For the Professional Community
What is secular AA?
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) runs thousands of individual mutual-aid meetings in Canada, and 120,000 autonomous meetings worldwide.
Special purpose meetings have been part of AA as a whole for over 50 years: LGBTQ+, women’s BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour), young people’s and career specific meetings for pilots, doctors, lawyers, etc. Like any of these AA groups, secular AA is part of AA as a whole.
Q. Is A.A. a religious organization?
A. No. Nor is it allied with any religious organization.
There’s a lot of talk about God, though, isn’t there?
The majority of A.A. members believe that we have found the solution to our drinking problem not through individual willpower, but through a power greater than ourselves. However, everyone defines this power as he or she wishes.
• Many people call it God,
• others think it is the A.A. group,
• still others don’t believe in it at all.
There is room in A.A. for people of all shades of belief and non-belief.
Atheist and agnostic newcomers to Alcoholics Anonymous are on the rise as demographics change and since the mid-1970s, a need for AA “without the God-talk” has grown in Canada, USA and around the world. Furthermore, adherents to religions outside of the Judeo/Christian bias of AA literature, an irreligious format for AA supports people with alcohol use disorder and other addiction regardless of what they do—or do not—believe.
Secular AA conducts a meeting where alcoholics may feel free to express doubts and disbeliefs, we do not endorse nor oppose any religion, atheism, or beliefs. Our only wish to ensure suffering alcoholics that they can find sobriety in AA without having to accept the beliefs of other or deny their own.
Visiting a Zoom secular AA meeting
Pre-pandemic, Beyond Belief Agnostics & Freethinkers AA group met in an OISE classroom (U of Toronto) and students and faculty were welcome to visit any time. Medical, Social Work, Nursing and Psychology faculty and students would periodical come to observe our AA meeting. Queen Street West Secular AA afternoon was located on the CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) campus; staff and clients would often attended. AA responded quickly to lock-down and the online AA experience that was a temporary measure looks to be a permanent fixture for AA meetings. Today, our Zoom meetings welcome professionals, students, and members of the public with an interest in AA, in the same way our face-to-face meetings have for years.
AA Meetings: Closed and Open
“Closed meetings” are only for AA members or others who think they may have alcohol use disorder. “Open meetings” are organized by and for AA members and newcomers, but the public is welcome: friends and family, professionals, the press, etc. For instance, Beyond Belief’s Thursday 5 PM Eastern and Saturday 7 PM are “Open meeting.” So is the 3 PM Tuesday Queen Street West secular AA meeting. See our meetings list for more available meetings. If you are unsure about a meeting listed, email us (firstname.lastname@example.org ) and we can guide you accordingly.
Resources for Professionals
See our general resources page to learn more about secular recovery, with links, books, podcasts and more!
Alcoholics Anonymous Resources
Information about AA (What AA does and does not do):
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