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Sacramento Freethinkers Atheists & Nonbelievers (FAN) Message Board › secular sobriety/recovery peer support group

secular sobriety/recovery peer support group

user 13349393
Nevada City, CA
Post #: 1
I'm planning on starting a secular sobriety/recovery group in my hometown of Grass Valley. I was hoping to use SOS as a guide but have been told that because of a long standing legal issue I cannot. I'm looking for ideas as to how, who or where to get information on starting a secular meeting, meeting formats and operation. I have found some meeting formats and ideas over the internet. I'm not interested in LifeRing or SoberRecovery at this time. I have yet to go to the agnostic group in Sacramento. I'd like to see how their group is run. Any thoughts? -Jasmin
A former member
Post #: 1
I attend an agnostic AA meeting in Carmichael on Tuesday nights at 730pm. The point of this group is to offer the support of AA without any of the Christian undertones.


(click on Carmichael)

There is an opening and closing statement read by a moderator. It is mentioned in the opening statement that members may feel free to express their religious beliefs, or their absence or rejection of religious beliefs.

Between the opening and closing statement, people from the group share. The moderator tries to come up with a topic each week, but sometimes the group is encouraged to talk about anything they want. At some point a basket is passed, as there is a charge to use the building from 7:30 to 8:30 PM once a week, and the donations from individual members pay for that. There is coffee but no food, there are reading materials such as pamphlets, interpretations of the 12 steps from different perspectives (such as atheist agnostic and pagan), and the moderator usually brings a stack of books about recovery.

There is no prayer or meditation.

I believe that interacting with people who are struggling with the problem of alcohol or drugs provides very helpful support in the recovery process.

SMART is another secular recovery program. There is a face to face SMART recovery group in Placerville. You can find more information on the SMART website.


I've also been working SMART Recovery using tools from the website. This program fights addiction by using rational emotive behavioral therapy.

The SMART tools are strategies that people can employ to overcome addiction and make their lives better. The two tools that I find to be the most useful are the cost benefit analysis and the vital absorptive creative interest.

The cost benefit analysis can be applied to almost every part of life. This is a tool that is useful for much more than evaluating the behavior of addictive substance use. I believe that overcoming addiction has a lot to do with examining the etiology of the abuse. Maybe someone drinks because they feel guilty or because they feel grief. Maybe someone uses drugs because life seems boring and pointless. By conducting a cost benefit analysis in other areas of life, the art of decision making is enhanced. People make better decisions, and their lives improve. The strategy of living well becomes second nature, and life becomes more meaningful and fulfilling without intoxication.

The other kudos that I would offer to the SMART approach involves the vital absorptive creative interest.

I think many people suggest the advice of working longer hours to recover or going to more face to face meetings. I think that attaching one’s recovery to the behavior of other people is dangerous business. So, we might see people who quit because they are being pressured by their spouse, their boss, the police, their children…whatever. This reason for quitting is said to be as effective as any other reason when it comes to overcoming addiction. But I wonder. What if you break up with your spouse, or your children move away or your boss gets hit by a train? Now you have decided to quit for a reason that you have no control over, and that reason is gone. If people work longer hours or go to more face to face meetings when they quit, what happens if they lose their job? What happens if their sponsor falls off the wagon? Once again, suddenly the addict/alcoholic is left with no outlet.

By exploring a vital absorptive creative interest, people can develop an outlet which makes life meaningful. People also have control over this. If someone decides to go running, or lift weights, or photograph animals, or scuba dive, or jump out of airplanes, or start playing a musical instrument, or read novels… get the idea….then they have given their life more direction. They have also found something to do besides get loaded. It makes life more fun and interesting.
Sacramento, CA
Post #: 110
Hey Steve, do you think that the moderator (or whoever would be the decider) would be interested in having the We Agnostic meeting listed on the Sacramento-area Coalition of Reason website? I just added it to the bottom of the FAN about page.
A former member
Post #: 2
Hey Steve, do you think that the moderator (or whoever would be the decider) would be interested in having the We Agnostic meeting listed on the Sacramento-area Coalition of Reason website? I just added it to the bottom of the FAN about page.

Yes. Thank you, Rachael.

We want to help other people and be supportive of their efforts to stop drinking or using. We would appreciate any exposure that will serve this purpose.
Anyse J.
Sacramento, CA
Post #: 102
There is an article in Alternet that was put out today on the case of AA members being removed because they are atheists. I felt that this is more than relevant here. You may read it at:

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