Do You Need to Believe in God in Alcoholics Anonymous?
Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of women and men who have or have had a problem with alcohol. AA’s stated purpose is to “stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety.” It is apolitical, self-supporting, multiracial, nonprofessional, and available almost everywhere. There is no education or age requirement. The only requirement for membership in Alcoholics Anonymous is the desire to stop drinking.
You do not have to believe in God in Alcoholics Anonymous. It is stated that “the only requirement for membership is the desire to stop drinking.” AA was founded by two Christians, known as Bill W. and Dr. Bob. Much of the AA literature is inspired by their Christian beliefs. Alcoholics Anonymous is a 12-step based program.
Is Alcoholics Anonymous A Religious Group?
Alcoholics Anonymous or any other 12-step program is spiritually based, it is not religious. Belief in God is not necessary to benefit from the program of AA. The 12-Steps were inspired by spiritual ideas, and they do mention God or a higher power, but the program itself is not religious.
Even a pamphlet put out by AA says that agnostic, atheist, religious, or secular, everyone is welcome at 12-step programs. The 12-steps talk about a higher power or God, however, your higher power can be anything you choose. It is very personal and individualized. Some do believe in God while others may believe in Karma. Yet others use the earth, nature, science, the universe, or humanity as their higher power.
Some people that enter the rooms of AA do not yet even have the desire to quit drinking or using. It is during this time that the higher power comes into the person’s life to do for them what they cannot do alone. In conclusion, you don’t need to believe in the traditional definition of “God” or a deity to be able to benefit from the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.
What Are The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous?
The 12-steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are steps to follow towards recovery from substance use disorders. If you go through the steps with a sponsor, you have a much higher chance of getting sober AND staying sober. Let’s go over what the Twelve-Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous actually are:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Decided to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this to message alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Alcoholics Anonymous or any other 12-step program believes it is best to get a sponsor to help you work the 12-steps when you are ready. It is not advised that you try to work the steps on your own.
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