Is Alcoholics Anonymous Religious?

A lot of people who try Alcoholics Anonymous – or even those who don’t but have heard of it – think it is a religious organisation. That is not true. AA is not affiliated to any religion or anything else for that matter. It is a series of self-governing self-help groups. Its members have one thing in common – a desire to stop drinking. So why does it have this reputation as being religious?

The 12 Steps of AA make several references to a ‘Higher Power’, and to a God of our understanding. In basic terms this can mean just having a belief in something more powerful than ourselves. We do not have to have an explanation for everything. I know that space exists and I hear about infinity but I cannot explain infinity or really get my head around it.

The God Word and Alcoholics Anonymous

I am open to the possibility that there may be some sort of power out there which is bigger than me as an individual. And is it not funny that the most unreligious people will actually pray when in their hour of darkest need? For example, many of those locked up overnight in a cell will pray to a God they do not believe exists ‘God, please get me out of here’. And I do know when I felt at my lowest during my drinking. I prayed for something to take away the pain and misery I was feeling. Acceptance of the possibility that a higher power exists is a good starting point. Which of us is arrogant enough to know that such a thing does not exist?

Spiritual Awakenings – Alcoholics Anonymous

There are lots of things I cannot explain.  That every single person in this country (in the world) is unique and different, for example. That when a baby is born it immediately has its own individual spirit. Ask anyone with more than one child whether each of their babies had its own character from the moment that it was born. Could they see that difference in each child? Is that not amazing? That two parents can produce such different children and that these babies are born with a unique spirit? We all have our own individual personalities and no one else is like us or thinks and feels the same way.

This brings me on to spiritual awakenings. What does this mean? To me it means that we are feeling spiritually dead and depleted due to our drinking or using lifestyle. And suddenly there is a spark and we feel alive again. We suddenly have some sort of belief that life can be good again and how we can achieve that.

Happy Fulfilled Life

We gain a sense of purpose and can begin to dream again of a happy and fulfilled life. That life can become a reality, especially if we do not attach too much importance to individual circumstances in our lives. So do not despair if that relationship, that job, that event did not turn out as planned. Believe in a good life and your higher power will show you how it can all turn out for the good in the end. Each element of our life is a part of its rich pattern and an opportunity to develop and grow.

The Haynes Clinic is an alcohol and drug rehab clinic which offers detox and counselling for people with addictions. Call 01462 851414 for free and confidential advice.

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