Archive for the higher power Category

Watters and Wine

Remember the Catholic Priest, Fr. Pete Watters, who was featured in the article about Toronto AA’s removing the agnostic groups from the roster (“Does Religion Belong at AA? Fight over ‘God’ Splits Toronto AA Groups“)? He was quoted in that article:

“People and agencies can help,” Watters says, “but the only one who can restore that person to permanent sobriety is God. But that’s the God of your understanding — that can be anything you want.”

How does a Catholic priest reconcile advising others to believe in whatever conception of God they want? Can God be whatever you want if you’re a Catholic? Do false gods work just as well in AA as Catholic God? According to his faith, isn’t Watters condemning people to both disease and damnation by encouraging them to pick any conception of God they want?

Is Watters really a Catholic?

The Toronto Star recently wrote an article commemorating Watters for his 50 years of sobriety in AA (“Priest Calls on His Own Demons to Help Others with Theirs“), and includes this detail:

And then, at 50, he felt a calling that rekindled youthful dreams of joining the priesthood that booze interrupted.

“So I went to the bishop and I asked him, ‘Are you taking any old men these days?’ The next thing I knew I was in the seminary,” he said.

He was ordained a few years later and even received dispensation from the Vatican to celebrate communion with grape juice, so he doesn’t have to sip sacramental wine, because “it’s pretty good stuff,” he laughed.

It seems that this priest has more faith in the tenets of AA than he does in Catholicism, though which the substance of the wine is transformed into the blood of Christ. Despite all appearances to the contrary, the truth — according to Catholic faith — is that the wine is no longer wine.  But it is for this priest.  It seems that he has more faith in AA’s disease model than he does in transubstantiation.

What’s his real religion?

Bonus Quote of the Day

An AA member responds to the Watters article:

I am writing to express my deep disappointment that the Star continues to provide a platform for this priest to dishonour the fellowship that helped save his life. AA is called Alcoholics Anonymous for a reason — we have a long tradition of anonymity expected of our members at the level of press, radio and films.

This is not because we are ashamed of being alcoholics. It is to ensure our humility and to enforce the fact that no one person has the right to represent AA to the world at large. Glory and grandiosity are very dangerous for recovering alcoholics, who are egomaniacs at the best of times.

By continuing to publish this priest’s full name and photo while associating him with AA, you are hurting his sobriety. I am very sorry to see a second article of this nature in three months.

Andrea O, Strathroy


The Daily Chuckle

“Well I have done well with not drinking and working the steps has keep me sober for sixteen months. But succumbed to cigarettes when I found myself hanging with sober people who almost all seemed to smoke. I didn’t smoke before I joined AA….”

Dime, An AA, commenting in the nicotine addiction forum at Sober Recovery.


OK, let’s try and follow this thread from Sober Recovery properly. “Dime” quits drinking in AA, with the help of his higher power™ and his chain-smoking sponsor. But he then starts a smoking habit with the help of his sponsor and peers in recovery, and he is now addicted. Now Dime wishes to quit smoking, and as luck would have it, he has to go no farther than the forum next door – where he is told his keys to quitting are in the hands of his chain-smoking sponsor, and his higher power™ who was so busy with his drinking problem that He/She/It neglected to keep him from getting addicted to nicotine in the first place. Here is Tony B’s sage piece of advice:

“Believe it or not…. Sponsor is the first place to start. He’ll keep you grounded in all this. Once you have a plan, then it’s all up to your HP to make it a reality.”


Unintentional Honesty


Janesville School District reviewing its 12-step rules

Get 'em while they're young...

JANESVILLE — The Janesville School District is checking to see whether documents of its CRES Academy charter school comply with the separation of church and state.

The action, announced Thursday, comes in response to a Freedom From Religion Foundation complaint. The complaint accuses the district of requiring students to attend 12-step addiction-recovery programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

Such programs require participants to acknowledge God or a higher power.

The district issued a statement Thursday, saying: “If there are portions of any district or CRES communications that state or suggest that 12-step programs are required or favored over other recovery support options, any such statements or suggestions will be corrected.”

Here’s the whole article…

Steppers Without Defects of Character? by Mykeru

no defects!

Have you seen this man?

Steppers without Defects of Character

by Mykeru

The other night, after a small Alcoholics Anonymous meeting where the lead’s topic was “Using Your Higher Power”, I stood outside the venue, a nondescript building in Arlington, Virginia which might have once been some sort of school, but now functioned as a Baptist church, smoking a cigarette and talking to one of the more intelligent members of this group.

These moments, I think, are my real reason for being in AA: Just to talk to people, one-on-one, without reference to The Big Book or the pointless God-boggled self-loathing and infantile babbling that characterizes “sharing” within the AA meeting itself.

In AA a “Higher Power” is, at first, a pretty amorphous entity — a door knob, a bedpan, a “Group of Drunks” — right up to the point where it transmogrifies with a sleight-of-hand jolt into the easily petitioned, micro-managing, diaper-changing, Great Go-fer God of Bill Wilson’s Buchmanite imagination.

Despite the baited hook of nebulous “Higher Powers” Wilson makes the nature of this “higher power” unequivocal by page 46 of the Big Book: “We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God.”

“Which is God”. Not a doorknob “higher power”, not a God “as we understand Him”, but God.

Period. Continue reading Steppers Without Defects of Character? by Mykeru