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Podcast Episodes

Episode 203: Secular Overeaters

Episode 203: Secular Overeaters

In this episode, we meet Jenne M. and Jim D, both secular members of Overeaters Anonymous. We talk about their struggles with food, the difficulty they encountered as atheists in OA, their experiences with starting secular OA groups, and their new website secularovereaters.org…

Episode 202: Colette

Episode 202: Colette

Colette’s date of sobriety is December 23, 2006, and on the date of this posting, she is celebrating fourteen years sober. In this episode, she shares her journey as a person in recovery from anorexia, depression, and alcoholism. Her’s is an inspiring story and she does a great…

Episode 201: Birds of a Feather

Episode 201: Birds of a Feather

Marty B. is a recovering alcoholic and a retired airline pilot. He got sober in AA and after his first year of sobriety, another pilot introduced him to Birds of a Feather, a worldwide network of AA meetings established for airline pilots and cockpit crewmembers. In this episode, Marty describes…

Episode 200: Twelve Steps for Agnostics

Episode 200: Twelve Steps for Agnostics

In this episode, we meet Andy F., an agnostic who got sober in AA and is now writing a book about his experience as an agnostic working the Twelve Steps…

Episode 199: Twenty-Five Years of Listening

Episode 199: Twenty-Five Years of Listening

Glenn S. is a recovering alcoholic, a Richard Dawkins atheist who helped found three humanist AA meetings in New York City, and an artist who for twenty-five years brought a sketchbook to meetings that he used to take notes and sketch the people around him. The sketchbook helped him…

Episode 198: Inside Addiction with Luke Worsfold

Episode 198: Inside Addiction with Luke Worsfold

Luke Worsfold is an entrepreneur who fell into addiction as he began to equate his self-worth with his net worth. Quickly, his addiction spun out of control and he lost everything. In this episode, Luke tells the story of his recovery and how his podcast Lisa Inside Addiction inspired…

Episode 197: Measuring Recovery Capital

Episode 197: Measuring Recovery Capital

In this episode, we meet David Whitesock,  who shares his story of addiction and recovery, and how his journey eventually led him to develop the Recovery Capital Index, a useful tool for measuring recovery capital…

Episode 196: Secular  Al-Anon Boise: An Update

Episode 196: Secular Al-Anon Boise: An Update

About a year ago, we posted Episode 137 about a secular Al-Anon group that started meeting in Boise, Idaho. That episode featured a conversation with one of the group’s co-founders, Kim L., who talked about the challenges with starting the meeting. In this episode, the group’s…

Episode 195: Listening

Episode 195: Listening

Listening is perhaps the most valuable gift we can give to another person, and it is a great strength of AA. People don’t necessarily need to have others solve their problems, but from being heard people can learn to face and resolve their own challenges. This episode is all…

Episode 194: OMAGOD Online Secular AA Meeting

Episode 194: OMAGOD Online Secular AA Meeting

In this episode, I speak with Mikey J. from the Our Mostly Agnostic Group of Drunks (OMAGOD) located in Orlando, Florida, and now meeting online every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 7:00 pm Eastern. Mikey takes us through the history of the group and what they learned about hosting…

Episode 193: The Plague Year

Episode 193: The Plague Year

In this episode, John Huey talks about his thoughts on COVID and alcoholism, and what the two have in common. He thinks back on friends who didn’t survive their drinking and realizes that we don’t think often enough about those who don’t make it. You can read…

Episode 192: AA Beyond Belief at Five Years

Episode 192: AA Beyond Belief at Five Years

John and Angela celebrate the fifth anniversary of AA Beyond Belief by taking a look back at when and how it all started…

Episode 191: A New Era for AA?

Episode 191: A New Era for AA?

Has COVID brought in a new era for Alcoholics Anonymous, or is it our responsibility to help bring one about? As meetings moved from church basements to Zoom, we are now hearing more diverse experiences from a greater number of people, as well as new ideas about the Steps or…

Episode 190: Decisions

Episode 190: Decisions

In this episode, Angela and John have a discussion about making decisions and how they learned to make better decisions in recovery. Angela talked about how attending meetings and working the Steps helped her learn to become more mindful and less reactive, and John talked about the difficult decisions he…

Episode 189: Sober Gratitudes with Sarah Elizabeth

Episode 189: Sober Gratitudes with Sarah Elizabeth

Our guest for this episode is Sarah Elizabeth from the Sober Gratitudes podcast. Now, I’ll tell you, this isn’t a typical episode for AA Beyond Belief, because Sarah doesn’t identify as either an atheist or agnostic. In Fact, she describes her experience as spiritual, and she attributes…

Episode 188: Something Light and Easy

Episode 188: Something Light and Easy

Angela and I have a free-flowing conversation covering a variety of topics ranging from our memories and thoughts about or first AA meeting to whether AA Word Services should publish a new book that covers the program of recovery. We take a call from Fred in Virginia and respond…

Episode 187: Friendships in Sobriety

Episode 187: Friendships in Sobriety

Angela and I talk about friendships and how they were impacted by our drinking and what we learned from our friends in sobriety. When I got sober, I didn’t have any friends left from my drinking days, but Angela continued to maintain those relationships after she got sober. This…

Episode 186: Our Question and Answer Episode

Episode 186: Our Question and Answer Episode

Angela and I take questions from callers and the live chat on Facebook and YouTube, and then we ask each other a few questions. There is an interesting discussion about the importance of self-care, and the need for AA to modernize…

Episode 185: Talking About We Agnostics with Dale K.

Episode 185: Talking About We Agnostics with Dale K.

Angela and I have a conversation with Dale K. about the ” We Agnostics” chapter in Big Book. Dale wrote a secular version of the first 164 pages in the Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous, and in this episode, he explains why…

Episode 184: Relationships in Sobriety

Episode 184: Relationships in Sobriety

In this episode, Angela and I are joined by Bri, a friend from my homegroup, to discuss relationships. We take a look at the issues we faced with relationships while we were drinking, as well as in recovery. Bri goes into detail about some of her early experiences, and Angela…

Episode 183: A Brief History of Secular AA

Episode 183: A Brief History of Secular AA

In this episode, Joe C. from Rebellion Dogs Radio joins Angela and John for a brief overview of the history of secular AA groups. This episode was recorded live on YouTube and Facebook on July 10, 2020. We live stream every Friday night at 7:00 pm on the AA…

Episode 182: Music in Recovery

Episode 182: Music in Recovery

This episode was recorded from a live stream originally posted on July 3, 2020, on YouTube and Facebook. Angela and I talk about the role that music played in our lives both while drinking and now as sober people. This was a free-flowing conversation that went into other topics…

Episode 181: Mark K.’s Many Paths to Sobriety

Episode 181: Mark K.’s Many Paths to Sobriety

Mark K. knows he needs more than AA to stay sober. Before attending his first AA meeting, he was receiving professional help from a therapist who he continues to see to this day, and who encourages him to remain open to any activity or resource that supports his recovery. Mark…

Episode 180: About those Steps – A Conversation with John C.

Episode 180: About those Steps – A Conversation with John C.

This episode features a conversation about the 12 Steps with John C. from Berkeley, California. We talk about how there is often exaggerated importance placed on them. The Steps, which are primarily experiential become an academic exercise for many. Some AA members will talk about finishing Steps, but some don…

Episode 179: David S.

Episode 179: David S.

In this episode, I speak with David S., a stand-up comedian in the Kanas City area who has been sober for thirty-seven years at the time of this recording. We talk about his recovery, the challenges of being a secular person in AA, his thoughts about agnostic AA…

Episode 178: Tradition Three – The Only Requirement

Episode 178: Tradition Three – The Only Requirement

In this episode Angela and I talk about Tradition Three: The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.”  We review the history of the tradition taken from a talk by Barry L., author of Living Sober, that he gave at the 1985 International AA Convention in…

Episode 177: Atheists in Recovery

Episode 177: Atheists in Recovery

In this episode, I speak with Dr. Adina Slvestri from Life Cycles Counseling in Richmond, Virginia. Dr. Silvestri is a licensed family therapist who specializes in treating women with substance abuse issues, children impacted by trauma, and helping people cope and better handle anger. She is also the host of…

Episode 176: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Episode 176: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

In this episode, I’m joined by my friend Sam S. from my home group in Kansas City to discuss the novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson. This story is a great metaphor for alcoholism and drug addiction, and though I have…

Episode 175: Outside Issues? Let’s Talk About It.

Episode 175: Outside Issues? Let’s Talk About It.

This episode was recorded from our weekly Friday night live stream on YouTube. Every week, Angela and I cover a topic we think may be of interest to secular people in AA, and this particular episode was all about outside issues. We are living through a pandemic the likes of…

Episode 174: Sharing Our Stories

Episode 174: Sharing Our Stories

IIn this episode Angela and I discuss our experiences speaking at AA meetings and offer tips and suggestions that you may find helpful when speaking at other groups. We talk about the importance of knowing your audience, staying on time and on track, and formats other than the standard “what…

Episode 173: Adoptees and Addiction

Episode 173: Adoptees and Addiction

This episode features a conversation with two people in recovery who were adopted as children. Lisa K., a Korean adoptee describes her struggle with identification as an Asian person growing up with a white family in a white world. David B. Bohl, author of Parallel Universes: The Story of Rebirth…

Episode 172: Doctors in Recovery

Episode 172: Doctors in Recovery

Rich S., a physician from Portland, Oregon shares his experience as a healthcare professional in recovery from alcoholism, and he helps us understand the special challenges facing healthcare workers as they confront a global pan…

Episode 171: Carmen X. at the KC Secular AA Speaker Meeting

Episode 171: Carmen X. at the KC Secular AA Speaker Meeting

This episode is a recording from a talk given by Carmen X. in Kansas City, Missouri in February 2019. Carmen begins by noting that she believes she was born with two genetic variations. One that made her a trans woman and the other that made her an alcoholic. She briefly…

Episode 170: Acceptance

Episode 170: Acceptance

Is acceptance the answer to all our problems, or is it only a starting point, or maybe it’s where we end up after going through a process? That’s what this episode is all about. How we understand and incorporate the concept of acceptance into our recovery…

Episode 169: The Human Glitch

Episode 169: The Human Glitch

This episode features a conversation with Gary Chattaway, a recovery advocate from London, England whose work can be found on his website thehumanglitch.com, and his YouTube Channel. Gary is the author of The Human Glitch a short book that briefly describes his experience with alcohol addiction. He is currently…

Episode 168: Teachers in Recovery

Episode 168: Teachers in Recovery

In this episode Angela and John talk with Sam S., who teaches History and Social Studies at a high school in a rural area of Kansas. After sharing her recovery story, an interesting discussion ensues about the challenges she faces as a teacher and person in recovery, and how parents…

Episode 167: Chad H.

Episode 167: Chad H.

Although alcoholism runs through his family history, Chad’s growing up years seemed normal to him. He felt loved and secure in his home environment. Looking back if there was anything about him that seemed unusual was a general sense of unease and a tendency toward perfectionism. In this episode…

Episode 166: Adverse Childhood Experiences and Addiction

Episode 166: Adverse Childhood Experiences and Addiction

Inspired by an article published by Aces Too High News on May 2, 2017, this episode features a discussion about the role that adverse childhood experiences plays in the development of addiction later in life. Is addiction a disease or a normal comfort seeking response to childhood trauma, or is…

Episode 165: Power of the Pause – Mindfulness in Recovery

Episode 165: Power of the Pause – Mindfulness in Recovery

In this episode Angela and John speak with Jackie S. about the power of pausing and meditation to bring mindfulness to our recover and how we can benefit from that. This episode was recorded as a live stream on our public YouTube channel and our private Facebook group. We stream…

Episode 164: Bobby C.

Episode 164: Bobby C.

In this episode, Benn and John meet Bobby C. from Huntington Beach, California. Bobby has been sober since February 27, 1984 and participates in both AA as well as SMART Recovery meetings. Bobby shares his story which evolves into an interesting conversation about anonymity, secular recovery options, and recovery culture…

Episode 163: Doug P.

Episode 163: Doug P.

Doug P. has been sober for over 25 years. He left AA approximately eight years ago because he was bored with all the god bit, but returned upon finding a secular AA meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia where he lives. This is his story…

Episode 162: What is Emotional Sobriety?

Episode 162: What is Emotional Sobriety?

In this episode, Angela and John talk about emotional sobriety while taking calls from listeners, and responding to comments in the YouTube chatroom. The term emotional sobriety originated from a letter that Bill W. wrote to a friend in 1953. Bill, sober for twenty years, was suffering from depression and…

Episode 161: AA History with Bob K

Episode 161: AA History with Bob K

This episode features a conversation with Bob K., author of Key Players in AA History. The conversation includes a discussion of AA co-founder Bill W., the first women in AA, and some of the common misunderstanding’s of the AA founding mythology. We took calls from listeners who asked…

Episode 160: Take What you Want and Leave the Rest

Episode 160: Take What you Want and Leave the Rest

Angela and John talk about platitudes, slogans, and common sayings heard in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. Are they useful? If so, which ones? Are any of them harmful or downright mean? This was recorded live on YouTube as part of our sober distancing series. We took calls, responded to…

Episode 159: I Get By With A Little Help from My Friends

Episode 159: I Get By With A Little Help from My Friends

Every Friday night at 7:00 PM Central, Angela and John live stream on the AA Beyond Belief YouTube Channel. You can participate by commenting in the live chat or calling in by phone. This episode featured a discussion of sponsorship and seeking outside professional help. The episode will be…

Episode 158: Emotional Balance

Episode 158: Emotional Balance

In this episode Angela, Benn, and John talk about emotional balance in the context of Step 10. This was recorded from our weekly Friday night live stream on YouTube. Bobby C., Jaren C., and Peter from Vermont called in with their comments…

Episode 157: Sober Distancing

Episode 157: Sober Distancing

This episode features a discussion about how the Covid 19 pandemic is affecting AA groups, and AA members. We talk about online meetings and other means of finding support when meeting in person isn’t possible. This was a live stream on YouTube with listeners calling in to the show…

Episode 156: Deprogramming from Traditional AA

Episode 156: Deprogramming from Traditional AA

John H. from the We Agnostics Group in Washington DC makes another appearance on the podcast to talk about deprogramming from AA. The word “deprogramming” may seem strong, but for those of us who have spent some time in traditional AA, didn’t we have to unlearn a few things…

Episode 155: Jamison M. and the No Pews Required Group

Episode 155: Jamison M. and the No Pews Required Group

Angela B. provides an ICSAA update and talks about the One Big Tent Secular AA Conference to be held in Langley, British Columbia on May 16, 2020. Jamison M. joined in by phone to talk about starting a secular AA meeting in Lodi, New Jersey. It’s an interesting story…

Episode 154: Jeremy P. | What Makes an Alcoholic?

Episode 154: Jeremy P. | What Makes an Alcoholic?

As storm Ciara tore its path across the United Kingdom, somewhere in London, Jeremy P. hunkered down and spoke with me for this podcast. A few weeks prior to recording this episode, Jeremy sent me a very thoughtful email about his difficulty identifying with many of the AA speakers he…