Toronto: Religious Bullies Distort the Alcoholics Anonymous Mission

In Toronto, two Alcoholics Anonymous groups that specifically removed reference to God and religion in their version of the Twelve Steps have been de-listed by the central organization there, a straight exhibition of the abuse of power and a breach of integrity in the pursuit of selfish ends.

Alcoholics Anonymous, as anyone who has listened to Charlie Sheen’s anti-AA rants knows, employs repeated evocations of God and “a higher power” in its formula for treating alcoholism.  But while many have successfully turned to faith in their journeys to sobriety, most individual AA chapters neither insist on religious belief nor preach it, leaving it to each member to decide what his or “her higher power” is. To many, it is a God, and to many it is the fellowship of AA itself. The point of the higher power is to help an alcoholic discover the spiritual strength and resolve to conquer a pernicious and powerful disease with no known cure. the objective of AA, however, is not to seek to strengthen religion. Continue reading

Alcoholics Anonymous and Ethics

With all the alcoholics in my life, and there are and have been many (some of whom I undoubtedly never knew qualified), today was the first time I ever actually attended a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. Indeed, before yesterday I didn’t know I could attend. Many groups have periodic “open” meetings, however, to which friends and family members of alcoholics as well as “anyone interested in learning about alcoholism” are invited. I know a lot about alcoholism, learned the hard way. Now I know more. More important than that, I realize that Alcoholics Anonymous has a great deal to teach everyone…not just about alcoholism, but about ethics. Continue reading

Justice for the Serenity Prayer’s Author

“God, grant me the serenity to accept what I can not change, the courage to change what I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

This is the Serenity Prayer. Few combinations of twenty-six words have altered more lives for the better: it is the credo of Alcoholics Anonymous, and the foundation of the famed “Twelve Steps” developed by Bill Wilson to arm the victims of alcoholism for a lifetime battle for sobriety. Thanks to an academic controversy, the author of the prayer may finally get the credit he deserved all along. Continue reading