Episode 10: Roger C. – A History of Secularism in AA

This speech delivered by Roger C. at the Widening the Gateway AA Conference earlier this month will go down as a classic. I believe this will be referenced and talked about and listened to for many decades to come. Roger, a lover of history has found himself in the midst of it, an active participant in events that are helping shape AA’s future.

When just a year sober, Roger witnessed the expulsion of the Beyond Belief and We Agnostics AA groups from the meeting directory published by the Greater Toronto Area IntergroupThe morning after this event, Roger placed a phone call to the Toronto Star, and a few days later, a story appeared on the paper’s front page: Does Religion Belong at AA? Fight over ‘God’ splits Toronto AA Groups.

No longer listed by the GTA Intergroup, the secular AAs in Toronto created a website to list their groups, a website that exits to this day, AA Agnostics Toronto, and which inspired the creation of AA Agnosticathe site that introduced many of us to secular AA, and for which Roger is best know. This site, AA Beyond Belief exists only because of AA Agnostica and Roger’s inspiration, encouragement and support. We are grateful to him and proud to share in this rich heritage. 

I believe you will enjoy this, you will be moved and inspired by it. This isn’t a history lecture. It’s a passionate account of events that have brought us to this point in time when secular AA groups are growing at an incredible rate all over the world. Just last week, we learned of a group starting in Iceland called Freethinkers Reykjavik. New groups are also starting this month in Hamilton and Brampton, Ontario, and many more of which we don’t yet know.

We who are part of this movement within the AA movement are making history; and what an honor and privilege it is to build on the work of those who preceded us, so those who come after us can build upon the work that we do today.


About Roger C.

Roger C. is a member of Beyond Belief, the first agnostic AA group in Canada. In 2011 the group was booted off of the official AA meeting list by the local Intergroup. Roger was part of starting the website AA Toronto Agnostics which eventually became AA Agnostica. He has managed that site for the past four years and four months, posting on a regular weekly schedule 300 articles written by atheists and agnostics in AA from all over the world.  That seriously cut into Roger’s time for his two favourite sports: golf in the summer and squash in the winter.

He looks forward to the day when AA drops its antiquated religiosity and becomes a true refuge for all those suffering from alcoholism. He also hopes to see the next WAAFT convention in 2018 held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, one of the proud centres of the secular AA universe.

You can read the transcript of Roger’s speech at AA Agnostica.