I am an alcoholic. I am not the least bit ashamed to say so. My father and uncle also have a long history of loving the bottle. I have attended some AA meetings through the years. I have read their "big book" front to cover and despite their claims to be non religious I have found the organization to be very religious. Scary religious. Many of the beliefs and messages expressed at meetings do more harm than good to their members. For me the attraction to AA has nothing to do with searching for an answer or a cure for  alcoholism. I know addiction is a physical disease. Instead of the genetic code for diabetes, breast cancer, or multiple sclerosis the roll of the DNA dice predisposed me to drink in excess. In order for diabetics to maintain good health they either limit or exclude sweets and other carbohydrates from their diet, likewise, if I want to be healthy I can not drink. My attraction to AA has been based on a desire to associate with other people who are also alcoholics. The same reason I seek out atheist groups, I like to associate with people who share the same beliefs, goals, and life experiences that I have experienced. The problem is the ONLY group of recovering alcoholics is Alcoholics Anonymous.In the Northern United States agnostic groups exist, however, the AA central office and many of their members refuse to acknowledge these groups as apart of AA. In Canada several agnostic groups where criticized and removed from the meeting schedules they distributed. I live in the deep south, rural Georgia. (No I do not like country music, yes I have all my teeth) The message from AA  seems to be "we are here only to help the religious or those willing to become religious".  Atheist alcoholics seeking support are out of luck, especially in the southern states. For several months I have searched for a true non religious group of recovering alcoholics and have come up empty handed. So I have decided to be honest about my atheism within the rooms of AA. What I realized is my presence and continued success at not drinking will disprove the popular belief in AA that only "God" can keep you sober. I can not be the only atheist alcoholic on the planet! If no place in Georgia exists to offer peer support for the recovering alcoholic who is also an agnostic/atheist then I will just create a place. Wish me luck!


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Comment by Denise Kiser on December 17, 2012 at 12:14am

The big book flip flops quite a bit in the beginning it does say "the only requirement is a desire to quite drinking" it also gives reference to "a power greater than yourself"....in the beginning of the big book it does not sound extremely religious and defiantly sounds more tolerant but as the book progresses the person who is trying to recover has to believe in a god that micro manages all aspects of their life if not that person will not stay sober...the tricky part is this god can have any name buddah, jesus, yoda, etc. but in order to recover the person has to "turn over their will and their life to the care of God" ...now just because they did not give god a name does not mean the underlining religion is not present...in my opinion any ways....it is kinda like a bad sales technique you know saying you are getting one thing then after you sign up you get something different...I put into google every kind on name for a non religious support group and the search resulted in pages of treatment centers and AA...in order to find sos it seems you have to type the name in the search bar....

Comment by Denise Kiser on December 17, 2012 at 12:25am

I bought a time share once that reminds me of aa....I was 25 the sales women showed me and my ex husband all these really fabulous photos of this incredible time share condo on the beach....we bought....then our first trip to the condo we realized the place was a crap hole....the beginning of the big book paints a really fabulous picture of the program loving tolerant, in the beginning addiction is a physical illness as the book progresses alcoholism is attributed to a spiritual sickness only cured by god pray to god daily or drink and die....I was like woooooohhhhh hold up......wtf? where did the tolerance for all beliefs go?

Comment by Denise Kiser on December 17, 2012 at 2:09am

man Jared 11 years they did a number on you, argumentative and you sound very angry....I am defiantly starting an SOS group.......Do you write so much to prevent people from being able to respond? I am just wondering bc I do not know where to start lol.... I did read, I did think, I twisted nothing, and I have no agenda besides not drinking....I am going to call your way of arguing "flooding" the definition will be- someone who writes enormous responses to statements in order to a) appear intelligent  or b) out of fear they will not stay in control of the debate.....thanks for your feed back defiantly contained some good stuff

Comment by Denise Kiser on December 17, 2012 at 2:16am

http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/topics-in-brief/genetics-addi...   oh and they have not pinned down the exact gene yet but good old science is getting closer....they have found some biological differences between people who become addicted and those who do not......I did not twist this or interpret it in my own way I just read it.....the way it was printed...the black letters on the page and those little numbers and grafts and other science thingies....

Comment by kOrsan on December 17, 2012 at 2:19am

Thought you might enjoy this piece.

Comment by Denise Kiser on December 17, 2012 at 2:19am

I read about this one too but I am a women sooo the study was not about me...if I twisted the article and interpreted it in my own way I could put an imaginary w and o in front of the men word and that would make the article about me.....

Addiction and impulsivity have a genetic link in men, according to a new study.

The gene, a snippet of DNA called NRXN3, has previously been linked to nicotine dependence, as well as alcohol dependence, opiate addiction and obesity. The new research suggests a common denominator of impulsivity underlies all of these troubles.

"The other studies basically showed the NRXN3 seems to be associated with some addictions and with obesity," said study researcher Scott Stoltenberg, a psychologist at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. But our study is really the first to flesh out the mechanism by looking at behavioral control, looking at impulsivity."

Behavior and DNA

Comment by Denise Kiser on December 17, 2012 at 2:30am

Ha Ha Ha korsan thats fantastic! I love it..... thanks! Oh my Darwin.. I have not heard this clip of his before and I had the same thought about higher power....I thought along the same lines well if I am powerless over alcohol and i need a power greater than myself....alcohol is a power greater than me per the first step....ummm...the gwinnet county judicial system is a power greater than me (especially when i was hand cuffed).....ha ha ha

Comment by Bill Butler on December 17, 2012 at 4:33am


Hi I have been in your spot I got sober and became an Atheist at about the same time in fact getting sober really led to my Atheist awakening. I left religion at 15 after get caught drinking a clear violation of my father’s church he asked if I wanted to continue going and I said no and I never looked back. I spent the next several years partying and not even thinking about what I believed about god and religion until I entered rehab at 22. I was told all about AA and the belief in a Higher Power and I had a real problem from day one after the life I had lived and the things I had seen and done there was no way I could believe in the god of my childhood. I did what I felt I had to at the time and kept my mouth shut I said the prayers read the book and tried to work the steps and it worked at first. About two years in I started to really identify myself as a Atheist but only to a few close friends we did not have the worldwide presence we do today. There is a phrase in the rooms “Take what you need and leave the rest “ this really captures the spirit of what I did I took just what I needed from AA and left the other BS behind. AA has great fundamentals for the newly sober to learn so do that but keep your wits about you there is a cult like atmosphere in AA and it can be hard to avoid. I stopped going to AA after about six years they taught me what I needed to know and I thank them for that but it is not the only way by a long shot. I have been sober for 18 years now and I have only attended one meeting in the last 10 years to help a friend who needed to go.  Any way I have a happy rich life today I am by no means a dry drunk I have balance and serenity and I deal with my problems as they come. My point is that you are not alone and you do have valid concerns about the program and their blatant abuses of people’s weekend state to push religious belief just know you don’t have to take it all you can leave what you don’t want. Oh and feel free to contact me if you have any questions or just need a sober Atheist to talk to.


Comment by Noel on December 17, 2012 at 6:45am

Denise: Easy does it. What ever works right?

My first six years in the program were doable because of my false belief in god. I really could not do it alone. I look back on it today and call it my very own personal mind fuck. It was! I convinced myself that the mental aspect of my disease was best left to a "Higher Power". The first six years were spent identifying with others in the rooms and not really getting much work done on myself.

I've been off the hooch for 22 years now. Haven't had a taste since April 10, 1990. I do it one day at a time. I stay close to my wife and children. I heed "People, places, and things". That's a biggy right there! Someone once told me, "you don't go to the dentist to get your eye's checked so why would you go to a bar to have a coke?"…..

Coming out of rehab I had nowhere to go. My first wife had kicked me out of the house and, for the first time in my life, I found myself alone. I spoke to a roommate at the rehab and he said: "You got the world by the balls. You don't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of but you can start over!"…… He was so right. My life is so much better today….

I get that we don't believe in the whole higher power aspect of AA. But most people that attend those meetings do. And it's what get's them through their Ism's and addictions. I can identify with you and our atheism when it comes to dealing with our disease with out the crutch of a higher power. They feel that they can't do it without their higher powers help. What ever works...

If you can't find any secular groups to stay sober in, my advice is to continue making AA meetings and make allowances for the whole religious part of the meetings. It's like an article I read where more and more well off Islamist, in the middle east, send their children to Catholic university's because, despite the difference in religions, these universities offer the same strict adherence to issues of behavior that their own islamic religion's dictate. If attending AA meetings helps you to stay sober, one day at a time, then, right now, that's the most important thing. One other alcoholic told me once, "chase your sobriety like you chased your addiction. This is how bad I want to stay sober; I'll jump out that window and I don't know what floor I'm on…." 

Good luck. Keep it simple….

Comment by Denise Kiser on December 17, 2012 at 12:02pm

Thank you Bill and Noel! I appreciate the suggestion!!!

Jared I am not trying to argue...I am looking for suggestions and feedback. If you do not like what I posted in my blog do not comment.  The proof that you are angry is in the way you write. The proof that you want to control the conversation is in the amount you post. You filled up page two of my blog posts. I am getting a lot of good information from other people and would prefer Jared if you share to please keep it short I do not want to miss a post that I find beneficial because of your "give me attention" rantings. Some of my content may be my opinion, its my damn blog if I want to post my opinion I will, do not like it or agree move on....no one else that has posted has shared your same opinion...


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