It is mentioned in Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers that the prayer was used from the very beginning in the Fellowship, at least as early as 1938 and 1939. In those days there was no AA literature, so the early groups relied heavily on existing prayers, and on the Bible and Oxford Group literature, for inspiration and guidance. Bill W. commented several times in his correspondence about the early use of the Lord’s Prayer. He wrote a letter to a member in 1959 in which he stated: “This practice probably came from the Oxford Groups who were influential in the early days of A.A. You have probably noted in A.A. Comes of Age what the connection of these people with A.A. really was. I think saying the Lord’s Prayer was a custom of theirs following the close of each meeting. Therefore it quite easily got shifted into a general custom among us.” Bill also wrote the following in a 1955 letter: “Of course there are always those who seem to be offended by the introduction of any prayer whatever into an ordinary A.A. gathering. Also it is sometimes complained that the Lord’s Prayer is a Christian document. Nevertheless, this Prayer is of such widespread use and recognition that the argument of its Christian origin seems to be a little far-fetched. It is also true that most AA’s believe in some kind of god and that communication and strength is obtainable through his grace. Since this is the general consensus, it seems only right that at least the Serenity Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer be used in connection with our meetings. It does not seem necessary to defer to the feelings of our agnostic and atheist newcomers to the extent of completely hiding ‘our light under a bushel.’ However, around here, the leader of the meeting usually asks those to join him in the Lord’s Prayer who feel that they would care to do so. The worst that happens to the objectors is that they have to listen to it. This is doubtless a salutary exercise in tolerance at their stage of progress.” As Bill’s 1955 letter indicates, recitation of the Lord’s Prayer at meetings has clearly been controversial in some circles almost since the beginning. The GSO has responded to letters on this issue since the 1940s and 1950s. It is continually addressed in articles in Box 459 and the AA Grapevine, and has often been asked about at the General Service Conference. For example, at the 1962 Conference, in one of the Ask-It Basket questions, this subject was broached: “Question: What is the procedure for dealing with individuals who refuse to stand during recitation of the Lord’s Prayer? Answer: Participation–or non-participation-in recitals of the Lord’s Prayer should be considered a matter of personal conscience and decision.”
177 thoughts on “The history behind reading The Lord’s Prayer at 12 Step meetings”
Please get rid of the Lord’s Prayer from AA meetings. Just use prayers from the book that doesn’t refer to Our Father. Get rid of any prayer with Our Father in it. Take Higher out of Higher Power and make it A Power. And git rid of the word Him. Something of your own understanding. I’m good with everything else.
Please get rid of your expectation and resentment of others for having a practice that allies the communion with a source of greater power then themselves.
The main problem is that it is not just “a communion with a source of greater power than themselves”.
It is a Christian prayer and excludes those who have different beliefs or believe in a different God than “Our Father who art in heaven”.
Think how you would feel if everyone recited a passage from the Koran, praising Allah at the end of every meeting you went to.
the lords prayer is fine…Can I use the Sufi prayer of healing and thanksgiving….just replace God with Higher power ?
You’re missing the point of the article the title of the article even says finding the 12 steps in the Lord’s prayer and prayer was all they had in the beginning before there was any literature if there was prayers from the Koran that help them get sober yes by all means but it wasn’t the founding fathers in the first group of men and women we’re not using those prayers they’re using the lords prayer & the serenity prayer as today it still helps people to stay sober everyone’s goal in the halls of AA And that should be the only one opposed to it in the comments is somebody that heard the Lord’s prayer and it made them wanna go drink!
This issue of inclusiveness is important. However how many meetings are held in church rooms compared to Mosque rooms? AA and church rooms have a long history? Why? If we chose to host meetings in Christian venues is it “being friendly with our friends” to denounce their prayers? An AA meeting in Somerset has been struck off the “where to find” list because of saying the Lords Prayer. To me that puts all AA meeting held in churches in Somerset on shaky ground.
Yes praise be to Allah
We all have a right to are our own preference of prayer.
The thing is…the original 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are based on Christian beliefs and Christian teachings that were learned from studying the Holy Bible. These beliefs were NOT derived from buddha, allah, sufi, shiva or any other god. The principals, teachings and beliefs, which make up the foundation of AA and the 12 Steps come from God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as the founding members ALL came from the Oxford Group – a Christian organization founded by Frank Bauchman – and got sober, were saved and gave their life to Christ – no other god. Dr Bob handed out the book Sermon On The Mount, by Emmet Fox, not sanskrit writings or the Toa of Pooh. The founding members of AA considered calling themselves the James Gang because of the Book of James, from the Holy Bible, was such an intricate part of their continued sobriety. They didn’t consider this name because they were fans of Joe Walsh, but because of the teachings of the Disciples and Apostles in the Holy Bible.
I guess next you’ll be calling for the elimination of pronouns like he/she and have ze/zir as a replacement. Wonder why, at this point, Celebrate Recovery is having far more success than AA? When one kicks Jesus Christ to the curb bad things tend to happen.
Spoken like a true cult member who never questions anything the leader says.
Not At AA
It is destructive
The whole idea of AAA for a bill was to leave the church keeping the Lords prayer is against that will
Well said brother. Well said.
OMG. I would prefer to look to our cofounders example of reaching further than Christianity for their fellow sufferers, be they Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Agnostic, what-have-you. Thank God they set aside their own way, for a wider path, that our roots spread now around the world and not just the place whence they came. Let’s look to the principles that carry us forward. They did much to begin the process of removing barriers to recovery from Alcoholism. Jesus and the Bible are not mentioned in the Big Book. For a reason. Let’s not disrespect what they were trying to do by twisting it around to say “this is the only way” when in fact, is simply is not. The AA principles have a wider hoop of spirituality that most religions bear (including older ones than Christianity, I might add). This is not Christian Theology debate. This is about reaching all the alcoholics we can and setting aside “what I want” or “what I’m used to”
as the Traditions ask us to do for the greater good.
Agreed. It came up again today in our group conscience. We voted 10 yrs ago to keep it in our format. Someone wants it taken out again. Funny thing is, we also discussed taking ZOOM out of our format as it was said by saying it, we are promoting it and this same person stated that AA has been around this long because we follow the guidelines set so long ago by our founders. Well the same should be said about the Lords Prayer. If the Lords Prayer was said from the start and has continued all this time, who are we to take it out? WE Complicate things! It is stated that anyone who wants to participate in saying it may. YOU can also choose not to —- key word “choice”. I have a sponsee who has been in and out for years. She struggles with God (even though was her given religion growing up) blaming him for all that has happened in her life. Now on the 6th step, I’ve noticed that she is saying the Lords Prayer with the group at the end of the meeting. This small gesture and the saying it has given her the willingness to explore why she struggles and talk about it which I’m hoping will ultimately allow her continue onto step 7 and sobriety. She has stated that she hits a brick wall every time she gets to the 6th step. The saying of the Our Father at the end of my home group is, in my opinion, helping continue her sobriety. For me personally, with almost 12 years, it has helped me reconnect with religion and god as well. When I came into AA I was so far away from God. Today I can honestly say I believe in God but my spirituality is even stronger. Thanks to AA.
My research shows it is the watering down of the original program is reason why numbers are down and success low. If the group conscious votes to do that, this or the other thing that is their autonomous right as long as they are following the 12 Steps & 12 Traditions. Here in my area, a new group called James Gang debut several years ago. It wasn’t long before the tourists went back to headquarters and complained it sounded too ‘christiany.’ Before you knew it, four surrounding counties went on the attack to shut her down. The James Gang founders made their case and survives to this day. Basically, it’s just an AA group made up largely of Christians and the curious. Where one can feel free to identify their Higher Power as Jesus without suffering the wrath of haters. It’s just so damn weird the vitriol many AA members have when you deviate from the slightest inference that one’s Higher Power actually has a name. I had been in and out of AA for several years and stopped going because I got tired of the war stories, cliches and or having a bad day. After 15 years of mission impossible, I returned to AA on Feb18, 2023. Somebody dared mention the name of Jesus, I was so taken aback that at that moment the obsession was lifted and have been alcohol free since with no signs of going back out. This saving meeting was not at The James Gang I mentioned earlier. It was another meeting that just happened to have in the room one of the gents who founded The James Game. He came to share the same day I returned to AA. There is Power in the Name. I believe that. You can choose to believe as you wish for as long as you wish. Personally, in the end it will be between that person and God. Christians who run around using “fear” to spread the Good News are intellectually lazy. Telling people their going to hell because they don’t believe this that or the other thing is stupid. It does more to advance the kingdom of Satan than God’s Kingdom. It’s one of the biggest reasons people don’t want to hear it from us. Don’t blame them, I can’t stand them myself
Your last paragraph says it all because it’s helped YOU connect to religion. You want to shove it down the throats of everybody else. We tell a newcomer they can create their own concept of a higher power and in a very last thing we do is recite a very christian prayer that references heaven and our father. Are there not prayers in the big book? That would be just as powerful. Can we not lay aside our prejudices as we askthe newcomer too? Is it really so important that we take a chance of turning away even one new comer?
Great point. Just to weigh in here, the Lord’s Prayer isn’t a Christian prayer. It has been adopted by Christians. It is a Jewish prayer when taken in Bible context. It was given to Jews by a Jew. Jesus did not say “recite this”. He gave them a prayer template laced with humility and supplication in comparison to those who offered their eloquent, show-off prayers in public. The Lord’s prayer is also a pre-Calvary prayer.
Never-the-less, I am humbled to stand with my fellow AA’s and recite it in unison. The slightest study of religions will point to why praying to Allah isn’t a widespread thing. For one, Islam is a minority in the US and other is that Christianity is more accepting of the normal drinker. In the Islamic religion, depending on how strict the particular discipline of the Islamic sect, drinking an get your head chopped off.
AA groups are certainly autonomous on some things. The closing prayer is one of those things. Some don’t close with prayer at all. They recite the Responsibility statement.
Just before Ebby snapped at Bill, “Why don’t you chose your own concept of God:, Bill tells us of the pushback he had to the Christian God, more specifically, his pushback to Christian history. But he does say he could go with the concept of a Creative Intelligence, Universal Mind or Spirit of Nature. But not a Czar of the Heavens. I see this as a pushback to what Christians have said about God. A pushback to certain theologies or doctrines (theories) Christians sometimes broadly accept. I don’t think anyone has ever really questioned God, only what they have heard ABOUT God. Bill found that the Creative Intelligence , etc. idea was plenty to get started,
If one would like any and all concepts of God removed from AA, it might be good to find another avenue of recovery. This one is based on the foundation of connecting to a Power greater than oneself. But that idea is quite flexible as to what that concept might be. Also, the text does not say to use any god as if there are many. It says “your own CONCEPT of God”. Not having the ability to consider such a thing might point to a Step 1 problem. Perhaps the great persuader is yet to persuade enough.
But it’s NOT! I
AA came together with Medical (Silkworth) Psychiatry (Jung) AND Theology!
I fully agree with you.
Jesus. So grateful to be a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and for our 3rd Tradition. I am not a Christian and have gotten the gift of sobriety through the twelve steps of AA without having to be a Christian. Alcoholics Anonymous is NOT a religious program and for THAT, I am truly grateful. If it were, I would not be a member.
Did you really have to lowercase all non xtian religious figures?
This whole thing is the biggest issue I have with AA. Because of this exact view and unwillingness to evolve with the times, it has kept so many people from finding their home in the rooms. The fact that the book states its based on a spiritual program, and not a religious based organization, seems to so adorably passed over by those with this exact mindset.
There are wonderfully supportive groups like Celebrate Recovery and SAFE that are legit for religious based recovery.
AA is not that.
AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization, or institution…PLEASE stop trying to make is as such.
The lords prayer has NO place in AA. I can get down with the serenity prayer but really it’s the responsibility prayer that really speaks to what AA does for people as a whole.
Also, the Tao of Pooh is an absolute banger of a read. There is so much people can get from the whole uncarved block.
Why should A.A. change for you??
Is this comment satire? I thought the entire idea was to aim “higher” then the earthly “power ” which has so often been corrupted by humans.
I am troubled by the use of the Lord’s Prayer. A new comer (first meeting) comes to a Christian church, we have blue book that looks like a bible, we talk about God for an hour, and close with the Lord’s Prayer. Who wouldn’t think we’re a Jesus based program. I seen Jews and Muslims walk out (in the last 23 years), because they got the idea that one has to convert to Christianity to get sober. Some of them never come back. They die from alcohol never knowing that a “God of our understanding isn’t Jesus. When the meeting closes with that prayer, I don’t say it. Instead, I look around the room at who’s not saying it, so I get meet them and explain that “no, we don’t require an alcoholic to become Christian”, and keep coming back!
On July 27th, 2002, I totally humbled myself and with absolute surrender, dropped to my knees and asked God to take my alcohol addiction from me. I was a fall down, black-out drunk. As I rose to my feet, the Lord spoke to my heart and said, ‘You shall never drink alcohol again.’ I am going on 21 YEARS of sobriety – ALL GLORY TO GOD!
respectfully there is only one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.. Doctor Bob’s nightmare in the AA big book . It the last thing written. Your heavenly Father will never let you down. To not point to people to God is not kindness but cruelty as ultimate forgiveness and salvation is only in Father God’s saviour he sent us. His name Jesus. Its Jesus that sets us free from addictions, healed our bodies and our minds, and enables us to know God intermitly as Father, our Father God.
Not sure which offends me more. The fact that this person assumes only newcomers to 12-Step are agnostic/atheist, the fact that he claims “The Lord’s Prayer” is universally accepted, or the fact that he cites opinions from over half a century ago. I have 5 years plus sobriety and am still bewildered by the fact we can claim to be a spiritual, non-religious program and still expect Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, and agnostics to say, or at the very least have to listen to, a Christian prayer. I wonder how many of these Christians who try to impose their will on all could demonstrate “a salutary exercise in tolerance” if I tried to push a Buddhist chant at the close of a meeting.
Actually the “Our Father” was a Jewish prayer, recited by a Jew Jesus Christ so we are told. Now when Jesus practiced this prayer there were no Christians yet, I would prefer a non dogmatic moment of silence.
this is not even a prayer anyway. it a guide on how to pray to the one and only dogmatic God
Exactly! It’s just wrong! I’ve been tempted to ask for a group conscious and suggest a passage from the Koran. I can imagine what kind of response that would get!
Tell me how these words align with AA Traditions:
Hallowed be thy name
My issue, after 36 years sober is the same as it was day one, we say we are not religious, then we bow our heads and say this prayer. So basically it’s ok to lie to newcomers? Is that the kind of honest program people want to bet their life on? That’s insane
If you were to look with an open and open heart you could actually green the steps out of this prayer
Our father hallowed by thy name- 2nd step
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven- 3rd step
Give us this day our daily bread- 11step
Forgive us our trespass as we forgive this who trespass against us -step 8&9
And lead us not in temptation but deliver us from evil- step 10
For thine power thy glory forever and ever amen- step 12
Thing is I am familiar with the Koran but in a where of a prayer in the Koran that can relate to steps the same- but I may be mistaken on that. The point is it is a spiritual program if you do not wish to say it than don’t but afford others the opportunity to say it if they desire. Respect the tradition that was set before us.
Wow what a stretch!
Yay! The best answer, thank you! We are all there using our free will to be there No one can force us to think, feel or say anything. I say give us this day our daily “strength” I never say “deliver us from evil” I always say “deliver us from self”. Just change what you need to so it feels right for you.
Who keeps us sober?
My higher power which I call Dog which some of you seem to spell backwards
God as I DON’T understand Him.
The Supreme Court of California some decades back ruled that AA is a religious entity, and as such, it is illegal to compel people to attend their meetings as part of a sentencing agreement.
Sounds like the problem is YOURS, my fellow AA! I have 35 years of continuous sobriety and I am so glad that the 2nd step allows us all to have a power greater than ourselves OF OUR OWN CHOOSING! So that gives YOU the choice to say a prayer at the end of every meeting -or NOT. The choice is totally yours. So why are YOU trying to change the long-standing tradition of AA. If it is not broken, why try to fix it?
That is a Spiritual Program whether YOU like it or not!
I think that is a good point the lord’s prayer is not in Bills story or the 12 and 12 so it is not to be read in an AA meeting. If you choose to Live by the sword you should be perfectly willing to die by the sword. The fanatics in AA are like cult members high on delusion
OMG! And what does swards have anything at all to do with AA? IF YOU FANATICS don’t like joining in the Lord’s Prayer at the end of the meetings, it is your FREE CHOICE not to join in! it is very simple like most things in AA are. Why, oh, why are you men & women (not people) making such a mountain out of such a mole hill? Is it because YOU want to change a long-standing program that has worked for so long? I have 35 years of continuous sobriety proving that the program as outlined in the BB WORKS!!! I can’t stand when some newcomer comes along and thinks that they know a better way and think that they should change MY program of recovery which WORKS!!!
I have always stated that fact
Is AA being all inclusive to the still suffering alcoholic ?
You can also include Jehovah’s Witnesses (who are Christians) as a group that do not say the “Lords Prayer”. Jesus mentions to “not let your prayers be repetitive”.
(cult people) yes… Christian) no!
Stop complaining and start your own meeting with a Buddhist chant to close.
Yes. Amazing how the entity we are told to turn to in order to relive us of our defects of character, of which resentment is number one, has become just another area of resentment.
Those who oppose recital of the Lord’s Prayer in AA meetings want other people to SHUT UP. That’s intolerance!
The Supreme Court decided that it is the specicifoty of the prayer that is unconstitutional. This Country was built upon the freedom of religion and the freedom from religion. Our great Country decided a Christian prayer had no place in a public setting made up of many believers and non believers. I am proud of living in freedom. I would suggest ending the practice of using the lords prayer or any specific religious prayer within any of the A programs. It is by definition unconstitutional and not who we are as a American.
Freedom from religion does not mean being without religion entirely. It means the bondage of one religion can not take precedent to any other religion or spiritual belief. That Americans have the freedom to be of the bondage they choose, whether agnostic or organized.
That first sentence is a real head-scratcher. Freedom FROM religion most certainly means being without religion if you choose.
Stop whining and start your own meeting with just breathing at the opening and closing so no one becomes offended.
READ THE AA PREAMBLE!!!!!
Over 30 years sober now, it has been a continuing sadness to witness people leave AA because of this Lords Prayer custom. I never say it, and sometimes leave a few minutes early to avoid the group prayer. I used to stand in silence while the others said it, but one time the guy next to me squeezed my hand repeatedly, staring at me growling: “Say it! Say it! Say it!”… Would a desperate soul who wants to stop drinking find that welcoming?
It is a hypocrisy to recite the words “AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization” at the start of every meeting, and to end every meeting by violating that statement with a quite specific prayer from only one religion. Requiring the sufferer to tolerate such paradoxical impositions and return to them is an absurd practice.
Agreed – we should say “Spiritual it mildly Religious”
We should stop expecting others to be different and focus that change on ourselves.
Expecrations are set ups for resentments. Resentments are reasons to Inebriate.
You might as well go drink if you are not willing to surrender.
Good luck! Get God or go without; the experience is yours!
Thank you for that. If you will all read your Bible, your Quran, & your Torah, I believe that you will probably find such misspelling – occurring over centuries – by scribes who wrote it all out – by hand – often translating from an other language – & then perhaps your righteous indignation on this matter shall subside.
The prayer is truly a Christian prayer. People in the states seem to love it because they still are primarily Christian. At my meeting we say choose a prayer of your choice at the close of the meeting. Almost always it ends with the lords prayer. I too, do not join in. I agree I do not feel it’s appropriate. If I am asked to close the meeting I close either with the serenity prayer or the third step prayer. I share my feelings about the Lords prayer when I feel it’s appropriate. I do believe we need to share our opinions when we can. Other than that it just comes down to acceptance.
Why not use that well known Alcoholic’s prayer, the one that got a lot of us into the rooms, “God Help Me”….with an Amen (or not). God help us all.
Dr. bob Smith and Bill Wilson were not of my faith but they somehow through the grace of God found a way to help alcoholics get and stay sober.Can you tell me of another program that has had their success? In the thirties this country was mostly Christian and the prayer was widely accepted in one form or another throughout the United States. Christian churches opened their doors to the the AA program, men and women alike. the word sexiest didn’t exist. Your religion didn’t matter either. My home group is about to ban the Lords Prayer, a group I helped get started many years ago. Will the St.Francis Prayer go next, the Third Step Prayer? Good luck.I’m going some where else, perhaps I might find s similar program in a Temple or a Mosque.
The other program that has greater success is quitting on your own. Go check out the statistics. Most professionals who treat addicts and those who has studied addicts over the the past 50 years believe that the number of people who stay sober in the rooms of AA is not very good. They peg the number somewhere near 10 percent… About the same number of people who do it on their own.
You brainwashed clowns think that AA is the only way, well guess what, the numbers are declining. Modernize the program, get rid of any reference to God, stop using religious prayers and for all that is wholly, rewrite the basic text.
The numbers are declining in AA because of the diluted, non AA language being spoken by hundreds of thousands. That’s why numbers are declining. Do you not get the one simple, pertinent fact, that a Higher Power, a God, is what’s essentially key to recovery from alcoholism. Self is THE problem. It has been continuously proven that alcoholics stay sober because of their God. Otherwise AA wouldn’t work. I came to AA because I desperately needed changing – Not to change AA, which doesn’t need changing. Have you ever considered self change using a God of your understanding?
100% in agreement !
Maybe the numbers are getting lower because of the slow systematic removal of the Lord’s Prayer of God and infiltration of Liberal Ideology. Possibly.
Good luck with that pal…. Keep coming back.
I do believe that there are other ways for people to find sobriety Other than AA There are Lots of different podcasts and different recovery programs available now. We should celebrate anyone who is able to achieve Sobriety when they want that, however they find it. That being said I personally love Alcoholics Anonymous and everything that it has given to me. For this alcoholic it really works and has given me a wonderful life for nearly 40 years. But I am not so arrogant to believe it is the only way. We should be supporting one another on our journeys not demanding that our way is the only way. Nor should we be saying that ours is faulty and needs to be changed. If we all follow the traditions as their Written we would truly give people the freedom to follow their own inner guidance.
We realize we know only a little. I believe there are many ways to get sober. For myself I tried a lot of ways, but after 25 years of destroying my life AA found me. Out of answers I gave it a shot. 31 years later it’s still working. AA doesn’t claim to be the only way or the best way. But if you are an alcoholic of our type (hopeless and can’t stay sober) you might try ours
Hi Jay. I have been reading a lot of these answers and they all sound like a bunch of crying babies to me. Your answer is much more sensible I think. At least the first part of your answer anyway. The other thing to keep in mind is that they had a very high success rate back in those days when they were more openly Christian based groups. So instead of getting frustrated and talking about a Temple or a Mosque, how about let’s re-launch a movement more like the original movement? If you have any interest just email me back at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maybe Christians should check out Celebrate Recovery, a Christian based recovery program for many different types of addicts. Drugs, alcohol, gambling, spending, tech, control, eating, work, you name it. I assume everyone is addicted to something, so acceptance and tolerance is the key. Find what you need to control your addiction and try to incorporate acceptance and tolerance.
I am two and a half years into Al-anon and I will be attending my first group consensus meeting about deleting the Lord’s prayer from our closing and I want to thank you all for your input. I am a strong Christian and had definite feelings coming onto this site, but reading your comments has opened my eyes. If I don’t say the Lord’s prayer at closing, It will not make me any less Christian, I definitely would not be comfortable listening to any other religion’s prayers. I’m just sad to say there might be someone that could grow from hearing it, but I can share my beliefs in other ways. My goal is to heal myself from years of sadness and guilt over my son’s addiction, and I’m thankful to Al-Anon for helping me in that healing process and to all the people in this program Christian and not!
Using the “Our Father” is a tradition in AA. A few in AA object to any kind of prayer or any reference to God some even object to the use of Higher Power or anything else spiritual in the Big Book. Some would even change or rewrite the entire Big Book including the first 164 pages. This would include elimination of the Serenity Prayer as it was written by a Theologian and Pastor and the eleventh Step Prayer as it was written by a man who many believe was a saint. AA stands for Alcoholics Anonymous not Atheists Anonymous or Agnostics Anonymous. Let’s give our founders credit for the way they set up this program. I have been sober over 34 years and never tried to push my religious beliefs on anyone in AA. Please extend the same courtesy to me and keep AA the way it was intended and not take the spirituality out of the program.
You are not being truthful.
You say you “have never pushed your religious beliefs on anyone”. At the same time you are saying that the lord’s prayer should be a part of AA. That is actually pushing your religion on others. That is the whole point of the objection to the lord’s prayer.
The problem with those who oppose the removal of the Lord Pray is the problem of blind hypocrisy. That blindness includes Bill W. It is a Christian prayer. It is written in the New Testament. For those who seem to be unaware, that is a Christian book. The 11th step pray is Bill W.’s version of that prayer. Also, a Christian pray in a non religious, non denominational pathway to sobriety as written in the first 164 pages of the Big Book. Why there is a controversy? It’s an outside issue — a direct violation Tradition ten. Christianity is an outside issue.
you nuts are the same ones that took the prayer out of schools since then we have seen a lot of children dying . Lift the hand of GOD and u Lift the protection I say to the people that don’t want to pray the our father BYE BYE start your own groups and when u see it doesn’t work with out GOD well then we will welcome u back with open arms . Its what works GOD PROTECTS US !!!!
Dogma is Intolerance in action.
Thank you Robert
The lord’s prayer is not God or spirituality.
Just as man is not god.
It is just one of many rituals that possibly could lead to finding your soul or spirit inside.
It isn’t even God that we have a problem with. It is that AA is pushed ng a particular god rather than “God as I understand him”.
God as I DON’T understand Him. ☺
If the grace of god keeps me sober why would I not give god my highest praise gods place in A.A. is the cornerstone dont mess with that gratitude is necessary to know what I have and nourish it not grumble about what its called that’s controversy and I for one don’t stay sober on controversy when its not broke don’t fix it how did u people come to aa as for me i came as a last resort if Bill Wilson called it any thing other than god an still got sobriety then that’s what it would have been but as it is God an only God is who I pray to.
That’s all great and I’m really glad you found AA and are sober.
But AA is broken. That is the point.
How can you reach the 20% of America s that now consider themselves atheists?
How do you reach the Muslim?
Latest Pew now mbers say something like 85% of people under 40 don’t go to church (or synagogue or mosque). How do you reach them?
The principles and the underlying program, including and MOST IMPORTANTLY, that it is a spiritual program is why AA works.
Anything we can do to help others on this journey that doesn’t undermine these principles and the spiritual journey MUST happen in order that we can help all on this journey.
As Thomas Jefferson said, “In matters of style, swim with the fishes. In matters of principle, stand like a rock.”
Do you believe in an infinite god?
Reply to Robert:
I just had my 10th birthday WITHOUT the help of “god”. I don’t want to “shut anybody up,” but I think it only fair that the Lord’s Prayer be said silently. NO ONE is taking away your prayer. If your faith is strong, you can say it silently. Will your God get angry? If so, better go up to the rooftop and shout it to him.
A Moment of Silence is tolerant of ALL beliefs/non beliefs. What are you so afraid of? AA is supposed to be inclusive of all. With the Lord’s Prayer it’s not, and should be listed as a Catholic or Christian meeting.
Reply to Robert:
I don’t want to “shut anybody up,” but I think it only fair that the Lord’s Prayer be said silently. NO ONE is taking away your prayer. If your faith is strong, you can say it silently. Will your God get angry? If so, better go up to the rooftop and shout it to him.
A Moment of Silence is tolerant of ALL beliefs/non beliefs. What are you so afraid of? AA is supposed to be inclusive of all. With the Lord’s Prayer it’s not, and should be listed as a Catholic or Christian meeting.
I’ve been sober for 10 years w/o a god. I don’t want to stand in a circle and stand out like a sore thumb because I’m the only one not praying.
Reply to Dan Harris:
Slavery was a tradition in the old south. Tradition doesn’t make it right. I’ve been going to meetings for 10 years and have NEVER felt like I truly belong. I’ve had people yell (after I’ve spoken about troubles with a Higher Power), IF YOU DON’T HAVE GOD YOU’LL GET DRUNK! People DO proselytize at supposedly “non Christian” meetings. A Moment of Silence would be inclusive of all. I’d LOVE to see god removed from everything, and a SHE in the Big Book would be nice once in a while, but all I’m asking for is people to pray to themselves.
For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as
He may express Himself in our group conscience (which I am doing). Our leaders are but
trusted servants; they do not govern.
There would be no A.A. without the guidance and inspiration of God to the founders of A.A. I believe it is possible to accrue abstinence from alcohol for life one day at a time, by what one would believe to be the power of the mind or will or what one would believe came from-what ever , and by well intended people who do good deeds for others, and are thoughtful, helpful and caring etc. I hope that whatever anyone believes in they don’t have to EVER go through the H*** of being drunk again. But, there would be no A.A. and no Groups, no unity in common, no fellowship in Recovery without what “they” found, God. it would have been another failed self-help program.it is not required for membership to say the Lords prayer, I have been to meetings where we say the “I am responsible” pledge. I choose not to say that one out loud… We as individuals have the power of choice to stay tuned or turn the channel.
We are in AA to get sober not to worry about the words “Our Father” lol Continue to read the steps and go to meetings.
I believe in God and am not an atheist. I pray to God everyday and I see Gods handiwork and “coincidences” routinely. My God is the universe. I shouldn’t have to find another meeting because this is not a Christian program!! All the prayers are fine except that damn Lord’s Prayer ! It scares off newcomers on a regular basis so if you selfish people want to worship a person who’s been dead for 2000 years, do it on your own time and don’t pretend to care about newcomers when you know your selfish choice of prayers sends people back out there to possibly die! This just in. Did it ever occur to you that if you were raised Jewish that’s what you’d believe? In China a Buddhist ! So unless you are admitted sheep that can’t think for yourself, why would you think that your religion out of the 4200!on earth is the right one you stupid narcissist !
There is a new Women’s Meeting in my area and at the end of the meeting the ‘I Am Responsible’ statement is recited instead of The Lord’s Prayer. I find that this could be a strong ending to any meeting. I was raised Catholic and am very familiar with The Lord’s Prayer but I often see members stay silent when it is recited after meetings. Times change and sometimes other things must change. I think the ‘I Am Responsible’ statement would be a all inclusive ending to use now. Sad to see the anger and name calling here by people who are supposed to be sober.
Thank you Joanna! Being fairly new to AlAnon I’m not familiar with “I am responsible” but will look for it. I’ve been struggling with this hypocrisy of not being allied with and sect . . . But yet . . .
All the steps are in the Lord’s Prayer. It is now seen and said as a universal prayer, said all over the world,. uttered first by a Jewish gentil. The affiliation, the intention, is LOVE itself. The word “father”, is a benevolence, a word that carries an intention of care, that God cares for us, loves us. It is an intimacy, an abiding steadfast intention. The prayer carries the words trespasses and forgiveness, cornerstones of our recovery. Temptations obviously are instincts wrongfully justified. And evil is real, because why else would alcoholism exist, or egotistical self-centered hurtful choices. Paul….grateful recovering member of AA
Jesus is alive.
the as co-founders recovered through the teaching of the bible, the steps are biblical principles to bring about recovery from alcoholism.
Practise these principles each day and you will recover.
All the steps are in The Lord’s prayer, that’s why it is said in meetings,to remind us of our true purpose, maximum service to God and to those around us.
Not to ourselves and our selfish opinions, whatever drives newcomers from meetings is ignorance from others, not the Truth from God.
God bless you.
I was raised in Southern Kentucky and was exposed to AA at at early age. When I was 19, two AA women visited me in the hospital where I had been suffering a bout of anxiety and depression, symptoms I would later learn were from alcoholism. They brought me the book Came to Believe and encouraged me to come to as many meetings as I could. I did just that, and everyone of them closed with the Lord’s Prayer. Many of them have closed with the Lord’s Prayer since then. While some folks have found the prayer to be offensive, I associate it with a Fellowship that is Spiritual and that without that Fellowship, I would not be alive today. For those of you who may be intolerant of it, I suggest you read page 90 of the 12 and 12 and know that no one or no thing can take anything away from you that God has already given you.
So… if we are in AA to get sober and not to worry about the words “Our Father”, then, lol, YOU GET RID OF IT. IT’S CHRISTIAN, NOT SPIRITUAL. NO people of color, Jews, Muslims, Native Americans, Buddhists or Pagans are included in that prayer. And certainly not females.
There is nothing in the prayer that is Christian. It does not mentions Christ. It is originally a Jewish prayer that Christ recited. It is a spiritual prayer asking for guidance and forgiveness; and at the end acknowledging that we do not have power but our Higher Power does. It is a restatement of the AA and Al-Anon commitment to look to a Higher Power to whom we can turn over our will.
That said, this prayer has many connotations from my childhood and I struggle when I hear it to separate it from that. But that is another opportunity for growth that I’m working on. An exercise in letting go. If the group conscience at the meeting has accepted the reading of this prayer, so be it. When I learn to deal with this relatively mild annoyance, I will have the beginning of a skill to deal with greater ones.
My problem with the “Lord’s Prayer” (Jesus said pray like this not pray this.) is that male influences in my life were anything but good. I consider myself a Christian. I do not pray “The Lord’s prayer because of the negative thoughts that are brought up by praying to a Father figure. This is the only time I have ever spoken out on this issue publicly, but I do know that there are many people to whom “Father” is not a good word. Toleration goes both ways.
Go Sandy! ;) I hope that those concerned about the use (or overuse) of the Lord’s Prayer in meetings are attending steering committee meetings regularly to ask for change. I’m very troubled by a recent trend in our neck of the woods. Fewer meetings ask someone to close the meeting with the prayer of their choice and instead the secretary announces “we will now close the meeting with the Lord’s Prayer”. In one rather absurd instance, it was announced that we would close with the Lord’s Prayer and “Joe” was asked to take us out. Joe started saying the Serenity Prayer. The secretary stopped him and reminded him that it was the Lord’s Prayer. Again Joe started with the Serenity Prayer. At that point, the secretary felt so strongly about following her script that she interrupted him again and began “Our Father…”. But I attend a meeting almost daily and I’ve noticed in the last week that roughly 4 out of 7 were ended with the Lord’s Prayer…the practice of letting members select the prayer of their choice seems to be falling by the wayside. I would not change the book despite the fact that it is rife with Christianity. However, we don’t need to perpetuate this belief that we’re a religious organization with our newcomers by singularly using the Lord’s Prayer (reading the heading above it said they “often” used it based on the principles of the Oxford Group. Well, we all know what happened to the Oxford Group. The book was written by people and people are imperfect creatures. The instructions in the book that tell us we can choose a “higher power of our own understanding” are far smaller than the references to Christianity and a God of creation/the universe. Again, it’s worked for millions and it’s worked for me because I’m able to ignore the Christianity foundation and focus on spirituality. Not everyone can or will do that. Pulled from American Addiction Centers.org:
Moreover, the people who attend meetings change constantly since people drop out, sometimes after only a few meetings, states Scientific American. In fact, 40 percent of people drop out of AA after the first few meetings.
Our operating manual (The Big Book) contains plenty of Christian references to scare people off. In an attempt to be attractive and NOT contribute to that, I believe our meetings should be as all inclusive as possible. That means, at minimum, not limiting meetings to the Lord’s Prayer, offering choices and for those of us who believe in the importance of this need to emphasize spirituality and a higher power over God and Christianity, we need to speak up. In the meetings and in our steering committee meetings. WHENEVER, the subject of a higher power comes up and seemingly share after share refers to God/Him, I always raise my hand to point out at least one of the few places in the book that state a power of our own understanding and I refer to mine as my higher power.
You’re certainly encouraged in this program to make a start with the god of your understanding, and you can call him or her or is it whatever you want. But if you want to discourage the use of The word of God in AA, if you want to remove the traditional prayer at the end of AA, if you want to replace text from the book with more non- God spirituality, then that might be great for you. But you should start your own group and not call it AA. I would wish you much luck and success with complete sincerity. But if you’re wanting to remove the bedrocks of what started AA and what AA is, then you’re wanting something that is not AA. Maybe you should consider starting a different group if you don’t like the traditions of AA. Just a thought.
I’m Greg and I’m an alcoholic. I believe it would be helpful if we have an open mind and really listen to what our Preamble says. It does not exclude religion. Examine what it says. Alcoholics Anonymous is not affiliated with any sect, denomination such s Lutheran, Catholic or Protestant etc. it does not say anything about religion. Then goes on about Politics , organization or institution. Why does this matter ? Because we extend the right to all who enter the door to turn their will and lives over to the care of God as we understood him. It does not even say a God. It says God. Those words as we understood him are saying whatever our understanding of God at that time is sufficient. I mean no offense to anyone when I say this but there is a lot of homespun bullshit shared in the rooms of AA. I’m not sure if I qualify as a Christian but I take that third step seriously. I’ll be the first to admit that my beliefs regarding many things is ever changing. This applies to my understanding of God as well. Quit kidding yourselves and others, Our steps mention God, not a God. I just want to add this please. With or without any belief or practice of Christianity or Atheism what have you, God is still the higher power the 12 steps refer to. The Lord’s Prayer has been used since I got sober which was coming upon 40 years. There was a time when I wished it was not but I needed to get past the problem of drink and was willing to go to any length to get what the others before me had. They said if I wanted what they had, I’d have to do why they did. I’m sorry but there are a lot of thing I hear share in meetings I’d like to be able to un-hear. I’ll be damned if I’ll let that keep me from taking the part I can use. Keep it simple.
Amen Greg – Thank you from another recovered AA!
The excerpt from Pg84, Into Action keeps coming to mind…
“And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone – even alcohol.”
When Ghandi was asked “How many religions are there?”
His reply was: “How many people are there?”
The Japanese have a saying: “Every one is trying to get to the top of Mount Fuji. But we all are coming from different sides of the mountain.”
This is the core part of the idea in AA of “God as I understand him”.
We need to really practicw what we preach.
The AA Program is an accept or reject deal. The real purpose of the Big Book is to find a relationship with God. The real purpose of our life is to love and serve God and those about us. Don’t go by what I say you can read all about it in the Big Book. From the start we said we would be willing to go to any lengths for sobriety. Our ideas did not work-the God idea does work. The way of the Twelve Steps removes the character defects from us that separate us or block us off from God. There’s more to Alcoholics Anonymous than at first meets the eyes and mind.
Seeing that so many have a strong opinion on the God issue tells me that even though aa says that aa is not allied with any sect or denomination it clearly is. When it comes to Christianity ( which most in aa are) are they tolerant of other faiths? In my area that doesn’t seem to be the case. I have for years been looked at differently and treated differently simply because I am an atheist. I still found a way to work the steps without God and to those who scoff at that, I have been sober over 28 years. So it can be done. I simply go into meetings listening for the similarities and not the differences. I realize that our program came about in the 30’s but it is now 2018 and the world is much different now. In our big book says ” we still yet know little and that more will be revealed” AA has to change as does everything. The only constant in our world is change. The whole program is about change, change in our behavior and how we think. Therefore the process of doing so will also change as we change. I personally do not want to take God out of AA or ask anyone to follow my beliefs but also, I don’t want to be subject to comforming to anyone’s concept of a higher power. I love the idea of a moment of silence. It doesn’t take anyone’s faith away, just makes aa more inclusive.
My name is David and I AM a alcoholic. By reading the Big Book and attending quite a few meetings I have a few observations that I will share. First none of us commenting on this really have right to, the Big Book tells us that we have to quit fighting anyone and everything. We are no longer on the debate team. The 12 steps tell us this is how they done it..meaning Bill W ,and the it …achieved sobriety.We also know that in those early meetings they ended with the Lord’s Prayer. Do any of us have a better answer than the tried and tru A A plan for achieving sobriety, if so post it here and we can see how it stacks up. Until then I am going to follow the suggestions and follow the lead of our founders and gladly say the Lord’s Prayer at the end of every meeting that God blesses me with,and I will do it sober thanks to the same God I am praying to.
I am new to Al-Anon and am still learning about the program. I was completely taken aback and off-guard when this terrible patriarchal prayer was recited at the end of a meeting a couple of weeks ago as our group was holding hands, and clearly, I was supposed to go along with it. This prayer revives traumatic memories from my childhood in an abusive alcoholic home. I am not a Christian, and I found out recently that I should have been raised as a Jew. This prayer has an extremely controversial history, and in these days and times, it should be dropped. A moment of silence is preferable, rather than ramming down the throats of non-Christians a Christian prayer that is highly offensive. As people recite it today, it comes straight from Henry VIII, a historical personage with whom I do not want to align myself. I can see enough good in the program not to give up yet; I have been in therapy for years and have read countless books on just what may be wrong with me. Never have I identified so much with any text as I have with Al-Anon literature. It’s fine that this started out as a Christian enterprise. But if you want to avoid excluding newcomers who may be traumatized (and not just offended) by patriarchal, Christian prayers like this one, change! Otherwise, you give the impression that the only way to heal is to believe in Protestant, American White Jesus (a fabrication if there ever was one). I don’t and I won’t. Is there room for me in this fellowship? Some of you seem to say that people like me can just go to hell.
There is what we call, “Group Conscience,” in Tradition Two. If you don’t like it, make your case for an alternative at the Group’s business meeting. Moreover, far better and more effective than playing the victim to your past, would be to inventory your resentment. By analyzing your resentment and see your part in it, you can move beyond that to a “position of neutrality” and that’s a most powerful promise that our recovery solution offers.
A “position of neutrality” would be to have a moment of silence.
I am Jewish and also practice Buddhist meditation. I’ve been in Fellowship for about a year now. My regular meeting always closes with the program-relevant, non denominational Serenity Prayer, a warm, encouraging, and group conscious tradition that enjoy and look forward to. I thought all of these no -religious, spiritual netting’s did this, that it was part of the form.
Recently, I attended an out of town meeting and was very surprised when they closed with the Lord’s Prayer. I just held hands, felt the energy of the group and was silent. I did however feel strange and strained, a bit left out. I missed the universality of the Serenity Prayer. I asked them about it and learned this was a common practice outside of my very multicultural home city. They had no problem at all with my beliefs and I liked the group and they me. Nevertheless, I don’t think it appropriate to use any religion’s prayer, Jewish, Muslim, Christian or even Buddhist. In a house of worship of course the religion of that group is healthy and correct. But in a fellowship such as this, wouldn’t it be best for the sake of true unity to use the universal Serenity Prayer.
I’m with you TAM and could not have said it better myself.
thank you Tam.
A mighty boom from the universal being.
Just as it is hard for people to find their God sometimes it is hard for us to find truth.
With regards to using the “Our Father” as the closing prayer, my main bias in favor of it has nothing to do with being raised in the Judeo-Christian tradition.(Jesus was an orthodox Jew). It is a collective prayer, unlike the Serenity Prayer. Perhaps we could say Us and We instead of me and I…mark
Hi there- thanks for your share. I appreciate that you see Jesus as an orthodox jew but as a jew I do not follow his teachings. Therefore, his prayer would be meaningless to me.
Kudos to William Dejean. I am a hard line atheist. I just changed my home group which is the room I got sober in because of that prayer. It was introduce to our group without a group conscious vote. But William is right. IT SCARES OFF NEW COMERS. My brother is head of Chapin services for a major hospital in Ill. and is very familiar with the 12 step program thru his work in the hospitals alcohol ward.He agrees whole heartedly. there is no place in the program for the lords Prayer. I live in Salt Lake so our meetings already reek of Mormon influences. The lords prayer is just another form of disrespect for the non believers. Please for the sake of the new comers. take it out of your meetings.
I attended an Al-Anon meeting 30 years ago and the words “deliver us from evil” came to me a few days later at a moment when nothing else would have delivered me from the temptation I was facing. I recently started attending Al-Anon and it occurred to me we don’t say that prayer anymore and wondered why and so that’s how I came upon this site and I just read all (every one) of your comments.
I wish the Lord’s prayer was said, but I sympathize with those who find it offensive. I’m just glad it helped me when I needed it. I hope AA can be a model of how to resolve this issue. The flippant self-righteousness, the venom and injury and bitterness sound a lot like our political rancor today. We all just want to be sane and sober. I see the words of that prayer as non-denominational but I understand why they don’t seem so to others. I’d be glad to do a Jewish prayer or any traditional religious prayer. Thank you all for sharing, now I am empowered to participate in our group conscience and will bring it up. Whatever is decided is okay with me. I doubt it will be used but I love our group and the 12 steps for helping me find serenity today.
A.A. is not for those who need it, A.A. is for those who want it. We welcome the newcomer, we don’t modify the program because we might offend someone. Bill Wilson and the other founders went through a grueling time of trial and error before the 12 steps and traditions were written. No where is it written the Our Father needs to be recited. So don’t say it then. Remember, this is not a me program. Most, or at least many love the prayer! Read the words, think about what it says, then if you have to rip it apart, go ahead. Some don’t like that it starts with Our Father. With all my prayers, I start with Dear God…
By the way, God has no gender. When we hear that God created us in Gods image, it doesn’t mean physical image. It’s spiritual, it’s in Gods likeness, it’s Love….
Agree totally! Do the work!
I assuming all writing these post are sober or attempting to be beyond the confines of alcohol !
I also would believe you have done so as the program exist !
As much time as many of you seem to have in an environment which creates such emotional distress, I fail to understand why you simply don’t start another meeting with a group conscience sharing your same views !
There are many takes on AA today ! Our journey in the program ( and it is only a program ) is unique to every individual !
Rule 62 says we all have the right to be wrong !
Start a new group and cater to only those that may think as do you !
Kind of a double edge sword is it not !
The power I receive from whatever power I find having used the roadmap to find it, is what keeps me sober in all aspects of my living . Not the group, not my sponsor !
To that I concede !
If it works for you it is the truth to you !
Actually Rule 62 tells us not to take ourselves too damn seriously.
I want to do just that. Start a new group.
AA is correct and the way to sobriety. I’m a believer.
But I came to a spiritual awakening on my own and stopped drinking ON MY OWN as a result of this awakening. It wasn’t Jesus. Lol.
I read the steps and realized that I had been doing them on my own, without any sponsor or help from anyone except my soul and my “sponsor on high”, for lack of a better description. I’m Bill W’s friend that helped him in his journey and that is who I identify with.
I attempt to only tell people of my experience and not to tell others what to believe. AA needs to do the same. The Lord’s prayer has no place in meeting as part of the official meeting because it only points to some people’s beliefs and not all. Until the fellowship of AA realizes this and acts on it, AA will continue to be a useful and important group, but limited in scope, and, most importantly, will continue to dwindle and decay while only helping some people and not the whole of the fellowship.
We need to remember that AA is a fellowship and that the fellowship is the key to helping others to find their God. Fellowship requires respect for all in the group. Without respect for all there is no trust. Without trust the 12 Steps don’t work.
Tolerance seems to be a problem here. Demanding it as other minority groups have taught us. What have they taught us? Basically it is that minorities can ignore the color and complexities of the majority and mold others no matter if it’s the majority to not only accommodate those who find offense, who are often offended but also to change to the basic tenets and guides stone upon which the group was founded to better suit the countering minority.
Somehow in this topsy turvey state of affairs being programmed and preached these days, being in the minority is the highest status of all. We must be fair to them. We must acceed to their wishes no matter what it means or how extreme or detrimental to the foundations of the group. We see democracy itself undermined in this way. Our belief in God, our belief systems that this country founded upon. So I see much mimickry of this sad state of affairs in too many of the comments. I E, If we don’t we are bigots and racists even nazis.
This is a clear attempt to proselytize the unwashed masses. To enlighten them to take them away from what works for them to what will ultimately morph the group It is something that is probably running counter to the original intent.
And they say we are morally obligated to do so or we are the worst kind of hypocrite bigot nazi racist unkind narrowminded person.
They are not the ones to be assimilated but we are the ones who need to assimilate and accede to the minority.
So if you are a member of the supreme court, do you have a right to complain and throw a wrench into the works because you are in the minority? “The minority must be listened to we must listen to their higher more enlightened (God-free) approach at all times and follow blindly off a cliff if necessary. Our leaders must not pilot the aircraft necessarily if he is not part of the minority. And if they want to change the airplane into a train or a ship we must all go along or disembark or keep quiet because we are sheep. Because we are just this inconsequential blob of people and can be ignored because you know how great it is to recognize the superiority of those who have been considered inferior in the past.
We must throw the baby out with the bath water to make up for our previous errors and follow each and every dictate of the pissed off minority mind. Minds that may have been damaged in childhood by an abuser, a white male, or a religious person so that now all white men and their God must be diminished weakend and hopefully someday at some point totally relegated to the bigoted racist neo nazi outsiders class they deserve. Who are unwelcome now in the very group that they created as they saw fit to benefit everyone. But it is not possible to please everyone.
I think there is a solution here and it’s not to tell these people to form their own group. But to teach them what the lords prayer is really all about. It is about us all of us. There is no I in the Lords prayer. It’s about us. Our father in heaven. Not your earthly father who was mean to you. This father in heaven that you so object to loves you the Spirit within you no matter who you are because he created you. A father loves his sons and a father loves his daughters. A father loves his black children and the father loves his yellow children and the father loves his red children and a father loves his white children. And if you do the will of the father even just a little bit and ask for God’s help and be determined and don’t give up God will strengthen you and straighten everything in your life and your life will come together. And you will find peace. The peace of Jesus Christ and Ghandi and many other of our revered sources of hope and inspirations whose words and works have guided mankind as to the right path for millennia.
Thise recovering from alcoholism are not immune to carrying long-standing grudges that are difficult to overcome. Bitterness. This bitterness should not be allowed to dominate your life personally or be the guiding force behind the meetings. And yes it is Difficult. To overcome these feelings and emotions that seem to be embedded within.
If there is a certain contingent in a meeting that would rather not say the prayer let them leave early while the Prayer is prayed. And then come back in. While they are outside keep them in mind and pray for them. And those outside do the same for those inside. When someone outside thanks he is ready to join in who thinks he or she has gotten to that point where these hard feelings, that perhaps stem from childhood, a childhood of abuse, and feels that they are ready to move on, to forgive, to forget, to move up, to proceed, by all means then proceed.
But that person with bitterness in their heart can not expect to dominate the proceedings with that frame of mind. And no matter how you frame it for your own pleasure forcing others out of their routine to suit your particular grievance your unique needs is not the way to proceed. When you insist on your own way even to the detriment of others and are allowed to do so by well-meaning people and the acquiescence of others it may feel like a great victory for you. But it’s a hollow victory .. in effect you have set the group back you have weakened the standards that were intended to benefit and lift all. You have come up with a new standard that benefits only yourself. And you bolster this desire with your minority status as is done these days all too frequently in society as a whole.
Do you want to change the complexion of the entire group and turn it into a free-for-all, do you want leverage for your group, to be the dominating force behind this group! Why would you want to do that? And why would others let you? The answer is no. This is the way it is. Period. We hope that you will someday feel comfortable enough here the way we are without forcing huge foundational changes to occur within the group, such as it is. Are you a perfectionist? Or are you being a perfectionist? No one is perfect. Therefore no group or organization is perfect no matter how much they would like you to think otherwise We hope you see the wisdom of going along with the group as is especially on the Lord’s Prayer, sooner than later. #DeliverUsFromEvil
If you continue to make a big issue out of this then unfortunately we must part ways.
Tolerance in this case comes cloaked as tolerance but it is really deviciveness. And maybe you don’t realize that. Maybe you should search your heart and ask yourself who am I? Is it a sign of strength or strong character to continue to cling to the past destroying the group in the process.
Our answer must be no. We’re not going to change or let you impose your will because we feel it will not benefit you or the rest of the group. If you disagree then we must part company. If you want to go higher in this group then you can’t change the fundamental beliefs of the group, you can’t change the group remake it in your own image, thus making yourself God.
We say this prayer because it’s for all of us. If you don’t get that we have a plan in place that we hope will help you along in the process of integration that our group has determined is the best way to proceed. When you’re ready to decide that for yourself and that you have come to understand that you cannot change us using the tortured logic of the rights of the minority the flavor of the month over the rights of the majority with nothing else to speak of as to the rightfullness of your position other than the minority status argument, which has been shown to be a guise and a pretext for disorder chaos and division, we will allow you to leave at your own discretion or to stay through the prayer at your discretion. #TLP.
The others of us in the primary group when you return will be able to see the change the progress with gladness of heart and joy and peace for the prodigal as one who has come home and bears no ill will but instead has given us all a grateful heart having shown his advancement and accomplished an important step in true progress along the spiritual path that recognizes no barriers between each of God’s children. No greater or lesser status which is common in human terms but not in the love of God for each one of us no matter who or what we are.
You lost me at God-free.
AA is spiritual and based on God as each of us understand God.
We don’t have a problem with your god, except when you proselytize to others rather than helping them find their God. The “minority view” has nothing to do with it except in the sense that the “majority view” also has nothing to do with it. Only God’s perfect view need be applied. And if you think that your god is better than my god (or any other) than I think you need to think about your relationship and beliefs about God.
12-25-1997 Sobritey date from Hilo Hawaii, if its your homegroup you can vote and say whatever you want to close a meeting..lords prayer, chants whatever, if its not your homegroup you respect the group as If i come to your group and respect the group that simple!!!!!
Alcoholics Anonymous doesn’t have to change-our attitudes and outlooks have to change with a psychic change as a result of being spiritually awakened through the Twelve Steps. If you are not making use of religion as a large part of your recovery plan then you are not making use of all the suggestions in the Big Book. The Big says on page 23 and 420 the main problem of the alcoholic centres in the mind. On page 25 we are given a choice: go on to the bitter end or accept spiritual help. Page 43 – 100% hopeless apart from divine help. The AA Big Book is all about finding God which will solve our problem page 45. Page 46 lay aside prejudice. Page 49 become an intelligent agent and spearhead of God advancing His creation, lay aside prejudice against organized religion. People of faith have a logical idea of what life is all about, people of spiritual beliefs and practices demonstrate stability (read page 49). Who are you to say The Lords Prayer should be taken out of Alcoholics Anonymous? It’s the whole program and Big Book that’s suggested. You are the actor on page 60 & 61 complaining, self-centered-ego centric, that’s the root of the problem (page 62-63) it says abandon ourselves utterly to God if you don’t want to drink or go insane, page 64 you will remain spiritually sick if you have resentments, page 68 we never apologize for God -or our religion- page 76 it was agreed we would go to any lengths for sobriety page 83 the spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it (religions help people expand spiritually). Page 87-88 memorize prayers, there are many helpful books, obtain these from priests, ministers and rabbi’s, be quick to see where religious people are right (not where they are wrong), make use of what they offer. We are no longer running the show-God is and religions are mans response to God and God’s inspiration in man. Page 89 this (Alcoholics Anonymous) is an experience you must not miss. Page 95 if you are to find God the desire must come from within. I like Bill W and Dr. Bobs AA Program and the AA Big Book as it is, there it is the Lords Prayer and all, take it or leave-what’s our choice to be?! Page 181 Your Heavenly Father will never let you down. Page 262 & 406 the meeting closed with the Lords Prayer.
The “Our Father Prayer” which was the usual way of closing AA meetings is a Jewish prayer, recited by a Jewish rabbi Jesus Christ. All of the Apostles were also Jewish. Jesus practiced and taught this prayer before the term Christians was established.
I’m sorry but religion isn’t remotely part of my recovery because I am an atheist. I work the Twelve Steps just find without gods, prayer or religion. And the idea that the Lord’s Prayer is Jewish because Jesus was Jewish is comical. I was raised as an Orthodox Jew and the prayer is NEVER, EVER said, period. It isn’t part of the Jewish belief system in any way (although Jews in AA will often recite the prayer as there is nothing specifically Christian about it in its wording). Please don’t tell people that they must believe in god to recover because it simply isn’t true. If the We Agnostics chapter was written today it would read very differently as it is currently condescending towards non-believers. We can come to believe in a power greater than ourselves as I have but it is not religion, nor god. I find it in the Twelve Steps. I find it in the program. I find it in being of service and working with others.
I like to think of my higher power as the “universal being” of Emerson. Remember what “to be” means! And we are all a “part or particle of this universal being”!
We are talking about transcendence at AA. Everyday. The transcendentalists we’re right on point and Bill W and the founders of AA actually borrowed greatly from transcendentalism. Including, as it says in the big book!, that the 12 Steps are based on the work of William James, the founder of American psychology and, famously, Unitarian and Transcendentalist.
AA dropped the Oxford Group because they realized that AA had to be open to everyone and accepting of all and every belief about spirituality. They figured out that was the key to the program working! This theme is repeated over and over and over in the big book and in all the literature. Since most of the founders were “Christian” (at least in theory, even Bill W admits that his spirituality doesn’t revive around Jesus!) When the started AA they went with a Christian slant… Times change. It is time for AA to change too. Not the principles! Not the program! Only the style of presentation. As Jefferson said, “In matters of style swim with the fishes. In matters of principle stand like a rock.”
The lord’s prayer isn’t part of spirituality for many of us and is only a hindrence for many. Find your religion outside of AA. Bring your spirit. And, I want to add that I’m not talking about sharing during an AA meeting! Tell all of the glory of your god! Bring it!
We are only talking about keeping religion, including the lord’s prayer, out of the fellowship. Which means not pushing anyone’s spiritual or religious beliefs on others at the fellowship level and only working to help others to find their universal being not to TELL them what to believe.
I can’t figure out
Ten — No A.A. group or member should ever, in such away as to implicate A.A., express any opinion on outside controversial issues—particularly those of politics, alcohol reform, or sectarian religion. The Alcoholics Anonymous
groups oppose no one. Concerning such matters they can express no views whatsoever. (Page 192 of the 12 and 12)
How is reciting a sectarian religious prayer as part of a meeting NOT a violation of the 10th Tradition?
Amen. Great facts you talked about not opinions. We ceased fighting everything or anyone ( page 84)
AA has lost it’s way.
Wow! A lot of anger seems to be in the atmosphere of those that oppose the Lord’s Prayer. Please read about the “Spiritual Axiom” on P.90 12 X 12. Take your issue to your next Group Conscience Business meeting or shut up & GET OVER IT! For what it may be worth, please read P. 13 of “the co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous” …”but we (Bill & Bob) were convinced that the answer was in the Good Book. To some of us older ones, the parts that we found absolutely essential were the Sermon on the Mount, the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians, and the Book of James.” Let’s not forget the 6 Steps from the Oxford groups. Let’s not try to change our AA history or forget where AA came from.
My issue is that the prayer is nowhere to be found in the literature. The founders used the prayer because they had no others at that time. If they had meant for it to be a permanent part of the program why is it not in the Big Book or 12&12? The serenity prayer is. The St Francis prayer is. But not The Lord’s Prayer. I had a newcomer tell me the other day she didn’t know what to say because she was raised Jewish. I wished I could have pointed her to the section of the book where she could find it.
AA abandoned the Oxford Group because it was too Christian.
They drew from the Bible and rightly so, and realized that what worked, on the ground, was to help people find their own spirituality.
AA is a living organism with lots to offer, but all of us, including Bill W!, Are not perfect.
AA is not a religion. I have a religion and I like to share about my religion, and I attempt to listen and learn from everyone else about their journey, religion and spirituality. What I don’t do is try to tell others to believe what I believe. They are welcome to reject all of my thoughts and beliefs on the subject. AA really tries to do this as well, with one big exception, and that is the lord’s prayer.
“A lot of anger”?
Maybe it is frustration that people don’t seem to acknowledge that it is a Christian prayer (Matthew 6:9 – 13) despite a Jew – i.e., Jesus – having created it). It also assumes that everybody’s higher power is a person (as opposed to higher principal) because it uses the term “Father”. AA is supposed to be “Spiritual” and not partisan to any “sect, denomination,…”. How many would object if we did a Hindu prayer instead? People ask “What harm is there in having others listen to the Lord’s prayer?” What harm is there in having others listen to a Hindu prayer? As if no one has any problems with higher power/god/God. Do I think that God is going to be angry & punish me if I don’t pray in public? We need to remember tolerance & respect goes both ways.
A lot of anger seems to be coming from those who want to have the Lord’s prayer as well. Isn’t there a contradiction saying that AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, etc., but “the answer was in the Good Book” and then trying to incorporate obvious Christian things into AA. If we are incorporating principles that’s fine. I find that AA does incorporate some Buddhist principles and I’m not surprised considering Jung’s influence. Of course, we can have principles taken from various groups (many groups do), but to have these principles blatantly identified with specific religious groups goes against AA. This allying AA with Christianity is making AA have an opinion on outside matters.
In addition to Jung, and even more important, was William James (who Jung was a “deciple” of!). Not sure if Jung is actually in the big book, but William James is! And the big book says that the entire 12 Steps are based on William James’ “educational approach”.
James wasn’t Christian. He was Unitarian and a Transcendentalist….
For those that are agnostic, which quite literally means – “without knowledge” – ALL, but the first step (and even that IS, just less specifically), the right practice of Christianity and drawn from scripture. Jesus is just fine with being anonymous (He knows who He is) and is very happy to see that His program has, is and will continue to help so many lost souls recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind, body and spirit.
The only thing I see that is diminishing the success rate of the program is the intolerance toward God of overly prideful people that, despite everything the Big Book teaches us, still think that they are the highest authority. Tolerance and acceptance of agnostics and atheists was never intended so that you might take over, but so that you be given the time necessary to COME TO BELIEVE and a chance to recover. Praise God and thank you AA for bringing this lost soul of a drunk back into the Sunlight of The Spirit! THERE IS ONE WHO HAS ALL POWER, THAT ONE IS GOD (and I pray) MAY YOU FIND HIM NOW.
And in this statement it seems you may be playing god and assuming you know the correct spiritual path for all. Your approach is divisive and lacks humility. A part of our program is the act of letting go of self – 3rd step prayer – relieve me of the bondage of self… which is actually a Buddhist concept. It is condescending to assume agnostics and atheists are somehow less whole or less ‘recovered’ compared to their christian counterparts.
I think you are on the right track with the idea that Jesus is anonymous.
At our meetings people can choose to recite:
I am responsible…
When anyone, anywhere,
reaches out for help, I want
the hand of A.A. always to be there.
And for that: I am responsible.
A Declaration of Unity
This we owe to A.A.’s future:
To place our common welfare first;
To keep our fellowship united.
For on A.A. unity depend our lives,
And the lives of those to come.
I have been to Buddist meetings where wd did meditations and chants. I’ve been to atheist meetings where they did not mention God. I’ve been to Musli. Meetings that reference Allah. Think the meeting is too Christian, start one with the god of your understanding. About 80 percent of America still identifies as Christian so most AAs probably are comfortable with with the Lord’s Prayer. Or lead the lead the meeting and close with the prayer of your choice. We all have options. After 20 years of sobriety and attending meetings in more than 20 states most people in program I have met have no issue with it.
We don’t say it in meetings in Iowa City, Iowa where long term sobriety abounds. (It’s been 34 years for me.) Does it matter that “80 percent of Americans identify as Christian”? Does this mean the other 20% (and all those anti-religious alcoholics coming in) just need to suck it up to “get with the program?” AA is not allied with any outside organization or institution–which includes the Christian church.
Google “Prayers from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous” and pick one.
I came into AA in 1985, I thought it was like a methadone program where they gave you 2 drinks, and you went on your way. Then when I got there and everyone was talking to me, I thought I just have to listen to this bologna to get the 2 drinks. Imagine my surprise, no one gave me a drink, they started with the Serenity Prayer, weird, I thought why are they mumbling this stuff. Then people start to talk to you. I thought wow this is a multi marketing group who sells this crap Ah ha then they pass the basket, I got your whole line on this. I thought get me out of here! At the end they asked me if I wanted to talk, I remember nothing of what I said. I thought finally I am out of here, never going back there! Then they asked if I wanted to join them, and say a prayer. I remembered the prayer from being a child, as I begin to say it, tears rolled down my face. I realized at that moment. I had always blamed God for my lot in life and leaving me alone, I realized at that very moment, I had been the one to walk away. I am so grateful today to have found a place that this Higher Power could reach me. A moment of silence, followed by a prayer. I began to come back, liked the meetings, however, they needed some help, and I knew I could make it better! I found God was absolutely nothing that would help and tried every way I could to get Him/ Her whatever kicked out. I could not get sober, then I heard an ole biker in a meeting say, they told me to say a prayer, to get sober, so I said, “Son of a bitch, keep me sober” when I heard him I thought, that is a prayer I can say, so I said that, and added or I’ll never pray to you again! My Higher Power did not care how I prayed, but that I finally was talking to, instead of running from HIM/Her whatever. I found my sobriety that day. January 27th, 1986. I don’t pray like that today, I did as time went on get a sponsor and follow the steps. I see a Good Orderly Direction in them today, and began when I stopped fighting anyone or anything. A cup of coffee and a resentment are all it takes to start a meeting. For those of you who don’t like it, talk to someone! I am not here today, because I was able to change the meeting, I learned to stop fighting this Higher Power, and join AA. Today I know joining is a CHOICE. I could spend the rest of my days resenting everything and saying it doesn’t work, or instead I choose today, to follow what has worked for others from the beginning. I don’t have to re-invent the wheel, just step into and enjoy its amazing invention. Thank you God for AA today. PS They still say the Serenity Prayer at the beginning and the Lords Prayer at the end. There are other groups, like smart recovery and such, try them, many who don’t choose God do. I will enjoy trudging the road to happy destiny with those who do.
So much contempt prior to investigation in these comments. “There is “One” who has all power that “One” is God. May you find “Him” now”. Not many gods that you can invent to satisfy your ego and understanding. The problem before coming to AA was everyone I met had their own god and the didn’t work out so well. If you do not know or believe that AA’s foundational principles are Christian then you are choosing to remain in ignorance. I am glad so many are sober in AA and they don’t even know why. It is a testimony to the power of a loving God who said as His dying words “Forgive them for they know not what they are doing”… in case of these comments He appears to say forgive them for they know not what they are saying.
Thank you for that comment I appreciate reading it. My question is about what you stated, “If you do not know or believe that AA’s foundational principals are Christian then etc..” If I am not a Christian, how am I able to believe in Christian principals to be in accord with AA?
Here is L.A., which obviously has a lot of people from everywhere, nearly all meetings now close with the Serenity Prayer. The Lord’s Prayer does make references to things not generally referred to in AA – like Fathers, Heaven, Coming Kingdoms, evil (though some would say the disease itself is evil.) This has changed over the 32 years I’ve been sober – used to be nearly all meetings closed with the Lord’s Prayer. It does turn some people off, so why use it? It’s not important, other than, perhaps, to people who don’t like to see things change.
The really great things about saying The Lord’s Prayer are many:
1. It is not an exclusively Christian Prayer, though it is attributed to Jesus. It does not present any aspect of Christian dogma except a universally recognized acknowledgement of a Power Greater than ourselves, Whom we laud, praise, and ask for help, protection, and guidance from.
2. Almost everyone in the world knows it, or is at least familiar with it. That makes it an easy prayer to recite in a group setting.
3. The prayer is acknowledgement of our powerlessness, praise to a Power Greater than ourselves, and asks for sustenance, strength, and wisdom, and begs to be kept from lapsing into self-destruction.
4. The Prayer has power. People have been making this prayer for at least 2 millennia because it inspires and strengthens us. We don’t have to believe it works, and we don’t have to believe the traditions that surround a Christian religious denomination. Like AA, it just works.
Dr. Bob Smith had a few words for those of you who refuse to make this simple prayer: If you think you are an atheist, an agnostic, a skeptic, or have any other form of intellectual pride which keeps you from accepting what is in this book, I feel sorry for you.
The lord’s prayer is not in the big book.
Hi, I’m Bryan and I’m a member of the twelve step community. I’ve seen this same debate in my fellowship too. Some of the phone meetings I attend close with the Lord’s Prayer. My local ones close with the Serenity Prayer. Neither one bothers me and I don’t practice organized religion.
Personally, I think there’s room in the twelve step community for all. I know there are people who struggle with the Lord’s Prayer and I get it. It would have put me off too when I was a newcomer. That said I believe in adhering to Tradition Two, so if a group’s conscience decides on using the Lord’s Prayer, that’s fine. If a group decides to use the Serenity Prayer or some other statement, that’s fine too. With all the online meetings and telemeetings out there today, there shouldn’t be any problem with finding a group that makes a person feel comfortable. Our local groups are not the only option any more.
I just wanted to add one thought and it’s that there’s a misperception out there that the whole point of a twelve-step program is to stop drinking/drugging/using. On page 19 in the BB it states, “We feel that elimination of our drinking is but a beginning. A much more important of our principles lies before us in our respectice homes, occupations and affairs.”
The twelve steps are not a series of exercises to stop drinking/drugging/using, they’re a system of actions designed to bring us into a relationship with a Power greater than ourselves. It’s through this power that we not only stop drinking/drugging/using, but start living a new life that is far better than the one we lived when we tried to run the show. It allows us to have new relationships in our respective homes, occupations, and affairs. Where we used to wreck havoc, we now contribute to the stream life and seek to improve the lives of others. That’s what this is all about and speaking for myself, I never was able to achieve that on my own power. Lack of power was my dilemma and I found power after having a spiritual awakening.
I realize I may be preaching to the choir, but I saw some comments where people used their length of sobriety to qualify their opinion and that is not consistent with the principles of the program. Thanks for reading and I wish you all the best.
That may say more about a resentment than anything else, because recognizing God, seeking His will not my own, praying for our needs, forgiveness, the ability to forgive, and guidance for our lives are entirely consistent with the Jewish faith and are relevant.
Thank you for putting this out there. I agree with your opinion and I hope more people would come to agree with this as well.
Prayer will make you see God better. All you have to do is trust the direction you are being led to, as God will make your path less bumpy and more straight. Check my blog about Powerful Steps to Finding God
Hope this will help. Thank you.
The prayer has been used since the beginning! Why would you change something that has been working for over 80 years? I have heard agnostics say the prayer, I have seen them leave the meeting early, but they come back for fellowship! If this offends you then try reading page 417 in the big book, for peats sake! Acceptance is the key to my soberiety. If I have fear then where is faith in whatever you believe is bigger and badder than yourself? For I don’t have the power to change others or history. I believe the Lords Prayer and the Serenity prayer has and will stand the test if time and all our opinions! Because I believe does not mean I have the right to change or re write history. My faith is deeper than others opinions, it is what I believe to be real and true and ever faithful . So everyone has their opinion and that is great but if it ain’t broke! Then don’t try and fix it! Love and peace to you all! Sharon T
AA has only helped about 1 in 10 people…
I am a believer in AA! What people are saying is that we want to help more people. If dumping the Lord’s prayer helps more people than it should go. We are saying it is for the good of the fellowship.
I find this whole argument for or against prayers in AA completely ignorant and a non-issue. I’m an Agnostic Atheist and have quite a few years of sobriety… Without a god of my understanding… Without any sort of higher power. I can tell you this…AA, the big book, the 12 steps and the fellowship % saved my life.
I go to meetings and do not think twice about these prayers, which seem quite silly to be. I stand… Hold hands with my fellow Alcoholics and move on with my life in timely fashion.
Alcoholics Anonymous was created and refined by Protestants… Utilizing the doctrines they had available to them… Which was the Christian Bible and the Oxford Group.
Now… If you feel these things are detrimental to your sobriety and feel you cannot go on with them in the programs of Alcoholics Anonymous… Feel free to leave. Start your own program of recovery and I hope it works out for you.
For me… I’m a Grateful Agnostic Atheist Member of Alcoholics Anonymous with an honest desire to never pick up the bottle again. I’ll stick with AA and it’s doctrines. I’ll stick with one Alcoholic helping another Alcoholic.
Except that you are saying that AA isn’t for everyone. The funny part is that you are saying EXACTLY what many have a problem with in AA. That, because of it’s Christianity, it drives people away. Thanks for acknowledging the problem.
AA tries to reach out to Agnostic/Atheists and it is repaid with an attempt to strip it of a core component and belittle people of faith. I’m a questioner but I’m also an invited guest with other secular options and I choose to stay because I’m not forced to do anything I don’t want to. And oh yea, it works. Sadly, too many fellow doubters will not be satisfied until they rid the world of religion in general and Christianity in particular. It’s like it bothers them that people are freely engaging in worship of any kind. Why don’t you all just cut to the chase and try to join a Christian church without baptism, profession of your faith , or any of the other requirements. Then start making fun of the believers. These institutions are a just venues with preschools, church league athletics, summer camps, and other Public Accommodations. It’s your constitutional right. Better yet, try it at a Mosque.
I do wonder why an atheist would get so upset about the mention of something he/she does not believe exists in the first place. Would the mention of the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, Star Trek, the Big Bad Wolf, Freddie Kruger, Bugs Bunny or any other thing they deem fictional cause such an unrest or even resentment? Is it because the atheist is so vested in not believing in a Creative Intelligence, developing or adopting a narrative by which to push back to the idea of a Universal Spirit or much more specifically, the Deity widely accepted by Christians, that it fuels a long standing resentment similar to fueling a fire?
There is a whole chapter dedicated to this. It talks about some among the first 100 that were of the same belief. It is a consoling, a ME TOO, I know how you feel, but I fail to read where a path forward is provided that balks at Step 3.
AA history is that anyone can adopt our principles, our Steps, anything that is found to be useful. AA gladly allows other movements to use anything and everything, Except our name. After sharing that some of us were of that idea, Chapter 4 adamantly states, this means were ARE GOING TO TALK BOUT GOD. If we take God out of the Big Book, we are left with a pamphlet. And that would not be AA.
Remove the Our Father if a group chooses. Remove God (in any and all concepts) altogether and there is no AA.
To Bill Vv., You are correct, AA is not for everyone, it is for those willing to go to any lengths for their recovery. If the program as written “drives people away”, then by all means do run to any other program that will bend to their self will and desire to have it all their own way. This program was written for all who wish to recover, those who tried to stop on their own and failed, time and time again. For those who anxiety with failure had risen to unbearable heights.For those who hoped upon hope that this last stop on the block would end this misery. To lambast AA for its humble , christian beginnings is to throw shade at the millions of success stories of those who put aside personal biases in order to recover from a hopeless state of mind and body. If one is to put conditions on their recovery, it would appear self will is once again gaining traction along with selfishness. Take the program as written and have a sense of gratitude for those responsible for giving us such a wonderful opportunity to recover.
“5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you*, They have their reward. 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly*. 7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. 9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name…”
Since we can’t get people in AA to stop excluding half the world by reciting the lords prayer, I propose amending Matthew 6. How about just erase everything leading up to the lords prayer and replace it with its exact opposite? Oh wait, that’s exactly what AA already does every time they recite the lords prayer. Never mind! Continue on!
Thanks for this. Agreed.
Christianity lurks throughout 12 step programs and my only issue with it, a when its’ claim is to be a “non-religious” program. If honesty is key in recovery, shouldnt the program itself be too?
“[AA’s] claim is to be a “non-religious” program.” It isn’t – it’s a spiritual program – but many in this thread are making your same assertion. Could you please identify in the published AA literature exactly where that claim is made? Nevermind. I can save you some work: it isn’t made anywhere.
Our group believes in autonomy and chooses to say the Lord’s Prayer. Your group has the same freedom.
The Lord’s Prayer came from Jesus Christ who was Jewish. The Serenity Prayer came from Reinhold Niebuhr who was a prominent Christian theologian for his entire adult life. Where might anyone draw any kind of prayer whatsoever that didn’t originate from some person’s body of faith? That would be quite a mystery, and even illogical. I would remind naysayers that God is mentioned 142 times in the Big Book and 173 times in the 12&12. That’s because AA is a spiritual program. “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps.” There’s really nothing more than that to discuss.
For all you that would get rid of the Lord’s Prayer in the closing of a meeting. Remember the 4th Tradition, each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or AA as a whole. This whole argument has been hashed and re-hashed. We have Tradition’s for a reason. If you do not like how your group runs their meeting, start one and use whatever prayer you want or no prayer. Quit whining and get out there and start the We don’t say the Lord’s prayer group. Stop trying to make existing groups conform to what you believe.
Around 60/70% of meeting are held in Churches due to the low rent. This is significant in this issue. AA might have to reconsider where meetings are held. A meeting in Somerset that said the Lords Prayer in its church rented room has been struck off the meeting list. This is going to potentially impact the willingness of churches to host meetings for a minimal fee.
Agreed. The key is to allow all who come to find their spiritual awakening, without hindrence.
For many, the lord’s prayer and even talk of god is a hindrence.
The biggest, and most important insight from the big book and from Bill W’s story isn’t even from Bill W but from his friend that helped Bill.
All it took was his friend asking, “Why don’t you choose your own conception of God?”
That is the foundation of AA. All the rest of AA revolves around this simple question. If you don’t realize that saying the lord’s prayer as a group and in fellowship goes against this question then you don’t really understand AA or the program. All we want is for AA to adhere to this simple question and concept for the good of the fellowship and for the good of all who seek out help at AA.
Anyone opposed should call for a group conscious and present it for a vote. With either outcome, it’s a test of humility.
NOT THE 12 STEPS OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become
2. Came to believe that an ashtray could restore us to
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of a doorknob as we
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to a lightbulb, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature
of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have the lightbulb remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked it to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make
amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so
would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with
the ashtray as we understood it, praying only for knowledge of its will for us and
the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry
this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Sorry. Taking God out of AA just doesn’t have the same impact.
When the steps say “we” and “our” they are referring to what the first 100 did that led to recover. We admitted… Made a decision to turn our… They did certain things to recover, and the steps say what they did. “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our…”
People don’t have to follow the program they created and worked for them. They steps say what they did.
That came out of the Oxford Group that was a watered down version of Christianity.
Now when Bill Wilson was writing the Big Book, some others reviewed his work as he went along, including some writers, and made him put in “as we understood him” to be more inclusive.
That doesn’t change that it is repackaged Christianity that they did except without the resurrection and afterlife stuff.
The Lord’s Prayer is a masterpiece of Daily Living. Please go and read the chapter Matthew 6 in the Bible that has that. It’s amazing. It’s so universal.
I am shocked that someone would tell the Dali Lama not to be the Dali Lama. Of a Jesus program to not be Jesus.
Same with AA.
Start your own and learn to honor those deserving of such good.
Stop using the steps if you don’t like them.
The steps are not the only show in town. Go to a psychologist.
AA never claimed to be the only way.
There is a distinction which is being missed here. The problem does not occur if the leader of a group meeting elects to say The Lord’s Prayer at the end of beginning of a meeting. It only violates the First Tradition of The Lord’s Prayer is written into the group format as the prayer to read at a certain time. If it is written into the meeting format; then, the meeting is giving a preference to an exclusively Christian prayer and showing a preference for that religion over all others in the actual format of the meeting. Just as it would be a violation of the first tradition to write any other religious text into the format of the meeting. Showing a preference for one religion’s spiritual readings over all others clearly violates the First Tradition and is a serious impediment to attracting many newcomers; which, is why we are doing this right? Any time we show preference to one religion’s over another in a meeting we are violating Tradition One. The problem as i see it is that most Christians don’t even realize where their own prayer comes from. The Lord’s Prayer is very specifically a Christian prayer. No other religion says this prayer The Lord’s Prayer is a translation of how Jesus specifically told his disciples to pray and it can be found in the books of Matthew 6.9–13 and Luke 11.1–4
It would violate the traditions to show preference to any religion in a meeting of AA. Most Christians do not know the actual story behind The Lord’s Prayer because most Christians hardly know anything about their religion or anyone else’s for that matter. If you don’t believe me, ask any Christian where the Lord’s Prayer comes from, what it means or why they say it and the large majority of them will have no idea. They won’t understand why it violates the traditions because they don’t understand that it is an exclusively Christian prayer.
If a meeting format says, “The group leader will choose a prayer to end the meeting” and the group leader picks The Lord’s Prayer, that doesn’t really violate the traditions, that was just a personal choice; but, if it is written into the meeting format then technically you cannot can that an AA meeting because it is endorsing a specific religion. You also could not have a meeting format that instructed the leader to say The Maha Mantra, the Shema Yisrael, Salat Al-Fajr or some Native American chant. This is against the traditions because it can alternate newcomers, it endorses a specific faith and it invites controversy. You can’t even list a bunch of different religions’ prayers to choose from because then you are showing otherwise for those religions over all others. It very simply and definitely violates the First Tradition; so if you are in a meeting and the meeting format calls for you to recite a specific religion’s prayer, you are not in a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. You are in a meeting that endorses and promotes a specific religion above other types of spiritual practice. Period.
I don’t recall seeing anywhere the traditions specifically ban anything. If one is to look hard enough for controversy, I’m sure it can be found. Are the groups in question carrying the message that a spiritual awakening can be had by doing the steps? By doing the work can the lack of power needed for protection against the addiction be restored? It would appear the only thing driving away anyone from AA is someone’s interpretation of what can and cannot be spoken in the rooms. This is why we all have the ability to go to other meetings, have a group conscious, or start a new meeting.