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When starting AA, do I have to believe in god? Is there any way around this?

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applegrove Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-26-11 10:44 PM
Original message
When starting AA, do I have to believe in god? Is there any way around this?
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elleng Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-26-11 11:17 PM
Response to Original message
1. Not alcoholic or participant, but married to one.
Others will respond,I'm sure, but I understand some/many have problems with 'higher being.' As agnostic, 'd use Nature as mine, if necessary.

:hi:
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applegrove Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-26-11 11:31 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Yes I've used my ancestors as a source of strength myself. I'll see if that
will work. I'll meditate on both nature and ancestors.
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elleng Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-26-11 11:40 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Best of luck.
:thumbsup:
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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-27-11 07:54 PM
Response to Original message
4. nope, just be open minded and be willing to 'seek'
you can use your own conception of a 'higher power' or no conception at all, just be willing to have an open mind and see what happens.....
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cordelia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-29-11 07:12 PM
Response to Original message
5. Not at all!
Many in AA are atheists or agnostics and find their higher power in nature, the fellowship, whatever makes them comfortable. As was so eloquently stated in the post prior to this, just be open.

I wish you good luck.

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Fire Walk With Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-31-11 04:53 PM
Response to Original message
6. There is a section in the big book on just this subject.
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Rhiannon12866 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-01-11 02:53 AM
Response to Original message
7. I belong to AA and I'm a liberal atheist.
AA is a spiritual program, not a religious one. Some people choose to have a "higher power" that they call God. If that's what works for them, it's fine with me. What's worked for me is what's been called "the power of the rooms." There's something about a group of people who are all there for the same reason that is pretty powerful. I never know when I'll identify with what someone else shares or hear something that can help me. "Take what you want and leave the rest."

What I learned from AA that's helped me the most is One Day at a Time. I can't say that I won't drink for the rest of my life, but, breaking it down, I do know that, no matter what happens, I can handle just today. I can't say what'll happen tomorrow, but I'm not worried about that. By just focusing on one day at a time, I've managed to put together 28 months, as of yesterday. I couldn't do it on my own, I tried. But by going to meetings and learning how other people have remained sober, I've gotten the tools to do it myself. That's what's worked for me.

Good luck. If I can do it, anybody can... :grouphug:
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Fire Walk With Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-10-11 09:10 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Congrats to you and your higher power!
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Rhiannon12866 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-11 05:02 AM
Response to Reply #9
15. Thank you. I find what's worked for me is the "power of the rooms."
And today I have 29 months, "One Day at a Time." :hi:
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get the red out Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-02-11 09:15 AM
Response to Original message
8. No, but
You do not have to believe in God to be a member of AA and stay sober. That being said, if you are an atheist or agnostic member in the south you need a very thick skin. I have seen people terribly mistreated in meetings over this, but I live in the Bible Belt.
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Iggo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-12-11 09:41 AM
Response to Original message
10. If you want to work an honest program, yes.
Edited on Mon Sep-12-11 09:41 AM by Iggo
If you just want to get sober and stay sober, no god required.
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1620rock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-12-11 11:34 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. The symmetry of the universe, the inner connectedness of all living things, the power of love...
The beauty of a baby or a kitten. These kind of thoughts work for me.
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Iggo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-13-11 02:53 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Those are nice things.
But they are not a "loving god as he may express himself" blah blah blah. I don't remember the exact words, and they may be different in AA than in NA.

Anyway, that's the sticking point with a lot of atheists.

And since I don't lie to others or to myself in recovery, that's a really huge sticking point.

The program has god in it, and if one wants to work an honest program, god's part of the deal.

I don't really see a way around that.
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get the red out Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-22-11 09:57 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. This is AA sacrilege for me to say
But I really believe the wording of the BB needs an overhaul to be more inclusive and applicable to today's world (yep, I mean the first 164 pages), but saying that in a meeting would be the equivalent of walking into a Cathedral in the middle of mass and saying the Bible needs to be reworded. The date of my last drink is 10/6/92, just so my daring statement doesn't mark me as extremely new to the program.

I sincerely hope that you will not let your misgivings with AA and it's emphasis on "God" get in the way of your sobriety. AA is one way to pursue sobriety with support from others, and though it is the only one I have experienced personally, there are others like Rational Recovery, Smart, etc.. I have read about them online. I just hope that you achieve your goal and have a good life, for me that is what "recovery" is about today. I have even read that there are Atheist/Agnostic AA meetings in some more progressive parts of the country.

It does say on the back of the AA Tokens presented on sobriety anniversaries "To Thine Own Self be True". I take that rather seriously myself so I cannot fault someone else doing so either.
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Rhiannon12866 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-11 04:59 AM
Response to Reply #12
14. AA works for those who believe in God. AA works for those who don't believe in God.
AA doesn't work for those who think they are God. ;)

Whenever I get stuck discussing this kind of thing at a meeting, I remember to mention that handy quote. The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking. Period. I find more people in AA that agree with me than don't, but I don't judge those who do say that God is their "higher power." If that's what works for them, that's okay with me. I'm a liberal. :) :hi:
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Justpat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-12-11 08:03 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. .

:thumbsup:
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Rhiannon12866 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-14-11 02:49 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. ...
:hi:
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