Consider next the plight of those who once had faith, but have lost it. There will be those who have drifted into indifference, those fill with self-sufficiency who have cut themselves off, those who have become prejudiced against religion, and those who are downright defiant because God has failed to fulfill their demands. Can A.A. experience tell all these they may still find a faith that works?
Those who have become prejudiced against religion I meet many of in the rooms of AA. It’s a common occurrence and an affinity many of us have for each other, and it can take a little explaining to help people understand that AA itself is not religious. I was very young when I started, and I didn’t know much about AA, and I didn’t have the “cult” perception that seems common now. But I was smart enough to understand that they were praying and chanting and that did seem like religion to me. For that reason I’m personally against chanting at meetings. I politely stand there and probably no one knows I don’t chant.
Those filled with self-sufficiency make me smile. How self-sufficient is someone who shows up at AA due to a drinking problem? Most newcomers I meet and some degree of terrible shape or they wouldn’t be at an AA meeting. “Your best thinking got you here” applies in more ways than one.
Indifference and defiance. The long and short of it is that AA taught me a different kind of belief in a higher power, and different reliance on concepts outside of my own making than I had ever understood before. Defying a higher power is just stupid. It’s higher, it will win. Alcoholism is also more powerful than I am. If I fight it, it will win. Me against it is a match with only one outcome.
At this point in my sobriety I find it very difficult to keep going forward and to keep increasing my understanding of these concepts and what the universe wants from me. Somewhere else in the literature there is a sentence something like, “this is the way to a faith that works,” or “a faith that works under all circumstances.” I’ve shared before that my circumstances have never been all that difficult and I really haven’t been tested with big time hardship or tragedy. So I don’t know if my faith would work then. I do know that “God” does give people more than they can handle. It happens all the time. It’s happening now. For what I’ve been through, the program has been more than sufficient. For what’s to come I will have to wait and see.