Although Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is meant to welcome everyone, the references and reliance on God or a “higher power” can be off-putting to atheists in recovery. It’s often difficult for atheists in recovery to find people who share their secular views of addiction and sobriety, so here is a list of some online resources they might enjoy.
AA Agnostica is “a space for AA agnostics, atheists and freethinkers worldwide.” This website is intended for members of AA who are uncomfortable with the religious tone and content of AA meetings and literature. It offers many great articles that offer insight and inspiration for people in recovery who are struggling with the notion of a higher power or religion, but still wish to be members of AA and work the 12-steps.
This website contains a list of agnostic AA meetings that an atheist in AA might find helpful. These meetings are held all over the United States, and in Canada, England, France, and Japan. Atheists in AA may prefer to attend these types of meetings that do not have a religious focus.
Sober Atheist is a blog that’s exactly what the name implies – thoughts from a sober atheist (who remain anonymous). The posts contain random musings, political and social commentary, and general content related to an atheist’s battle with addiction and subsequent recovery. There is a section with stories from other sober atheists and a list of non-secular recovery literature.
Some atheists may find the Buddhist Recovery Network helpful. It is a 12-step program based on Buddhist philosophies. There is a directory of worldwide meetings, as well as a great deal of resources including many downloads that discuss Buddhist recovery and book suggestions.
On this website you can find an agnostic version of the 12-steps of AA that may be helpful to atheists as well. It removes any references to God or a higher power in the 12-steps.
There are also organizations that are meant to be alternatives to AA for people who are seeking secular recovery groups or groups that are not 12-step based.
The founder of SOS is the Secular Organizations for Sobriety felt that turning one’s will over to a “higher power” was contradictory to research that shows addiction is a physiological problem, not a psychological one. SOS promotes sobriety based on self-reliance and personal empowerment and focuses on science rather than spirituality or religion.
LifeRing is secular, non-12-step program that focuses on helping addicts empower their “sober selves” and providing peer support. There is no pressure to involve spirituality or religion in recovery. The LifeRing website offers a social network, forums, and a chat room.
SMART (Self-Management and Recovery Training) is a scientific, not spiritual, program. It focuses on four points which are essentially: motivation, coping with urges, managing emotions, and living a balanced life. There are online meetings and message boards.