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Do any of you have experience managing the overtly religious nature of Alcoholics Anonymous and successfully working the program? I think I’m in a good place with it, but I’m always open to insight. I have always identified “energy” as my higher power. And I rely heavily on that concept when replacing the verbiage in the Big Book. But a part of me discredits the program because of all the God pushing. I tend to focus on the fellowship of my peers and the vibe we create by supporting each other. The “energy”. But then again, I’m all ears.

NewEyes11 4 Mar 25

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Over 5 years sober and no meetings ever. I visited SMART recovery online quite a bit, and split firewood by hand when I hand to. Exhaustion might be my higher power.


Thanks for sharing and opening this thread. AA helped me at a time when I needed the help.

The "higher power" wasn't my barrier. I got a lot out of stopping and asking myself, what gives me hope when things get tough? Enough hope to loosen my fearful attempt to control life? Enough hope to try new things without assuming it'll all end up the way it did before. And let in the good stuff!

My barrier was the old, old "science" of explaining alcoholism and the disease. And the rigid culture some people bring to.the group.

I don't want to focus on the negatives -- it works for some people. But if it doesn't work for you, you're not alone.


Whatever works for you mate as your with people in the same boat with a common goal. you just got a barnacle on the side called religion. once your sorted the booze or the religion can be left behind.


I got Sober through AA, Sober means Sane, once My Sanity developed, I realized I did not believe in god, nor did I need to, to stay Sober and help Others, and I say so, in the rooms, I am 19 yrs Sober, so even as My non-belief is held in disdain, My Sobriety speaks for itself, My Service work is My reward, and sufficient to quell the zealots, be quick to see where religious People are right, I use what I can, and leave the rest.

kuali Level 4 Mar 25, 2018

I was in AA down in Mankato because there weren’t any atheist groups here. I do know there are some in the cities so hopefully they’ll be able to help.

I also found down here that even though they all said anything can be your higher power....they clearly were referring to the xtian sky daddy. I thought the atheist chapter in the big book was terribly condescending. I could go on and on but am forcing myself to stop now.

I wish you all the best in your sobriety journey. I know how difficult it is. ?


You should be proud of yourself for wanting to clean up and improve your life. I traveled a similar road that included AA . I lasted about two months in AA and had about all I could handle with the higher being, the pledges, the smoking cigaretts in the meetings, and the whiny people that seemed so needy of others. I conquered alcholism through hypnotism and an extreme desire to improve my self. You are your higher power and you can conquer this and live a life of of your choosing. Be strong!


I have. I'm an apathetic agnostic and spiritual humanist so it was much easier for me...not in what I believe but what I can accept the possibilities of...even if that is not inclusive of any typical beliefs in abrahamic gods.

When I finally got sober I did three consecutive "90 in 90s" and found my sobriety was more important than any definitive description of my HP. That was immaterial as I got to the work of making amends and clearing the wreckage of my past.

I just celebrated 17 years of sobriety and I've not been to a meeting in 2 years. The last several years I've gone were single annual visits to pick up a chip.

More details of my experience as well as those of others who have found (as yet) viable alternatives to 12 step programs can be found in our group:



Ther is a atheist version of AA avialable in many cities. Check with your local American Atheist chapter for more information.


I was in AA for over 25 years, and it helped me get/stay sober. When someone in the group mentioned god, I changed it to "Group Of Drunks" in my mind, because the group is what I used as my higher power. I actually loved AA, because it got me out of religion, and I made a lot of good friends.
When I got to AA, I had had enough of religion, and when I saw "God as you understand him" in the steps, it was palatable to me. It started me on a journey through different beliefs I might never have taken without the program. I'll admit, I tried different groups until I found the right one for me. There were some groups that were nearly as religious as the family I grew up in.
It may not be for you, but I spent many happy years in AA.


Energy is good. Did AA when my first husband did an in-patient program for a month. I had trouble with Higher Power. Tried it in Alanon,ACOA and another twelve step group. I ended up leaving him months later.


If you ever need any help from us...let us know


If whatever works for use then you use it. You are working the program not the other way around. Be you and stay focused. I really think thats the intent of AA, to have you focus on something other than your substance. Remember to note that the AA philosophy was written at a time when it would only be palatable if "god" was part of the program.

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