Episode 54: The Five Keys: 12 Step Recovery Without A God, by Archer Voxx

Our podcast this week is an interesting interview I conducted with Archer Voxx, author of the book The Five Keys – Twelve Step Recovery Without A God. This short book is getting attention in the agnostic, atheist, and freethinker communities because of its fresh approach to introducing the newcomer to AA. The content of the book would also be eye-opening to many veterans of the fellowship.

As the population in the United States is becoming more and more secular, the religious content of  AA material is becoming more and more irrelevant. Since AA World Services has no plans to modernize the program’s content, Archer wrote The Five Keys to bridge the gap for the secular newcomer to AA. The book gives parents, loved ones, sponsors, and others something more concrete to provide the skeptical newcomer than: “This is a spiritual program – not religious – It works if you work it!”

In this podcast, we explore Archer’s background, the experiences that led him to write the book, and an introduction to each of The Five Keys. My special thanks to Archer for joining us and to you for visiting AA Beyond Belief for another podcast. Enjoy!

Archers’ books are available at Amazon in both paperback and e-reader versions. 

Read Bob K.’s review of Archer’s book, Alcoholics Anonymous Universal Edition.  



Download the Transcript 


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Steve S.
3 years ago

This was a great podcast. I recently had the opportunity to hear Archer speak in the Detroit, Michigan area. His talk was engaging as well. We are going to use his book Alcoholics Anonymous – Universal Edition as the basis for a “Big Book” study group; rather than the standard issue “Big Book”.  I have read both of his books and they were both very helpful in finding my own spiritual path to recovery.

Karen B.
Karen B.
3 years ago

The podcast was very engaging. After listening to it I purchased and read the e-book (Kindle) versions of both books – The Five Keys and AA Universal Edition. Both are short books – quick reads. The Five Keys is very informative. I have been in secular recovery for 10 years and never looked at the program from the perspective advanced in The Five Keys. The AA Universal Edition is like time-travel; both backward and forward. What do I mean by that? It is what might have been; had the religious faction not prevailed in the 1930’s. On the other hand,… Read more »

3 years ago

So, I got my copy, and for one, it was nice with a short book with typeface large enough to read comfortably. There are a number of overall issues I don’t agree with. Generally, I think you’re being too nice to the program, and giving it much more credit for being backed up by medical, and psychological  science than it can handle. All the more since we’re talking  1930s science. That much said, I otherwise like the book. In particular I think it is really laudable how you are able to walk a path of kindness and consideration toward all,… Read more »

Robert C.
Robert C.
3 years ago

     The Five Keys, combined with Voxx’s other book, the AA Universal Edition, are great program tools. I have used both books with skeptical, secular AA newcomers. I made a few “lumpy” starts getting into AA and was always struggling with “the God stuff”.  It would have been a lot easier if I had been armed with the information in The Five Keys.      I also found the insight provided by the podcast (it is also in The Five Keys as I recall) into why AA World Services is not likely making any effort to modernize the AA Big… Read more »

bob k
bob k
3 years ago

I’ll be ordering The 5 Keys. I read and reviewed “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Universal Edition,” which I think is a great thing to present a newcomer, in that it shows what AA has to offer, once the religiosity is stripped away. As I suggested in the review – “If there is need to alter terms and wordings, alter away. The usefulness is in the principles.” I heard the same thinking expressed in today’s podcast. The reality is that there is more to recovery from alcoholism than just making a decision not to drink. To my mind, it makes more sense to… Read more »

John S
3 years ago
Reply to  bob k

I’ve had both books on Kindle for some time, and I read from “The Five Keys” at our noon meeting last Saturday. I plan on going through the entire book every Saturday for the next few months. I’m chairing the meeting for the next three months, so I get to choose the topic and I’m using this book, which I love. “The Five Keys” is perfect for a newcomer, especially if they are having a hard time with all the “God Stuff.” After the podcast, I ordered the paperback version of both books which arrived today. I would recommend the… Read more »