Posts tagged atheist

Quote of the Day

“dude this is how i look at it, the higher power doesnt have to be god, or budda, or vishnue, it just has to be bigger than yourself. for instance a mountain or ocean, just something that is a lot bigger than yourself. For me, for a long time it was the golden gate bridge….”colinphw, suggesting to a newly recruited AA who (or what) he might use as his higher power™.

Learning to believe in the God of Alcoholics Anonymous


Glenn Chesnut is a 12-step author. He gave speech to the Northern Indiana Counselors Association, which was later included in the book The Higher Power of the Twelve-Step Program: For Believers & Non-believers. It gives great insight into how AA manipulates people into believing their dogma. This speech has everything from circular logic to bait and switch recruiting tactics, so I thought that it would be interesting to examine. I’ve taken selected parts of the text, but the full text of the speech is available here.

This is Part One of three parts that I will post here in our blog:

From Glenn Chesnut’s speech:

“…at least 95% of alcoholics are totally hostile to organized religion in all its forms. Many of them are outright atheists: “There is no God, and the whole notion is a piece of absurd superstition, a crutch for the weak and ignorant.” Others are agnostics: “Well, maybe there’s a God, but I dunno. I’ve heard arguments both ways.”

How does he come with the figure of 95%? He just pulls it out of thin air. He actually has his figures ass-backwards. Alcoholics are no different than people within the general population who have no drinking problem, and the majority of people (Americans, at least) believe in God – a full 92%.

“My first observation is that no one — absolutely no one — learns to work the twelve-step program well, who has not cut the umbilical cord connecting them with their childhood religious beliefs. As an adult, you cannot truly go back to your childhood religious beliefs. Some people, when they begin the twelve-step program, make the mistake of trying to get a better grasp of the spiritual dimension of the program by going to church services or synagogue services, or reading the bible, or something like that. At best, this is totally ineffectual but comparatively harmless. But a lot of people who try it this way end up going back out and going back to their addiction…”

“…a lot of people who try it this way end up going back out and going back to their addiction….”

This is true. In fact, most will – just as most will go back to their addiction who work the steps, but he does not mention this. What he also does not mention is how this perception plays out in the world of AA. Those who do not work the steps and fail, are held up as examples of the consequences of not working the steps. Those who do work the steps and fail (the overwhelming majority) are ignored, or brushed off as though they don’t exist, or are explained away as not being “fully honest” or “giving entirely into the program.” Continue reading Learning to believe in the God of Alcoholics Anonymous