My Experience, Strength, and Hope with AA

I first attended AA meetings in New York City in 2004. I was 26 years old and my life had become unbearable. I had just moved back from a year in Glasgow with high hopes for a fresh start at home. (Glasgow hadn’t been the fresh start I had hoped it would be. Did you know they drink there, too?) Of course, moving home wasn’t the answer either. And, within a couple of months I found myself as miserable as I had been when I left Scotland.

I woke up on a Saturday morning barely able to move and writhing in hangover. There’s no language to describe those hangovers adequately. There was the physical pain and discomfort—aches from head to toe, a sticky dry sweat seeping from every enlarged pore, hot flashes followed by complete numbness, nausea, and dizziness. And, there was the emotional pain—shame, self-loathing, and then absolute misery.

Years before one of my many therapists had given me two books: Living Sober and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. The doctor hadn’t said much when he gave them to me, only suggested I read them. It won’t come as a surprise, I’m sure, that I didn’t. I just put them on my bookshelf and forgot about them. That morning, when my crusty eyelids unsealed themselves, the first thing my eyes landed on were those two books. My first thought was, of course, “I want to die, I can’t feel this way again.” I didn’t pray. I didn’t make a wish. I made a decision: I pulled the copy of Living Sober from the bookshelf and without even opening it, I knew I never had to feel that way again.

I dialed 411 and asked for the number for AA and I called Intergroup. The woman who answered the phone was kind as I recall, and suggested I head over to a meeting that afternoon less than a mile from my apartment. I scoffed. I would not be able to leave my house that day, not only because of how sick I felt, but because there was no amount of makeup that could cover it up. So, she suggested the same meeting at the same place—the 79th Street workshop—but the next day.

Sunday morning, feeling a little better but not much, I spent an inordinate amount of time getting dressed and applying makeup before the meeting. My anxiety was high not because the prospect of sobriety was daunting—I still wanted it—but because being in public was always distressing. Everyone who looked at me thought I was hideous. People thought I was a fat disgusting slob. They whispered and laughed at me behind their hands. Or, so I thought. Dressed up and psyched up I headed uptown.

All I remember is sitting near the back, raising my hand when they asked if there were any newcomers in room, and tearfully saying “I’m Stephanie, and I’m an alcoholic.” A woman seated in front of me turned and put her hand on my shoulder. The next day I found another meeting and another and another.

I made friends. I had a sponsor. I went to meetings. I didn’t do the steps. The Big Book led me to believe that I needed to change everything about myself in order to get well. I took it literally. So, I went from bleeding heart liberal to conservative within a matter of months. I told myself I wanted a conventional life. I said I wanted to get married and have children. I said that I thought traditional roles were ideal roles. I wanted to believe in god so I pretended to. I went to church. I prayed. I set aside everything that I had ever believed in—really believed in—to stay sober. I willfully ignored my sponsor when she tried to disabuse me of some of my more zealous ideas about life and living. I went to meetings, I had the Big Book and I had god, I’d be fine.

I spent 4 years “in the rooms.” Four years without a drink. Four years with growing anger and intense discomfort with the person I had become. I ate away my new shame. I ate and ate and ate my way to 260 lbs. So, I was fat and miserable but at least I was sober? Hmm. Leaving the house had become more difficult. The self-loathing was powerful. It had grown stronger and stronger and neither the group-of-drunks or capital-G-god were helping. I was an unmedicated mentally ill person. The only medication that had ever worked was alcohol, so after 4 years when life seemed even more unbearable than it had been when I was drinking, I drank again.

The next 3 years were, more or less, a blur. No different. No better. I binged on food, booze, and coke, but at least I could socialize again. At least the fear of other people wasn’t controlling me anymore. At least I could leave the house without tremors and nausea. At least, at least, at least…until none of that was enough. And again, I found myself unable to live that way anymore. I was hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. I had no mirrors in my house because the shame was eating me up from the inside out.

It was at the end of a two day cocaine fueled booze binge that I knew had to stop. I lay on my bed, yet again writhing in hangover. Yet again filled with shame and sadness. My first thought, “I could go the top of my building and jump,” is obviously not the choice I made. My second thought, “call James and ask for help,” was the choice I made. It was a choice I made because I had been a member of AA. Not only had a seed been planted, I still knew people who were staying sober in AA, albeit I wasn’t in touch with them very frequently anymore.

I called James. I said, “I need help.” And he came to help me. Eventually, after living for a few months on borrowed-antabuse and fear, I decided to try AA again. But this time I did it differently. I did get a sponsor. I did do what was asked of me. I did listen. I did read the Big Book. I did do the steps. But—and this is an important but—I did not set aside any of my real values or beliefs.

My sponsor then was a spiritual woman although she never disclosed to me her denomination. I’m fairly certain she wasn’t—isn’t—a theist, more druidic I think. She asked me to find a higher power, and I did in a fashion. She never asked me to define it. It was never supernatural. I decided then that the power of truth was all I needed. The good within the human animal is, to me, inherent not a miracle. I didn’t then, nor do I now, think that anything brings about kindness and generosity other than ourselves. To honor my truest self is to be honest and kind with myself and others.

Back in AA in New York City my life was slowly but surely getting better. The second time around felt different—feels different—because it was. I wasn’t trying to shed my old skin, instead I was trying to heal it. There are parts of this skin—this self—that were worth holding onto. There were things that were inherently good that needed to be enhanced not erased. And, the second time around, I got it. In part, it was the help of a solid sponsor. In other part it was the meetings I attended. And, it was me. Rather than turning it all over, I looked into myself and found the strength and courage and bravery that had always been there. With all those tools and many more I forged ahead.

It wasn’t until I met my now-husband Richard and moved from the city to the suburbs that my newfound love for AA began to diminish. For me, AA had been a foundation on which to build a new life, but for him it had been life. His “bottom” was a lot lower than mine. The things he needed from AA were greater. His love for the Big Book was so real, it seemed to me it consumed him. At first, I felt jealous of his relationship to it. It was that jealousy that brought me to his home group.

The group was and remains huge. It’s full of energy and enthusiasm. There are dozens of newcomers and as many old-timers at every meeting—7 days a week. It’s what you hope every newcomer walks into for his/her first meeting, or so I thought. Immediately I understood why he had such a deep affection for the program. His home group was so alive! It wasn’t just a bridge back to life, it seemed like it gave you a life. My husband is an extrovert and derives energy from other people—social gatherings are his lifeblood. That is not true for me. I can play the extroverted part so well that all but a few friends know that I am anxiety-ridden introvert, or I was. I was that anxiety-ridden extrovert when I first went to his home group. For him it was oxygen, for me it was carbon monoxide. He would leave the meeting filled with energy and I would leave exhausted.

About a year after moving, I found a new psychiatrist—something I would not have been able to do without the foundation of AA. I was sober, my life was average—moments of happiness, moments of sadness, moments of calm, moments of chaos. But I was still very uncomfortable. I am not merely an addict, I have bipolar depression, social anxiety accompanied by OCD, and a panic disorder. There were moments, fully immersed in AA, that I was unable to leave the house because I was so consumed by anxiety. Unfounded panic stole entire days from me, and AA hadn’t yet and was never going to be the solution, nor was a supernatural higher power. So I sought the help of a psychiatrist and un-miraculously he “cured” me with Zoloft and Lamictal.

Now that the fog of fear had fully cleared with the help of the right medications, I was able to see my husband’s home group more clearly. I completely understood what he saw in it and what he got from it. I also understood that he was better able to set aside certain distasteful aspects than I. I continued attending the meeting with him for a long time. And, while it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, it was fine. I sponsored a few women all of whom are still sober a couple of whom still attend that group.

Election cycles came and went and right before my eyes the group went from overly enthusiastic to overly zealous, from impassioned to ideological. I no longer heard “higher power” and only ever heard “God.” The emphasis was no longer on “one alcoholic talking to another,” but instead on “god could and would if he were sought.” When one particularly zealous young woman spoke, I was appalled when she described the Big Book as a “love letter from god.” A few weeks later another member said during his qualification that those who did not believe in god were “doomed to drink again.” Thanks for the death sentence, pal.

I began to notice, too, that every meeting was being closed with the Lord’s Prayer, a particularly Christian prayer. When I made mention of it at a business meeting the unlearned argument of “it’s tradition” won.

I was very disturbed by the trajectory of the group and the unwillingness of its members to even entertain being more secular in their approach. I used the only tool I had left, my own voice. I would not say any prayer at any point during the meeting, nor would I join in the other chants. And I didn’t apologize by bowing my head, but held my head high. A young man with a two years said to me after one meeting, “you know you’re not doing anything by refusing the say the prayer.” I responded, “if one newcomer in that room was terrified by all the discussion of god, saw me, and decided to come again, then I most certainly have done something.” He scoffed. I walked away.

I stopped going to this group as often. When I did, I made an effort in my shares to remind the group that a higher power and god are not synonymous, and that “of your understanding” does not imply an embrace of the supernatural. I tried, of course, to be more diplomatic. On occasion, I would clearly state that I am an atheist and that AA worked very well for me even with that horrifying shortcoming. It was when a member suggested at a business meeting that the word “atheist” be banned from use at the meeting, and that atheists should not be allowed to share, that I was done. His motion was voted on and did not pass. But, because he felt comfortable making the suggestion, the group took it seriously enough to take a vote, and that people voted in favor of it was enough. I never went back.

I attended AA meetings in the beginning to help myself. When I was healthier in mind and body, I kept going to help others and myself. God or not, AA meetings were a great way to remind me why I chose to get sober. I have come to understand shame as my great motivator—my higher power if you like. I do not roll around in shame and self-pity, but I will not let myself forget it either. Meetings help me remember what it is to feel ashamed, because as long as I remember it I will not want to feel it again.

I am not kind because god will reward me later. And, I do not do good deeds for the recognition (although, of course, I like it). I do not tell the truth because otherwise I’ll go to hell. I do not stay sober for the bragging rights. I am kind because it feels good and hopefully it makes someone else feel good, too. When I am mean, I am riddled with guilt. I tell the truth because it is so much easier and lying makes me feel dirty. I stay sober so I don’t sleep with a guy I met at a bar at 4:00 am, or end up at a friend’s house for days calling into work “sick” so I can keep doing lines, or end up coming out of a blackout covered in bruises, or cancel plans with my sister on Christmas Day because I’m too hungover to move, or miss the baptism my friend’s first baby because I’m leaving the bar at the same time the service begins. To do those things makes me sick with shame. And I stay sober, in big part, so I never feel that way again. For me, shame leads to self-loathing.

This group, as it turns out, is similar to many—too many—groups. The scourge of religiosity and the ideologues with bull horns has drowned out the primary purpose of AA: to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety.


About the Author

Steph Roberts was born and raised in New York City. Fourteen years ago, when she first tried AA, Steph also started a job as the Editorial Assistant for a monthly political magazine of opinion for which she is now the Business Director.

Steph currently lives in Amityville, NY (very near to the horror house) with her husband, a rescue dog, and five rescue cats.

You can find her podcast, “Away: A Podcast For Anyone Interested In a Secular Approach to 12-Step Recovery,” on iTunes and SoundCloud, or follow her on YouTube for the podcast and other personal stories. She hopes to start a second podcast soon to address the the difficulties women face when starting a traditional 12-step program.

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  1. Scott J January 16, 2019 at 10:58 am - Reply

    Thanks Stephanie for your story, your honesty and openness.  It helps so much to know we have so many non-religious people staying sober, recovering, and helping others do the same.  I just subscribed to your Youtube channel.

    I’m finding it intolerable to attend traditional meetings lately, even though they’re not nearly as extreme as the one you described.  It’s not that the religious messages directly affect me.  I learned long ago to translate or disregard them, to accept that many people suffer from closed-minded, black-and-white “thinking” and not take it personally.  The problem lately is that those religious messages may as well be, “Hey, non-Christian newcomers, listen up.  You don’t belong here!  GO AWAY.”  That’s not what is said, but I know that’s how it is often heard and it is how it hits my ears.  I now regularly drive 80-100 miles round-trip to attend secular meetings.  And I started a local secular meeting that’s off to a slow start, but I’d rather sit there alone on the chance that some non-Christian newcomer will show up than to lend my time and energy to a traditional A.A. group oblivious to the ways they pressure, discourage, and shun many newcomers.

    • Stephanie Roberts January 16, 2019 at 11:32 am Reply

      I totally understand and it sounds like you’re using your “anger” in a really productive way–starting a new meeting, etc. Has your intergroup listed your new meeting yet? I hope so! Happy to add in the notes on YouTube if that will help. And, does this website or agnostica have secular meeting lists? Might help it to grow.

       

  2. Bill D. (like AA #3) January 14, 2019 at 9:33 pm - Reply

    Hi Steph,

    I just found the draft of the email I started to write you a few weeks ago.  It was seven big, wordy paragraphs long, and I still had a lot to say.  But really I just wanted to thank you for your podcast.  I had a week and a half off work, and listened to an episode every day.  I’m approaching 25 years of sobriety, and sure wish there were people like you around when I felt like walking out of AA for good.  Thankfully, my second sponsor was a very wise man who told me, as you talked about, to question everything.  “Question me”, he would say.  He would have me rolling on the floor crying with laughter with his reading and hilarious commentary on We Agnostics (especially the prosaic steel girder paragraph).  From day to day I seem to revolve between an atheist, an agnostic, and the very spiritual non-believer some see me as.  After many years of resistance, I’m OK with that.  I don’t have to pretend to have all the answers (but know what aren’t the answers), can be content with uncertainty and mystery, and still question the hell out of everything.  Thanks again for your podcast!

    -Bill

    • Steph January 15, 2019 at 5:20 am Reply

      Bill,

      Wow! What an amazing way to start a Tuesday morning. I can’t thank you enough for this comment. It means a lot to me—really. I think it’s become my way of doing service. I think I’ll do a second series. At first I thought it would be geared at women but after reading Gerald’s comments above, I’m going to try—to the best of y ability—to be more inclusive. That is, anyone for whom emotional identification is more difficult. Do you have any suggestions to that end? I’m really enjoying doing it and you just made it all the more enjoyable! Thank you!!

      • Bill D. January 17, 2019 at 11:38 am Reply

        Steph,

        I would appreciate the inclusiveness.  Personally, what I would like to hear is a more thorough look at the steps, the varieties of ways to view and work the steps from a secular standpoint, and how to lead others of like mind through the steps (although I totally get your focus on the newcomer and the retread).  I’ve probably worked the the steps a dozen times, but not for several years, and not strictly from a secular viewpoint.  Looking back, I think instead I compromised myself to some degree, and in some cases did them as if I actually believed in all the supernatural malarkey. It’s taken me many years to separate conventional AA ideology from my own truth, the truth I brought to my first meeting.  But I was just trying to fit in to survive the disease.  I’m sensing a possible desire to revisit the steps without compromising my truth to any degree.  But that’s just me, and that’s just my 2 cents.  Again, thank you for your service!

  3. Gerald January 13, 2019 at 4:34 pm - Reply

    Thanks! “The good within the human animal is, to me, inherent not a miracle.” 

    You know what? I h.a.t.e. those conformity & control meetings in AA probably more than anybody does 🙂 And I want to share my conclusion from the last couple months/ couple years of thinking about why s.o. m.a.n.y. AA’ers turn their will & their lives over to the care of a sponsor and/ or group. And here it is, short ‘n’ sweet: I think most real alcoholics sober in AA are actually primarary-addiction People Addicts, of which codependency is a form. Sure, they are real alcoholics, by any definition, and very likely substance abusers generally – and terminally – but even though it’s the alcohol and/ or other substances that’s going to kill them first, I believe they’re actually primary-addiction people addicts.

    Forms of people addiction include codependency as I just mentioned and also allegiance to the group/ group addiction, plus all those relationship addictions like sex addiction or sex & love addiction, plus Power! you know, wielding power over people.

    What am I missing here? What’s so fun about wielding power over other human beings? I don’t get it 🙂

    (And where did I get this information? Answer: Just from a simple google search for images of Addiction Tree a couple years ago. It got me thinking.)

    And of course the Addiction Tree knows that shame is the root of all our problems. Actually, I learned that one from ACA, who busts AA, by the way, right there in ACA’s Big Red Book: AA got it wrong they say; actually shame is the #1 offender. And therapy knows this, too. “Everybody” knows this, except AA doesn’t know it 🙂

    But back to people addiction: these conformity-and-control meetings in AA, which kinda are the majority of meetings, they have People Addiction written all over them: unacknowledged & unaddressed People Addiction.

    Real alcoholics, yes, but primary addiction People Addiction.

    And who am I as a person? Well, yes I am a weirdo: math ‘n’ science type; engineer type personality, way better at math than at small talk 🙂 You know the type. When I open my mouth I accidentally challenge cherish belief systems; all cerebral, definitely not the life of the party 🙂 Plus, I can’t dance either (but thank God I’m not the jealous type and for the all Fred Astaires who graciously dance with my wife, and thank God too for those very patient Salasa & Merengue instructors.)

    But let me tell you, because that’s also been on my mind the past couple months & years, Q: Why didn’t I fall for it in AA? After all, I was just a kid, age 20 in ‘93, just a fragile creature and with negative self-esteem (shame). A: I think, for the sake of brevity, it’s precisely because of my nerdy nature that people addiction doesn’t affect me. Sure, social suave doesn’t get out, but that people addiction nonsense doesn’t get in! 🙂

    … I’m not smarter than, better than, or more deserving of recovery than the next guy. I’ve just been lucky; I don’t know why I can choose honesty, open-mindedness, & willingness, the bare essentials of the promised spiritual awakening, as defined in Appendix II. (Note to the allegiance-to-the-group addicts: there is absolutely no god required either before or after the promised spiritual awakening, as defined in the Big Book. Hello? That’s by definition!)

    🙂 I l.o.v.e. thumping that part of the BB. I consider that “integrating” my character defect of cerebral know-it-all into a practical helpfulness: helping non-believing AA members like me succeed in AA 🙂

    … I like myself. This has been t.h.e. miracle of recovery for me. Even after all these years it remains a fresh, new feeling – like, every day a fresh new feeling; I can’t believe I don’t hate myself. I actually like myself. Recovery from “alcoholism,” for me has meant recovery from shame (plus recovering from depression, but that’s a different long story for another day).

    I used to be repelled by the light 🙂 I naturally turned away from people who shined with happiness. Nowadays I know that the way I treat others is a reflection of how I treat myself. Because I like myself as I am, I like other people now – as they are.

    … Those people-addict groups and individual people addicts like a codependent type sponsor, they don’t like themselves as they are, and they just cannot allow you to like yourself as you are.

    And – this is part of the AA Big Book’s “tragic flaw,” as I see it – not only does the BB not know anything about specifically codependency or know anything about the lifelong effects of childhood trauma, abuse, & neglect, but those two awful chapters, To Wives & The Family Afterwards, will mislead AA’ers into believing that there’s nothing further about these matters to investigate. And it’s precisely the wise & truthful parts that pertain to alcoholism in those two chapters that mislead the reader into believing that AA actually knows what it’s talking about insofar as the spiritual way of life pertains to romantic relationships and family relationships.

    In AA, you’re just lucky if your own personal recovery journey leads you to therapy, for example, or ACA, CoDA, or Alanon, for example.

    And those conformity-and-control meetings, you’re just lucky if they don’t kill you and lucky if, somehow, you meet with that promised spiritual awakening anyways, as defined in Appendix II.

    Thanks!

    Gerald 8/29/93 (paul.wiedenbein@gmail.com)

    • Steph January 13, 2019 at 5:38 pm Reply

      “…“tragic flaw,” as I see it – not only does the BB not know anything about specifically codependency or know anything about the lifelong effects of childhood trauma, abuse, & neglect, but those two awful chapters, To Wives & The Family Afterwards, will mislead AA’ers into believing that …”

      I’ve often talked about this with other people. A vast majority of the people in the rooms have been victims of trauma, but that’s always skimmed over because “we have a disease,” and our trauma has nothing to do with it. But that is, in the face of new science, patently false.

    • Steph January 13, 2019 at 5:34 pm Reply

      I’m going to have to reread this a few times to absorb everything you’ve written, but thank you for the thoughtful comment. I agree with a lot of what you wrote. I think I agree with you that AA missed the point—that shame not resentment is the main offender. I think this may be true for two reasons: one, the writers being mostly men in 1939 may perceive shame differently. If, to be a manly man, real feelings of shame are verbotin perhaps a man learns at a very young age to equate shame to humiliation and therefore to feel resentful of the person who caused the humiliation. As a woman, my experience of shame seems vastly different to what most men describe. And it is in part why everything we read in AA needs to be reframed for women coming in. I talk about this a little in my podcast and plan to address it moreso in the second series geared at women: shame as a motivator for change.

      • Gerald January 14, 2019 at 6:54 pm Reply

        Cool, Steph. Thank you for both of your replies. There’s been something else I’ve been dying to discuss. Here it is, in brief: Yes, men h.a.t.e. weak men. I envy that “sisterhood” in AA which takes the newcomer woman aside and tells her, “Here, Honey, this is how you read the Big Book as a woman.”

        Now, that sisterhood actually is entirely incorrect to conflate the issues of masculinity with issues of low self-esteem (shame). However, the net result is, i.r.o.n.i.c.a.l.l.y., that thanks to this sisterhood, AA is better at bringing the message of the Big Book to women who suffer from low self-esteem than to men with low self-esteem, despite the male authors & male point of view and despite the 1939 US cultural setting and the majority male membership.

        Ironic! And let me tell you, there is no brotherhood of men in AA on the look out for low-self-esteem men telling them, “Here, Buddy, this is how you read the Big Book as an inferiority-complex type of man rather than an ego maniac type of man like Bill W.”

        So, the issue is not masculinity v. feminity. I consider myself very masculine, actually 🙂 and I understand to the core why my fellow men just h.a.t.e. “weak” men. The issue is ego maniacal expressions of childhood wounding (shame) v. inferiority complex expressions of that same shame.

        Anyways, I’ll check out your podcast, and I left my email not just for you but for anyone who’s interested in continuing this conversation 🙂

        Thanks!

        Gerald at paul.wiedenbein@gmail.com

        • Steph January 14, 2019 at 8:33 pm Reply

          I actually could not agree more. And I o my speak to the woman’s experience because that’s my only reference. But I think that especially in recent decades that men have been able to express these things more openly. Did you see the new DSM? Worth a look. I’ll definitely email you under separate cover..

  4. John M. January 13, 2019 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    Stephanie,

    Your story sure showed your experience, STRENGTH, and hope. I love your fighting spirit! Thanks so much for your eloquent tell.

    • Stephanie January 13, 2019 at 1:55 pm Reply

      Thanks so much! That means a lot!

  5. Stephanie Roberts January 13, 2019 at 11:35 am - Reply

    Never!!!

  6. Reid B. January 13, 2019 at 11:06 am - Reply

    Terrific story, Stephanie.

    My take on the 12 Steps?

    Practice the principles first and forget about the religious ideology. The first principle: connect with others who share your debilitating affliction. In connecting, you’ll discover what’s going to work for you, those suggestions, you know. One drunk talking to another. I don’t care for the Big Book and I care even less for the 12 and 12 book, especially the chapter on the 2nd Step. I really like “the movie” I see of people when folk share their emotional vulnerability in meetings — more often women than men. I know people who read the Book, got a sponsor, worked the Steps, and believed in God (with a capital G) and still couldn’t get sober and stay that way. And I know atheists and humanists like myself with decades of continuous sobriety.

    Don’t let the words of the Steps get in the way of the true message. The underlying principles (as above) are myriad, buried in the words of the Steps. And the message is firmly within the long history of human wisdom. One piece of human wisdom that didn’t seem to get in there is that flexibility usually beats rigidity.

    Letting go of shame is my current project. The Book says that resentments are the number one problem. It was here at this website that I first saw that maybe shame is the number one problem. Love it. It renewed my quest for connection with others.

    I first got the idea for a radical interpretation of the Steps by reading Kevin Griffen’s book, One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelves Steps. A totally humanistic, secular approach to the 12 Steps became my understanding.

    • Steph Roberts January 13, 2019 at 11:33 am Reply

      This is fantastic! Thank you! And, I’ll pick up that book asap.

  7. life-j January 13, 2019 at 10:18 am - Reply

    Steph, thanks, and don’t quit fighting them.

  8. Steph January 13, 2019 at 8:04 am - Reply

    Tha me so much, Joe. That so great that you’re starting a new group! I may do the same one day although they do exist here just not at times I’m free. In the meantime, as you say, I refram the ideas and language of the book and the steps in order to continue to be able to help others. That’s partly what I talk about with John when we talked for his podcast and partly what I do on my own. Thanks for reading and for your support! You’ve also got mine!!

  9. joe k January 13, 2019 at 7:43 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your experience, strength and hope. I’ve never felt comfortable with the fake it till you make it saying, since faking it was a big part of my drinking. I embrace to thine own self be true!

    One of my biggest problems with the steps is the line “god as we understood him”. It’s basically saying god as we understand god. It’s like asking someone to have a concept of unicorns who doesn’t believe in unicorns. I couldn’t do the steps and believe in something supernatural so I just updated the language to resource for higher power/god and I made a decision to utilize that resource.

    I bring that up because a share the frustration at the waves of religiosity in my area, it’s pretty much the viewpoint that only god will get you sober and higher power isn’t even a consideration in the verbiage.

    I’m sorry to hear about the vote to remove the word Atheist. It saddens me that that even occurred.

    I just started an agnostic/secular meeting in my area of NJ, we’re a small group but it gives me hope for recovery in a secular fashion!

    • Stephanie Roberts January 13, 2019 at 9:29 am Reply

      Sorry for the all the errors in my comment!

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