I'm new and I'm curious

How much sobriety is in this community? How long do you guys have sober? Are you guys fulfilled without a God of your understanding? How do you explain getting to AA in the first place? Do you feel that everything good in life is just a happy accident? Have you read "To Agnostics"? What do you think about it? Rebuttles for Bill?

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.

sorry sorry sorry

As I just said in a reply-post, I've been sucked into other parts of my life for a bit, but I am back and I promise to post a bit tomorrow night to see if we can get a little discussion going

Step 1

I thought it might be useful to start talking also about the individual steps from an atheist perspective.
Step One: Admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.

Atheist or not, this step is massive, as anyone in AA can attest. Different people also take this step to different degrees. Some take it to just be over alcohol (and other substances). Others take it much further, to being powerless over 'people, places, and things'. This extreme powerlessness, I think, is why so many people kind of scoff at the idea of the group as your higher power. If you are truely powerless, then don't you need constant help and guidance? Only a supernatural god could possibly provide that. Makes sense.
Personally, I don't see it that way.
For me, my powerlessness over alcohol is the same as my powerlessness over, say, diabetes. I can't just will it away. I have to treat it, and I do that by working the 12 steps, helping others, and growing spiritually.
As far as the 'people, places and things', well...I believe that it is important that we learn that our ability to change things other than ourselves is limited. While I can't make an employee work better by wishing it, I can, in fact, threaten his job. That doesn't strike me as powerless. But even that is limited.

How does everyone view the first step?

Atheism in AA, not really

One of the things that has always bothered me about AA is how the texts say that its OK to be an atheist, that many in AA are atheists, but then they turn around and say things like "eventually we accepted a higher power and came to call Him by name" (not quite a quote).
Its sort of like "Sure, its OK to be an atheist" and then giving a wink and a nod.

Personally, it was very useful for me to have an external, supernatural higher power during my first year and I suggest that to anyone new in the program. Call it a crutch to get you through for a while.
After that, you go with what you believe.

If you are in AA, how did you start to bring your atheism into it?

Also, I think I'll post about the first 3 steps and how I now view them. I hope others will too.

I now go to watch my fiance play American Idol Karaoke