Is Alcoholics Anonymous
To whom it may concern,
At first very apprehensive about reading your literature, I tried very hard to keep an open mind. What I appreciate about your site, and various links thus associated, was the open challenge towards what is accepted by most as fact, i. e. AA. I am a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, have been sober since Easter of 1990, first started this trip into recovery in 1988. I state the above to identify my background only, not to discount my individuality.
As I stated, I appreciate your questioning stance, as I am wont to do in my own journey. I only trust what I have experienced. Reading of your experience, being rejected as an athiest, seems to ring true of many incidents I have witnessed in my years in AA. There are quite a few members of AA who have developed the ability to keep an open mind to the personal views of an individual. I would like to claim that ability for myself, but that would not be an absolute truth.
My own journey has been pretty hard, most of it being my own
hand in making it that way, but some have been through no fault of my own.
What I do know to be the truth is this: in '88 I was in the hospital <
medical , dying from malnutrition, as I could not keep food down. This
condition was brought on by alcohol and crack use, exacerbated by Lyme
disease. I entered in to the 'recovery system', and began my trek towards
recovery. It quickly became apparent that I did not want to die, and the
only way that was possible was to stop drinking and drugging. I di not
want to hear anything about AA or the steps, I wanted it on my terms. As
there was no alternative at the time (RR), I fought whomever I needed to
to keep my own vision of what I wanted. What I got was somewhat better
than what I had, eventually stopping picking up in '90, due to a relationship
What happened was I stopped attending AA, and my life went downhill quickly. I am not attributing all of that to my lack of attendance, but a majority. By the next winter I wanted, needed, relief. Instead of picking up a gun, I went back to meetings. I decided to give it a try, and got a sponsor. Perhaps I chose one of those individuals that guided and did not rule, but I felt that I needed to try to attempt to believe that this process worked. I just put myself into the process, and here I am a few years later. It worked for me because I became willing to try anything rather than die. What this all means to me is that I don't want to die, but I need to be driven to the edge before I am willing to attempt something I don't want to do. I question everything most of the time, and that is hard for some to take in this Fellowship. I let them worry about it, I don't have the time or energy.
There, we are now on a level playing field so to speak. I want to address a few points, maybe you just might read this!
1. Court declares AA a religion -- Excuse me for my naivete, but has the Court ever been wrong? Depending on your socio-political view, perhaps Roe v Wade, Brown v Board of Ed, any number of segregationist decisions, ad infinitum. The point, probably obvious by now, that because the Court says it's so, doesn't truly mean it is so.
2. Religion v spirituality -- Perhaps this is a semantical argument, I beg to differ. In college, we were directed to take a class dealing with religion. Entailed was reviewing the belief system, the history of the movement, and the present circumstances of it's existence. To me, spirituality lies in the personal belief system, rather than the alignment with a pre-existing system of beliefs. My own example: I believe in Christ, though am not a Christian in the sense that I also believe in other paths to 'God'. I personally delineate very clearly between the two definitions. I believe that AA professes the same. That is my understanding.
I will close now, with a wish for your happiness and continued recovery.
Take care, my friend.
From: Positive Atheism <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Good Afternoon Date: Monday, July 12, 1999 7:18 PM
The Circuit Court ruled that AA is "unequivocally religious" when it comes to the First Amendment of the United States Consitiution. I don't think the courts have jurisdiction to rule on any other aspect of AA religiosity.
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