt, ya know?

Yet another blessing for me. I wouldn't have been comfortable with having the Christian religion crammed down my throat.

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Response to tavalon (Reply #17)

Wed Feb 1, 2012, 06:19 AM

19. The groups that I've been to end the meetings the exact same way

And I'm in NE NY. The only one that doesn't is a women's group I go to, that closes with the Responsibility Declaration. I don't know why they chose that, but everyone's comfortable with it.

When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of A.A. always to be there. And for that: I am responsible.

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Response to tavalon (Reply #17)

Fri Feb 3, 2012, 03:05 PM

25. Well, I don't like a generic prayer-answering favor-dispensing deity being crammed down my throat

Last edited Thu Apr 11, 2013, 02:58 AM - Edit history (2)

nor a Christian God being crammed down my throat. Either way it violates A.A.'s "not religious" claim.

The Lord's Prayer is just an added irritant, and yes it is quite prevalent around here in AA and Al-Anon in Minneapolis.

If it is not cramming Chrsitianity down one's throat, is there some reason that A.A. is neutral on groups using the Lord's Prayer (leaving it as a matter of group autonomy)? At least that's what I think their position is. I've had a lengthy discussion about this with the Office Manager of the Minneapolis Intergroup.

On Edit - I can't find anything on A.A.'s website or in the literature that explicitely says the use of the Lord's Prayer is a matter of group autonomy (but obviously in practice it is). But I searched the A.A. website and found this General Service Conference position -- this from http://www.aa.org/subpage.cfm?page=287 :

{The recitation of the Lord's Prayer} is continually addressed in articles in Box 459 and the AA Grapevine, and has often been asked about at the General Service Conference. For example, at the 1962 Conference, in one of the Ask-It Basket questions, this subject was broached: “Question: What is the procedure for dealing with individuals who refuse to stand during recitation of the Lord's Prayer? Answer: Participation--or non-participation-in recitals of the Lord's Prayer should be considered a matter of personal conscience and decision.”


Considering that it is straight out of the Bible -- Matthew 6 and Luke 11 -- and the Lord in the Lord's Prayer is clearly Jesus (its his Sermon on the Mount). And it has some explicitely Christian themes -- Thy Kingdom Come (I sure hope not, if you are the genocidal maniac depicted in other parts of the same Bible), Heaven (not a concept in most religions), Give Us this day our daily bread (even as a Democrat this is a bit much). Our Father (not mine, and I know a lot of females that object to some bronze age patriarchal types telling us that God is a male).

It bends, pushes the boundaries, and breaks some of A.A.'s principles and traditions.

* We claim to be not religious, but we are closing with a prayer straight from one religion, and one religion's holy book.

* It comes across as an affiliation or endorsement of Christianity, pushing the boundaries of the spirit of Traditions 3 (Long Form) and Tradition 6.

* It violates the Unity Tradition (Tradition 1), by injecting Christianity into a meeting where not all members or prospective members are Christian (26% of Americans are non-Christian). For the same reason, it interferes with Our Primary Purpose (Tradition 5).

* It is injecting an Outside Issue (a specific religion) into a meeting (Tradition 10),

I wonder how many people who don't think the Lord's Prayer is much/any of a problem would feel the same way if they went to a support group that claimed to be not religious, but then closed with Mohammed's Prayer "Allah, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done...". Or what if the meeting closed with The Atheist's Creed?" You would not object, no, right? Because to object to anything is "Playing God" and we must not have that, no, right?

In my experience, the Lord's Prayer seems to always come up when the issue of A.A.'s religiosity is discussed.

It is often a source of friction and dissension in groups that use it. I have never known it to be such in a group that didn't use it.

Interestingly enough, just 4 verses before the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6, Jesus admonishes us to pray in secret. (Just the opposite of coercing others into group prayers. So for those of you who are Chrisitian, you might think about that).

For more on the Lord's Prayer, please see http://www.democraticunderground.com/1144174#post34

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Response to progree (Reply #25)

Fri Feb 3, 2012, 04:35 PM

28. i felt very much as you do

and still do to some degree.

it helped me a lot when I read Emmet Foxx's work on the prayer.

If it bothers you that much you need to bring it to your Group's conscience, or start a new group for Atheists/Agnostics (many towns have them)

I would ask you to please be considerate and thoughtful in your remarks in this forum, we are doing our best to keep this a safe and non confrontational place to come and talk about our many roads to recovery.

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Response to progree (Reply #25)

Fri Feb 3, 2012, 05:05 PM

29. Lord's Prayer..?????

Why the Lord's Prayer??? some of the Christian stuff??
.................why all that stuff?????

The truth is simple..they wanted a prayer at the end of a meeting...
They (the original groups) chose that one cause ..............are you ready???

it is the one that the most of them knew .
....that is it, that is all......

now, I am Jewish, I didn't like it either..so???what did I do?? I first went to OA in l979..so what did I do..

I left..I didn't need OA..nope not me....so I went home, and lost a lot of weight, and in the winter of 1980, I gained it all
back plus 20 pounds more..........yep..l980. Then on June 9, 1980 I came back to OA...
.so I stayed at OA and kept the weight off, and read about AA since in OA, we had
no book ..and we used AA stuff..
..Now 2 years later, 1982, I was struggling with this God stuff, like you are, and guess what?
A lady in our OA group suggested I use..
"the power of love..as a H.P." Her name was Mary O. I wonder where she got that from...Well it is from ..a chapter called..
We Agnostics........and agnostics were accepted too..Oh yea, we (AA adn OA) accepted others too...
...........................................................................................................

At first they didn't want to accept non believers..so, a non believer confronted Bill and Bob (founders of AA) early on..and said..Do you believe this stuff about.."the only requirement is a desire to stop drinking.."..and they agreed the non believer was allowed in the
group...................................

Then.............they had a problem with those child bearing people with breasts..(don't be offended, we are all adults here.women I think they are called.....)so...................
..they too were admitted too...then, it was the problem of people with color from the South..you know??and they were admitted too.
Then high bottom drunks..not real bad drunks..just mildly drunkk..or what ever??so they got in too.. Oh..then the rich ones, and the young ones..so they got in too..Not really an exclusive club.Later...they admitted the gay ones..they are ok too..........
................Guess what..there was another group just admitted in the last few years..
..that I am in...we are called .."double addicted.."...drugs and booze..In reality, us druggies, (me ..prescription drugs)...well they
let me in too. why? well it is ok, I am not such a bad guy..nice people here and in AA and OA..
__________________________________________________________________________________________

Now, I am stuggling with a bitch of an addiction..booze and drugs...as well as my food addiction..as well as anxiety and
fear, and depression.and upcoming surgery..
............and yes, I hear the Christian stuff too..but the people are ok, (more than ok) I like those that I can relate too and forget the
rest.., I hear the Christian stuff occasionallly..it is ok..cause the meetings help me to keep my sanity and calm me down...they are worth it and I accept most of it, cause it saved my sick fucken life..I was stoned on prescription drugs forover 30 years and I am clean for over 5 years...(very strong shit I might add)...something like Xanax..so...I am clean, sometiimes happy, clear headded and living one minute at a time.....I have found some happiness there in those meetings...
........................ PLEASE FORGET THE CHRISTIAN STUFF..IT AIN'T WORTH IT..ARGUING ABOUT IT AINT' WORTH IT,
..............................YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN THESE ARGUEMENTS..FIND A MEETING AND SOME PEOPLE who think like you............ ..................................... AND TRY
YOUR BEST TO STAY SOBER..ONE MINUTE AT A TIME...WE ACCEPT YOU AS YOU ARE..agnostic, atheist,
spirtual thinker, non thinker..
.I don't need bible quotes..I need to live today if I can..

that is it..and that is all I got for now...need to get to a meeting, or call someone...cause I am upset over
my upcoming surgery...lots of pain there.....you know??maybe I will calm me down with a hot bath..??

Stuart G.

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Response to Stuart G (Reply #29)

Fri Feb 3, 2012, 06:39 PM

30. FWIW, Stuart, my heart heard you loud and clear

on many levels.

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Response to Stuart G (Reply #29)

Fri Feb 10, 2012, 12:33 AM

34. Since you asked...

29. Lord's Prayer..????? Why the Lord's Prayer??? some of the Christian stuff??.................why all that stuff?????

Since you asked... Because I encounter the Lord's Prayer at about half the A.A. groups and almost all the Al-Anon groups (actually all of the 8 or so Al-Anon groups that are reasonably close to me at times that I can make it close with the Lord's Prayer. This is quite problematic for me because I am in a phase where I need some of what Al-Anon has to offer.

I posted #25 above about the Lord's Prayer so that anyone interested in their group getting rid of the Lord's Prayer has some talking points to use. I think post #25 has a lot of reasons why anyone who cares about their 12-step program(s) should speak out (as I have, but not as often as I should) against using the Lord's Prayer, even if they are not personally bothered by it.

The truth is simple..they wanted a prayer at the end of a meeting... They (the original groups) chose that one cause ..............are you ready???
it is the one that the most of them knew . ....that is it, that is all......

A.A. is more than 76 years old. That's a reasonable excuse for the first decade or two for using an explicitly Christian prayer from an explicitly Christian book (New Testament Matthew 6, Luke 11) with explicitly Christian themes, called the Lord's Prayer where the Lord is Jesus Christ.

But even 20 years after A.A.'s founding, in 1955, Bill W. defended the use of the Lord's Prayer, and clearly expressed his opinion of objectors as 2nd class at best:

However, around here, the leader of the meeting usually asks those to join him in the Lord's Prayer who feel that they would care to do so. The worst that happens to the objectors is that they have to listen to it. This is doubtless a salutary exercise in tolerance at their stage of progress."
http://www.aa.org/subpage.cfm?page=287

It's clear that the General Service Conference position hasn't evolved much from that, this also from http://www.aa.org/subpage.cfm?page=287 :

{The recitation of the Lord's Prayer} is continually addressed in articles in Box 459 and the AA Grapevine, and has often been asked about at the General Service Conference. For example, at the 1962 Conference, in one of the Ask-It Basket questions, this subject was broached: “Question: What is the procedure for dealing with individuals who refuse to stand during recitation of the Lord's Prayer? Answer: Participation--or non-participation-in recitals of the Lord's Prayer should be considered a matter of personal conscience and decision.”

and they agreed the non believer was allowed in the group...

There is a big difference between merely being allowed in the group and accepted. The "We Agnostics" chapter, calling agnostics vain, fooling ourselves, prejudiced, perverse, obstinate (see post #11 for the long list, or search on "whirling") is just one example in the literature warmly welcoming us to A.A. Or, as I've experienced several times in 12-step programs including A.A., people suggesting I read the "We Agnostics" chapter.

Then.............they had a problem with those child bearing people with breasts .... {Progree paraphrasing: and then people of color, then high bottom drunks, then rich people, then young people, then gay people, then doubly addicted, me ..prescription drugs...well they let me in too. }

This is a very heartening list of A.A.'s evolution. It shows what happens when people speak up. It shows what happens when people agitate and make waves. These things were not accomplished, either in A.A. or in the U.S. as a whole without a lot of agitating. There were many inside A.A. who said people who were trying to change things were nitpicking A.A., were playing God, self-will run riot, on a path of self-destruction and taking A.A. with it, A.A. is just fine as it is, saving millions of lives, yada (you've seen that good stuff in other parts of this thread). But all those victims of discrimination persisted, and good people inside A.A. also persisted in getting their groups to accept all these people.

It is why I agitate. (It's also in my DNA as a Democratic activist). And as a Church - State separation activist (as many Democrats are) who also similarly believe that one should be able to go to a recovery program that claims to be not religious and not get flooded with religious messages. Change is possible. But nobody ever gained anything just by meekly existing and allowing themselves to be discriminated against. (In larger society for women, people of color, gays, and young people to make gains against discrimination, many were imprisoned, lost their jobs, injured and or killed. It was no walk in the park).

........................ PLEASE FORGET THE CHRISTIAN STUFF..IT AIN'T WORTH IT..ARGUING ABOUT IT AINT' WORTH IT, ... TRY
YOUR BEST TO STAY SOBER..ONE MINUTE AT A TIME...

Please see my last two paragraphs above. The only way A.A. or at least some intergroups are going to (as a start) gently discourage the use of the Lord's Prayer is if they hear from enough members, GSR representatives, and so on. As I have done in a series of emails back and forth to the local Intergroup office manager. And it helps that these members be informed and able to counter arguments like, for example, that "it is a universal prayer".

I have gotten one A.A. group to drop the Lord's Prayer (they replaced it with the 7th Step Prayer). So as to make A.A. more welcoming to those 26% of Americans who are non-Christian, for starters. 26% is a lot of people.

By the way, after our long email exchange, our Intergroup office manager published this in the Intergroup newsletter:

"It is my opinion (and it’s my opinion only) that as long as AA groups name their meetings after the church they meet in and or close with the Lord’s Prayer, some people will always perceive AA as a Christian movement."

I found it to be a step in the right direction if only a step.

As a side note, to the person in the thread who says he's never encountered the Lord's Prayer at a meeting in San Antonio...interesting... there is this article from "My San Antonio" saying that most meetings in San Antonio do... (but she doesn't say how she arrived at that conclusion) http://www.aacultwatch.co.uk/2012/01/aa-is-it-only-way-alcoholics-can-go.html -

(I think most people here will find the above article to be interesting and positive about A.A. -- it doesn't have anything to do with "cults". As for aacultwatch.co.uk, it is NOT anti-AA, as the practices of some groups that they condemn are also practices that are clearly in violation of A.A.'s Traditions and literature (for example, groups that strongly discourage the prescribed use of medication and strongly discourage seeing therapists, have abusive sponsorship, etc., and thus generate a lot of negative publicity about A.A. ).

In other forums, e.g. the Alcohol forum of dailystrength.org, http://www.dailystrength.org/c/Alcoholism/support-group , quite a number of people said they were in groups that used the Lord's Prayer. So I don't think it is just a Minneapolis phenomenon. (FWIW, dailystrength.org has just about every imaginable kind of support group).

As for sobriety, I'm more than 4 1/2 years sober. Having blown a 11+ year quit before, I know that a relapse is always a very real possibility.

now, I am Jewish,

I wonder if you would be OK if there was a chapter in the Big Book called "We Jews" that called Jews vain, fooling ourselves, prejudiced, perverse, obstinate? And that often when you told someone you were Jewish, he/she would suggest reading "We Jews"? I wouldn't be OK with such a Big Book chapter, even as a non-Jew. I would say something. Well, that's how I feel about the "We Agnostics" chapter too.

Now, I am struggling with a bitch of an addiction..booze and drugs...as well as my food addiction..as well as anxiety and
fear, and depression and upcoming surgery..
..I was stoned on prescription drugs for over 30 years and I am clean for over 5 years...I am clean, sometimes happy, clear headed and living one minute at a time.....I have found some happiness there in those meetings.....and that is all I got for now...need to get to a meeting, or call someone...cause I am upset over my upcoming surgery...lots of pain there.....you know?? maybe I will calm me down with a hot bath..??

I am glad to hear the clean for over 5 years, sometimes happy, clear headed, and that the meetings are sources of happiness and support. I am sorry to hear that some addictions are still bothersome, and that you are in lots of pain. Hopefully the surgery will work the way it is supposed to, and you will be pain free and have all that behind you!

I am truly sorry to you and the other group members about the way I worded some of what were in my posts (favor-dispensing deity, theological version of friends with benefits,....) and in such an impersonal way.

Good luck with the surgery
Progree

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Response to Stuart G (Original post)

Sun Apr 7, 2013, 10:17 AM

40. A.A. Members In My Experience

A.A. Members In My Experience:

1-) Push A.A., NOT recovery. It’s why they say “keep coming back” instead of “keep abstaining from alcohol.”

2-) For the most part are condescending in manner, contrary to them preaching that “ego” is a bad thing. Apparently YOUR “ego” is a bad thing, not their own. Yes there are some nice people there, and they are the ones that often get preyed on by those they meet at A.A. Many of the condescending types are the typical self-righteous religious nuts you could meet at many fundamentalist Christian churches. They have the “right” concept of God. If you don’t agree with them you’re stupid or one way or another less than they are. Never mind that (in some cases) they lie, cheat and steal.

3-) Despite many of the members condescending and self-righteous manner, if you speak up to them you are challenging their holy program. If you challenge the holy program, you might cost a newcomer their life. Never mind that they routinely tell newcomers to go out and drink or use. (News flash: To a newcomer that sounds like “We don’t care about you.” “Go use”, after initially “love-bombing” them, which is no more than theatrics. Yeah, “feel the love.” What a joke!)

4-) Continue to define their “program” in A.A. terms. They parrot what they’ve been told, never mind truth or logic. People say it’s a religion or has religious roots. If it is (or does), so what? But they don’t want it to so it simply is not religion. You know because they say so—no other reason, and no other reason for the many things they tell you. They said so—period. Logic does not exist, common sense does not exist. Only the program exists, and you’re Higher Power, no matter what doorknob, rock, or other inanimate object you choose. Personally, I’m slighted that any object would be considered any living, breathing organism’s Higher Power. There is all this talk of miracles in the rooms, and yet an object is often chosen to be the Higher Power of beings who possess the gift of life. Yet this is the program that saves lives. Excuse me for not buying into it.

5-) Love to say when you disagree with them or challenge their program that you are resentful or hateful. For one thing, it’s a program for A.A. members. It’s their program, you’re program if you want it, but it’s not my program. I’m allowed resentments, and resentments do not get me drunk. (Hate to burst that A.A. bubble but yes, I am a chapter three.) Because it’s an A.A. program and not mine, I don’t have to work it. The program does piss me off. In my experience it’s a membership of self-righteous, egotistical, delusional people who don’t listen to the outside world, or even look at it through the window.

6-) Say it’s a program of spiritual growth. If that’s the case, where is it? I went to meetings for years and all I saw were people saying they had it but I never saw it. Despite A.A. saying “keep an open mind” it simply does not have one. Growth of any kind does not occur in that narrow environment.

There’s much, much more. I’ll have to come back to this.

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Response to mrjackshuman (Reply #40)

Sun Apr 7, 2013, 10:28 AM

41. this post is completely inappropriate for this group and this topic

broad brush attacks aren't condoned here. I'll let this stand for a day, then it's gone unless you chose to edit.

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Response to mrjackshuman (Reply #40)

Sun Apr 7, 2013, 08:37 PM

42. Your experience has not been mine.

My experience has been the polar opposite of what you've posted here.

AA doesn't work for everyone; the AA literature states as much.

Please edit this or delete it. It does not belong here.

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Response to mrjackshuman (Reply #40)

Sun Apr 7, 2013, 09:13 PM

43. Your rant sounds like a personal problem and not my experience with and in AA.

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Response to mrjackshuman (Reply #40)

Mon Apr 8, 2013, 01:39 AM

44. Nor has this been my experience

I'm not in the least religious and AA has worked for me. I "take what I want and leave the rest." I'm celebrating four years sober at the end of this month.

As for AA members being "nice," it's odd that I would read this post today. When my mother was dying in the hospital in 2011, my fellow AAs supported me and my sponsor refused to leave me alone even though I encouraged her to go home. I didn't drink. And today I accompanied her to the vet, where she had to have her dog, whom I love as much as my own, put down. Another AA friend drove us. It's been a horrible day, but we're still sober.

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Response to mrjackshuman (Reply #40)

Mon Apr 8, 2013, 08:04 AM

45. As long as you don't question the program, especially its "not religious" claim, you'll be fine n/t

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Response to progree (Reply #45)

Mon Apr 8, 2013, 01:24 PM

46. Again, not my experience.

The atheists in my home group seem to be doing quite nicely.

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Response to progree (Reply #45)

Mon Apr 8, 2013, 06:31 PM

47. Question if you like..here is what happened last Sunday...at a 12 step meeting...........

A new member was struggling with the higher power deal.. I was leading the meeting...this member produced a picture of a child, (I will leave it at that) and said basically.."my love for this child is some kind of HP...that is what I can come up with.."
.....Now I am leading the meeting, and there are very few members, this member asks me...."is that ok?" I said..sure..that is ok if that is what you want it to be............."
..... I also said this.."There is no higher power police here, we need to be as open as possible, this is a terrible disease......." done..end of deal...no more..nada..good by, hasta la vista....

.........That is how I run it if I am the leader, and someone asks me about it....I only speak for me..what others do, is there business..........Stuart G.

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Response to Stuart G (Reply #47)

Tue Apr 9, 2013, 04:03 AM

48. Thanks for this, terrific answer!

The groups I attend are the same. We've actually discussed the "Higher Power" concept and the consensus seems to be that whatever works for you is just fine. We seem to have about as many "non-believers" as we do believers. Everyone is different; we have some members who say "I have a higher power I choose to call God," others who reject that idea. And, as a liberal, I'm not judgmental. If anyone has a concept that's working for him/her, then who am I to say it's "wrong?"

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Response to Stuart G (Reply #47)

Tue Apr 16, 2013, 02:20 AM

49. Did he or she question the "not religious" claim or the program, other than ask a question about it?

Progree #45>> 45. As long as you don't question the program, especially its "not religious" claim, you'll be fine n/t <<

Stuart>> Question if you like..here is what happened last Sunday...at a 12 step meeting........... A new member was struggling with the higher power deal.. I was leading the meeting...this member produced a picture of a child, (I will leave it at that) and said basically.."my love for this child is some kind of HP...that is what I can come up with.."
.....Now I am leading the meeting, and there are very few members, this member asks me...."is that ok?" I said..sure..that is ok if that is what you want it to be............."


That's wonderful Stuart. But she didn't "question the program, especially its 'not religious' claim". She simply asked if she can use the love for a child as a higher power.

I maintain that if one questions the "not religious" claim of the program, and give some examples and points like in http://www.democraticunderground.com/1144174#post32 , and ask why A.A. -- in keeping with its principle of rigorous honesty -- doesn't drop its claim to being "not religious", given that it is obviously religious to anyone constitutionally capable of acknowledging the obvious -- something that all 4 federal appeals courts and both state supreme courts that have heard these cases agree upon -- one can be sure, with metaphysical certainty, to be attacked, no matter who is running the meeting.

This thread is a perfect example of that, complete with the bold-faced caps and veiled threats and personal condemnations.

Also you yourself said in http://www.democraticunderground.com/1144962 :

Stuart>>...as the leader ... for me, there really is only one requirement... My rule is....."don't talk too long.." that is it.. As long as you keep your talk reasonable, not on and on...I don't care.. (and it can't really condemn the program or be totally disruptive)..Like, "the program sucks...etc." (emphasis added)

I suppose it depends on what you consider "it can't really condemn the program". If someone makes the case that:

# A.A. should drop its claim to being not religious - see http://www.democraticunderground.com/1144174#post32 for all the ways it pushes a deity version of God (proselytization)

# A.A. should discourage the use of the Lord's Prayer (given all the Traditions it violates or at least pushes the boundaries of) -- http://www.democraticunderground.com/1144174#post25

# A.A. should condemn the practice of many intergroups which refuse to list agnostic/freethinker/atheist groups

# A.A. should more explicitely allow groups to use a secular version of the 12 steps if they choose (in keeping with the "not religious" claim).

# The A.A. Big Book needs some re-writing. It needs to re-do the chapter to the agnostic (Chapter 4) so that it is something other than a multi-page attack on agnostics (vain, fooling ourselves, prejudiced, perverse, obstinant -- see post #32 for a longer list), and the "To Wives" chapter so that it isn't such demeaning out-of-date advice, just to name two of many that need to be brought up to date (or were never "in date" to begin with).


Would you consider that "really condemning the program"? Or rather seeking to widen the door so that all may pass through (and stay at least long enough to have a good chance of maintaining sobriety)? I know and have heard of a lot of agnostics / atheists who quit going to meetings after a month or year or two of sobriety because they felt it was initially helpful; but their shares and way of working certain of the steps criticized as "not being spiritual enough" or whatever caused them to leave.

After all, you wrote eloquently how A.A. changed over the years -- by eventually allowing in agnostics, women, blacks, high bottom drunks, youth, dual-addicted, and gays -- in http://www.democraticunderground.com/1144174#post29 . Those changes didn't just happen, they were the result of internal struggles in many groups and intergroups and in some cases at the GSO level. Making waves is what got these people through the door.

Many thought it was "really condemning the program" when condemning the discriminatory exclusivity.

I'm also mindful of Tradition 3 in the 12 X 12 (p. 143)
http://www.aa.org/twelveandtwelve/en_pdfs/en_tradition3.pdf <-link good 4/15/13, but can't copy and paste from.

Not long after the man with the double stigma knocked for admission, A.A.'s other group received into its membership a salesman we shall call Ed. ... He had at least an idea a minute on how to improve A.A. These ideas he sold to fellow members with the same burning enthusiasm with which he distributed automobile polish. But he had one idea that wasn't so salable. Ed was an atheist. His pet obsession was that A.A. could get along better without its 'God nonsense.' He browbeat everybody, and everybody expected that he'd soon get drunk ... Distressingly enough, Ed proceeded to stay sober.

At length the time came for him to speak in a meeting. We shivered, for we knew what was coming. He paid a fine tribute to the Fellowship; he told how his family had been reunited; he extoled the virtue of honesty; he recalled the joys of Twelfth Step work; and then he lowered the boom. Cried Ed, "I can't stand this God stuff! It's a lot of malarkey for weak folks. This group doesn't need it, and I won't have it! To hell with it!"

"... The elders led Ed aside. They said firmly, “You can’t talk like this around here. You’ll have to quit it or get out.” ... {Ed} read aloud, “The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.” Relentlessly, Ed went on, “When you guys wrote that sentence, did you mean it, or didn’t you?” Dismayed, the elders looked at one another; for they knew he had them cold. So Ed stayed."


To a lot of people, this is "really condeming the program". But at least in the 12 X 12 Ed stayed. I don't think that would be true in most groups. Oh, he wouldn't get explicitely evicted, at least not for awhile, but he'd get a lot of hostile feedback and even be shunned. But maybe that's a regional difference.

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