Episode 1: Arizona WAAFT AA Conference

On this week’s podcast, we speak with Jerry F. from Phoenix, Arizona about the upcoming regional conference for agnostic, atheist and freethinking AA members in Arizona. The conference to be held on November 7, 2015 at the Burton Barr Central Library will feature speakers, panels, a skit and more.

Jerry is an energetic and positive person, and he was a lot of fun to interview. We hope you enjoy the conversation.

If you would like to learn more about the conference, you can visit their website WAAFT AAC-AZ Conference.

Conference Program

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  1. Scott A. October 10, 2015 at 12:02 pm - Reply

    ZOWWIEEEE! Good on you both… this is exciting “envelope pushing” stuff.
    I hope and trust the convention has been a great success….
    and the podcasting is sounding great!N/p>

    In an effort to pursue “principles before personalities,” I have taken to quoting AAers with an “I heard it said…”, rather than “J. Doe told me…” -to avoid flavouring your take on “the message” with your impression of a personality (J. Doe). Still, I continued to footnote quotes from a wonderful (god loving) lady I had the good fortune to know early in recovery with “a gal who has been sober longer than I had been alive, told me…”

    I continue to gain inspiration from and have awe, admiration, and appreciation for folks who have walked a sober journey for many decades. Still, I hope and trust the conference was also vivacious and, in part, energized with some young sobriety and even some “pink cloud passion.” Sometimes I need to see a child’s face light up with giggles at the simple sight of soap bubbles floating through the air, to be reminded about how much joy, awe, and delight is so readily at hand. The lifeblood of newcomers in aa have a glow that helps keep my gratitude refreshed.

    One of my pet peeve in aa has always been the chronic “ego attachment to time.” For me it TRULY is about, with your help, continuing to choose sobriety for TODAY.

    Thank you both, so much, for speaking to the topic of what I’d heard Dorothy call “the god detox.” I Soooo loved that expression that I wanted to get paper “motion sickness bags” printed up to hand out at Santa Monica last year (but more reverential heads prevailed). The god-angst is an understandable “toxic spew” that may well need to “come out” and be vented/expressed in a healthy way, but is best discretely disposed of, rather than turning agnostic/atheist/freethinker meetings into a vomitorium. I try to see “when am I ‘processing’ (which can include venting/screaming ‘in a healthy way’), and when am I ‘wallowing’ (which is to say adding to the negative energies)?” Ironically, the longer an atheist endures religious aa, the MORE spew they may have to release/process. This seems a continuing hurdle/challenge for us as a “movement” going forward. As you indicate, unchecked this angst can undo a meeting. As I recall Life J.’s words in a comment on the release of Roger C.’s 2nd compilation of waaft e/s/h, in “Do Tell”; Life J. juxtaposed it with the first book, “Don’t Tell,” and said the former seemed to be fleeing the darkness, the latter seemed to be stepping into the light.

    Thank you both for beaming a lot of warm and inspiring light!

    • John S October 10, 2015 at 12:21 pm Reply

      Thank you Scott, I”m glad you enjoyed the podcast. The production quality wasn’t so great, but that will improve. I tried to edit out most of my comments because they just weren’t very good and Jerry was great!

      I will get better at editing and next time that I talk to someone, I will do more listening than talking. I can also get a better sound next time.

      So like everything in AA, we will get there and we will remember always it is progress not perfection that we are after.

      I appreciate your warm comments. I also like Dorothy’s “God Detox” phrase. I’ve seen a number of people go through that and I agree with Jerry that although it’s good for them to talk it out, it would also be nice if they talked about that stuff in more detail with their sponsor. Still, we want everyone to have the freedom of expression and our groups exist to serve the agnostic, atheist and freethinker in AA, and sometimes we are given a hard time in the rooms.

      • Scott A. October 10, 2015 at 7:42 pm Reply

        I have a co-worker who often admonishes “make it good… NOT perfect,” and I tend to reply that he need not worry… we have the “not perfect” part down to a T. I believe some cultures, for instance, when weaving a blanket, will intentionally put it an “error” in the pattern, to ever be reminded of their (humble) humanness. I (obviously) don’t need to bother to “try” at that, as it comes so naturally!< \p>

        Somehow I confused the date of the Arizona conference (Nov 7th?) with October 7th and imagined it had already transpired. I momentarily thought it odd that it was in the middle of the week, but it wasn’t until I was telling someone about it at the “aafreethinker skype” meeting … that it dawned on me that it and November are a month away (blush).< \p>

  2. Thomas B October 8, 2015 at 5:25 am - Reply

    Congratulations John for the initial AA Beyond Belief podcast, and congratulations Jerry for coordinating the first regional gathering of secular AA members in Phoenix on November 7th.

    This podcast, most adroitly produced, John, and, Jerry, the Arizona regional gathering of atheist & agnostic AA members are testimonials that we are moving upwards and onwards, as Roger is known to proclaim!~!~!

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