Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What's an agnostic?
A. "Agnostism" literally means "not knowing" as regards the existence or nature of God. It's a convenient word to encompass the variety of beliefs and non-beliefs held by our individual members. Recovering alcoholics who attend the agnostic A.A. groups come together knowing that sobriety can be attained by anyone with the help of A.A. fellowship and principles, without necessarily relying on a Higher Power.
Q. Are these legitimate A.A. groups?
A. Of course. As the Third Tradition says, "The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking." We are listed in the Meeting Book published by New York Inter-Group, and we are listed on their web site. Our groups are listed with the General Service Office (GSO) and most have a General Service Representative (GSR).
Q. What are your meetings like?
A. They're quite similar to other A.A. meetings around New York City. Most meetings feature a speaker sharing his or her "experience, strength, and hope" followed by sharing by other members of the group. Other meetings feature readings from A.A. and non-A.A. literature and topic discussions.
Q. Do you conclude your meeting with a prayer?
A. No. At the end of the meeting, the chairperson usually reads the declaration made at the 30th anniversary international convention of Alcoholics Anonymous: “Whenever anyone, anywhere reaches out for help, I want the hand of A.A. always to be there. And for that I am responsible.” Then, the members hold hands in a circle and repeat the slogan:
Live and Let Live!
Q. Do you folks work the steps?
A. Some do, some don't. Some rely solely on the Fellowship for their recovery and they find it works well for them. Others substitute the phrase "group of drunks" or "good orderly direction" for the word "God" in the steps.
Q. How do these groups make use of the Big Book?
A. Frankly, we don't use it very often. Most of our members find Chapter 4 ("We Agnostics") to be particularly condescending and not helpful to their sobriety. The A.A. publication we like the most is Living Sober, a work written from a more-secular point of view and offering much practical advice.
Q. Am I welcome to one of your meetings if I'm religious, or if I think of God as my higher power?
A. Certainly. The agnostic A.A. meetings provide a home for recovering alcoholics of various beliefs. Our members simply appreciate an atmosphere where belief is not made a prerequisite for sobriety.