An Atheists Unofficial Guide to AA for Oldtimers – Vince Hawkins

An Atheists Unofficial Guide to AA for Oldtimers – Vince Hawkins

First the disclaimer – this book is NOT conference approved AA literature.

I bought this book because..

a) it was recommended by someone who I have tremendous respect for – 19 years sobriety and one of those AA oldtimers I admire. He is an atheist and makes no bones about it, sharing appropriately about his atheism in meetings – in an encouraging way for those still early on in the programme etc.
b) it is written by someone I know in AA, he has moved away from our local groups but was about when I was new in and again someone who I have big respect for.

I found this a really helpful book. Let me put this in context – if you are entering the AA programme or have been on it a while but find all the “God” thing a worry then this is a good book to read – I’d recommend it even if you don’t consider yourself an atheist but are not someone to whom regular organised religion is attractive for whatever reason.

Vince lists out modified steps – not all of them, but those where God is mentioned and he modifies these to be for a more atheist view. He talks eloquently about his own experience and that he has learnt of others who are atheists but walking the AA path of sobriety. Also he points out some of the limitations within the literature that surrounds the AA programme in particular the big book and the chapter “To Agnostics” which he determines makes the assertion that if you hang around long enough you’ll get the God thing but he feels that isn’t suitable and AA should encompass and can successfully encompass atheists too.


About furtheron

Music and guitar obsessive who is a recovering alcoholic to boot
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7 Responses to An Atheists Unofficial Guide to AA for Oldtimers – Vince Hawkins

  1. byebyebeer says:

    How cool that this was written by someone you know. I know this is a big struggle for many in the early days of recovery especially. Sounds like a real useful resource to have.

  2. elsieamata says:

    Sweet! You know the author. My hubby had a hard time with the whole “God” thing in the beginning. He had to learn it was just a matter of believing in something other than yourself. Letting go of control and asking for help.

  3. Very cool. I know a guy up here who also wrote a book for agnostics, and he runs a site: I have talked to the guy a few time – he seems to know a lot of folks in the program, especially those who aren’t keen on the God concept. I have no real opinion on the whole deal. What works for you works for you, really. I have been to an agnostic meeting too – not totally my cup of tea, but it was still a meeting – alcoholics talking to other alcoholics.

    I think the spirit of the BB is that there is faith in all of us. What we have faith in need not be God per se, but at least faith in something greater than ourselves. I know folks who use nature, the Universe, Pagan gods, even certain laws of physics. Something that they can’t quite explain, but isn’t attached to anything in particular. I am not an atheist or agnostic, so I don’t know that side of things as well.

    Thanks for the link – might actually buy it and check it out!


  4. So most alcoholics need to God to kick their addition? I never knew that. I’m glad to hear that atheists can do it too.

  5. Suburbia says:

    I had no idea AA was a religion thing, thank goodness for sensible authors!

    • furtheron says:

      To balance it says categorically it is God as you understand him.It does state in the traditions that AA does not align with any sect denomination or organization. However – this is about those unhappy with any concept of God.

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