Agnostic A.A. Totally Accepted in KC
I’m not quite familiar with the inverted triangle of the A.A. service structure, but I got my feet wet today by attending a district meeting as the GSR for our group. We and some thirty-five other groups are located in District Six which is contained entirely within the boundaries of Kansas City, Missouri and our district is part of the Western Area of Missouri or Area 39, which is part of the Southwestern region of A.A. ,which encompasses the states of Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico.
I believe the A.A. service structure was created by Bill W. so A.A. could run its own affairs, after he and Doctor Bob passed away, and since the primary purpose of A.A. is to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety, the service structure must be designed to assure that we are effectively carrying the message and doing our best to reach the suffering alcoholic who wants help.
When we started the We Agnostics Group in Kansas City, one of the first things we did after registering with the Central Office was to register our group with the General Service Office. The GSO gave us an official group number and some materials that help guide us through A.A.’s service structure.
I felt it was important for our group to be active in the A.A. community as a way of attracting others to our secular A.A. meetings, but I was a bit nervous as to how accepted we would be among Kansas City A.A. members.
So with some degree of trepidation, I decided to attend the District Meeting to introduce our group and to make it known that we want to be of service. I was prepared for a negative reaction, but instead I was greeted warmly and shown nothing but love and kindness. In fact when I announced that I was from the We Agnostics Group, one young woman cheered, the District Committee Member who runs the meeting was excited saying that he’s heard of us. Everyone was enthusiastic and happy that I was there.
The A.A. community in Kansas City has thus far been nothing but helpful. Our group has been embraced as an A.A. group like any other. In fact, they know we don’t pray and they didn’t seem to mind. A lady actually came over to hug me and apologized if their saying the Lord’s Prayer at the end of the meeting made me feel uncomfortable! It didn’t. I was kind of planning to stay out of the prayer circle, but in this case I was actually in the bathroom when they were ending the meeting and they already started to pray before I got back. Maybe they knew they didn’t have to wait for me.
The meeting itself was kind of funny really. It started off as a sort of picnic with fried chicken and all sorts of goodies. As a vegan, I declined the meal but I appreciated the gesture. Once everyone was done with the chicken and socializing, they called the meeting to order with the Serenity Prayer and then proceeded to conduct the meeting as if they were a committee in Congress or something. Except that nobody was too serious about themselves or anyone else, and they didn’t seem to be paying attention too carefully to whoever was talking.
I gave a report that our group is healthy, that we started with two members in August and now are averaging attendance between six and ten, and that over twenty people have cycled through our meetings since we started. I mentioned that we are doing well financially and that we donate $25 per month to the Central Office.
I braced myself for some grilling as to how we stay sober without god, but none of that came. I was welcomed as an A.A. member just like any A.A. member would be welcomed and our group is fully accepted by the greater A.A. community in Kansas City.
A.A. in Kansas City is totally inclusive, it’s impossible to not be welcomed. All you need is a desire to stop drinking. You are a member when you say so, and there’s no way they can keep you out. This is the right attitude because more lives can be saved when there are fewer barriers to recovery.
This sentiment is shared by most everyone I know in the We Agnostics, Atheists and Freethinkers A.A. movement. As Phyllis H. said in her talk to the WAFTIAAC to “We must widen the gateway of recovery to everyone, regardless of their beliefs or lack of belief”.
I wouldn’t be surprised if we aren’t visited by people from other groups. At the end of the meeting, several people came over to make sure they knew when and where we met. I think they will help spread the word.
Once again, thank you Kansas City A.A. For twenty-six years you have shown me nothing but tolerance, love and kindness. I owe you a debt that I hope to repay with a little service work.