Q: DO YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE IN GOD TO ATTEND AA OR AL-ANON MEETINGS?*
God and AA:
There are mainly two different kinds of AA meetings, open and closed. An open meeting is for anyone who wants to attend. The closed meeting is only for people who believe they have an alcohol/drug dependency problem. Neither of these meetings requires a belief in God. The twelve steps refer to a higher power or God “as you understand him,” but during meetings and in AA literature, the mention of any particular religion is discouraged. In this way, anyone can attend without feeling pressure to join a particular religion, belief system, or church. AA does believe that alcoholism/addiction is too powerful to overcome by self-will alone. The “higher power” or God referred to in the steps is benevolent, caring, loving, and wants to help men and women defeat their addictions. Often, men and women who do not believe in God, will simply use “The AA Group” as their higher power.
When I first started attending AA, I had no religious beliefs. All I had was a desire to quit using alcohol and drugs. Sometimes a person will not even have the desire. It is during times like this that the Higher Power (God) comes into a person’s life—to do for a person, that which he cannot do alone.
* Excerpt from page 255 (Q&A with Joe) “Why Don’t They Just Quit? What families and friends need to know about addiction and recovery.”
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