from The Grapevine, Oct 2016
I work a secular program, omitting the religious aspect (as I see it) of AA philosophy. Try as I could, “acting as if” just did not cut it for me. I was being untruthful. The power greater than myself that restored my sanity was death. I did not want to die at age 35 and it was going to happen if I did not change direction.
I do not worship the Big Book. I read it as literature, documenting what the early AAs thought and did to stay sober. Similarly, the Steps are a guide to sobriety. The word “miracle” is not part of my vocabulary. I believe we dismiss our ability to grow and change when we use this word. Hard work, dedication and emotional growth are part of my language. I do not think that divine intervention occurs when a member loses the desire to self-destruct via alcohol any more than when they relapse. The Serenity Prayer works fine for me as a vital tool for living. Never having been on my knees to say the Third Step or the Seventh Step Prayers, I am sober and happy nonetheless.
My personal payback occurs when I answer the phones at our intergroup office or make copies of tapes or CDs to give away to members. Payback also occurs when I go to speak, sponsor an alcoholic, or simply attend and share at meetings. If I did not go to meetings at age 80, how would any newcomer know that the program works for me?
In a sea of many religious AA members, it’s often lonely being secular, but I have to remember that without AA I would be dead. I owe my life to this program and the many sober members I’ve met and interacted with for all these 45 years.