My Name is Eric, and I’m an Alcoholic
I ran across Eric’s story online and I was moved by his honest account of alcoholism. His story points to the need for secular, prayer-free and/or agnostic A.A. meetings.
I think back to what Reverend Ward Ewing said in his talk at the We Agnostics and Freethinkers International AA Convention held earlier this month in Santa Monica. He mentioned that he’s concerned about too much religion in A.A. and the danger that it is killing people. He was appalled that the International A.A. Convention closed with the Lord’s Prayer.
I also reflect on the death of my brother-in-law Mark who died needlessly of alcoholism and who was only offered a religiously based recovery operated by the Salvation Army and focusing on the Twelve Steps. I feel guilty that at the time, I was feverishly trying to get him into A.A. I brought AA members from my traditional A.A. group to his bedside and they talked to him about praying and god. I’m also the one who suggested the Salvation Army program, and when Mark rejected the treatment, left the program and died a week later, I blamed the disease. He was just incapable of accepting help, his mind too warped. It makes me sick now.
I totally understand why someone would not take seriously a treatment option that relies on a miraculous experience and stresses prayer and devoting one’s life to God. Of course Mark would leave. He wasn’t religious and he was a smart person. Maybe things wouldn’t have been much different if he were given a secular treatment option but who knows?
And here is Eric, rejecting A.A. because he can’t stand the preaching and I don’t blame him at all. Why should he have to accept the beliefs of others? A.A. isn’t for everyone, even secular A.A. groups like our’s aren’t for everyone, but at least we provide an alternative to traditional A.A.