Tuesday, 15 April 2014

An Atheists Unofficial Guide to AA for Oldtimers - Vince Hawkins

An Atheists Unofficial Guide to AA for Oldtimers - Vince Hawkins

First the disclaimer - this book is NOT conference approved AA literature.

I bought this book because..

a) it was recommended by someone who I have tremendous respect for - 19 years sobriety and one of those AA oldtimers I admire.  He is an atheist and makes no bones about it, sharing appropriately about his atheism in meetings - in an encouraging way for those still early on in the programme etc.
b) it is written by someone I know in AA, he has moved away from our local groups but was about when I was new in and again someone who I have big respect for.

I found this a really helpful book.  Let me put this in context - if you are entering the AA programme or have been on it a while but find all the "God" thing a worry then this is a good book to read - I'd recommend it even if you don't consider yourself an atheist but are not someone to whom regular organised religion is attractive for whatever reason.

Vince lists out modified steps - not all of them, but those where God is mentioned and he modifies these to be for a more atheist view.  He talks eloquently about his own experience and that he has learnt of others who are atheists but walking the AA path of sobriety.  Also he points out some of the limitations within the literature that surrounds the AA programme in particular the big book and the chapter "To Agnostics" which he determines makes the assertion that if you hang around long enough you'll get the God thing but he feels that isn't suitable and AA should encompass and can successfully encompass atheists too.


  1. I'll have to check it out. I had a ton of issues around the god thing in AA. In fact, I just had an issue with god things this morning when I cracked open a fortune cookie that told me god would help me through hardships. Yay! Christianity with my Chinese food!

  2. I agree. Anything which smacks of god-bothering in any form makes me both cringe and run away.