Just because the first book in my addiction trilogy An Atheists Unofficial Guide to AA was specifically on Alcoholics Anonymous, this does not mean that my latest offering, Everyone’s an Addict, ignores AA. Indeed, because AA is the largest 12 step fellowship and all the others derive so much from the mother ship, as it were, Everyone’s an Addict is closer to AA than any other fellowship.

AA (Alcoholics Anonymous)

The difference between the two books in respect to AA is that the yellow-covered An Atheists Unofficial Guide is geared purely for the atheist or agnostic alcoholic and it only offers a god-free set of 12 steps whereas the blue Everyone’s an Addict takes a secular stance (meaning freedom of religion, or none) and offers the traditional AA 12 steps together with optional alternatives for the six steps that mention or imply god.

Secular stance

The second book in the trilogy (pink), An Atheists 12 Steps to Self-improvement, broadens out to cover any 12 step fellowship, but it still only offers a god-free set of 12 steps whereas Everyone’s an Addict takes the secular stance with options for anyone.

Also, Everyone’s an Addict takes a much more rigorous look at 12-step programs as a longer book of 366 pages – one for every day of the year – whereas the other two are handier volumes to accompany a first-timer on the 12 step journey.

Everyone’s an Addict is a meatier tome that would never prove boring as a topic book to accompany topic-type meetings in any fellowship. Every fellowship is covered in this latest tome.

Other fellowships

Other fellowships tend to take a more secular approach than AA anyway. They do not have so much trouble in leading their members into a non-religious approach, despite the god mentions in the traditional 12 steps. I have never encountered the Christian preacher type of member in other fellowships such as NA (Narcotics Anonymous) and OA (Overeaters Anonymous) where meetings concentrate on treating the addiction and discourage religious preaching. There is a clear attitude that there are plenty of other places to practice religion and that the 12-step rooms should be free of it.

The NA website states that Narcotics Anonymous does not express opinions — either pro or con — on civil, social, medical, legal, or religious issues. Overeaters Anonymous has no religious requirement, affiliation or orientation. The 12 step program of recovery is considered “spiritual” because it deals with inner change. OA has members of many different religious beliefs as well as atheists and agnostics. Everyone is welcome.

Now times have changed, though. On 18 January 2017 the Toronto AA intergroup settled a human rights case by dropping its claim to be a religion (!) and relisting the We Agnostics AA meetings it had earlier delisted because they didn’t promote god-type greater powers. AA World Services Inc and the General Service Board of AA were involved in the settlement of the case where they agreed to allow optional alternative versions of the 12 steps where members wish it – after acknowledgment of the traditional versions