Why on Earth did Dale K think he had the right to change our treasured Big Book?
Some background info. Who is AAAgnostica and Tom B?
The AAAgnostica site advocates the book “Secular Sobriety” by Dale K which is a rewrite of the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book text. aaagnostica.org and writer Tom B. are an open minded, free-thinking organization geared toward alcoholics Anonymous. They impress on us the fundamentals of a godless recovery for those who need it. (Tom B always uses a small “g”) The website’s “about” page states this: “When we use the word “agnostic” in relation to AA – or words like “atheist” or “freethinker” – we are simply referring to the specific wisdom of groups and individuals within the fellowship who understand that belief in a “God” (of any understanding) is not a necessary part of recovery from alcoholism. They advocate freedom of choice where religion and spirituality are concerned and admonish religious dogma and social prejudice that lives in the rooms of AA. Here is their email if you wish to contact them. Thomas B writes most of the articles on the site and wrote one promoting the book “Secular Sobriety”.
Recovery Farmhouse is not prejudice against taking God out of the steps at a personal level if it works for them.
Please note…Recovery Farmhouse is not biased in this instance. I believe people need sobriety and some people will never accept a higher power called God. So, why not? I advocate that labels are not as important as men make them out to be. And to a desperate & broken heart that seeks help from an elusive spiritual presence, the heart’s voice speaks the language of faith to a loving and giving presence whose ego (if there is such a thing) does not require certain labels or structures. Let the men put every item of value into it’s little yellow box with the proper label and stamp “bad” or “good” on each box. But where Grace and Love live, there are no labeled boxes. L.Edgar
I have posted and highlighted (for faster reading of the important parts) the original “Secular Sobriety” Agnostica article here.
Was Bill W. Going to Re-Write the Big Book Anyway?
Here is one example of what Dale K. deemed necessary change…now don’t be too quick to judge..remember investigations should come before contempt. If we are going to pick up a fight against something we better know what that something is. If we investigate and still hold contempt for the man’s ideas and we feel we can judge rightly his heart’s motives and his actions then, have-at-it…let the contempt roll on. BUTT, if we contempt before investigation, well that’s just ignorance and closed mindedness right? Or is our Big Book’s first 164 pages so sacred and without possible blemish that we absolutely will NOT TOLERATE even a breath of whisper to change it’s glorious and God driven text?
Well Tom B of the Agnostica site who apparently has deep roots in AA’s long history and has rubbed elbows with the AA overlords themselves “hail hail” states the following about Bill W. in his later years and his long time secretary Nell Wing:
“During the late 1980s and early 1990s, I had the privilege of knowing Nell Wing, who was Bill’s personal secretary for many years both at GSO and after Bill retired to Stepping Stones in Westchester County. I visited Nell several times in her Stuyvesant Town apartment. They (Bill & Nell) were rewriting the first 164 pages of the Big Book so that it would be gender neutral and more inclusive for anyone who wanted to stop drinking, whether they were agnostic, atheist, followers of non-Christian spiritual practices, freethinkers, or what have you.” oh no they di-nt!
Tom P has taken on a quest to prove Bill & Nell were in the process in Bill’s late years of rewriting the Big Book ANYWAY, (justification for Dale’s book?). One AA big wig at GSO gave Tom this answer when trying to validate a rewrite: “Thomas, you must understand that during Bill’s last years, GSO had to protect Bill from AA as well as AA from Bill.” Hmph, could be.
Why Dale Re-Wrote the Big Book
Tom B writes about Dale K’s motive for “translating“, as they called it, The Big Book as being this, “In Chapter Four, “Running the Gauntlet”, Dale begins his secular translation of the Big Book. From the outset, he urges that this not become a matter of us (secular folks) versus them (Christians). His only intention “is to make the AA program palatable for the, seemingly, disenfranchised non-believers among us. I want the AA program to be an all inclusive thing”.
Does your AA meeting hold Christian overtones? Is the Lord’s Prayer a problem? Do people have to shrug back in shame when the circle forms in the room because they don’t use the right labels for their Higher Power?
More about Dale’s Book from AAAgnostic
Tom P writes: “With a stunning leap of a-religious imagination, Dale K., author of A Secular Sobriety – Including a Secular Version of the First 164 Pages of the Big Book, has shared his story of secular recovery in AA and rewritten the first 164 pages of the Big Book from a non-religious, secular point of view.
Sober in AA for over 36 years in Florida, Dale describes in the Introduction and the first three chapters of the book how he got sober and stayed actively engaged within AA despite rampant Christian religiosity in the majority of meetings he attended — “During my early days in AA it seemed like I was the only skeptic in a sea of religious disciples.”
Empathy for Dale K and the beliefs of others
Poor Dale…imagine please it’s hard enough to get sober, right, without being and feeling like an outcast due to brand of spirituality or lack thereof? In early recovery feelings of insecurity and fear are rampant anyway. But this book author, Dale, not only stayed sober for 36 years in AA, but he also did it by changing the “God” in every “God” word written in AA literature to “good”. By the instructions of a fellow atheist or agnostic he simply added an “o” to the word God and ran with it. He said that in his Big Book and Bible studies in an attempt for a spiritual experience he finally got an epiphany when reading “God is Love” from John 4:16. He said that woke him up and he could from then on use “Love” as his guide. He never again picked up a Bible, (article states).
Are you Agnostic? Buy his Book here
Dale K’s book; “A Secular Sobriety” available on Amazon. On the flip side don’t miss “Paradise for the Hellbound” that has a recant of my own experience with the miracle of recovery. You can read it free here: http://www.recoveryfarmhouse.net/bible/paradise-for-the-hellbound/
Being a strong advocate of the mental health profession, Dale mentions, he learned in therapy that he needed to become more genuine and to worry less about what others thought of him. (Lori: Big kudos on that. Recovery is about becoming who we really were meant to be. It’s about becoming who we really are.
Here’s where it gets interesting.
SHOCKING CHANGES MADE ABOUT THE BIG BOOK in Dales “Secular Sobriety”
(More from Tom P & the AAAgnostica site)
“Throughout his rewrite of the Big Book, Dale inserts pertinent commentaries in which he critiques the original text and adds rationales for his sometimes radical rewrites of the Big Book. Here is one of my favorite of his commentaries, which precedes Chapter Four, “For the Agnostic”:
This chapter is, at best, a condescending charade. I find it to be very insulting and incompatible with secular thinking. By using “We” in the title, it is insinuated that the authors are agnostic. That is so obviously untrue. The author is a christian trying to save and convert agnostics. This is the part of the Big Book where their best proselytizing for god happens. Isn’t it odd that they would pretend to be agnostic for god? Attempting a conversion may be understandable, but their duplicity (deceitfulness; double-dealing.) is detestable. I recommend that, if you read the original text, you read it with love in your heart if possible. You must understand that it is a minefield for resentments.” (Tom P)
Lori’s Recovery Farmhouse Rebuttal to it all
But WAIT A MINUTE HERE GUY! This critique of the Big Book is taken originally from the book “Secular Sobriety”. I retort that In the chapter to the Agnostics Bill W was trying really hard to reach out to and help the non believers as he had been helped. AS HE HAD BEEN HELPED.
We have to remember INITIALLY, BILL W. OUR FOUNDER AND AUTHOR OF THE BIG BOOK GOT SOBER BY A SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE IN THE HOSPITAL NOT BY DOING THE 12 STEPS OR ANYTHING ELSE like that.
Bill was embedded, downloaded with the Spirit of Holies. The Spirit of Light and Truth entered his body for reason beyond himself. At that point not only did it shock his system into making the right choices hencforth, but it also motivated and inspired Mr. Wilson to write the wisdom onto paper than had been imparted to him and placed in his heart of hearts as a deposit, if you will.
So, Bill’s revelation of AA was driving his intellect by what he received from his higher power that day in the hospital. Now how on Earth is a man that KNOWS God is real and exists because of such a profound experience going to reach out to those who will not even call on God much less admit God can get them sober? Bill was reaching out in the Agnostics chapter as best he could trying desperately to not drive away the unbeliever. Of course it’s going to be offensive to the boy who doesn’t know who or what a Higher Power feels like. And since Dale K states that the Agnostics chapter is literally FULL OF RESENTMENTS WAITING TO BE HATCHED..what does that tell you? The author Dale K still feels inferior and belittled after 36 years of sobriety because in his heart according to typical addict emotional status is a belief that GOD DOES NOT LOVE HIM ENOUGH TO GIVE HIM A WHITE LIGHT EXPERIENCE too. (typical addict psych 101) But listen the truth is this, if God is Love then God Loves all, including Dale K.
What then? Does a man get deliverance by a spiritual experience and then quickly omit the main ingredient when sharing to help others and writing his story? HELL NO! Bill was doing his best to help others get what he got without putting them off by their fear and prejudice toward religion. Granted people have these fears and contempts toward religion FOR A VALID REASONS.
Lord knows what happens when men get a wind of a good thing. They use religion to control people by fear or for profit. Bill knew this. But he wanted to help people.
If I get sober by therapy, of course I will advocate that method of treatment.
If I get a spiritual epiphany that changes the way I think all together, and that saves my life, I can truthfully advocate both methods of recovery. So when I work the steps and gain self worth and a new confidence and self identity by doing the next right thing over and over I will then include the 12 steps in my recipe of sharing deliverance from addiction. Bill W. translated his experience into a recipe called Steps 1-12. He brought practicality into spirituality in a brilliant way. Truly God inspired. Buy that’s just my belief. We cannot change the way that Bill W. got his inspiration to stay sober. But we can open the part of our heart that is blocking the God feed. Read Paradise for the Hellbound chapter on “How to Meditate”.
https://www.recoveryfarmhouse.com/step-eleven-meditation/ or the article on website.
So what then? Why is it that some people get real heartfelt evidence of God’s existence and others just get little epiphanies? Does it mean some are better than others? NO! Absolutely not I will not subscribe to that idea. Nor am I saying that Dale has no God connection. But to be candid with you, how the hell do I know why some get white light and some don’t. All I know is my own experience in life. I am guessing that like I put in my book, if you reach out with your heart YOU WILL get evidence of God.
I do know this people…I hid parts of my own heart from God for years because I was ashamed and deeply embedded with the premise that I was just plain BAD and did not deserve God’s Love, EVER. This is what separated my heart from God. Guilt and shame even when it’s false shame that is initiated from abuse and trauma. If our heart believes we are inferior it affects our connection with our Higher Power.
So our friend and fellow Dale K has settled I think, yet he is being used by the God he has no belief in, in a mighty way. If I were his sponsor I would suggest some things so he would get a little more evidence of God’s personality toward him. But on the other hand….Look at all the people that he may help by showing them they can stay sober without God. Because he and other’s have proved that already. They do not need to include the word God in their program. They have devised a way that works for them. What’s wrong with that? Nothing where sobriety is concerned, nothing at all.
Therefore Recovery Farmhouse gives Dale K the big thumbs up for his reaching out to other’s like him.
After all that’s what AA is about, relating and finding out we ARE NOT ALONE.