Alcoholics Anonymous Spirituality Cause Of Internal Debate: Response
Many are familiar with the 75 year old organization that helps addicts find freedom in sober living. They do this through a twelve step program which contains many ideas of faith in a higher power, forgiveness, and other values which are termed to help one cope with being an addict and developing to live a sober life. Recently there has been much debate on the spiritual aspect of the program. For meetings AA members partake in a ritual that recites the famous Sereni
G. Jeffrey Macdonald reported on Huff Post on Religion News Service about AA and how many reformers are saying that the organization has drifted from important principles and is “failing addicts who can’t save themselves”. AA centers themselves around spirituality, so should we regard them as a religious group? They have a place of meeting which ranges from community centers to parks and these meetings are preformed daily all around the world. These meetings are ran by members giving a “sermon” on current and past trials and how they overcame them or plan to. Then there is a scripture called the Big Book which is the main manual to live a sober life in twelve steps. So AA has a place of worship, followers who perform sermons at these meetings, scriptures which are used to help them live a sober life, and finally rituals. In each meeting members recite the serenity prayer:
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the thing I can;
And wisdom too know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Has the AA organization transformed into a sober living religion? Have they lost the meaning of why their organization is here? The problem that this organization is facing is that addicts who are yearning for help do not want to accept the religious entities AA offers, perhaps an atheist has an addiction and all he/she does not feel comfortable in the higher power AA centers themselves with, is the organization responsible? Have they strayed to the religious sector rather than the helping off addicts around the world? Do you think such an organization needs the thought of faith in a higher power to exist?
Perhaps AA has only lasted for 75 years because it is based on faith and forgiveness through a higher power because when AA evolved in the late 1930’s it was a time where many were involved in religious communities. Do you think if AA was founded in present day time they would center their thoughts differently? Why or why not?
Many AA members have expressed their views on the spirituality and many support the idea but they also notice new members who do not have such relationships with a higher power find it difficult to follow AA’s guidance to a sober living. An issue which many AA reformers are seeking to change so that all can feel welcomed and comfortable while striving to live a sober life. Finally do you think AA should stick with the idea of their sober religion by putting faith in a higher power or should they reform the organization to a non religious sector?