Is it Ever Okay to Leave AA?

This was the first panel of the day in the OMAGOD room and featured a discussion between John Huey and Jon Stuart, each with differing views of the role of secular AA meetings within Alcoholics Anonymous. John Huey advocates that secular AA groups should disassociate with AA, while Jon Stewart believes that secular AA members should continue working within Alcoholics Anonymous to effect change.

John Huey is a founding member of the DC We Agnostics Group, and he no longer considers himself a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. His student work of the ’60s-’70s was influenced by teachers in Vermont such as John Irving at Windham College and William Meredith at Bread Loaf. After many years he returned to writing poetry in 2011. He has been widely anthologized and published since then. His first full-length book, ‘The Moscow Poetry File’, was published by Finishing Line Press in November 2017. Full information on his creative work, as well as his many Secular Recovery talks and writings, can be found at john-huey.com.

Jon Stewart PhD is a musician and guitarist for the well-known band Sleeper. He is also an academic and lecturer in cultural history, a blogger, and a public speaker on secular recovery. His blog Leaving AA, Staying Sober: New Perspectives on Recovery provides useful information for anyone interested in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction.

The panel was introduced and moderated by Vic Losick. Vic is a former member of the Board of Secular AA and has moderated various panel discussions at the Santa Monica, Austin, and Toronto SecularAA conventions. He founded two AA meetings in New York City, “Columbus at 5” (a conventional AA meeting started in 1990) and “Without a Prayer” (a secular meeting launched in 2015). Both are still active. Vic is also a documentary film producer in New York City.

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