Alcoholics Anonymous(A.A) for Atheists

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Last Updated on November 21, 2021 by Ben Lesser

Since completing a drug or alcohol treatment program, continued involvement in a support or self-help group is also one of the main components to a sustained and long-term recovery from substance abuse or dependence.

Court-ordered attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous (aa for atheists) is one of the most contentious issues facing atheists. Insisting that atheists join this party could be construed as endorsing a religious ideology and violating their rights. This viewpoint was reinforced by the United States Supreme Court’s decision, which found it unconstitutional for a judge to force an atheist to attend A.A.

Long-term Sobriety can be aided by peer reinforcement and forming a healthy network of people in similar situations. Alcoholics Anonymous, or A.A., is perhaps the most well-known support group. It is based on the 12-Step model, promoting spiritual development while ensuring total abstinence from drug abuse. All 12-Step groups, including those for promoting substance addiction treatment, such as Narcotics Anonymous, or N.A., are often referred to as A.A.

According to the A.A. General Service Office (G.S.O.), over 115,000 AA groups work in approximately 170 countries, with over two million current members. Since completing a residential opioid recovery program, those who attended and engaged in A.A. or N.A. meetings more often were more likely to stay abstinent from opiates and alcohol over five years than those who attended A.A. or N.A. less frequently or not at all, according to a study published in Addiction.

AA and NA groups are built to be accessible to people of all races, genders, sexual orientations, and economic, social, and professional backgrounds (aa for atheists). All from all walks of life are welcome to attend. However, since AA and NA’s core elements are divine, those who fail to surrender to a higher power or God may be alienated.

AA Morality is promoted, and people who find spiritual elements like prayers and acknowledging a higher power intimidating and inefficient are encouraged to join AA for atheists. There are many nonreligious, or secular, AA-type groups to choose from, fortunate. These rehabilitation service organizations are made up of agnostics, atheists, humanists, and freethinkers. According to the New York Times, up to 150 of them are employed in the United States today.

Can I Go to A.A. if I Don’t Believe in God?

Yes, but you may have to go through some internal mental gymnastics to accept it.

The First Three Stages in A.A. (alcoholics Anonymous) Are as Follows:

  • We acknowledged that we had lost control of our Addiction and that our lives had become unmanageable.
  • We began to believe that we could be restored to sanity by a Force more significant than ourselves.
  • We decided to entrust our wills and lives to God’s protection, as we understood Him.

The word God appears in a few other steps as well. Since the measures are taken from the “Big Book,” this is the case (Alcoholics Anonymous, the guidebook). A.A., like other movements, has evolved. “God, as we knew Him” is the most important term to comprehend. Many people use the term “Higher Power” instead of “God” to emphasise that this isn’t about the capital-G Christian God. A higher force may be anyone you respect, nature, the universe’s equilibrium, or science.

Some people, especially hardcore atheists or agnostics, have difficulty accepting this concept. That’s fine. A.A. isn’t the only option available. SMART Recovery or S.O.S. are two other choices for seeking help with alcohol or drug abuse issues. Mental Health America does not advocate one form over another.

Modifications of The 12 Steps

The Three Fundamental Principles that Make up A 12-Step Program Are as Follows:

  • Acceptance of Drug Addiction as Uncontrollable and Problematic, necessitating total abstinence, communion with other participants, surrender to a higher force, and active involvement in the 12-Step methodology, programs, and meetings. Most of the values upheld by the 12 Steps are viable regardless of your faith orientation; however, agnostics and atheists alike may find it difficult to believe in or acknowledge the presence of such a power or outside control. Some people may stay in A.A. and use the program or community as their higher power, while others may look for other options.
  • The 12 Steps in Alcoholics Anonymous Are Both Religious and Faith-Based in Their Own Right. As a result, many nonreligious 12-Step secular groups now adapt the standard 12 Steps to match a less spiritual model. At least seven of the A.A. doctrine’s initial 12 Steps are supernatural, with at least one referring to a higher being, God, or spiritual awakening. These metrics should be renamed “increased self-awareness and acceptance of the modified program” instead of “increased self-awareness and acceptance of the modified program.” 
  • Some Use Scientific Methodology, While Others, for Example, Substitute Spirituality with Morality and More Humanistic Values. Outside factors may also be replaced with self-reflection. The G.S.O., or A.A.’s organising body, encourages other organizations to imitate the 12-Step method. Still, many are not allowed to call their meetings or groups “A.A.” if the faith aspect is removed. The Toronto Star a split between the Greater Toronto Area Intergroup (G.T.A.), the local coordinating body of A.A. groups, and Beyond Belief. This well-known agnostic A.A. group modified the curriculum to include less-spiritual individuals in Rehabilitation by removing the word “God” from the 12 Steps. These nonreligious “A.A.” groups were excluded from the G.T.A.’s list of meetings and literature due to too many deviations from the standard A.A. 12 Steps.

So how Do You Approach 12-Steps as An Atheist?

Imagine that many of your fellow AAs, NAs, CAs, or whatever would struggle to understand you. Of course, because you insist on wearing your “God is Dead” Nietzsche T-shirt to every meeting, they won’t all know you’re an atheist. However, simply being truthful in your speech will enable you to expose yourself frequently enough. Frequently, you’ll be placed in a box labelled “UNWILLING TO BELIEVE,” with a list of all the ingredients on the outside:

You will find some of the most orthodox 12-steppers – those who have memorized hundreds of quotes from the literature – are unwilling to look beyond the package aa for atheists. It’s directed at you. After all, it’s all on the bottle. From these types, you’ll almost always get a condescending “Keep coming back,” with an unspoken “You’ll get it eventually if you don’t die first,”


A chapter in the ubiquitous blue book describes some alcoholics as lunkheads for rejecting the idea that there’s a God aa for atheists and, by extension, you are one too. At the time, the author of that chapter considered himself a modern-day Aquinas. Please forgive him; he’s not a bad guy. He, like you, was doing the best he could.


Despite this, if you look around and remain free, you will find someone impartial enough to embrace your true atheism without judgment. And you’ll find a loving friend in that person who will show you the ropes. People like that exist in this area. You’ll also discover that being fully understood and embraced by others isn’t the end-all and be-all of life. You will learn that lesson once you have moved on from your numbing methods to get over injustice AA for atheists. Life isn’t always equal. There are a lot of unpleasant things in existence. That hasn’t been a problem.

Learn More

Less-traditional A.A. They avoid faith-based methodologies and prayers in their methods and yet support the 12-Step program’s values and core principles in their approach to maintaining Sobriety AA for atheists. Several of the 12 Steps, for example, speak of being more self-aware and accepting responsibility for one’s acts and past failures in the context of addiction and drug abuse. AA Service participants are encouraged to take responsibility for their mistakes, reject secrecy, and make amends to the families and friends who wronged them AA for atheists.
There Are a Variety of Programs and Organizations that Promote Alcohol and Substance Addiction Treatment in A Non-Spiritual Way, Including:

  • Secular Organizations for Sobriety (S.O.S.) is a non-profit network of secular addiction treatment programs, replacing God with good. 
  • SMART Recovery groups are self-empowering and science-based. 
  • AA Agnostica maintains an online community with non-spiritual recovery templates, news, and group information.
  • We Agnostics and Beyond Belief communities are asked to believe in nothing but the possibility of recovery.
  • LifeRing Secular Recovery programs provide secular and self-directed abstinence-based peer support.
  • Women for Sobriety is a non-profit organization that provides secular and self-empowering groups for women recovering from Addiction.
  • CFI (Center for Inquiry) is a non-profit humanist group that uses secular and evidence-based approaches and models.

Isolation can be a part of drug abuse, but having a peer support group with whom you can connect, regardless of your religion, can help you stay on track.

Other Recovery Options for Atheists

Because of the focus on faith, many atheists are hesitant to join Alcoholics Anonymous. They can now choose from a variety of other treatment choices, including:

  • Rational Rehabilitation is a program that does not enable participants to follow specific moral values. 
  • This treatment method often eliminates the need to attend meetings because it considers such ongoing support harmful.
  • The 12-step movement doesn’t condition many rehabs.
  • These services give people the resources they need to stay sober and provide ongoing support. 
  • People trying to develop a life free of addiction can benefit from therapy.

Importance of Self-Help Support Groups

According to a report published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol, attending AA increased long-term abstinence. Whether or not one believes in God had little impact on recovery; however, those who were unsure about their beliefs were more likely to relapse aa for atheists. As a result, it seems that those who are clear about their views, whether spiritual or secular, have a higher success rate than those who are uncertain. A significant part of the healing process is being more self-aware and knowing the essence of your core value system and how it applies to your life.

Behavioural treatments are used in drug and alcohol therapy to improve their self-esteem and change their negative self-images. Guilt and resentment are explored and reimagined to be more constructive feelings and behaviors aa for atheists. Care identifies emotional and social causes, and coping strategies are taught to handle these triggers in daily life. Support groups offer a supportive and comfortable atmosphere where painful feelings can be expressed and understood by peers who have been through similar experiences. Treatment does not stop until a residential or rehabilitation program is completed, and peer support groups are an integral part of recovery aftercare.

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), self-help organizations such as AA, NA, or other 12-Step programs promote and reinforce attitudes, ideas, and messages gained in drug abuse recovery be included in substance abuse treatment plans. In dual diagnosis treatment, the patient’s physical, mental, and spiritual aspects are addressed AA for atheists.

Evidence-based models incorporating clinical, science, family, and cultural preferences can be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Specialized integrated treatment models are used to help people who have both mental health and a substance abuse problem at the same time. With co-occurring diseases, Dual diagnosis therapy is the gold standard. Our admissions coordinators are ready to assist you in determining the best course of action for you or a loved one. Give us a call right now on 615-490-9376 to learn more about aa for atheists.