Reviewing the Website for and “A.A. for the Non-Christian”

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May 14, 2013 by Dr. Bob Weathers

I recently reviewed the website for Specifically, I read all the entries listed under “A.A. for the Non-Christian.”

What became apparent to me is the number of individuals in recovery who have found A.A.’s Christian prayers and language no major impediment to receiving full benefits from A.A.  (I’ve just recently reviewed the considerable literature underscoring A.A.’s roots in Christian faith, and the impact that has had on its current expression, at least on American soil; for further references, I will happily provide a list from that research project.)

Reading through the various responses on this website,, I am struck by the clear dedication to A.A. and the 12 Steps toward recovery evidenced in most every individual.  Yet many of these same recovering alcoholics found ways to deal with A.A.’s Christian language even while they themselves were not identified as Christian.

For example, one respondent shared how he managed to move patiently enough through the Christian prayers, knowing that they represent a distinct minority of the form of actual A.A. meetings.  (He humorously noted that the profanity that typifies the remainder of meetings he attends surely is not characteristic of any other Christian church service!)

One core theme throughout this website’s personal testimonies is that of humility.  One person stated that the “Set Aside” Prayer (below) helped him keep things in perspective when it comes to religious language and getting too caught up in it:

The “Set Aside” Prayer:

[Higher Power,] please set aside anything I think I know about myself, about my disease, about the Big Book, the 12 Steps, the Program, the Fellowship, the people in the fellowship, and all spiritual terms, especially you God [Higher Power]; so that I may have an open mind and a new experience with all these things. Please help me see the Truth. [Amen]

The bottom line: I remain curious about what differentiates those who can tolerate and move through A.A.’s Christian emphasis vs. those for whom it proves an insuperable block to participation.  My previous work toward a “Cross-Cultural Integration of Spiritual Resources in Recovery” continues…





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