Does The “God Word” Pamphlet Need a Name Change?

By SJ and Brad

Hello fellow atheist, agnostic, and freethinking members of AA.  As some of you may know the 2018 General Service Conference decided to publish a US adaptation of the UK pamphlet “The God Word”. We feel that this is a really good step forward in welcoming potential alcoholics like us into AA. It will help show them that there is indeed a place for them in AA and that AA can help them stay sober. 

That said, we are a little bit concerned that some of these potential members might be put off by the title. A potential member could see that title and assume that it is full of the same language as our other literature, that it tries to convince the reader that finding God is necessary to stay sober. One of us (Brad) has spoken to the group in the UK that was the driving force behind the creation of the pamphlet. They asked, unsuccessfully, for a different title to be used for the UK pamphlet. They have found that new members often have a poor reaction to the title and need to be convinced that the pamphlet’s contents are different than what they might expect. 

We’re considering asking GSO to change the name of the title to something more consistent with other special interest pamphlets, something like “AA for the Atheist, Agnostic, and Freethinker.” We have been in touch with GSO and they informed us that the adapted pamphlet should be coming out later this year and that a change in the title would need to be addressed by the General Service Conference. It’s not clear what would happen to the existing pamphlet stock if a decision was made to change the title.

We are curious about how the larger atheist/agnostic/freethinking AA membership felt about the title. What do you think? Do you like the current title? Do you think it should be changed? Do you think it doesn’t really matter that much? Is it worth the trouble of trying to change it? We suspect that the Trustees and the General Service Conference will be looking for fairly widespread support of a change in title, particularly among the target group for the pamphlet. We are hesitant to make a request for a title change without first seeing what you all think about it. So, any feedback you’ve got would be welcome!

The survey has been closed. Thank you for your participation. Please see this article to read about hte results: Update: Does the “God Word” pamphlet Need a Name Change.

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Ken S.
Ken S.

“The God Word” is a ruse that wants to get the marks in and eventually convince them that AA Jesus is what they’ve been seeking. At least the writing style has progressed from 1937 to 1958 or so. Secular AA is the only semi-tolerable AA—don’t ruin it by endorsing this nonsensical pamphlet.


it’s ok. It’s a small victory as it is. Let’s invest our energy in the next thing, whatever that may be.

John Huey

The real question here is why do we, in SecularAA, need this thing, with this content, at all, not what the title is. Some of you might find, if you have not read it,  a recent article of mine published at Atheisticaa of use, or at least a point of discussion,  in that regard. Here it is…

The God Word Delusion

Ken S.
Ken S.

Why did your essay reject my remarks? It said I was a troll. I never commented on your site before and agreed with your take.

John Huey

I have no idea of what you are talking about Ken. I am not the administrator of that site (I don’t accept or reject anything there) and don’t recall those remarks. Please address any question about that to the administrator there. Best, John

Ken S.
Ken S.

It’s cool now, John. My remark came through. Keep up the good work—this Big Tent/God Word stuff is just religious apoligia.