The pandemic has taught us some things -- one being that the thirst for secular AA exceeds our most optimistic imaginings. A very short time after face-to-face meetings began to be shut down, there was a notable spike in requests to join the various secular recovery groups on Facebook. An old-school Google group called "Atheists and Agnostics in AA" saw new member applications leap from 10-15 per week to 10-15 per day.
The basic principles which the Oxford Groupers had taught were ancient and universal ones, the common property of mankind… The early AA got its ideas of self-examination, acknowledgement of character defects, restitution for harm done, and working with others straight from the Oxford Groups and directly from Sam Shoemaker. (Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age, p. 39)
The London group who initiated the process of securing the first-ever Conference-approved leaflet for agnostics, atheists, and freethinkers in AA, responds to "The God Word Delusion."
The Twenty-Four Hours a Day book is pocket-sized, designed for both portability, and discretion. An editor’s note tells us only that, “This book was compiled by a member of the Group at Daytona Beach, Fla”. The author, Richmond Walker, sought neither profit, nor recognition, for his efforts. He assembled his devotional reader in keeping with the best of the spirit of Alcoholics Anonymous, the desire to help others.
I tell you the saloon is a coward. It hides itself behind stained-glass doors and opaque windows, and sneaks its customers in a blind door, and keeps a sentinel to guard the door from the officers of the law . . . it strikes in the night.
I met Brewery Bill in early sobriety and enjoyed his humour and A.A. storytelling. He got sober in 1971 when he was in his twenties, knew many of the original members of Sydney A.A. and was a great storyteller.
The year 1937 dawned with much promise for two fallen bigshots, Bill Wilson and Hank Parkhurst. Bill was 25 months sober, and his abstinence from alcohol had been supplying some small opportunities to re-enter the working world.
This spirituality--the spirituality of imperfection--is thousands of years old. And yet it is timeless, eternal, and ongoing, for it is concerned with what in the human being is irrevocable and immutable, the essential imperfection, the basic and inherent flaws of humans.
The most obvious connecting link between Alcoholics Anonymous and the New Thought movement comes through William James who “had found answers to his own depression and doubts about his self-worth from… New Thought teachings, which he termed ‘mind-cure’… While New Thought organizations never became very large, their ideas have wide acceptance in general society and also influenced early AA…