The New Messiah Is Empty Handed - Sober Doubter
Posted: March 1, 2011, 4:10 AM

Posts: 2
Joined: March 1, 2011

“He argued strongly with the early group in New York that it needed to tone down what he called the ‘God bit.’ This resulted in the much more inclusive ‘Higher Power’ and ‘God as we understand him’ concepts that are now so closely associated with Alcoholics Anonymous. This compromise was crucial—without it, AA would probably not have survived at all, much less have reached the number of people it has worldwide today. Jim B.'s contribution to Alcoholics Anonymous is considered second only to that of AA's two co-founders.”

This is of course referring to the story and impact of James Burnwell (1898 – 1974), Jim B, author of “A Vicious Cycle” in the Big Book. Bill, in writing about the origins of Tradition 3, “The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking,” called Jim “Ed,” out of respect for his anonymity credits Jim as being one of many weighty issues in eliminating the “rules for membership” that many groups had penned in the name of protecting AA and the members. Jim was instrumental in the Jack Alexander article going to print, which transformed AAs membership and reputation. He started the first meetings in two more cities in the USA. He was a pioneer who didn’t believe in a deity or universe that heard or answered prayers and his contributions are as significant as Dr. Bob, who despite devout faith was not spared the urge to drink from several years into his sobriety.
People don’t have to agree to get along. We may know members whose opinions and practices differ greatly from ours. They may or may not get under our skin; that’s up to us. Everyone’s contribution is important in a fellowship. There’s room for everyone.

I have been atheist since I got into recovery in 1976. I faked it, until I made it, but no one came back to check. I could not fake what I believe, so I found my own way. Now there is lots of agnostic AA online and in decent sized cities. God's groovy for believers. Irrelevant for doubters. You can let go and not know. Why there is all this talk about coming to believe. Just letting go of old beliefs was enough for me.
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