Step 2 and 3 and other stuff
Obviously, this is where the God thing really comes into play.
Unfortunately, its where most people seem to walk out.
Thats really a drag, too, because it prevents them from coming to any meaningful understanding of the steps (and while I am all for open critiquing of AA, I am tired of people who go to one meeting, read the steps and then think they know everything about them)
For me, as I think I've mentioned, this is all about acknowledging that this shell I call myself isn't in control when it comes to booze and other substances, and needs a hand, both internally and externally. I need to let go of the exterior casing my brain has created because thats leading me down some really bad paths.
Alas, there's that word 'God'...and following that up with "as we understand him" doesn't really cut it for the true atheist.
Really, it often doesn't cut it for the theist either, as step 3 makes it sound as if you are becoming a puppet on a string. You may believe in God, Jesus, Krishna, whatever, and still not want to lose yourself (which is what the step sounds like)
On a side note, I'm personally becoming a little more frustrated with being an atheist in AA.
1) at a recent meeting, we read Doctor Bob's story (I think). At the end, he makes some comment along the lines of: "I feel sorry for those too arrogant or self-centered to give their lives up to God". Needless to say, I felt that the characterization of atheists as basically bad people was pretty shallow etc.
But I have to remind myself that this book is the product of its times as well as the product of a bunch of alcoholics (lead by an egomaniac). So I let it go
2) I'm vaguely bothered by the fact that I can't really tell my sponsor that I'm an atheist. He feels he can't be a good sponsor for me then.
3) A few months ago, my fiance and I brought a meeting to one of the local rehabs. I decided to mention the fact that I was an atheist and the program still worked for me. A couple people came up after to talk to me about it, which was cool since thats the whole point. I'm not sure how I felt about the conversation though. When they'd ask a question, I'd answer and they'd tell me not to get defensive (very friendly, though). I didn't think I was getting defensive, any more than if you asked a Christian how he felt about a particular saying of Jesus'. Also, one of the guys kept asking me about how I could use words like "god" or "Jesus" as exclamations of I was an atheist. The question seemed a little naive, but I just answered that these words are more colloquial language than anything else, given the context. He kept asking, obviously not getting the point. I'm wondering if maybe he was just stupid. Alternately, he could have been trying to show me that I believe, even if I won't admit it.
Neither would surprise me.
However, I'm not the one at a rehab, so...
ANYHOO, I'm wondering if the attitude in AA is any different than the attitude towards atheists in the general public. Public opinion of atheists is not very good, and its pretty common for people to think that atheists lack any kind of real morality, and can't be much trusted, and are probably just lying to themselves.
Of course, as science continues to whittle away at the claims of religion, that may change in a generation or two.