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Retirement of the AA Beyond Belief Website

Retirement of the AA Beyond Belief Website

This is the final post for the website AA Beyond Belief. We started this site over five years ago at the urging of Roger C. from AA Agnostica, and it has without a doubt been the single greatest honor of my time in Alcoholics Anonymous. I’m grateful to Roger for his help and friendship over the past five years…

Book Reviews

One Big Hoax

One Big Hoax

One Big Hoax

This was quite an onerous task that took some time to complete and it is, given how bad a book this is, something I would not have taken on had…

The Dark Night of Recovery

The Dark Night of Recovery

The Dark Night of Recovery

The Dark Night of Recovery, by Edward Bear is a delightful tale of recovery from dependence on alcohol. Told in thirteen chapters, a prologue, and then each of AA’s…

We Are That We Are

We Are That We Are

We Are That We Are

We Are That We Are is a serious book, and like most serious books, effort is required to read it from beginning to end. In the case of this book…

The 12 Step Philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous: An Interpretation by Steve K.

The 12 Step Philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous: An Interpretation by Steve K.

The 12 Step Philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous: An Interpretation by Steve K.

The 12 Step Philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous: An Interpretation By Steve K, is more than just another secular interpretation of the Twelve Steps. In this work, Steve offers an intelligent…

Recovering Joy: A Mindful Life After Addiction

Recovering Joy: A Mindful Life After Addiction

Recovering Joy: A Mindful Life After Addiction

Kevin Griffin’s Recovering Joy: A Mindful Life After Addiction provides a path to what challenges many in recovery, ‘I’ve stopped drinking alcohol or using drugs, now what…

A Review of “Staying Sober Without God”

A Review of “Staying Sober Without God”

A Review of “Staying Sober Without God”

“Staying Sober Without God: The Practical 12 Steps to Long-Term Recovery from Alcoholism & Addictions” provides a practical approach to recovery that stresses not just the 12 steps, but also…

The Unexpected Joy Of Being Sober

The Unexpected Joy Of Being Sober

The Unexpected Joy Of Being Sober

Whether you are sober curious, newly sober, or in long-term recovery, Catherine Gray’s 2017 book, The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober is a great resource. Catherine understands alcohol…

My Name is Bill by Susan Cheever – Book Review

My Name is Bill by Susan Cheever – Book Review

My Name is Bill by Susan Cheever – Book Review

After AA found its sea-legs in the early 1940s Wilson morphed into its inspirational and organizational CEO. He was a brilliant speaker and writer. Many of his addresses and…

Under the Influence and Ending the Drug Addiction Pandemic by Dr. James Milam

Under the Influence and Ending the Drug Addiction Pandemic by Dr. James Milam

Under the Influence and Ending the Drug Addiction Pandemic by Dr. James Milam

Dr. James R. Milam has almost singlehandedly revolutionized alcoholism treatment. He is creator and champion of the “biogenic model”, which holds that alcoholism is a physical addiction to the drug…

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS UNIVERSAL EDITION, By Archer Voxx

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS UNIVERSAL EDITION, By Archer Voxx

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS UNIVERSAL EDITION, By Archer Voxx

The resistance of free-thinking newcomers to the religious language of the literature is one of the principal concerns facing the secularist in AA, in pursuing the goal of helping…

AA History

Pandemics, Zoom, & Happy Heathens

Pandemics, Zoom, & Happy Heathens

Pandemics, Zoom, & Happy Heathens

The pandemic has taught us some things — one being that the thirst for secular AA exceeds our most optimistic imaginings. A very short time after face-to-face meetings began…

Sam Shoemaker

Sam Shoemaker

Sam Shoemaker

The basic principles which the Oxford Groupers had taught were ancient and universal ones, the common property of mankind… The early AA got its ideas of self-examination, acknowledgement of…

The “God Word” Delusion: A Response from the London Group

The “God Word” Delusion: A Response from the London Group

The “God Word” Delusion: A Response from the London Group

The London group who initiated the process of securing the first-ever Conference-approved leaflet for agnostics, atheists, and freethinkers in AA, responds to “The God Word Delusion…

Richmond Walker

Richmond Walker

Richmond Walker

The Twenty-Four Hours a Day book is pocket-sized, designed for both portability, and discretion. An editor’s note tells us only that, “This book was compiled by a…

Billy Sunday

Billy Sunday

Billy Sunday

I tell you the saloon is a coward. It hides itself behind stained-glass doors and opaque windows, and sneaks its customers in a blind door, and keeps a sentinel…

Brewery Bill, Campsie Mick, Roland, and Lois Wilson.

Brewery Bill, Campsie Mick, Roland, and Lois Wilson.

Brewery Bill, Campsie Mick, Roland, and Lois Wilson.

I met Brewery Bill in early sobriety and enjoyed his humour and A.A. storytelling. He got sober in 1971 when he was in his twenties, knew many of the…

AA Incorporated

AA Incorporated

AA Incorporated

The year 1937 dawned with much promise for two fallen bigshots, Bill Wilson and Hank Parkhurst. Bill was 25 months sober, and his abstinence from alcohol had been supplying some…

Our Perfectly Imperfect AA Founder

Our Perfectly Imperfect AA Founder

Our Perfectly Imperfect AA Founder

This spirituality–the spirituality of imperfection–is thousands of years old. And yet it is timeless, eternal, and ongoing, for it is concerned with what in the human being is…

New Thought and AA

New Thought and AA

New Thought and AA

The most obvious connecting link between Alcoholics Anonymous and the New Thought movement comes through William James who “had found answers to his own depression and doubts about his self…

Dr. Benjamin Rush

Dr. Benjamin Rush

Dr. Benjamin Rush

“Dr. Benjamin Rush, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, was the first member of the (American) medical community to write about alcoholism and suggest it might be…

Rowland Hazard

Rowland Hazard

Rowland Hazard

A certain American businessman had ability, good sense, and high character. For years he had floundered from one sanitarium to another. He had consulted the best known American psychiatrists. Then…

Florence Rankin

Florence Rankin

Florence Rankin

Florence was the first woman to get sober in AA, even for a short time. She came to AA in New York, in March 1937. She had several slips, but…

Ebby Thacher – An Unhappy Life

Ebby Thacher – An Unhappy Life

Ebby Thacher – An Unhappy Life

Late November 1934 seemed to be the worst of times for Bill Wilson, an unemployed and completely discredited stockbroker living in Brooklyn, New York. He had fallen from a lofty…

A Big Book Compromise Opens AA to Unbelievers

A Big Book Compromise Opens AA to Unbelievers

A Big Book Compromise Opens AA to Unbelievers

In the spring of 1938, the future of the group started by Bill Wilson and Bob Smith three years earlier was very much in doubt.  There were only two meetings…

Selling AA – Early Publicity

Selling AA – Early Publicity

Selling AA – Early Publicity

Dreams of alcoholic hospitals, a book, and paid missionaries were perhaps, simultaneously grand and grandiose. These schemes would require money, and lots of it. “If a world-wide movement was…

My Name is Bill by Susan Cheever – Book Review

My Name is Bill by Susan Cheever – Book Review

My Name is Bill by Susan Cheever – Book Review

After AA found its sea-legs in the early 1940s Wilson morphed into its inspirational and organizational CEO. He was a brilliant speaker and writer. Many of his addresses and…

AA’s Declaration of Independence

AA’s Declaration of Independence

AA’s Declaration of Independence

God was very much on their minds as Bob Smith and Bill Wilson began their pursuit of drunks in the summer of 1935. As soon as a man told them…

Secular AA Comes of Age

Secular AA Comes of Age

Secular AA Comes of Age

Pam W. and Dorothy H. met at the We Agnostics meeting in Hollywood, California, where it’s common to see out-of-town visitors who frequently comment on how refreshing…

Not Just The Washingtonians Part II

Not Just The Washingtonians Part II

Not Just The Washingtonians Part II

Throughout pre-AA history, the unique power of one alcoholic helping another has been repeatedly demonstrated, as drunks have gathered together for mutual support in the effort to stay sober…

Living Sober (the book)

Living Sober (the book)

Living Sober (the book)

Living Sober is by far the best AA book — the only one I could recommend. I remember when it was published, back in 1975, when I had been sober for…

Floggings, Strychnine, Leeches, and Worse

Floggings, Strychnine, Leeches, and Worse

Floggings, Strychnine, Leeches, and Worse

New World immigrants brought over European alcoholic beverages, drinking customs, and social attitudes. Many early settlers assumed that people got drunk because they wanted to, not because they had to…

The Lost Weekend

The Lost Weekend

The Lost Weekend

The Lost Weekend (1944) may be the most famous movie ever made about alcoholism. It’s certainly one of the most important movies to deal with the subject because it…

A Tribute to AA Agnostica

A Tribute to AA Agnostica

A Tribute to AA Agnostica

Today closes one of the most exciting chapters in the recent history of the secular AA Fellowship, also known as We Agnostics, since the Santa Monica Convention in 2014, We…

Not Just The Washingtonians

Not Just The Washingtonians

Not Just The Washingtonians

There exists a mythology which has been perpetrated and perpetuated by those who take pleasure in perpetrating and perpetuating mythologies – Regarding the treatment of alcoholism, the pre-AA world was…

Henrietta Sieberling

Henrietta Sieberling

Henrietta Sieberling

Bill Wilson was having some panicky moments in the lobby of the Mayflower Hotel, in the early afternoon of the second Saturday of May, 1935. Much has been made of…

THE COMMON SENSE OF DRINKING | Richard R. Peabody (1931)

THE COMMON SENSE OF DRINKING | Richard R. Peabody (1931)

THE COMMON SENSE OF DRINKING | Richard R. Peabody (1931)

Alcoholics Anonymous was not the only therapy for alcoholics that flourished in its time. Other approaches to treating alcoholism, although they derived from sources very different from the influences that…

Willard Richardson and the Rockefeller People

Willard Richardson and the Rockefeller People

Willard Richardson and the Rockefeller People

As Bill Wilson progressed through his third year of sobriety, his personal finances remained a struggle. He was forced by the compelling arguments of the “group conscience” to decline a…

Paul Cox, AA, and the Law

Paul Cox, AA, and the Law

Paul Cox, AA, and the Law

On the night before New Year’s Eve, 1988, Paul Cox and two friends were at a keg party near Larchmont, New York. When the beer ran out, the three…

Remembering Ernie Kurtz

Remembering Ernie Kurtz

Remembering Ernie Kurtz

Catholics priests are not among those who one would expect to find heading a list of crusaders for the freethinker movement in Alcoholics Anonymous. Nonetheless Ernest Kurtz, ordained to the…

The Washingtonian Society

The Washingtonian Society

The Washingtonian Society

“Jack Alexander, Saturday Evening Post, was also one of the friends to whom Bill sent material. Of the Twelve Tradition essays, Alexander has this to say: ‘The only serious (in…

The Fraud That Is AA Fundamentalism

The Fraud That Is AA Fundamentalism

The Fraud That Is AA Fundamentalism

It may be that Alcoholics Anonymous has never been more polarized than it is in the mid-teens of the new millennium. A consolation is that there was another time…

AA’s Sister Ignatia

AA’s Sister Ignatia

AA’s Sister Ignatia

St Thomas Hospital… (was) where the resourceful Sister Mary Ignatia, a nun who seems to have stepped out of The Bells of St. Mary, abetted the surreptitious admission of alcoholics…

The LSD Experiments

The LSD Experiments

The LSD Experiments

How could Bill W., Grand Poobah of sobriety ever have allowed himself to join the Learyesque acidheads and “turn on, tune in, and drop out?” (Bill W. and Mr. Wilson…

Jerry McAuley – The Water Street Mission

Jerry McAuley – The Water Street Mission

Jerry McAuley – The Water Street Mission

Salvation from alcoholic dissipation through religious conversion is not unprecedented. The tale of Jerry McAuley is a classic one, as he was able to achieve sobriety via a spiritual experience…

Henry Parkhurst

Henry Parkhurst

Henry Parkhurst

Throughout the second half of 1938, the Honor Dealers’ little office was abuzz with activity. The hubbub involved neither the sale of auto polish, nor the organization of a buying…

Addiction Science and Treatment

Is There Hope of Preventing or Curing Addiction?

Is There Hope of Preventing or Curing Addiction?

One of my graduate students says, “Please don’t ever set that assignment again.” I am surprised at the anger that my assignment has roused. The course was ‘Stress Management…

How to Deal with Trauma as it’s On-going

How to Deal with Trauma as it’s On-going

It is official: we are all in collective trauma. There is really no point in being competitive about it, although, for economic reasons, many people are worse off than others…

Isolation, “I-Thou” and Addiction Recovery

Isolation, “I-Thou” and Addiction Recovery

Human beings have evolved with inherent needs for physical, psychological, emotional, social, and many would suggest, spiritual connection…

The Multiple Pathways to Addiction and Recovery

The Multiple Pathways to Addiction and Recovery

As someone who’s in long-term recovery from alcohol and drug dependency I’ve often reflected upon the various causal factors associated with addiction and what these suggest in…

Secular AA Speakers

Bill from Paddington

Bill from Paddington

Bill from Paddington got sober in Sydney in 1955 and was a member of the Paddington A.A. group, hence…

WACYPAA XXII Secular AA Members Panel

WACYPAA XXII Secular AA Members Panel

This is a recording of a panel discussion conducted at the Western Area Conference of Young People in AA held…

Secular AA Panel at Manitoba’s Keystone Conference

Secular AA Panel at Manitoba’s Keystone Conference

Listen to Cathy, Colin, Glen and Doreen share their experience as secular members of AA at the 2018 Keystone Conference…

Katie M. at ICSAA 2018

Katie M. at ICSAA 2018

Katie M., originally from Ireland and now residing in Belgium, was one of the Friday night Fellowship Speakers at the…