Wednesday, October 17, 2012
A.A. and God: Another Move to Oust Him
When both A.A. founders were working together, reliance on God for recovery wss not only paramount, it was necessary. See DR. BOB and the Good Oldtimers, page 131.
But watch the times and the changes that are nudging their way into the picture today. The first was to develop a "new" program at the time of publication of the 1939 Big Book. Wihtout approbation of Dr. Bob, Bill had deftly removed God from the 12 Steps and replaced (if that be posible) the word with some new words--that eventually became translated into higher powers, light bulbs, chairs, Coke bottles, Santa Claus, and a "group.". See www.dickb.com/godandalcoholism.shtml.
Before long, religious editors were brought in to add the idea that even the "AA Group" could be one's higher power.
Finally, after Dr. Bob's death, an almost completely errorneous and self-manufactured history began to be written by those who eliminated the Bible as the main A.A. source, dwelt upon a supposed Oxford Group source, and invented new words for A.A. itself. Unfamiliar words like: "spirituality," "spiritual but not religious." And finally, literature began pouring out claims and stating that you didn't have to believe in anything at all. Accurate in today's society, but hardly likely to produce recovered alcoholics.
But the problem was and is: Who is helping the drunk get well? Certainly not chairs. Certainly not light bulbs. Certainly not the Oxford Group. Certainly not the curiously inexplicable idea that the whole thing is somehow "spiritual but not religious."
Today, the web abounds in ideas about what's wrong with A.A. Again, virtually nothing about how successful early A.A. was, how important God is, and how A.A. itself is anything but monolithic. But the influx of "new" A.A. can't convert two million drunks to atheists. Nor can it claim anything like substantial allegience.
The best example of the new vacuum is the following statement that just appeared on an A.A. website as a comment:
"In a world ready to blow up due to the collective insanity of organized religion I think it’s time to edge god out of AA or at least leave him, her, whatever, at the door. Religious convictions when loudly voiced are just ego extensions anyway. The serenity prayer is wonderful however and says all that need be at a public level."
It's for the desperate drunk to decide whether or not he will "edge" "a" "god" out of A.A. or seek the Divine Help which A.A.'s Big Book still claims is essential to recovery.