AA Service Manual Supports Alternative 12 Steps for Groups: Inconceivable! 

Who saw the Rob Reiner film The Princess Bride (1987)?

A character in the movie, Indigo Montoya, played by Mandy Patinkin is puzzled by his mastermind-villain boss's Vizzini, played by Wallace Shawn. "Inconceivable," Vizzini always says about the hero's ability to side-step his efforts to thwart a rescue of the heroine. Montoya says, "You keep using this word; I do not think it means what you think it means."

While the 65 General Service Conference readies for its annual meeting this month, Regions and Areas have been asking, "Is AA Inclusive? Is our heritage of diversity holding up to a changing demographic?" We Rebellion Dogs have been talking about this in 2015. Now, we let the anti-atheist/agnostic contingent bring forward their best arguments from the A.A. Service Manual to the Twelve Traditions. We look at their arguments from the Traditions to a turgid little clause in the General Service Board Bylaws that states: "(The Board) asserts the negative right of preventing, so far as it may be within its power so to do, any modification, alteration, or extension of these Twelve Steps."

While AA tries to embracing the inevitable, there remains some persistent resistance to making room for an atheist view of 12-Step recovery. Some still say, "You can't interpret the 12-Steps without God and call yourself an AA group; The service manual says so!"To those that see this as an edict for Intergroups to cast secular AA groups from the fold, we say, “I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Meet Bridgewater State University Philosophy professor, Aeon Skoble (link below). He helps us understand what negative rights, positive rights and duties mean and these definitions will help us balance bylaws with warranties and the over-all intention of the AA service structure.

We will settle, once and for all, if AA supports a group’s right to write God out of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, or if rigid Intergoups are right.

I think the proliferation of agnostic/atheist AA groups is part of what prompts the diversity question being asked across Canada and the USA. New Angus Reid data (in Canada) and Pew Research data (Global), projects shifts in worldviews from now until 2050. Outside AA's doors the world is a tapestry of beliefs, some supernatural and some more scientific.

“Never bet against AA inclusivity,” Rev. Ward Ewing said to the We Agnostics & Freethinkers International AA Conference in Santa Monica in November 2014. John H. of the We Agnostics Group in Washington wrote in AAagnostica last month about how AA is better together - believers and nonbelievers:
“In my own case from my first days in AA in the later part of the 1980s I was exposed to an incredibly varied set of personalities, mind sets and beliefs that invariably led to a deeper understanding of and compassion for my fellow members. The  knowledge of stories different from my own and the growing conviction that I could possibly fit into the structure of the program within the parameters of my own rather unorthodox views proved that there was a place for the unlikely likes of me inside the fellowship.”
We will report from the Pacific Region, Columbus Ohio and Ontario Canada as well as offer commentary on the latest demographic statistics. But most importantly, we'll settle a duel that is long over due.

Light your torches gather your pitch forks; let the games begin. As always, share, copy, download and re-post to your heart's content.

For a transcript of Episode # 13, CLICK HERE FOR PDF  We borrow some music from the latest CD of Jon Cohen Experimental, Passion Pilgrim aptly titled (for this week’s theme) “In Order To Survive.” https://thejoncohenexperimental.bandcamp.com/track/in-order-to-survive
For Professor Aeon Skoble of Bridgewater State U, click HERE

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