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Any one in recovery here who belongs to a 12 step program? I’m a recovering addict and rely upon AA. However, I greatly struggle with the “higher power” concept. I understand that many people use the group or the spirit of love or some other intangible but my understanding, based on many years of study and thousands of meetings, is that the power intended should be one who (not which) has the ability act on one’s behalf. I mostly find this to be the case because one cannot pray to a “group of drunks” or to the spirit of love. Well, it’s possible, but no one is listening. Anyway, I’m really hung up on this. I wish I didn’t believe this, but all signs point to, as the Big Book puts it, “Life originating in a cypher and aimlessly rushing nowhere.”

mstluvglmrshots 3 Feb 28

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AA is basically horseshit. Get professional counseling, attend group therapy. Go out of your way to find and make friends with sober people. AA is the blind leading the blind


I have a couple of friends who go to AA, and they use this Website as their main guide. Because AA is so "god-heavy" more and more non-deists are turning to other concepts while still using the connections of AA.


Many people rejecting the existence of gods feel a flush that accompanies liberation. I see it as similar to a prisoner getting free of handcuffs in a locked room believing they are completely free simply because they can move about in the room. If one leaves the cuffs around the pipe, escaping the secondary means of confinement lies ahead.

Our 'secondary means' is both external and internalized. Externally if we continue subscribing to remaining unexamined notions that are also part of our captivity represented by the room, blindness to our continued captivity remains. We reject the gods but cling to their products in the form of cultural and even sometimes legal rituals and rules. We must not forget that the gods themselves were created by male humans to serve their common goal; that of a few maintaining power over many.

Internally, we become complicit, I think out of conditioning, in our own oppression by freeing ourselves of one kind of orthodoxy only to turn around and subscribe to another to 'fill in the space'. As a consequence of being formed within authoritative circumstances, trust in our own instincts and ability to reason independently is undermined. We often feel unworthy to take up all of our own space ourselves as our own authority. Isn't doing so emancipation by definition?

To use another example, I see most atheist/agnostic individuals as having escaped the plantation while failing to see the necessity of continuing flight until they reach a 'free state'.

How many of us remain 'under the spell' of other institutional and ideological fabrications like reinforcing rituals and alternative ideologies fabricated by Patriarchal Judas Goat, god makers? Pie in the sky and pie on Earth both taste the same. They taste like nothing because they don't exist. Both are merely 'faith based' expectations with different kinds of pastors and prophets unified in a common goal. Both are promises by a class of bakers with only one kind of product: different nothing flavored half-baked schemes for containment of their prey.

We can't see or taste promised pie. We are equipped though, with the ability to see and reason as individual creatures; to resist efforts of self-appointed betters to convince us to abdicate our equipment in favor of theirs. If only we'll follow them with the first step toward a life of substitutes, to return to an existence based on artifice that produces nothing but more of it's own essence.

Gods are only a tool in the shop of air pie. Pollitical ideologies are another. Trusting other 'authoritative interpretations' over what our own senses tell us is another. Mistrust of our own allegedly weak, non-certified (conditioned) instinctual perceptions is another. Individually or in concert, they convey but one message to anyone with the audacity to declare their own native judgement to be definitive. That message is: Who are you to have an opinion of your own?

Addiction is rife within environments of artifice. It is the primary means of control; accepting a substitute in 'place of' what has been made unobtainable in captivity. In place of is the definition of placebo. If one is hungry and available 'food' choices are largely comprised of artificial sweetener, artificial fat and the artificial appearance of protein, two things will happen. 1. Diminishing nutritional returns will increase consumption. 2. The feeling of never getting enough will increase until life itself expires from deprivation of what it really needed.

Freedom from addiction requires freedom from artifice. There is only one geiger counter capable of detecting radiating bullshit. It is the very, oft very damaged, instrument occupying the space between our ears. You must have heard the comparison between a cucumber and a pickle used to describe the relative permanence of damage we sustain from substance abuses. A pickle cannot be reversed to the state of cucumber and a sensible person wouldn't expect it to.

Pickles are not alive... They are preserved organic remains of an erstwhile living state filled with life energy. Addicts brain chemistry is altered and believed to be permanent only because means of restoration have yet to be discovered. To 'kick' the substance is to escape the cuffs; to run from the plantation. Until one can reach the free state of genuine sobriety, emancipated from accepting enticements of artifice, a high degree of vulnerability remains.

Struggling for clear vision, individual and intellectual liberty never ends but ability to recognize and reject counterfeit trappings is easier, the further we distance ourselves from the morass; from sources of radiating artifice. Life and life force is real. It is perceivable primarily by function and revelation of elements of intentionality. It manifests and animates life forms. Getting in touch with it internally as our benefactor, sustaiiner and healer happens within. Acceptance and love of self with gratitude for our special human gifts are keys and compass to freedom from artifice.


Hello and welcome! I began in 12 step groups first as a counselor then as a person in recovery myself. I haven't been to a meeting in years and my last three were "annuals" just to pick up chips.

As an agnostic prayer was easy since I didn't have a concept of what, if anything, I was praying to. I knew at the very least my prayer was self affirmation (to the "self" as a personal "god", or the part of us capable of recovery, as was our suggestion to atheists in the counseling center I worked) For me, this was usually a precursor to mediation either as an temporary escape then later as a clear dissemination of the problem at hand.

Anyway, we have a (not necessarily 12 step) recovery group. I'll suggest adopting the 12 steps to your needs primarily for the humanistic aspects. We as addicts almost always have the wreckage of our pasts to make amends for so we can continue with a clear conscious.



There's a 12-step group here on the site. You can also search my posts and comments about 12-step issues and how a non-believer can make it through all the 'god-stuff' .


It's my understanding that the degree of emphasis / reliance / application of the "higher power" concept varies greatly by group leader.

I have no personal experience with this but a family member found AA unhelpful even though their leader would allow you to define "higher power" pretty liberally, such as "helping other people". But as is often the case, non-theistic 12-step alternatives were at least 2 hour's drive away from their location. Eventually they worked themselves out of their drinking issue in their own way. AA would say that's not possible, and yet, it's not the first time I've heard of it happening.

I rather prefer the approach of Finland to treating addiction, they manage it medically and their program is much more effective than 12 step or talk therapy. For example there's a very effective drug for reducing the craving for alcohol. But that's not in vogue in much of the West.


Do a Search for 12 step, there is a long helpful thread starting on Dec 2nd.


Just a cursory google search looking for non-theistic 12 step programs comes up with groups in many cities that fit your requirements.

Become your own hero dude... In the end, you can only depend on yourself. We all have it within us. Ask me how I know.....


No disrespect but... I had seen this post before. Maybe in another specific group.

Does it matter someone is asking for help let them ask a thousand times if need be

@SimonMorgan1 It does matter when is the same copy and paste crap. There are trolls here too... this place is not immune to trolls. It Does Matters!!! We have our share here. They get kicked out and comeback with new id. I am not saying that is the case but we had seen it before. If you want to help him tell him to search for 12 step... there was an extensive thread posting starting on Dec 2nd on the subject.

I am brand new to this group and wrote the post myself. I didn’t know there was another thread. My apologies.

@mstluvglmrshots Not at all... I went back and checked it was 2nd Dec... do a search by 12 step and you will find good information. I wish you the very best life got to offer and never give up your battle, whatever it is, be strong and Welcome to our little site.

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