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Atheists, Addictions, 12 Step Recovery, and Alternatives


Atheists, Addictions, 12 Step Recovery, and Alternatives

Trouble with drugs (including alcohol) or other potential addictions? Tried 12 step recovery and found it wanting? You're welcome here.

Members: 120
Latest Activity: Mar 19

Desiderata (Revised)

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.

Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with it, whatever you conceive it to be.

And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

Discussion Forum

Recommended reading

Started by Seth R. Mar 19. 0 Replies

New in recovery

Started by diane sholly. Last reply by Barbara Blaney Jan 29. 8 Replies


Fictional look at AA culture in a zombie apocolypse setting

A book just came out by a New York lawyer by day, 12 Step prowler and author by night who goes by the pen name Michele Miller.

The setting is this new zombie apocalypses craze, a la Walking Dead or WWZ, neither of which I have every seen. I don't make time for this genre of story…

The growing secular voice in 12 Step Recovery

I am really happy to find this community. I was reading about the introduction of a secular 12 Steps to NA World Service. That sounds like a great idea that will meet some resistance. Organizations either adapt or reify into obscurity. AA is having a hard time getting a spirituality pamphlet approved by the Conference floor and some say it's because the inclusion of atheists and agnostics talking about their AA life is untenable to some of the more superstitious members.

I do like…

Back in "Sober Living facility" and getting beat over the head w/the "Bill's Big Book" need suggestions!

Hi, I just got out of detox (from Methadone/Buprenorphine) and have managed to land myself in a 3/4 house.  I haven't had time to read all the posts here yet but just wanted to re-introduce myself.  I've been a member of Atheist Nexus for a while now but I don't remember finding this particular group.  But there's a lot I may not remember lol.  Anyway all atheist help will be appreciated!

New in recovery

 I have one week of sobriety. I am glad that I found this group. I went to an AA meeting and hated it because of the talk of a higher power. Being brand new at sobriety I could use any support and friendship that I can find.

Looking for something better than Alanon

Hi Folks! I've been part of Atheist Nexus for years, but haven't been all that active recently. My husband (a superstitious, anti-organized-religion, theist) started attending AA meetings last year, and suggested I start attending Alanon. I can't stand the opening/closing prayers, the reading to the 12 steps, most of which makes reference to god/higher power. I feel like everyone at these meetings drank the coolaid, and I wonder what brainwashing is going on in the AA meetings my husband is…

Confronting the Fellowship of NA.

Greetings All,


          My name is Bill, and I am currently involved with the NA program. Im not a cookie-cutter member of the fellowship, as it were. My program does not involve the use of a god, and I feel my recovery is solid, as I have mulitiple years clean. My current journey brings me to the position of confronting the fellowship as a whole, about the inherent bias that runs through the literature/mtgs. They (NA, and the ppl involved) say that it is up to the…

New to group

Hi everyone,

I've been an Atheist Nexus member for awhile, but I've never posted anything before.  I'm an all-around addict... alcohol, pot, prescription drugs, and possibly biggest of all, food. 


I'm a nurse (which has given me lots of access to substances I don't need to be around), but I'm not working right now because I'm taking care of my mother, who is in poor health.  She requires 24 hour a day care, and I get no help from anyone else in her care.  My…

HAMS: Harm Reduction for Alcohol

I have been using a harm reduction model for cutting back on my drinking and found to be helpful with this aim.  They have a chatroom, books, worksheets, and more for people who have found the 12 step programs lacking.  They deal with moderation, harm reduction AND abstinence.  Just wanted to share, and to see if there are other "Hamsters" out there.

Dealing with my partner's pornography addiction

I've been in a relationship for about two years.  We're preparing to move in together soon and continue down the road, hopefully to marriage and a family together.  Well, about a week ago my boyfriend threw a huge curveball into my life by admitting he's addicted to porn.  He's living on his own for the first time since he's graduated from college and in the past few months he's spent nearly $1000 on porn sites.  He's been financially bailed out by his parents a couple times, who simply…

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Atheists, Addictions, 12 Step Recovery, and Alternatives to add comments!

Comment by Preston on June 8, 2009 at 2:24am
I have been a substance abuse and addictions counselor for over twenty years. I am always looking for support for clients who are nontheists.

Comment by Dr. Ned Kelly on May 25, 2009 at 10:39pm
Do you drink too much? Take this quiz:
Comment by James G. on April 26, 2009 at 2:19am
Why is the URL to this group ? Was that the original name? While I am not a dogmatic atheist; I don't see how atheists and freethinkers in their right mind can support 12 "programs" like AA. It has some of the worse elements of religious dogma, indoctrination and anti-rational thought sentiment I ever encountered... and I was Catholic! lol

The whole "spiritual not religious" thing is an insult to any rational person. Even when I was a superstitious believer it never made much sense. I am still a spiritual person as an atheist and i know what secular spirituality is and what religious spirituality is and AA is religious spirituality. Yoga, meditation, certain elements of Buddhism, REBT, art, humanism, naturalism, psychology, philosophy, and various ways of reaching mindfulness are spiritual and not religious.

Personally, while my experience with AA was negative, AA did help me in becoming an atheist by it's clear displays of the absurdity of religion, mythology, faith healing, suspension of rationality, and insults to the secular.

Thanks for a place to rant ;)
Comment by Wendi on March 25, 2009 at 4:34pm
Hi Luke,

My perspective is from the "inside" of the AA program (i.e., I'm an alkie), and I can tell you that there is essentially no quarter given to atheists / agnostics in the program. If one makes a claim to be atheist / agno, the typical response from seasoned group members is either a). you may not believe in God now, but you'd better or else YOU WILL DRINK; b). you may not believe in God now, but you will come to believe in God if you stick with the program.

Emotionally this is pretty manipulative stuff...most of the new people I've seen in the program are scared shitless and very desperate not to return to their old behavior patterns. These newcomers are continually reminded from those with more sobriety that they must "be willing to go to ANY lengths" in order to stay sober. But this is a pretty open-ended statement, and it begs the question of _who_ gets to decide what those lengths are, and on _what_ authority? The 3rd step of the program is to "turn our will and life over to the care of God as we understood him", and the theme of surrendering individuality and free will remains consistent throughout the program. Questioning the process happens frequently, but is generally discouraged as "stinking thinking" that will inevitably lead one back to a drink.

I'll admit that for many drunks even this level of surrender of free will is acceptable given the alternative of drinking again, but as a long term approach to living a sober life I find it obviously lacking, and not only on the basis of religious content. As many before me have stated, AA seems to foster dependence upon the group and / or sponsor as a means of ending dependence on alcohol. For many people this is no problem, but not everyone (alkie or no) has an easy time adapting into group situations, and to draw parallels between individuality and addiction / alcoholism is a very slippery slope.

I have more to say, but I'll ping this back to you to keep things flowing...thanks for posting, Luke!
Comment by Luke on March 25, 2009 at 9:16am
Hi Wendi. This is a bit of a quiet group. I've been reading the Rational Recovery book at the moment. I'm finding it very interesting, useful and enjoyable.

I've read half of the AlAnon book (for families of alcoholics or drug addicted people) but I just couldn't overcome the higher power aspect of it all. When the RR book arrived int he mail I set the AlAnon book aside. It is one thing for them to say that the higher power could be anything but we all know they are talking about the christian god.

Anyway, if we keep chatting we might draw a crowd. :)

Comment by Wendi on March 23, 2009 at 11:33am
Hi everyone, I just joined -- looks like no one's posted in a few months, but I''m hoping I won't be all alone here. ;-)
Comment by Michelle on November 30, 2008 at 10:34am
Hi. I just joined al-anon. I was hoping that I could "take what I need and leave the rest". I knew that god was a big part of the program but I was still surprised to find that 7 of the 12 steps require faith in something outside my own head. I haven't figured out how to circumvent that yet. I know I am not writing anything that you all don't already know. I am grasping at straws and trying to cobble together some sort of personal path out of my current struggles. I haven't been able to solve things on my own. I can't "let go and let god". I am living in a small town surrounded by well-meaning prayer sheep. I am glad this group is here.
Comment by Kevin on November 28, 2008 at 2:34am
I just had a thought on recovering without a god. I have been on other sites and have argued with theists and it seems that it is another replacement for something that us alcoholics seem to want or need. It seems to me to get into being a christian and religion replaces the need for alcohol. So if we feel he does not exist then all it is is finding the strength in not only ourselves but to find it in others. I mean I have been at lots of meetings and I liked the people. Now I know it is the mind game I have and also stop going to the bar lol.
Comment by Kevin on October 23, 2008 at 10:31am
Hello, I am interested because I am an alcoholic and an atheist and I am not drinking right now and don't plan on it. I went to AA meetings before I was atheist so I do know what you mean about higher power. I have thought of what you are talking about and my son is going to AA so my ex said stop with the atheist emails.

I think that we have the power in us that AA is talking about I mean it is all in how we look at things and attitude. My dad was also an alcoholic and he became a non believer later in life before he died but he did quit drinking until his death and he was a very happy person. I don't know how he dealt with the higher power but I know I just know that humans have the power and they always have. Connecting and talking about it is the key I believe. I need to go to work but I want to talk with you soon.


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