Episode 107: Esprit Ouvert

“Esprit Ouvert” is French for “Open-mindedness”, and it’s the name of a new secular AA group that meets in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec every Friday night at 8:00 pm. In this episode, Ernest B. and William B. talk about what motivated them to start the group, the challenges they faced, and how their group approaches the AA program from a totally secular perspective. The group has rewritten “How it Works”, as well as the Steps and Traditions. Those documents are available for download in pdf form here, and will also appear in a separate post at AA Beyond Belief


00:00 John: This is AA Beyond Belief, The Podcast Episode 107.


00:24 John: Hello, I’m here with William B and Ernest B, and they are from Quebec, and recently started an AA meeting in Montreal, and they sent me an email letting me know that they wanted to be on the secular AA meeting list, so I sent that on to Courtney and to add their group, and I thought, “Hey, I’d love to hear about your group in Montreal,” so I asked them to come on the podcast. How you guys doing?

00:47 William: Oh, we’re doing good, we’re doing good.

00:49 Ernest: Yeah, good, good.

00:50 William: Just a bit of a correction John, we’re not actually in Montreal, in a city about, what would you say Ernest, about 40, 50 kilometers south of Montreal, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.

01:05 John: Okay.

01:06 William: Yeah, so that’s a city of about 100,000 people.

01:09 John: Okay, nice. So let’s get the story together about how this group started, and maybe we might want to start with what got you interested in a secular AA meeting to begin with?

01:21 William: Okay. You want to go ahead Ernest for a bit or…

01:23 Ernest: Oh, we’re both… I’m an atheist, and Will is agnostic, and when we used to go to meeting, we stick together, but we had a hard time to cope with the God business, and I talked to him about that there was some group around the world that there was agnostic and an atheist group. So I did some research and I said, “We should start a group like this because there is one… ” There was about 12 groups in Toronto, and I knew they had an argument with the district in Toronto. They were booted out. So now they’re back in because it changed the way they look at it. So I said, “We should start a group near Montreal because some other people like us.”

02:23 William: Yeah. And so you see, what happened was about two years ago I’d say, we tried to start a group with basically an accent on WAAFT, W-A-A-F-T, We Atheists and Alcoholics Freethinkers, and AA Agnostica, but that didn’t attract people. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because it didn’t seem like AA, or was too alternative or something like this. But now that, as Ernest said, AA seems to be trying to welcome some of these free thinkers and agnostics, atheists. We started this again, it was only… We’ve only been in this about a month, right?

03:04 Ernest: Yeah.

03:05 William: So yeah. And so we had gone to another group that got started before us in another city called Saint-Hyacinthe, and they’re called Libres Penseurs, Freethinkers, and this is in French. Both of our meetings are in French. We don’t have English meeting yet in Quebec as far as we know, but there probably will be one soon in Montreal. And so that’s how we started this time. We started it a couple years ago, it didn’t work, but this time it seems to be working. At our last meeting we had eight people, which was pretty good, pretty good, yeah. And don’t forget that in Quebec, it’s been very, very close to the Catholic church for generations, so even now with the more secular attitude that people have in the new generations, since let’s say 1960, still they’re sticking with the church and the way it works.

04:03 John: I was wondering about that. I was wondering what the typical meeting is like in your area. Do they, for example, use the Lord’s Prayer and all that kind of stuff?

04:13 William: Generally, they use the Lord’s Prayer at the end. They start with the Serenity Prayer, and then they finish with the Lord’s Prayer.

04:21 John: Okay, so that’s pretty typical. That’s how it is around here too.

04:24 William: Yeah, but this too has been changing, because I know there’s one meeting I go to, a French one, which used to say the Lord’s Prayer at the end, now they’re saying… They’re talking about just using the Responsibility Declaration or the Unity Declaration to close the meeting.

04:41 John: Yeah, and that’s actually a good way to do it. We’re doing that now at our area assembly here in Missouri. We’re closing more and more with the Responsibility Statement, and also, we do that at our district meetings now, which is really nice.

04:55 William: Yeah.

04:55 John: It makes everybody more comfortable.

04:58 Ernest: Also, what gave us the chance to start this year is because we’re allowed to put our meeting on the listing of AA. Before, we didn’t have any place to advertise our group. So that’s why it didn’t start. But this time, the district and the region AA, they put us on the listing so people see it and they question about it. They talk to us about it.

05:29 John: And what’s the name of your group?

05:30 William: It’s called Esprit Ouvert. That’s French for “open mind”.

05:36 John: Okay, I like that. And what’s your format? What…

05:39 Ernest: Well, the format is discussion meeting. Everybody is allowed three minutes that they can talk about anything. We have a subject, like maybe discuss the step three or step four, and the step are modified. We modify the step too. All the step have been modified. So the people have the step in front of them, and we discuss one step, and they can talk also about something that they like to talk about that happened during the week or something like that too.

06:15 John: So did you guys modify the steps yourselves, or did you take it from someone else who’s done the modification?

06:21 Ernest: Well Saint-Hyacinthe is the group that started before us, which is about 50 kilometers from here, and they have modified the steps based on the steps that’s been modified in Toronto, and they were so good, so we didn’t change anything. We used those ones.

06:41 John: Okay, so when you open your meeting, do you read those steps?

06:46 William: Oh yeah.

06:47 John: Okay.

06:48 William: And do we have the paper here Ernest, some place?

06:50 Ernest: Yeah, we use… Yeah, we have the step, but we read the step, we read the…

06:56 William: The method.

06:57 Ernest: How it works, but which has been modified as well.

07:04 John: Oh really?

07:04 Ernest: And the tradition have been modified for tradition two and tradition, I think, 11 that were some higher power there. But the other… All the other tradition are the same.

07:21 John: So I’m interested about how you modified how it works.

07:24 William: Okay. Well we’ll have to find the paper to tell you that. Okay. So John, just give us a second because we have the paper right in front of us. We got a briefcase full of all that stuff that we use in our meeting. And here it is, okay. So your meeting, what’s the name of your guys’ meeting?

07:46 John: Here in Kansas City, our group is… We got a couple of ’em, but the group I go to, my home group is We Agnostics.

07:52 William: We Agnostics, okay.

07:54 John: And then we also have a Free Thinkers group and we have a secular speaker meeting.

07:58 William: Oh yes, okay. So here, I’ve got the paper, but this is in French. I don’t know if that’s going to make much sense to the people who are listening, but we could sort of translate it as we go along. Okay, first the method. This is called the secular version of how it works, the method in French, okay, used by the group Esprit Ouvert, Open Mind. This is adapted from the how it works and the 12 steps as shown in Alcoholics Anonymous. So our method, it constitutes a program of recovery for alcoholics with the desire to stop drinking and looking for help in the Esprit Ouvert group, okay? This method requires that we be rigorously honest towards ourselves, and that we assume entire responsibility for our behaviors and our attitudes. These are the elements, the crucial elements for our recovery. The stories of our lives reveal, in general way, who we were, what happened to us and how we are now, the way we are now.

09:17 William: If you want to really want to recover and you’re ready to do so and leave your comfort zone, if you’re interested in working very hard to change your habits and your way of life, you’re ready to put into operation these steps. And the steps have been changed. I’m not going to read all the steps, but Ernest will tell you the ones that have been changed.

09:45 Ernest: Okay, the steps that have been changed is number two. It says, “We came to accept that we need help to face our problem with alcohol.” So that’s why we remove God. And step three is the same as it was before. And step four, “We proceeded without, fearless about our own inventory… ” But I have a cold.

10:22 William: Okay. [laughter] Okay. “We proceeded without, fearless… In a fearless moral inventory of ourselves, recognizing our egocentric behaviors, our fears, our self-pity, our resentments, and our weaknesses, that these things could have contributed to our alcoholism.” Step three, though, we did remove the word God or higher power.

10:49 John: Yeah, yeah.

10:50 William: “We have decided to join a group of persons having succeeded in becoming abstinent,” that’s all. “A group of persons,” that’s all that one says. And five is, “We spoke without reserve to ourselves and another person the details of our inventory.” Six, “We agree to abandon our destructive behaviors towards ourselves and others.”

11:21 John: Oh, I like that.

11:22 William: Seven, “We search with humility, honesty and an open mind to change our behaviors and our habits… “

11:30 John: Oh, I like it.

11:32 William: “To become, in a way, to become abstinent.” And eight, “We made up a list of all the persons that we had harmed, and we agree to repair our… To… “

11:45 Ernest: Wrongdoings, I guess.

11:47 William: Yeah, “Our wrongdoings towards each of these persons.” And then nine, “We repaired our wrongdoings wherever possible with these persons, except when doing so would risk harming them or other persons.” This is just a rough translation, sorry.

12:08 John: That’s fine.

12:08 William: 10, “We continued our personal inventory and promptly admitted our wrongs as soon as we became aware of them.” 11, “We continue to look inward, inside ourselves… “

12:23 John: Oh, I like that.

12:24 William: “To find our place, our legitimate place, and try to find our rightful place in life. As well as a force that could realize, that could bring about this change.”

12:38 John: Very good, I love that. I’ve not heard a step 11 quite like that one before. That’s really good.

12:43 William: And 12, “Having recovered by the practice of these steps, we tried to transmit this message to other alcoholics and to put in practice these principles in all of the… “

12:56 Ernest: “All our affairs.”

12:58 William: “In all our affairs.”

13:00 John: Yeah.

13:00 William: Okay. So that’s it.

13:00 Ernest: That’s about it.

13:01 William: That’s about it. I mean, the method has also been changed; God is not referred to in the method.

13:08 John: Right.

13:08 William: Anyway… Except, I think, one or two places, but it is pretty well secular.

13:15 John: Yeah.

13:15 William: And we have a policy that if people want to come, anybody can come. It’s a closed meeting for alcoholics, but if they’re believers, they can speak about their beliefs and how that… And their power or their higher power, whatever. But that’s about it. There’s not going to be any prayers, there’s no prayers to open, no prayers to close. It’s not associated with any religion, and we want to keep it that way.

13:43 John: Very good, that’s great. It kind of creates a neutral environment where everybody is comfortable regardless of what they believe or don’t believe. And at our group now, I just noticed that hardly ever does the topic of belief even come up anymore. It’s just a regular AA meeting. I think anybody would be comfortable.

14:03 William: It is. And so what we do in our discussion we try to put the accent on whether the step or whatever concept, AA concept we’re discussing, or if you don’t want to talk about the step, you can talk about your week or what happened today or something that’s bothering you and how it’s related to your program as you’re practicing it. And that’s what we do.

14:28 John: And so most of the people that attend your meeting, do they mostly identify as atheist and agnostic? Is that who you’re attracting?

14:35 William: Most of the people that we have attracted so far are either atheists, agnostics, or they just want to get away from the religious side of regular AA meetings here. And actually, we have meetings in English, not in… We have one in this town, but there’s a lot in Montreal. And the English meetings are gradually, I think, going towards the same format where they try to avoid too much religion in there…

15:04 John: Wow.

15:05 William: Finding that the young generation is not interested.

15:08 John: Yeah, I think that’s really true.

15:10 William: Yeah.

15:11 John: A little side note, I was recently contacted by a woman who has a small treatment center here in Kansas City, and she was interested in having an AA meeting in her facility. And I was talking to her, I said, “Well, would you mind if we had a meeting that we didn’t pray?” And she said, “Oh yeah, that’d be perfectly fine,” she says, “I think that people would like that a lot better.” [chuckle] So I think that we’re going to probably take meetings to that center, and that’ll be interesting because it’ll be a secular meeting, but the people there might very well be believers, which is totally fine.

15:44 William: Mm-hmm. One thing… Oh yeah, the schools, the schools. Weren’t there some schools, Ernest, that the AA here wanted to bring the thing in schools?

15:54 Ernest: Yeah, there was public information. They went to a school. Now all the school here, they removed the crucifix. In all of the school in Quebec now, there’s no more crucifix. And they teach multi-religion, like they talk about, to the kids, about all that is available, the different religion available. They talk about each one of them a little bit to the children. So they wanted to go there and make some information about AA, but they told them that they would prefer not having AA coming to the school because it’s too centered on one God, and that they don’t agree with that policy. So they were not allowed to go to the school and make some public information.

16:55 John: Ain’t that interesting?

16:56 Ernest: The biggest problem we have in our group is that people in a normal AA meeting are very eager about the group. They think that we do… There is some wrongdoing to AA. So every member that came to our group, after one meeting they said, “I really like that,” but at first there, they cannot close.

17:26 John: Yeah.

17:27 William: At first they were a little bit too… They were shy of it. They think we’re going to destroy the place. We’re going to break up AA and all this and that, kind of like the rebels.

17:40 John: Right. [chuckle]

17:43 William: Like the wild one comes into town on his motorcycle and breaks everything up like Marlon Brando. But [chuckle] no, we’re not like that. We’re giving an alternative and everybody is welcome. And so once they come, they feel more easy about it. That’s it. And then they decide whether they want to come again or not. But quite a few of… There’s a believer we’ve got in there now, he said he’s coming back. He believes in God, but he likes the way we do things and it’s less… He said it’s even less conflict than the meetings he goes to at the center where we have most of our meetings. There’s less conflict and less controversy.

18:22 John: Yeah. Yeah.

18:24 William: We don’t fight with anybody.

18:26 John: Right, right.

18:27 William: Discussion, you get your amount of time, and then we go on to the next person, and the next, and then we come back. That’s all. Come back. After everybody’s spoken, we start again.

18:37 John: I guess it sounds to me like the Human Rights Tribunal outcome in Toronto opened things up all over Canada.

18:48 William: Yeah, it did.

18:49 Ernest: Yeah.

18:50 John: Because you can read those alternative steps and it’s not a problem.

18:55 William: That’s right. In fact, our district, our, what do they call it, district committee member, came to one of our first meetings, and he said, “Everything’s fine.” And we sent in… He said… Did he actually send in the paper?

19:12 Ernest: Yeah, he had to do a report to the region. He came into the meeting. He was sent by the region to do an inspection of the group, and report to see if there was anything wrong. Yeah, yeah.

19:29 William: Yeah, yeah. And now we’re registered with the area, the region area, and we’re waiting for a number from New York.

19:37 Ernest: We got it.

19:38 William: We got a number from New York? Okay, I didn’t know. Okay.

19:41 John: Oh, you’re set then.

19:42 William: Oh, we’re set up, yeah.

19:43 John: That’s great.

19:44 William: Okay.

19:45 Ernest: The other day, I was… When I do speak in a group, like they ask me to be the speaker, I found out that if I say right open that I’m an atheist, at the end of the meeting, I have a hard time to leave the place because everybody is asking question and they don’t agree with it, but they ask question about it. They don’t know what it is.

20:14 John: They’re interested, aren’t they? And I think that’s great. I find the same thing. I spoke at a traditional meeting here not too long ago, and I think the people were interested, even the ones who didn’t agree with me, they wanted to hear how the heck do I do this, as one who doesn’t believe in a God.

20:31 Ernest: The big question they say, “How can you stay sober [laughter] without God?” That’s the big question.

20:40 John: Well, I’d say, “The same way as you, because there really isn’t a God.”


20:43 Ernest: Yeah. But they can’t open their mind, you know? When he said, “When you have something that you can’t fix that’s making you crazy, or something happens and somebody died and you’re grieving, how can you talk to your higher power if you don’t have one?” I said, “I have a higher power, I have the group, you know?”

21:10 John: Yeah, and you can actually… You can talk to them and they can talk back. [chuckle]

21:14 Ernest: Yes, exactly.


21:17 Ernest: I said, “With God, I never have an answer back.”

21:19 John: Exactly. [laughter] That is so funny. Yeah, I think people get way too hung up sometimes on the whole supernatural higher power thing, it’s like, “Hey, don’t you guys forget that there’s things that you actually have to do?” [chuckle]

21:32 Ernest: They almost say to you, “How can you breathe?” [laughter]

21:39 John: Right. [laughter]

21:43 William: But that seems to be one of the problems, that too much emphasis… I don’t dispute anybody’s beliefs, and I think even God finds if it works for you, fine. But the thing is, if you’re putting everything on God’s shoulders and you’re not doing the work, that’s why you’re not recovering.

22:04 Ernest: I told them, “You look at step six and step seven. Step seven, you ask God to remove all your character defects,” but I said, “Me, I have to work on it.” [laughter]

22:20 William: Yeah. [laughter]

22:20 John: You know what’s also interesting, it seems like the last few weeks I’ve been talking to atheists about the steps, and those two steps, six and seven, have been coming up frequently. It’s like we… I think that there’s almost an advantage with us, and I think maybe the rest of AA might want to pick up on this, [chuckle] because we have to really think about those steps, and what we do, because there’s no external force that’s going to be taking these defects away. So, we have to kind of think about it. And I like the way that you interpreted those steps.


22:54 Ernest: I have to do the work, nobody’s going to do it for me. I can’t show my problem to nobody. [laughter]

23:02 John: Right, right.


23:05 John: So, I’d like for you guys, if you could, if you could email me a copy of your steps and traditions, and also the version of how it works. And you can send them in French, that’s perfectly fine. We’ll post them up there on our website, with the podcast.

23:18 Ernest: Okay.

23:19 William: What we could do is we could do a… I could do a translation if you want, on paper.

23:24 John: Okay.

23:24 Ernest: What I’ll do is I’ll scan… We’ll scan our how it works and the tradition and the steps, and I’ll send it to you on PDF format.

23:37 John: Okay, okay.

23:38 Ernest: So that way you can do… Put them somewhere. You can use it as you wish.

23:45 John: Yeah. And actually, I think it would be nice to have a version in French, because there’s a lot of French-speaking areas in the world that could probably use it, so…

23:54 Ernest: We’ll scan it as it is and send it to you.

24:00 John: Awesome, yeah. So, I think this is going to be a great experience. We started our group, this will be our fifth year, and it’s just been really amazing to watch it unfold. Yeah. And it grows in starts and spurts, and it’s like we had a very slow gradual growth in the first couple of years, and then it just seemed to kinds take off, and we’re still, I think, growing a little bit here and there.

24:28 Ernest: Yeah, yeah.

24:28 William: Yeah.

24:29 Ernest: Yeah, here in Quebec, there’s going to be… There’s two group officially open. There’s one that’s opening right now, right on the south shore near Montreal, it’s about five kilometers from Montreal, in Saint-Anne. So it’s going to be three groups in Quebec in the near future. And has one that’s going to open in Montreal.

24:53 John: Very good, very good. Well, that’s fantastic. And I can see more happening. And I’m really happy to see that things are opening up in Canada overall, because the AA in Canada was really hard on these groups. They were hard in Vancouver, in Toronto, and I guess, even in Quebec, about not wanting [chuckle] to list these groups. And now it’s like, “Oh, they better list them.” And what’s probably cool though, too, is that they’re finding that, “Oh, hey, these guys are pretty much like us.”

25:26 Ernest: Yeah, exactly.

25:27 William: Yeah.

25:28 Ernest: No difference, hardly any different.

25:30 William: One thing seems to be a problem here is a lot of people don’t… Well, I don’t know about a lot, but a certain proportion of people who want to go to the AA meetings don’t want any changes to be made in the steps or any changes to be made in the tradition or in the method. But, actually, it’s just as well that the changes are made because if the changes weren’t made, it would just be the regular, average, regular kind of theistic group that we always look to. So if you want to have an alternative, have an alternative. But then they’ll say, “Well, then you gotta start your own fellowship.” Well, that’s pretty hard to do.

26:13 John: And we don’t have to anyway because we actually we’re in on the beginning starting this thing.

26:18 Ernest: Yeah, exactly.


26:20 John: And the steps were being interpreted from the very beginning anyhow. So we’re just continuing with that tradition. [chuckle]

26:27 Ernest: But like Bill said on the book, AA Comes of Age, at page 81, there’s a paragraph there where Bill says if you want to change the steps, do it. If they ask you to start drinking, you do it, go ahead. But he say it openly. So when you talk to people and I say, “Go, see page 81 and come back to me and we’ll talk about it.” Then he says, “Yeah, you’re right. Bill was open to that.”

27:02 John: Well, what we do in our group, we don’t read the steps, and we haven’t written our own alternative, but we have had individual members of the group write their own version, and we have those in a notebook. But when we talk about the steps, we usually read from like the alternative 12 Steps book, or some other secular book, and now there’s also the 12 Secular Steps is a new book that came out, and we like to read from those books to do the steps. Because if you do read the original one, unfortunately, because of the “God” word, it’s just a hurdle to jump over. You have to do the mental gymnastics to to try to translate it, so it’s just better just to have the plain language right out there for people.

27:45 Ernest: Yeah, yeah.

27:47 William: We don’t have any of those books that you just mentioned in French here. That’s the thing. Since this group is a French group, to read those steps, I mean, we have to translate those too.

28:00 John: Do you know Roger C. From AA Agnostica?

28:02 Ernest: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

28:03 John: I’m wondering if he might have some French versions of those books. I’ll have to ask him, because he’s originally, he’s French-Canadian.

28:11 Ernest: Yeah, yeah. I never had a chance to talk to him really. I only read about that he use letters. Most of the weeks, he sends ones to my email. That’s what I was doing for a year, reading those. I got my meeting down to one a week because I was not… I didn’t feel good going to the normal AA meeting, because I was reading some speaker all across the world that were secular speaker, and to stay sober, and I was doing fine, but I wanted to open one because I said this, “There’s gotta be some other people like me. It’s impossible that I’m the only one in Quebec.” [laughter]

29:00 John: Right, absolutely. And it’s nice to have that personal face-to-face human contact and make connections with people too in your own community.

29:13 William: Yeah, that’s what helps you to stay… Helps me to stay sober, because the meetings whenever, the ones I can go to, they help me to stay sober. So if I go a couple weeks, a week or even a week without a meeting, I don’t feel good.

29:26 John: Yeah, I think I do better going regularly, and I tend to do right now about three a week, I guess, for the most part. Sometimes I might miss a couple, but mostly.

29:38 Ernest: Same as me. That’s about two, three a week. Now that I have that group, we used to drive to Saint-Hyacinthe, which is an hour drive for our secular meeting, and do that one we have there. But then I go to another normal meeting, but I keep my mouth shut because [chuckle] they know… They look at me as being the one who open the group, the bad group in St. Jean. “That’s the guy who opened it.” [laughter]

30:10 John: Right. [chuckle]

30:12 Ernest: I’m like a target when I walk into an AA meeting.


30:17 William: Some people, not from… Well some of the people.

30:21 Ernest: Yeah, some of the people, but…

30:23 John: Some, yeah.

30:26 Ernest: Bad guy, I mean… [chuckle]

30:26 John: No, I hear you. I know. I think that the majority of the people around here are pretty okay with me and my group, and there might be one occasional person who might not like us, and usually around here, they won’t say too much. They’ll talk behind my back maybe, but they won’t… [chuckle]

30:43 Ernest: I found like a… On the west end of Canada or any English province, the thing is that they were already at ease with other religion around them, like Anglican and Protestant and all that. But then in Quebec it says it was so under… The religion were driving them crazy. They were everywhere in their life. So why it came that you couldn’t escape, not going to church you were like a guy with the devil. So to get out of that…

31:29 William: Predicament, yeah.

31:3 Ernest: So the people are afraid to leave. They think is they leave, they don’t believe in God, that something’s bad is going to happen to them, they really believe that.

31:44 William: Yeah, yeah, that’s it, yeah.

31:46 John: I find that really interesting. So Quebec, I know you’re tight… Like when you were talking about the public schools not having prayer and everything, are you saying that fairly recent… Even in recent times that the public schools in Quebec were teaching religion and stuff like that, they would have prayer in the public schools?

32:03 Ernest: Well, in the public school, in my age, and I’m 73, but now my son is 38, he hasn’t been baptized, and he doesn’t know any prayer because in school they don’t teach any, but now they got away with that. But when I was going to school, we had the Catechism, you had to pass a test to go, to get your First Communion. It was really… They bring you to Thursday rituals and they used to bring us to church to go to confession, the next day we’ll go to the mass. But now they got away with all this and the church and the nun in Quebec are not allowed to throw out the old dress that they had before with the cap on their heads. So they got away with all this. The priest, they dress like normal people now. So a little bit by little bit, they got away from the big God they know that watching you…

33:13 William: The control of the church.

33:14 Ernest: Everywhere. So God is with you except if you go to the bathroom like he’s there. [chuckle]

33:21 John: The same thing happened in Ireland. It’s like the Catholic church had such a grip on Ireland, but not so much anymore.

33:29 Ernest: They got away with this, and now they are getting away with this and the young people… I see my son, he doesn’t have any barrier, so he lives and he’s happy. There’s no pressure from any supposedly God that he’s to do, masturbate himself, he’ll go to hell.


33:52 John: Right. Well, thank you guys so much for coming on this podcast and telling to me about your group. I loved this conversation, it’s so much fun for me to speak with people from areas that I’ve never been, and it’s like I learn a little bit about that part of the world, and you guys just seem like a lot of fun. If I’m ever in Quebec, I want to check out your meeting.

34:17 William: Okay, thanks. [laughter]

34:19 Ernest: Thank you very much. I’m very happy I met you through the net. It was just like, no, I didn’t know it was going to end like this. I’m very happy about the way it happened.


34:31 Ernest: I’m very pleased I met you over the net.

34:33 John: Same here. Likewise. So Happy New Year to both of you. I wish you all the very, very best in 2019.

34:38 William: You too, John. Have a good 24. Thank you very much.


35:00 John: And that concludes this episode of AA Beyond Belief, The Podcast. Thank you for listening everybody, I appreciate your support.

Additional Information

Listing for Esprit Ouvert at secularaa.org

Flyer for Esprit Ouvert

Instructions for person who leads meetings at Esprit Ouvert

Esprit Ouvert’s interpretation of How It Works, the Steps, and Traditions (original French)

Esprit Ouvert’s interpretation of How It Works, the Steps, and Tradiations (English Translation)

Methodes et Traditions