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Episode 243: Addicted to Recovery with Tara Boyce

In this episode, we meet Tara Boyce who shares her personal story of recovery and talks about her podcast “Addicted to Recovery: The Interactive Memoir.” Her podcast has a unique format that involves Tara reading from her own memoir and then discussing her feelings about what she wrote. She also responds to listener comments and questions from previous episodes. Tara is an incredible talent. Her...

Episode 242: Is Moderation Ever an Option?

In this episode, I had an interesting conversation with Dr. Joseph Volpicelli about the idea that some people in the early stages of losing control over their drinking may benefit from therapy and naltrexone as a means of not stopping but instead, moderating their drinking. This may be a controversial topic among those of us in the recovery community, especially those of us involved with Twelve...

Episode 241: Multiple Paths – Life Ring and Women for Sobriety

Mary Beth O’Connor from Life Ring Secular Recovery and the She Recovers Foundation, teams up with Adrienne Miller from Women for Sobriety to discuss the importance of respecting multiple paths to recovery, and issues specific to women in recovery. Topics Discussed The origins and purpose of Women for Sobriety. Life Ring Secular Recovery. The She Recovers Foundation. The importance of multiple...

Episode 240: We’re Not All Egomaniacs – Adapting The Twelve Steps for Alcoholics with Low Self-Esteem

The book Alcoholics Anonymous written in 1939 describes alcoholics as power-driving egomaniacs who are self-centered in the extreme. The idea put forth in the book was that recovery from alcoholism would require crushing this oversized ego and learning to live with humility. This may have been an apt description of the less than 100  mostly men who were helping Bill put the book together, but is...

Episode 239: The Proactive Twelve Steps 6th Edition

Serge Prengel is a therapist and life coach, and co-founder of the Integrative Focusing Therapy Online Training Program. He is also the author of The Proactive Twelve Steps: A mindful Program For Lasting Change. The sixth edition of the book was recently published and Serge visited with me to talk about what is new and why. What we discussed Why Serge wrote the book. How the steps become more...

Episode 238: Jan Winhall | Treating Trauma and Addiction With The Felt Sense Polyvagal Model

Jan Winhall is a Clinical Social Worker and Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Toronto in the Department of Social Work. She is also the author of Treating Trauma and Addiction with the Felt Sense Polyvagal Model: A Bottom-Up Approach. In this episode, Jan explains how and why addiction becomes a way of coping with trauma and bridges the worlds of trauma treatment and addiction. Topics...

Episode 237: The Road to Sobriety: A Personal Experience

Timothy Clancy is an independent Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Counselor who specializes in self-destructive behaviors such as substance abuse and eating disorders. He is a certified SMART Recovery meeting facilitator and the author of The Road to Sobriety: A Personal Experience. In this episode, Timothy shares his story and discusses alcoholism, treatment, and recovery. What we talked about...

Episode 235: Dr. Robb Kelly | Understanding and Treating Addiction

In this episode, we discuss the latest in the science of addiction medicine with Doctor Robb Kelly. Robb earned his Ph.D. in Psychology at Oxford University in 1984 and today lectures on addiction medicine at the University of Texas-San Antonio. He founded the Robb Kelly Recovery Group to help people suffering from addiction find recovery and purposeful lives, and his memoir Daddy, Daddy, Please...

Episode 234: Seeing Things Differently | Recovery in the Age of COVID

In this episode, I caught up with Joe K. who we met back in January 2020 in episode 145. At that time, Joe had just started a secularly formatted AA meeting in Chatham New Jersey, and a few months later the world changed profoundly as did the way we understand and experience recovery. In this conversation, Joe and I talked about the various ways our perspective on recovery changed. What we talked...

Episode 233: Sex Addiction

In this episode, we will talk about sex addiction with David S., a member of Sex Addicts Anonymous. David will help us understand sex addiction from his personal experience, review the terminology related to sex addiction, and describe a typical Sex Addicts Anonymous meeting. What we talked about Dave’s story. The nature of addiction and living a dual existence. How sex addiction differs...

Episode 232: The Sobriety Diaries with Nate Kelly

Meet Nate Kelly, host of a new video podcast called “The Sobriety Diaries.” Nate shares his story of recovery, how he got involved with podcasting about addiction recovery, and his hopes for the new podcast. I enjoyed the conversation and I look forward to following Nate’s podcast and YouTube Channel. Subscribe to Nate’s YouTube Channel Subscribe to The Sobriety Diaries Podcast Transcript John:...

Episode 231: Keeping it Simple with PJ

PJ takes a minimalist approach to staying sober based on three fundamental actions: not taking the first drink, participating in AA meetings, and getting involved in service. After learning about secular AA meetings during a visit to the US, he and a friend started their own secular meeting in Brookvale, a suburb of Sydney, Australia. The meeting has been growing and is doing well despite the...

Episode 230: Holmes Complete Guide to Stop Drinking Alcohol

Mark Holmes is the author of Holmes Complete Guide to Stop Drinking Alcohol and the CEO of the Addiction Help Agency located in London, England. In this episode, Mark shares his personal story of recovery and how he was inspired to write this book and make a career change from education to helping people overcome alcohol use disorder. What we talked about The reason people start drinking alcohol...

Episode 229: Paul Churchill From The Recovery Elevator

In this episode, we meet Paul Churchill, author, podcaster, and a person in long-term recovery. When Paul’s life went into meltdown in the summer of 2014, he came to a realization that he needed to stop drinking. More importantly, though, he was ready to stop, and he wanted sobriety. Then, after about six months of sobriety, Paul feared that he was overconfident about his sobriety, so he...

Episode 228: Why Do Atheists Bother with AA?

In this episode, John Huey returns to ask why atheists and agnostics bother with AA. Is it a waste of time for them to try and find a place in an organization with deep religious roots? Questions for our discussion Should atheists talk to or engage with traditional AA people at all? What good does it do for atheists to be involved with AA? Shouldn’t atheists start their own organization...

Episode 227: Sacred Masculinity with Sam Morris

Sam Morris learned that instead of waiting for someone else to save him, he was responsible for saving himself. Overcoming severe anxiety, depression, and struggles with drugs and alcohol, led him to his purpose of creating and holding space for men to experience deep healing from the things that scare them and that they are afraid to talk about. What we talked about Early childhood trauma from...

Episode 226: Happy Hypnosis and the Twelve Steps

Don Ross is a certified hypnotherapist and a person in long-term recovery who has incorporated hypnosis in his recovery and helps others do the same. In this episode, we learn how Don incorporates hypnosis with the Twelve Steps What we talked about The basics of hypnosis. The difference between self-hypnosis and being guided by a trained and certified hypnotherapist. The difference between...

Episode 225: Story and Connection with Kayla Connor

Kayla was introduced to AA while in treatment, and though she had a problem relating to the religious language of the program, she could appreciate the importance of community and the connection that comes from the sharing of personal stories. Seeing a need for more literature tailored to people in recovery who hold a secular worldview, Kayla would like to compile a book of stories from secular...

Episode 224: ARISE Interventions with Jack Bloomfield

Jack Bloomfield is a person in long-term recovery with over 45 years of sobriety. In this episode, Jack shares his story and talks about how he became involved with interventions and how an ARISE intervention differs from traditional models.
You can learn more about Jack on his website adesignforliving.com.
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Episode 223: Recovery Coaching with David Greer

Meet David Greer, a successful business coach who also happens to be a person in long-term recovery. Seeing a connection between the two, and a need to meet, he added recovery coaching to his services. In this episode, we learn how he helps people in recovery identify and reach their recovery goals. Links to David’s website and social media pages Website: Coach David J. Greer Coach Dave on...

Episode 222: Katie’s Godless Awakening

Katie drank abnormally from the start, and early in life, developed a pattern of working hard and playing hard. In high school, she got involved in a relationship that became an obsessive attachment and from that point on, obsessive relationships, alcoholism, and workaholism would form her adult life. Now in recovery and her eighth year of sobriety, she had an awakening as she began to question...

Episode 221: Kylie Butler – A Meaningful Life By Design

Kylie Butler is a podcaster, a writer, a career coach, a recovery coach, and a person in long-term recovery. Through her podcast and coaching business, “A Meaningful Life By Design”, she helps people bring their unique gifts to the world in a meaningful way. In this episode, she shares her journey of recovery and how she came to find purpose and meaning in her life. What we talked...

Episode 220: SMART Tools with Arthur Shenker

Arthur Shenker, a certified SMART Recovery facilitator talks about the basics of SMART Recovery, and its tools for building and maintaining motivation, coping with urges to use, managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and living a balanced life. What we talked about Arthur’s background History of SMART Recovery Four Points of SMART Medically Assisted Treatment Motivational Enhancement...

Episode 219: The Online Soberish Book Club

In this episode, we meet Susie Darin from the Online Soberish Book Club, a monthly, international, free, alcohol-free, sobriety-focused book club, open to anyone on the spectrum of questioning their relationship with alcohol. The group meets via Zoom, and in non-social distancing times, those in Tampa Florida can opt to meet in person and hang out with the others who join through Zoom. Susie...

Episode 218: The Power of the Group

In this episode, Angela and I talk about what makes a 12-Step group unique and effective. Our conversation is based on a chapter from the book, The Alternative Twelve Steps: A Secular Guide to Recovery, by Martha Cleveland, PhD., and Arlys G. What we talked about The uniqueness of 12-Step groups. • Each person works a self-directed program. There is no facilitator or professional leader. •...

Episode 217: Books, Podcasts, and Sobriety with Matt M.

Matt didn’t ease into alcoholism. He got drunk the first time that he drank when he was in the seventh grade. By the time he was in high school, he was taking all the drugs and alcohol he could find, and at the age of fourteen or fifteen, he realized that he needed to stop. He managed to stay sober for short periods of time, and this on and off sobriety continued for years until eventually...

Episode 216: Mari Q.

Mari Q. shares her story of addiction and the phases of her development over the many years she has been in recovery – a process she describes as a healthier practice. The Twelve Steps are only one piece of her recovery, there is a lot more that she learned outside of Twelve Step meetings that she incorporates into her recovery. What we talked about Mari’s introduction to the Twelves Steps...

Episode 215: Modern 12 Step Recovery, by Glenn Rader

Modern 12 Step Recovery: Alcoholics Anonymous for the 21st Century, published in January 2021, provides a contemporary introduction to Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve Steps. In this episode, I had a conversation with the author, Glenn Rader who talked about why he thinks it’s important that AA and the Twelve Steps be framed within the context of modern psychology. What we talked about...

Episode 214: Randy Haveson | The Ego Cleanse

Randy Haveson is a person in long-term recovery, a life coach, an author, and a full-time keynote speaker with a passion for helping people build their self-esteem. In this episode, we learn about Randy’s life-journey and discuss his book The Ego Cleanse: Becoming Your Own Best Friend. In this book, Randy discusses the difference between ego and self-esteem, the common obstacles to building...

Episode 213: Misery is Optional

John Huey makes his eighth appearance on the podcast, and in this conversation, he is expressing his concern about agnostics and atheists who make themselves miserable by comporting to someone else’s ideas of recovery. What we talked about Sources of stress in AA. Why people are seeking a secular alternative to traditional AA meetings. The importance of holding yourself to your own...

Episode 212: Until You Try

Stephanie S. crossed a line when her drinking changed from a want to a need. In this episode, she describes the insidious nature of addiction and shares a song that she wrote about her struggle entitled “Until You Try.” The song, performed by her son David, does a magnificent job of capturing the emotional pain of repeatedly trying and failing to stop drinking. What we talked about...

Episode 211: Seth Perry

Meet Seth Perry. Clean since April 12, 2010, Seth grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia, and today he is a clergy person living in Kingston, Ontario. Seth’s problem with addiction started in Vancouver, and for the last six years of his drinking, he worked as a stand-up comedian. After burning all his bridges in the industry because of his drinking, he left that life behind. Since getting...

Episode 210: Ben’s Friends

This episode features a conversation with Mickey Bakst from an organization called Ben’s Friends, which provides a forum for people in recovery who work in the food and beverage industry. Micky talks about the history behind the group’s founding and the special challenges facing food and beverage workers in recovery. You can learn more about Ben’s Friends at their website...

Episode 209: AJ

Meet AJ who helped start a secular AA meeting in New Jersey. In this episode, he talks about his early experiences with alcohol, his evolving thoughts on spirituality, the progressive nature of alcohol use disorder, and how he managed the AA program as an atheist. As we were talking, AJ related an anecdote about what he was thinking of saying to his ex-wife one morning when she was upset with him...

Episode 208: Ibby A.

Meet Ibby A.  who has been sober since November 30, 1996, and shares her story of recovery from trauma and addiction, and how she views her recovery through a secular lens. Key points discussed Childhood trauma. Geographical cures. Impact of defective relationships on addiction. The benefit of a self-appraisal. Repairing relationships with family. Early experiences with AA and white-knuckling it...

Episode 207: Secular AA Oz

Justin M. from Canberra provides an update on the progress of secular AA meetings in Australia and New Zealand and talks about his views on AA’s singleness of purpose. Key points discussed A brief history of secular AA meetings in Australia. How secular AA is closer to the founding principles of AA. A discussion about the singleness of purpose in AA. How COVID impacted secular AA meetings...

Episode 206: Rich L.

Rich L. is from Mountainview, California, and he helped start a secularly formatted AA meeting in his community. In this episode, he shares his personal story of recovery, how and why he started a secular AA meeting, and how things are going today for both him and his group. Key points discussed Growing up in an alcoholic home. Drinking makes Rich feel normal. Rich’s feeling about religion...

Episode 205: Brendan from Rainham Freethinkers

In this episode, I spoke with Brendan from the Rainham Freethinkers Group located in London, England. I met Brendan at the online International Conference of Secular AA where I was working behind the scenes and he was participating in the panel about The ‘God’ Word Pamphlet.  Brendan shares his story of recovery and his experience as a secular person in Alcoholics Anonymous. Key...

Episode 204: A Message for a New Year

Happy New Year, friends. I want to begin the year by writing to you about AA Beyond Belief. These last five years have gone by so fast. It’s been like a dream. I never imagined that I would ever have such an experience, but it’s been an incredible ride, and I am honored to have this opportunity to be of service. Thank you, Roger C., for making this possible in the first place. Of...

Episode 203: Secular Overeaters

In this episode, we meet Jenne M., and Jim D., both secular members of Overeaters Anonymous. We talk about their struggles with food addiction, the difficulty they experienced as atheists in OA, their experiences starting secular OA meetings, and their website secularovereaters.org. Topics Discussed Jim’s Story Jenne’s Story What makes a secular OA meeting, secular. Overcoming the...

Episode 202: Colette

Colette’s date of sobriety is December 23, 2006, and on the date of this posting, she is celebrating fourteen years sober. In this episode, she shares her journey as a person in recovery from anorexia, depression, and alcoholism. Her’s is an inspiring story and she does a great job describing her early struggles as well as the joy she has found in being sober.  Topics and key points...

Episode 201: Birds of a Feather

Marty B. is a recovering alcoholic and a retired airline pilot. He got sober in AA and after his first year of sobriety, another pilot introduced him to Birds of a Feather, a worldwide network of AA meetings established for airline pilots and cockpit crewmembers. In this episode, Marty describes the unique needs of pilots in recovery and how Birds of a Feather offers a helping hand.  Key points...

Episode 200: Twelve Steps for Agnostics

In this episode, we meet Andy F., an agnostic who got sober in AA and is now writing a book about his experience overcoming his initial objections to the Twelve Steps.  Key points and topics discussed  Andy’s experience as a child in foster care. First doubts about God and religion.  Mental illness and alcoholism. Time in prison. First impressions of AA. Obstacles with the Twelve Steps. Why...

Episode 199: Twenty-Five Years of Listening

Glenn S. is a recovering alcoholic, a “Richard Dawkins atheist” who helped found three humanist AA meetings in New York City, and an artist who for twenty-five years brought a sketchbook to meetings where he took notes and sketched the people around him. The sketchbook helped him listen during meetings and resulted in a wonderful book that he titled Twenty-Five Years of Listening...

Episode 198: Inside Addiction with Luke Worsfold

Luke Worsfold is an entrepreneur who fell into addiction as he began to equate his self-worth with his net worth. Quickly, his life spun out of control and he lost everything. In this episode, Luke tells the story of his recovery and how his podcast Lisa Inside Addiction inspired him to become an addictions counselor. Key points and topics discussed  Luke’s early life and first experiences...

Episode 197: Measuring Recovery Capital

In this episode, we meet David Whitesock, who shares his story of addiction and recovery, and how his journey led him to develop the Recovery Capital Index, a useful tool for measuring recovery capital. Key points and topics discussed  Dave’s story of addiction and recovery. How studying architecture influenced the development of the Recovery Capital Index. Dave’s recovery plan...

Episode 196: Secular Al-Anon Boise: An Update

About a year ago, we posted Episode 137 about a secular Al-Anon group that started meeting in Boise, Idaho. That episode featured a conversation with one of the group’s co-founders, Kim L., who talked about the challenges with starting the meeting. In this episode, the group’s other co-founder, Chia provided an update on how the group has been fairing and how COVID has actually helped...

Episode 195: Listening

Listening is perhaps the most valuable gift we can give to another person, and it is a great strength of AA. People don’t necessarily need to have others solve their problems, but from being heard people can learn to face and resolve their own challenges. This episode is all about the importance of listening when helping people we sponsor, or a new person at a meeting. This was a live...

Episode 194: OMAGOD Online Secular AA Meeting

In this episode, I speak with Mikey J. from Our Mostly Agnostic Group of Drunks (OMAGOD) located in Orlando, Florida, and now meeting online every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 7:00 pm Eastern. Mikey takes us through the history of the group and what they learned about hosting online AA meetings.  Key Points and Topics Discussed  The history of OMAGOD and their online meetings.  How to keep a...

Episode 193: The Plague Year

In this episode, John Huey talks about his thoughts on COVID and alcoholism, and what the two have in common. He thinks back on friends who didn’t survive their drinking and realizes that we don’t think often enough about those who don’t make it. You can read more in John’s essay,  A Journal of the Plague Year.  Key points and topics discussed  Either COVID or alcoholism...

Episode 192: AA Beyond Belief at Five Years

John and Angela celebrate the fifth anniversary of AA Beyond Belief by taking a look back at when and how it all started.   Key points and topics discussed  Meeting Roger C. at the We Agnostics and Freethinkers International AA Conference.  Roger encouraging John to start AA Beyond Belief.  John explains why he started the podcast.  What about AA Beyond Belief materialized as first imagined and...

Episode 191: A New Era for AA?

Has COVID brought in a new era for Alcoholics Anonymous, or is it our responsibility to help bring one about? As meetings moved from church basements to Zoom, we are now hearing more diverse experiences from a greater number of people, as well as new ideas about the Steps or recovery in general. Maybe sharing our experience as secular AA members is making more of a difference now?  That’s...

Episode 190: Decisions

In this episode, Angela and John have a discussion about making decisions and how they learned to make better decisions in recovery. Angela talked about how attending meetings and working the Steps helped her learn to become more mindful and less reactive, and John talked about the difficult decisions he had to make early in sobriety. This was recorded from our Friday night live stream and...

Episode 189: Sober Gratitudes with Sarah Elizabeth

Our guest for this episode is Sarah Elizabeth from the Sober Gratitudes podcast. Now, I’ll tell you, this isn’t a typical episode for AA Beyond Belief, because Sarah doesn’t identify as either an atheist or agnostic. In Fact, she describes her experience as spiritual, and she attributes her sobriety to a higher power, which she identifies as the God of her understanding. Now, that being said...

Episode 188: Something Light and Easy

Angela and I have a free-flowing conversation covering a variety of topics ranging from our memories and thoughts about or first AA meeting to whether AA Word Services should publish a new book that covers the program of recovery. We take a call from Fred in Virginia and respond to comments on Facebook and YouTube.

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Episode 187: Friendships in Sobriety

Angela and I talk about friendships and how they were impacted by our drinking and what we learned from our friends in sobriety. When I got sober, I didn’t have any friends left from my drinking days, but Angela continued to maintain those relationships after she got sober. This was recorded from our Friday live stream. We had one caller and several comments from the YouTube and Facebook...

Episode 186: Our Question and Answer Episode

Angela and I take questions from callers and the live chat on Facebook and YouTube, and then we ask each other a few questions. There is an interesting discussion about the importance of self-care, and the need for AA to modernize.

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Episode 185: Talking About We Agnostics with Dale K.

Angela and I have a conversation with Dale K. about the ” We Agnostics” chapter in Big Book. Dale wrote a secular version of the first 164 pages in the Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous, and in this episode, he explains why.  Angela and I have a conversation with Dale K. about the ” We Agnostics” chapter in Big Book. Dale wrote a secular version of the first 164 pages in the...

Episode 184: Relationships in Sobriety

In this episode, Angela and I are joined by Bri, a friend from my home group, to discuss relationships. We take a look at the issues we faced with relationships while we were drinking, as well as in recovery. Bri goes into detail about some of her early experiences, and Angela talks about the developmental theory of relationships and how that is problematic for people in recovery.  Bri got sober...

Episode 183: A Brief History of Secular AA

In this episode, Joe C. from Rebellion Dogs Radio joins Angela and John for a brief overview of the history of secular AA groups. This episode was recorded live on YouTube and Facebook on July 10, 2020. We live stream every Friday night at 7:00 pm on the AA Beyond Belief YouTube Channel, public Facebook page, and our private Facebook group. Key points and topics discussed  The first Quad A group...

Episode 182: Music in Recovery

This episode was recorded from a live stream originally posted on July 3, 2020, on YouTube and Facebook. Angela and I talk about the role that music played in our lives both while drinking and now as sober people. This was a free-flowing conversation that went into other topics.

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Episode 181: Mark K.’s Many Paths to Sobriety

Mark K. knows he needs more than AA to stay sober. Before attending his first AA meeting, he was receiving professional help from a therapist who he continues to see to this day, and who encourages him to remain open to any activity or resource that supports his recovery. Mark fully embraces this approach, and in this episode, he walks us through his journey, describing the tools and resources...

Episode 180: About those Steps – A Conversation with John C.

This episode features a conversation about the 12 Steps with John C. from Berkeley, California. We talk about how there is often exaggerated importance placed on them. The Steps, which are primarily experiential become an academic exercise for many. Some AA members will talk about finishing Steps, but some don’t have a defined beginning and end. How do you finish Step One for example...

Episode 179: David S.

In this episode, I speak with David S., a stand-up comedian in the Kanas City area who has been sober for thirty-seven years at the time of this recording. We talk about his recovery, the challenges of being a secular person in AA, his thoughts about agnostic AA meetings, and how he got involved with performing comedy. Transcript 00:00 John: AA Beyond Belief is a podcast by, for, and about people...

Episode 178: Tradition Three – The Only Requirement

In this episode Angela and I talk about Tradition Three: The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.”  We review the history of the tradition taken from a talk by Barry L., author of Living Sober, that he gave at the 1985 International AA Convention in Montreal. This is followed with a discussion about how we experience the tradition today. This was recorded Live on...

Episode 177: Atheists in Recovery

In this episode, I speak with Dr. Adina Slvestri from Life Cycles Counseling in Richmond, Virginia. Dr. Silvestri is a licensed family therapist who specializes in treating women with substance abuse issues, children impacted by trauma, and helping people cope with and better handle anger. She is also the host of “The Atheists in Recovery Podcast”, which features guests with an...

Episode 176: The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

In this episode, I’m joined by my friend Sam S. from my home group in Kansas City to discuss the novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson. This story is a great metaphor for alcoholism and drug addiction, and though I have always been familiar with story simply by reference in popular culture, I found that actually reading the book and then discussing...

Episode 175: Outside Issues? Let’s Talk About It.

This episode was recorded from our weekly Friday night live stream on YouTube. Every week, Angela and I cover a topic we think may be of interest to secular people in AA, and for this particular episode we were joined by Willow F. to talk about outside issues. We are living through a pandemic the likes of which hasn’t been experienced in over a hundred years, millions of us have lost our...

Episode 174: Sharing Our Stories

In this episode Angela and I discuss our experiences speaking at AA meetings and offer tips and suggestions that you may find helpful when speaking at other groups. We talk about the importance of knowing your audience, staying on time and on track, and formats other than the standard “what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like now.” We also cover how to record your...

Episode 173: Adoptees and Addiction

This episode features a conversation with two people in recovery who were adopted as children. Lisa K., a Korean adoptee describes her struggle with identification as an Asian person growing up with a white family in a white world. David B. Bohl, author of Parallel Universes: The Story of Rebirth shares his personal journey as one who was relinquished at birth as a way of providing some...

Episode 172: Doctors in Recovery

Rich S., a physician from Portland, Oregon shares his experience as a healthcare professional in recovery from alcoholism, and he helps us understand the special challenges facing healthcare workers as they confront a global pandemic.  Transcript John: AA Beyond Belief is a podcast by for and about people who have found a secular path to sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous. Hello, is anybody out...

Episode 171: Carmen X. at the KC Secular AA Speaker Meeting

This episode is a recording from a talk given by Carmen X. in Kansas City, Missouri in February 2019. Carmen begins by noting that she believes she was born with two genetic variations. One that made her a trans woman and the other that made her an alcoholic. She briefly shared her story of recovery, and then the microphone was passed around the room for comments from others who attended the...

Episode 170: Acceptance

Is acceptance the answer to all our problems, or is it only a starting point, or maybe it’s where we end up after going through a process? That’s what this episode is all about. How we understand and incorporate the concept of acceptance into our recovery. This episode was recorded live on Friday, May 22, 2020 on the AA Beyond Belief YouTube channel, public Facebook page, and private...

Episode 169: The Human Glitch

This episode features a conversation with Gary Chattaway, a recovery advocate from London, England whose work can be found on his website thehumanglitch.com, and his YouTube Channel. Gary is the author of The Human Glitch a short book that briefly describes his experience with alcohol addiction. He is currently working on a new book that will delve deeper into how he overcame alcohol cravings and...

Episode 168: Teachers in Recovery

In this episode Angela and John talk with Sam S., who teaches History and Social Studies at a high school in a rural area of Kansas. After sharing her recovery story, an interesting discussion ensues about the challenges she faces as a teacher and person in recovery, and how parents, teachers, and students are dealing with the unique circumstances resulting from the social isolation brought on by...

Episode 167: Chad H.

Although alcoholism runs through his family history, Chad’s growing up years seemed normal to him. He felt loved and secure in his home environment. Looking back if there was anything about him that seemed unusual was a general sense of unease and a tendency toward perfectionism. In this episode Chad talks about his experience with alcoholism, recovery, and the secular AA meetings he...

Episode 166: Adverse Childhood Experiences and Addiction

Inspired by an article published by Aces Too High News on May 2, 2017, this episode features a discussion about the role that adverse childhood experiences plays in the development of addiction later in life. Is addiction a disease or a normal comfort seeking response to childhood trauma, or is it a little of both? Every Friday night at 8:00 pm Eastern Time, John and Angela stream live on the AA...

Episode 165: Power of the Pause – Mindfulness in Recovery

In this episode Angela and John speak with Jackie S. about the power of pausing and meditation to bring mindfulness to our recover and how we can benefit from that. This episode was recorded as a live stream on our public YouTube channel and our private Facebook group. We stream an episode every Friday night at 7:00 pm Central Time.   Transcript 00:00 John: AA Beyond Belief is a podcast by, for...

Episode 164: Bobby C.

In this episode, Benn and John meet Bobby C. from Huntington Beach, California. Bobby has been sober since February 27, 1984 and participates in both AA as well as SMART Recovery meetings. Bobby shares his story which evolves into an interesting conversation about anonymity, secular recovery options, and recovery culture.  Transcript 00:00 John: AA Beyond Belief is a podcast by, for, and about...

Episode 163: Doug P.

Doug P. has been sober for over 25 years. He left AA approximately eight years ago because he was bored with all the god bit, but returned upon finding a secular AA meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia where he lives. This is his story.  Transcript 0:00:00 John: AA Beyond Belief is a podcast by, for and about people who have found a secular path to sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous. [music] 0:00:26...

Episode 162: What is Emotional Sobriety?

In this episode, Angela and John talk about emotional sobriety while taking calls from listeners, and responding to comments in the YouTube chatroom. The term emotional sobriety originated from a letter that Bill W. wrote to a friend in 1953. Bill, sober for twenty years, was suffering from depression and was frustrated that the AA program didn’t seem to help him with depression as it did...

Episode 161: AA History with Bob K

This episode features a conversation with Bob K., author of Key Players in AA History. We discuss AA co-founder Bill W., the first women in AA, and some of the common misunderstanding’s of the AA founding mythology. We also took calls from listeners who asked questions about the Steps, inconsistencies in the Big Book, and sponsorship. Every Friday night at 7:00 PM Central, Angela and John...

Episode 160: Take What you Want and Leave the Rest

Angela and John talk about platitudes, slogans, and common sayings heard in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. Are they useful? If so, which ones? Are any of them harmful or downright mean? This was recorded live on YouTube as part of our sober distancing series. We took calls, responded to comments in the chatroom and had an all around good time.

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Episode 158: Emotional Balance

In this episode Angela, Benn, and John talk about emotional balance in the context of Step 10. This was recorded from our weekly Friday night live stream on YouTube. Bobby C., Jaren C., and Peter from Vermont called in with their comments.

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Episode 157: Sober Distancing

Covid 19 has changed everything, and as government entities institute stay at home orders, AA groups have had to move their meetings online. It’s been a difficult time full of uncertainty and change, and unfortunately this will be the new normal for the foreseeable future.  In this episode, John, Angela, and Benn share their thoughts and experiences about the crisis and discuss the tools...

Episode 156: Deprogramming from Traditional AA

John H. from the We Agnostics Group in Washington DC makes another appearance on the podcast to talk about deprogramming from AA. The word “deprogramming” may seem strong, but for those of us who have spent some time in traditional AA, didn’t we have to unlearn a few things? I know that I did, and I’m still unlearning and relearning.  If you haven’t met John H...

Episode 155: Jamison M. and the No Pews Required Group

Angela B. provides an ICSAA update and talks about the One Big Tent Secular AA Conference to be held in Langley, British Columbia on May 16, 2020. Jamison M. joined in by phone to talk about starting a secular AA meeting in Lodi, New Jersey. It’s an interesting story that involves help from a person of faith. Today, the group is thriving and providing a safe and secular space for people to...

Episode 154: Jeremy P. | What Makes an Alcoholic?

As storm Ciara tore its path across the United Kingdom, somewhere in London, Jeremy P. hunkered down and spoke with me for this podcast. A few weeks prior to recording this episode, Jeremy sent me a very thoughtful email about his difficulty identifying with many of the AA speakers he hears on various podcasts. He explained that this is keeping him from saying anything at the meetings he attends...

Episode 153: Recovery Advocacy

In this episode, I spoke with Erik Haines , a public health advocate in Canada who has studied and written about how changing attitudes regarding addiction and recovery are impacting public policy, treatment options, and new modes of support for people recovering from addictions of all kinds.   Links to some of Erik’s work: “We the North: Rethinking Addiction & Recovery in...

Episode 152: Jaren C.

Jaren recently completed an ultra marathon, a 100 mile trek, and while running his thoughts took him back to when he was twenty-five years old and  went to his first AA meeting. The people in the room gave him hope because he could relate with them and they to him. At that first meeting, a man made him a promise that if he could stay sober one day at a time, he would have a wonderful life and do...

Episode 151: Tom S.

Tom S. was the featured speaker on January 5, 2019. Originally from Alabama, Tom shared his story of addiction and recovery. After he spoke, an interesting discussion ensued on the topic of the primary purpose in AA and whether or not drug addicts are welcomed to attend AA meetings. Transcript Well, thanks for coming, everyone. And my name is Tom and I’m an addict. And that’s probably...

Episode 150: Step 12

Angela and I concluded our series on the Twelve Steps by live streaming this episode on YouTube and taking calls. Glenn G. from Jacksonville called in and talked about his work with his Area to have a secular AA workshop at the Florida State convention. It was a fun conversation fitting for this step, which as far as I’m concerned is about enjoying life.  This is how I see Step 12 today: ...

Episode 149: PJ from Sydney

PJ, originally from Ireland, migrated to Sydney in in 1989 and got sober in 1993. Having come from an Irish tradition of oral storytelling he naturally gravitated towards the wonderful Sydney AA storytellers, who shared their experience, strength, and hope. This has proven to be a mainstay of his sobriety with the tried and tested formula of sharing in a general way what we used to be like, what...

Episode 148: Lisa K.

Continuing with our Wednesday Secular Speaker Series, today we present to you Lisa K. who spoke at the KC Secular AA Speaker Meeting on December 8, 2018. Lisa, a Korean adoptee shares her experience as an adoptee and how it impacted her alcoholism and recovery. Transcript Hi. Thank you. My name’s Lisa. I’m an alcoholic. And it’s really good to be here tonight. I’ve shared...

Episode 147: Step 11 with Angela and John

Angela and I had a nice conversation about Step 11, which in its traditional wording seems difficult for a secular person to even be interested in pursuing. However, for me and for Angela as well, this step wasn’t about making a conscious contact with a god. I liked the way that Angela described this step. She sees it as “being about openness and taking the new space in our lives and...

Episode 146: Starting a Secular AA Meeting Live Stream

John talks about starting a secular AA meeting from his own experience as well as what he has learned from others. After defining what makes an AA meeting “secular”, he talks about why you might want to start a meeting, and how to go about finding a meeting place and getting the group registered with GSO.  Topics covered include:  What makes an AA meeting secular.  Reasons for...

Episode 145: Joe K. from The Only Requirement Group

In this episode Joe K. from The Only Requirement Group in Chatham, New Jersey shares his story of recovery as an atheist in Alcoholics Anonymous, and his experience with helping to start a secular AA meeting.  Transcript 00:01 John: AA Beyond Belief is a podcast by, for and about people who have found a secular path to sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous. [music] 00:29 John: Last week, I posted...

Episode 144: Bill H.

This week’s secular speaker is Bill H. who has been sober in Alcoholics Anonymous for 52 years. This recording is from a talk he gave in Kansas City, Missouri on December 1, 2018. Bill talks about his early days getting sober in AA in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, his days on the AA speaker circuit, and how he approaches recovery today. Transcript Bill: My name is Bill and...