Friday, April 1, 2011

What Defines "Recovery?"

In a brief exchange on Facebook today, one man (a self-described "follower of Jesus") commented on my sobriety by saying:
"Congrats to you on "sobriety",,certainly your life has benefited from not using; however, what I seek is an empowered , and abundant life..that has happened to me when I surrendered, and let my Higher Power guide me. See Joe, both of our ways work, although with different outcomes....good luck to you!"
The presumption that his "recovery" is somehow better than my "sobriety" because he has a "relationship with Jesus" is not only arrogant, it's dangerous and misguided.

At the We Agnostics group, we are living proof that belief in a supernatural higher power is NOT a requirement to get sober, to stay sober, to find recovery and to have a wonderful life.

If you struggle with the concept of a higher power and aren't comfortable with the idea that it must be something magical, stop by our meeting. There you'll find people choosing to get and stay sober.


  1. Hi, My name is Mike and I am an alcoholic. I am a resident of Norfolk, Va. No higher power will ever remove responsibility for my life from me. The highest power to intercede in my life recently was a domestic court judge. In the long run, I am interested in helping to start a truly universal AA group in our area. I cannot journey to Indy at this time. However I desire to see what work has been done with the 12 steps and any AA tenets, literature, et cetera by your group or by anyone else in order to render them more universal. Any chance of a post or an email to

  2. This is a very articulate and very fair minded account. I am Joe C, from Beyond Belief Agnostics Group in Toronto and as you know I share your sorrow and heartbreak as I know Bill Wilson would if he were alive today. Was AA was created as a mosaic, not a melting-pot? Weigh in @
    What did Bill say about Tradition Three:
    “We were resolved to admit nobody to AA but that hypothetical class of people we termed ‘pure alcoholics.’ Except for their guzzling and the unfortunate results there-of, they could have no other complications. So beggars, tramps, asylum inmates, prisoners, queers, plain crackpots, and fallen women were definitely out. Yes sir, we’d cater only to pure and respectable alcoholics! Any others would surely destroy us. Besides, if we took in those odd ones, what would decent people say about us? We built a fine-mesh fence right around AA.
    Maybe that sounds comical now. Maybe you think we old-timers were pretty intolerant. But I can tell you there was nothing funny about the situation then. We were grim because we felt our lives and homes were threatened and that was no laughing matter. Intolerant, you say? Well, we were frightened. Naturally, we began to act like most everybody does when afraid. After all, isn’t fear the true basis of intolerance? Yes we were intolerant.
    How could we then guess that all those fears were to prove groundless? How could we know that thousands of these sometime frightening people were to make astonishing recoveries and become our greatest workers and intimate friends?”
    I hope we can create an agnostic Intergroup that can keep a history of these conflicts and find our common ground. Keep up the good work.