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Old 02-06-2009, 03:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Atheist/Agnostic AA groups, how do they work?

I have been considering proposing an Atheist/Agnostic group for our region. There isn't one locally and i feel there may be a need for one.

I know i certainly would get something from it and i know one or two others that may be interested in it too.

How does it work to set one up though? Is it a case of just proposing it. Does the group operate on the same basis as usual meetings, but perhaps without a closing prayer?

I am just looking for a bit of advice from anyone who may attend such a group.

Paul
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Old 02-06-2009, 03:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Agnostic A.A. Meetings in New York City

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Welcome to the British area of The LSR website
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Old 02-06-2009, 04:27 AM   #3 (permalink)
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hey,

I'm glad you are looking at this. Our town is too small to support one i think, but maybe not.

There is alot more than just the prayer to work out I think...

Dig....you could help me out by posting in the secular 12 step section. I think it is a good place for those who want to practice the 12 steps and possibly attend AA (although not everyone does who practices 12 steps).

Just a place to share how we do it in a more specific way and to deal with our problems and solutions to the issues of steps as a secular person.
:ghug
I would say mostly the whole different meeting thing would come down to who comes and how they share...
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Old 02-06-2009, 06:31 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Didg, this is what is read before the atheist & agnostic meeting that I sometimes attend. I don't necessarily agree with it all, but I thought it might be helpful to you. And not everyone that attends actually uses the AA program, myself included. I really much prefer the LifeRing meeting format. It's a lot less formal and crosstalk (back and forth discussion) is not only allowed but encouraged. And the only group dogma is "don't drink or use". But for now, this meeting is the closest thing I have, aside from the local treatment group I just started attending.

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MEETING FORMAT


[Chairperson, introduce yourself, then read the following:]


Welcome. This is a meeting of AGNOSTICS & ATHEISTS IN RECOVERY. We are an addiction recovery meeting for those who may not believe in supernatural intervention in human affairs and who are open to other ideas which have helped individuals to free themselves from addiction. Our intention is not to promote agnosticism or atheism but to provide a meeting for addicts who want to explore and develop additional paths to recovery from addiction and addictive behavior.

We know from our own experience that any human can recover from addiction if he or she truly wants to recover. We believe that recovery requires two basic elements: an individual's strong desire to end addictive behavior and, since the human being is also a social animal, a support group of empathetic individuals to share her or his recovery experience with. In this meeting, our common goal is to communicate among ourselves and with newcomers the ways we have found that work for us to stay free of our addictions and to share how recovery works and feels on a day to day basis.

Also we acknowledge the help that Alcoholics Anonymous is to many of us in our quest for continuous sobriety and recommend the book of Alcoholics Anonymous for further understanding of addiction and recovery.


We suggest there are several stages in the recovery process:

First, we must develop a strong desire to get free and stay free of addiction (1st step.)

Second, we are stubborn individualists, but we strive to quit fighting everything and everybody and to learn to listen respectfully to the thoughts and feelings of others in recovery and people who share the globe with us. (2nd and 3rd steps.)

Third, we want to develop and maintain a process of honest self-evaluation by which we come to face ourselves and to understand our relationships with others. (4th and 10th steps.)

Fourth, through self-evaluation, we discover that many addicts feel a strong sense of fear, guilt and/or shame which isolates us from other human beings, and therefore we try to share with others, or with a chosen individual, the sources of our alienation, hoping to alleviate our isolation. (5th step.)

Fifth, once we understand our behavior, which has often been self-destructive and harmful to others, we try to develop the humility to amend our destructive habits, to be willing to change our attitudes about life and to repair our damaged relationships with others. We strive for a "completely new set of conceptions and motives" in our lives. (Alcoholics Anonymous, p.27 and 6th through 9th steps.)

Sixth, after we are free of our addictions for a period of time, we strive to find ways to continually stretch our humanity and to become participating members of the larger community, always remembering the lessons we learn in recovery and looking for ways to be of use to others and to addicts like ourselves. (11th and 12th steps.)


It is the consensus that these shares be about addiction and recovery, not a forum about one's beliefs or non-beliefs or other peoples' beliefs. If you have one, please turn off your phone. We are now ready for individual sharing. Share when you are moved to share. Speak once and try to remember how many are left to speak and how much time remains for sharing. Please don't interrupt others when they are speaking. If time remains after everyone has shared, you many speak again, but the chairperson will end this meeting at [10am].

Let's open with a few minutes of meditation to focus our thoughts on why we are here and on what we want to accomplish this morning. [After a time of silence, indicate that it's time to start sharing and ask for topics.]

Is there anyone attending their first or second AA meeting ever? Anyone in their first 30 days?


[SHARING AND PASS THE BASKET]


[At 10am:] "It's time to close the meeting. Please remember that everything you have heard here must remain strictly confidential. We'll close the meeting with a few moments of silence to consider what we've accomplished this morning."

[After a time announce] "The meeting is now closed." [If someone turned off a cell phone, remind them to turn it on again.]
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Old 02-06-2009, 07:08 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Hey DK - thanks for posting this info re the A & A AA meeting format that you attend. Having been to traditional AA meeting, I felt great relaxation in reading this through. Good to know this offshoot of AA exists.
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Old 02-06-2009, 07:17 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The AA association in Toronto has an SOS group.
I think I saw somewhere that this is a secular thing. Can anyone tell me about SOS and what it is about?
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Old 02-06-2009, 07:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
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LifeRing branched off of SOS (Secular Organization for Sobriety).

Addiction - Non 12 Step - Support Group - Index
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Old 02-06-2009, 07:26 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks DK. That is kinda what I thought. I am confused as to why this SOS group appears to be associated with AA, as it is listed on the AA website under AA meetings. I may have to go and check it out and see what is doing.

It may just be another AA meeting that is using SOS as their meeting name. If I go I will report back in.

Have a good day all I am off to the gym.
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Old 02-06-2009, 07:29 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I am confused as to why this SOS group appears to be associated with AA, as it is listed on the AA website under AA meetings. I may have to go and check it out and see what is doing.

It may just be another AA meeting that is using SOS as their meeting name. If I go I will report back in.
I was wondering the same thing and I think you are probably right.
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Old 02-06-2009, 11:00 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I really like the sound of that meeting DK! Thanks for posting that.

Good luck didg, hope you get it sorted - there needs to be more access to rational recovery in the uk imho.
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Old 02-06-2009, 02:08 PM   #11 (permalink)
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jeeez do all brits sort???

seems you spend all your time "sorting"

snirkle
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Old 02-06-2009, 05:49 PM   #12 (permalink)
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jeeez do all brits sort???

seems you spend all your time "sorting"

snirkle
Only when we're scoring lol

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Old 02-06-2009, 06:26 PM   #13 (permalink)
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jeeez do all brits sort???

seems you spend all your time "sorting"

snirkle
heh! You should hear me talk, i sound like an extra from "snatch"...!
Lovely jubbly!
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Old 01-03-2010, 03:37 PM   #14 (permalink)
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If you haven't found it yet, there is a gen-you-wine openly agnostic A.A. group in Toronto now. We are called "Beyond Belief", and we meet at 6:30pm on Thursdays at OISE/UT (on Bloor West near the St. George subway station), usually in room 2-198. If we haven't seen you there yet, hope to see you there. We also have an online face, and are working to get the word out (against some back current, as you may imagine).
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Old 01-03-2010, 11:49 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I attend an agnostic AA meeting weekly.

There is an opening and closing statement read by a moderator. I can't remember the precise language, I'll try to get it this week and bring it back to the forum. It is mentioned in our opening statement that members may feel free to express their religious beliefs, or their absence or rejection of religious beliefs.

Between the opening and closing statement, people from the group share. The moderator tries to come up with a topic each week, but sometimes the group is encouraged to talk about anything they want. At some point a basket is passed, as there is a charge to use the building from 7:30 to 8:30 PM once a week, and the donations from individual members pay for that. There is coffee but no food, there are reading materials such as pamphlets, interpretations of the 12 steps from different perspectives (such as atheist agnostic and pagan), and the moderator usually brings a stack of books about recovery.

There is no prayer or meditation.

My group is small, sometimes only three or four people show up. When that happens, we sometimes skip the formalities and just sit around talking.

I believe that interacting with people who are struggling with the problem of alcohol or drugs provides very helpful support in the recovery process.
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Old 01-04-2010, 07:01 AM   #16 (permalink)
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WOW! The thought of an entire GROUP that is agnostic or atheist -- or even secular -- has never occurred to me. What a fantastic thing that would be!

I can just imagine if there was such a group where I lived, though... The locals would all be out with their torches and pitchforks

-Goat
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Old 01-04-2010, 06:52 PM   #17 (permalink)
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interesting. i dont know of such a version of the steps where i come from but I go to alanon and while some have a God of their own understanding there are atheists and agnostics and it seems to work out fine. thanks for sharing.
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Old 01-07-2010, 11:51 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Forum description:
Quote:
Secular Connections
Alternatives to 12 Step Recovery
LifeRing-Smart-SOS, CBT, Problem Solving, Self Management, Self-Empowerment, Rational Thinking, Positive Lifestyle Changes, Self Assessment, Commitment and Follow-Through, Self-Acceptance, Motives and Goals, Peer Support.
12 Step Programs are off topic for this forum and posts discussing 12 Step Programs will be removed. Please use the Secular 12 Step Forum for positive topics on Secular 12 Step Recovery.
I've moved this over to the Secular 12-Steps forum.
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Old 01-08-2010, 01:25 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Thanks Alera...I kept thinking it seemed like it was in the wrong place

good thread though
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Old 01-08-2010, 10:40 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Thanks Alera...I kept thinking it seemed like it was in the wrong place
Very good thread I couldn't imagine deleting it.


In the future, if anyone here sees a thread that you feel belongs in another (secular or otherwise) forum feel free to hit the report icon that looks like this. In the report itself, just say that you think it belongs in another secular forum. It makes it easier to moderate if you bring my attention to a post I may have missed.
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