Many Paths

Whatever you do, please don’t let someone else’s religious beliefs prevent you from finding the solution that is available to you through Alcoholics Anonymous.

Perhaps you may think that AA is an evangelical organization, heavy on religion and preaching. Again, the facts are different.

There’s a lot of talk about God, though, isn’t there? The majority of A.A. members believe that we have found the solution to our drinking problem not through individual willpower, but through a power greater than ourselves. However, everyone defines this power as he or she wishes. Many people call it God, others think it is the A.A. Group, still others don’t believe in it at all. There is room in A.A. for people of all shades of belief and non belief.

AA has been described as, basically, a spiritual program. To be sure, it does not offer any material help, as a welfare department would. But AA is certainly not a religious organization. It does not ask its members to hold to any formal creed or perform any ritual or even to believe in God. Its members belong to all kinds of churches. Many belong to none. AA asks only that newcomers keep an open mind and respect the beliefs of others.

AA holds that alcoholism, in addition to being a physical and emotional illness, is also a spiritual disorder to some degree. Because most alcoholics have been unable to manage things on their own, they seem to find effective therapy in the decision to turn their destiny over to a power greater than themselves. Many AAs refer to this power as “God.” Others consider the AA group as the power to be relied upon. The word “spiritual” in AA may be interpreted as broadly as one wants. Certainly, one feels a certain spirit of togetherness at all AA meetings!

A.A. – A Kinship of Common Suffering

“Newcomers are approaching A.A. at a rate of tens of thousands yearly. They represent almost every belief and attitude imaginable. We have atheists and agnostics. We have people of nearly every race, culture and religion. In A.A. we are supposed to be bound together in a kinship of common suffering. Consequently, the full individual liberty to practice any creed or principal or therapy whatever should be a first consideration for us all. Let us not, therefore, pressure anyone with our individual or even our collective views. Let us instead accord each other the respect and love that is due to every human being as he tries to make his way toward the light. Let us always try to be inclusive rather than exclusive; let us remember that each alcoholic among us is a member of A.A. so long as he or she so declares. “

-Bill W. (A.A. Grapevine, July 1965)

To help alcoholics everywhere.