“We came to accept and to understand that we needed strengths beyond our awareness and resources to restore us to sanity.”
- "Six men who admit they are “powerless over alcohol” recited these words from Step 2 of a Canadian-created, secular Twelve Step program at the beginning of a recent meeting in West Vancouver.
These particular warriors against alcohol are atheists and agnostics. Even though they are meeting in a quiet room of St. Monica’s Anglican Church in West Vancouver, they are tired of the emphasis that some members of Alcoholics Anonymous put on God."
- "Since AA began, Step 3 of the traditional program has called on members to “make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understand him.” Several other steps also mention God or a higher power, leaving the definition open-ended.
Even though the men in the West Vancouver group expressed gratitude for the support they received over the years in AA’s Twelve Step program, they said they are increasingly weary of the “God talk.”
- "they say, some evangelical Christian AA members have started talking like preachers."
- "To get away from the word, God, two atheist and agnostic alcoholics groups have formed in the past two years in Metro Vancouver. In addition to the West Vancouver group, there is a larger meeting of both sexes on Tuesday nights at Holy Trinity Anglican Church on Hemlock and 12th in Vancouver."
- "Both weekly groups follow the secular Twelve Steps as outlined in The Little Book: A Collection of Alternative 12 Steps, written by an Ontario man known as Roger C. Its title is a play on the classic AA guide, commonly known as The Big Book."
- "The North American AA’s general response to organizations that take “God” out of the Twelve Steps, or make other significant changes to it, is that they can imitate the Twelve Step program, but they aren’t allowed to call themselves “Alcoholics Anonymous.”"
- "A man who answered the phone at the regional head office for AA, which is called the Greater Vancouver Intergroup Society, said atheists and agnostics who are alcoholics have every right to start their own groups.
But he refused to comment on the delisting of the two atheist-agnostic groups, adding, “When it comes right down to it, we have no opinion on it whatsoever.”
In addition, many atheist and agnostic alcoholics, like those in the two groups in Metro Vancouver, are having their meetings listed online through an organization called AA Agnostica.
AA Agnostica, for instance, is organizing its first international convention. The conference, titled, Many Paths to Recovery, will be Nov. 6 to 8 in Santa Monica, Calif. Some of Metro Vancouver’s alcoholics plan to attend."