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Episode 113: An AA Beyond Belief Update

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On this episode, I speak about my expertise at AA Past Belief, each the podcast and website. I talk about the challenges and rewards that come from doing this work, and what you are able to do to become involved to assist. 


00:00 JOHN S: Hey and welcome to AA Beyond Perception-the podcast. I’m your host, John S.


00:20 JOHN S: This episode goes to be slightly bit totally different than what we usually do, as a result of I’m not going to have a guest. It’s simply going to be me and you speaking. I haven’t finished this since our first episode once we have been introducing AA Past Perception and laying out our imaginative and prescient and what we have been planning on doing. I’m doing this now as a result of I really feel like I want a reboot, and I just need to speak about concepts I’ve for the podcast and web site going ahead, and hopefully to hear back from you to see when you’ve got any concepts or ideas on what we will do in another way. So yeah, that’s what this podcast is all about, is sort of a reboot to energize me to make a renewed dedication to you to supply these podcast episodes on a more common basis. Before we start wanting ahead, let’s have a look back at the place we came from so that everyone understands why we do this to begin with.

01:14 JOHN S: Okay, it wasn’t my concept to do this; it really wasn’t. What occurred was back in 2015, the summer time of 2015 truly, Roger C was considering retiring from AA Agnostica and he contacted me to ask me if I might begin an internet site that may substitute AA Agnostica, that would offer a place for atheists and agnostics in AA to share their stories. So, I stated, “Positive.” Without even stopping to think about the work involved. I stated, “Yeah I’ll do it.” I like building web sites, so I assumed it might be enjoyable, and we went and did it. We started AA Past Belief, and I had help early on.

01:57 JOHN S: Bob Okay was a huge help. He’s the writer of, Key Gamers in AA Historical past, and he wrote loads of the early material for the location. He also allowed us to submit tales from his e-book, Key Players. So, we did lots of Bob Okay stuff early on. It was virtually just like the Bob Okay website. Roger wrote for us early on too, as did Thomas B, a great good friend of mine, and John L; writer of A Freethinker in Alcoholics Nameless. A lot of people contributed. Steve Okay from the UK. There are simply more people who helped than I might probably identify here on this podcast. In all probability no one helped me as a lot as my pricey pal Doris A from Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Doris was our Chief Editor, so her job was to solicit articles. She would go out and ask individuals to put in writing for us, and after they might write an article, they might send it to her and she or he in flip would forward it on to Galen T in New Jersey, or PJ in Sydney, Australia. They are our proofreaders and editors.

03:11 JOHN S: What they might do is take that story after they acquired it from Doris, and they might polish it up to make it as readable and as interesting as attainable. They might work intently with the writer whereas they did that, after which Doris also would have Katherine or Cope take unique images that we might use for the articles. It was loads of work. There can be a whole lot of the forwards and backwards communication between them and the writer to ensure everyone favored the modifications made to the story, that they appreciated the pictures that have been getting used. It was just a huge amount of labor. It was nice that she did that, because I didn’t have to fret concerning the written content in any respect. All I had to do was concentrate on the podcast and I used to do a bunch of podcasts at that time.

04:01 JOHN S: So yeah, in order that’s sort of how we received started and we’ve been pretty constant about posting our articles. There have been occasions once we would take a break and perhaps not submit for a bit bit, but by and enormous, we’ve been posting each week. The podcast… oh boy, I used to be going robust on that! I’d do like a podcast week for a very good long time, but for nearly a yr now, I’ve not been doing them. I’ve slowed down quite a bit; I sort of hit a wall, and I’m going to go into that a bit of bit later. However that simply sort of provides you an concept concerning the beginnings of AA Beyond Perception.

04:45 JOHN S: One factor I feel is exclusive about it, is that it’s a gaggle effort. That was necessary to me early on, that AA Beyond Perception to not be recognized with me personally, that folks don’t think of it as my website. I needed it to be your website. I needed to create something that may stay on beyond me. So, I created a non-profit organization, and I created a board of administrators to go together with it. My concept was to have a business-side board of administrators that might be sure the payments have been paid, that we have been submitting our paperwork with the state, that we have been reporting our finances to the people who contributed to the location. On the similar time, we might have this artistic aspect to write down the stories, edit the tales, work with individuals to get their tales revealed, care for the website, the images; all of the inventive and artistic work.

05:46 JOHN S: The thought was that the individuals on the inventive aspect wouldn’t have to fret concerning the business aspect, but what has occurred in actual reality is, it overlapped. So, Thomas B, Doris and I have been on the board of directors doing the enterprise aspect, however we have been also doing the inventive aspect. I never might get individuals who would simply do the enterprise aspect. So, along with doing the podcast, I was also doing monetary reporting which I was actually good at, however I just stopped doing. So, it’s simply lots of work, a number of work is involved in placing this factor collectively, however it’s been worthwhile.

06:24 JOHN S: I’ve not enjoyed anything greater than my time here at AA Beyond Belief. I have acquired emails from you which were so humbling and gratifying. If you inform me how much the podcast and website imply to you and the way it has helped you, that’s what evokes me to move on. It is just the best thing on the earth, so should you can give it some thought and you want to ship an e mail to let me understand how the podcast and web site has impacted you, I might love to hear from you, just ship me an e-mail at [email protected] So yeah, it’s been a fantastic experience and I’ve discovered so much, it’s simply been superb to speak with docs which are specialists in habit drugs, to talk with authors, I’ve discovered so much about AA historical past from authors and I’ve discovered about restoration from totally different authors, simply… Oh man, all types of… Every part and talking with individuals from totally different elements of the world and learning what AA is like in these areas. I’ve spoken with individuals from Japan, from South Africa, from Europe, the UK, Canada, america, everywhere in the United States, simply in all places, and it’s just been the best expertise ever so it’s been nice.

07:53 JOHN S: Now, there’s a whole lot of work little question about that, and it does value cash too. I’ve not been good about asking for money regularly, and I’ve tried various things and I simply haven’t been profitable at that. I also had some volunteers to help with the business aspect, but I used to be simply so overwhelmed with work, I couldn’t even coordinate the trouble to get them on board to assist me so that’s one thing I have to work on. It’s exhausting to stability the work I do right here with my different obligations and I feel that I received a bit over-extended as a result of I’m involved with my house group, with my district, with the world, simply my common job that I’ve to do, I simply overextended myself. So, I decided to only give attention to my work at AA Beyond Perception.

08:50 JOHN S: One thing I need to convey up a that considerations, or something I’ve been enthusiastic about is I typically marvel if we have to re-brand the podcast. I’ll inform you a why. It’s acquired the identify “AA” in it, and it’s not like that’s a nasty factor as a result of most of us are AA members, however the thing is usually I really feel prefer it restricts me slightly bit. It hasn’t though. We’ve achieved a variety of episodes that cope with issues that aren’t talked about in Alcoholics Nameless. For instance, the Sinclair Technique where you truly take a capsule so you possibly can drink normally, it’s loopy speak in AA, or talking about sugar and food habit, or intercourse habit, or what they call outdoors issues in Alcoholics Nameless. We talk about these subjects freely here, as a result of I figured we might speak about what you’re all for, and I do know that AA members are all in favour of more than just singleness of function points. We need to speak about a wide selection of points that should do with restoration, in order that’s what we do here. I don’t know, perhaps it’s not essential to rebrand, perhaps we’re free to talk about no matter we would like, however typically I feel like having AA in our identify just sort of, I don’t know perhaps it’s not an enormous deal, but let me know what you consider that. Should we call the podcast one thing else? I don’t know. Anyway, that’s one concern I’ve that I’ve been fascinated with. It’s in all probability a moot level, nevertheless it’s one thing to think about.

10:21 JOHN S: Let’s speak concerning the plans for the podcast and web site. I would really like for the website ultimately to have a redesign, to make it look extra trendy, use a unique theme, have it look higher and be more useful on cellular units than it is at present, to re-categorize a few of our articles so it’s simpler to seek out something that you simply’re serious about reading about things like that. As far as the podcast goes, I like what we’ve been doing. I like the private stories that that evolve into conversations. The Step podcasts that I did with Benn we’re amongst virtually well-liked, so maybe I’d need to start doing that again, going by way of the steps. I feel it might be good to have co-host once more, Benn from Omaha did a variety of podcasts with me early on.

11:17 JOHN S: There’s additionally a pal of mine who’s thinking about helping out. His identify is Wes B and he’s been on a few podcasts with me to speak about some books. He has expressed an interest in helping out, so I assumed that may be nice as nicely. I might also like to start out getting back to posting these podcasts in a extra constant regular basis, even when it’s just every different week. I like doing them weekly. It’s a whole lot of work, but I’m weeding another things out, so perhaps I can make a dedication to producing more podcasts.

11:53 JOHN S: I’ve received some episodes lined up. The subsequent episode we can be posting will function a conversation with Mike Collins. Mike wrote a ebook about sugar and meals habit, principally sugar habit. He additionally has an internet site about sugar habit and he’s going to talk about his expertise as an alcoholic and addict who when he was getting off of alcohol and drugs, acquired hooked on sugar. He discovered that by getting off the sugar that he was more healthy and happier, and it enhanced his restoration.

12:27 JOHN S: It’s a subject we’ve talked about up to now, and I feel it’s an necessary one. I feel t we might do better in AA, to take a extra holistic strategy to our restoration. Not often can we ever speak in conferences about doing issues for our physical health, or food plan and exercise. It’s all about emotional health. Properly, our feelings are tied to our bodily well-being, so I feel it’s worthwhile to speak about. I can definitely use it myself. I’m not in an incredible shape right now, I’ve not been exercising and consuming right, so it’s good for me to speak to those individuals about this stuff because it evokes me.

13:05 JOHN S: One other episode arising is an interview with the Sober She Devils, which is a web-based secular AA assembly for ladies. It’s been happening for a couple of years, and the ladies have turn into good associates. The last time we had a convention for the Worldwide Conference of Secular AA in Toronto, a bunch of them received collectively they usually all had on matching t-shirts. I do know a variety of these ladies; they’re actually nice individuals and it’ll be fun speaking to them. I’m going to document it on Zoom which is the software that they use for his or her conferences. There’s going to be a gaggle of them, perhaps three, four or 5, I don’t know what number of. We’ll all just have a gaggle discussion which I feel will probably be fun.

13:47 JOHN S: It’s a good way to get the word out about their meeting and it’s it is fascinating how online conferences might be helpful to an individual’s restoration, and it’s good for individuals to know that there’s a secular choice out there and notably for ladies. I feel there’s a want for ladies’s conferences to today. After speaking to a few of the ladies in my group, it’s fairly obvious that there’s a need for it.

14:14 JOHN S: One other episode I’ve arising which I’m truly wanting ahead to, can be with my previous good friend John H from DC. John has been on a few podcasts. We did a podcast with him early on, “The Fable of The Indignant Atheist” after which we also posted a podcast of his speak at the Widening the Gateway convention in Olympia Washington, which was truly very well-done speak. John is… I don’t need to put words in his mouth, I’ll let him state his position on his personal, however from what I understand, he’s of the opinion that these of us who take part in secular AA conferences ought to in all probability start our personal organization, and depart AA for good. I assumed it will be fascinating to have him on the podcast. We might have a bit bit of a debate perhaps as a result of I don’t absolutely consider what he’s saying, but I might love to hear his views. I can take heed to him and respectfully disagree if that’s the case, however fairly frankly he may convince me in any other case, I don’t know. I get slightly burned out from the normal AA crowd, I can barely stand these traditional AA conferences, so I do know perhaps it’s a good idea that we start off a new thing? I don’t know nevertheless it’ll be fun to speak with him.

15:35 JOHN S: I don’t have anything planned after that, so if you need to seem on the podcast, send me an e-mail at [email protected], and we will arrange a time. All you must do is share your story, and from that a conversation will emerge and we’ll take it from there. Perhaps you could have one thing happening at your group you need to speak about, perhaps you need to speak about starting a gaggle that’s all the time an excellent matter. I get emails very often from individuals asking the right way to start an AA group. I attempted to put in writing an article about it, however it’s a lot work to write down an article. I assumed, “properly it might be fun to do a podcast about it.”

16:16 JOHN S: I have so much happening right here in Kansas City, nevertheless it’s great things. We started a meeting the KC secular AA speaker assembly, which we become a podcast, you possibly can take heed to those podcasts at That’s been a whole lot of enjoyable, however there have been some challenges. Although we’ve loads of meetings right here. We’ve eight secular AA conferences every week in Kansas City Missouri, but we don’t have numerous us. We’re operating out of people to ask to speak and we ran out fairly shortly. Additionally, our group is fairly young, both in age of the members and the size of sobriety, so there’s not a lot of people who’re snug to rise up and share their stories. We may have to succeed in out and have individuals like you share your tales remotely with us. That may be a number of enjoyable, so in the event you’re , ship me an e mail at [email protected]

17:08 JOHN S: That’s what is going on over right here. I used to be working intently with my district as a treasurer, however I’m not going to be doing that anymore. I am the chair of the Archives Committee for the western area of Missouri, and I’m going to attempt to continue doing that. There are some thrilling things arising too. On September 7th, I’ll be going to SOAAR, the Secular Ontario AA Roundup, the place I will take part on a panel that Roger is hosting concerning the 12 Steps. That’ll be fascinating. Then on September 21st, we’re going to be celebrating the fifth anniversary of We Agnostics Kansas City and the fourth anniversary of the Freethinkers in AA group right here in Kansas Metropolis. We’ve invited Joe C from Riot Canine Radio to return down and converse. We’ve already acquired the date set for September 21st, we’ve got the place at 6425 Wornall Street, so we’re set to go. We simply should pay for it, get Joe down here and it’s a finished deal.

18:11 JOHN S: We also started a Step assembly here in Kansas City, a Secular Step assembly, which has been fascinating. We’re using the e-book Staying Sober Without God by Jeffrey Munn. That’s a e-book that Wes and I did a podcast about. I feel it was just the last episode. It’s an amazing ebook to use for Step work. What we did is to start out off with an introduction of AA historical past because a variety of the folks that come to our group don’t know something about AA. They haven’t learn the Massive Ebook or anything, so at the first assembly, we went over what I perceive to be the four foundational moments of AA starting with Rowland talking with Carl Jung, who tells Rowland that he’s hopeless, however each now and again an alcoholic could have a religious experiences. So, Rowland goes to america and joins the Oxford Group looking for a religious expertise. He has it, and as part of his effort to remain sober, he helps Ebby Thacher out of a troublesome spot.

19:11 JOHN S: Ebby Thacher carries the message to Invoice Wilson who finally ends up having a hallucinatory experience at City’s Hospital, which he thinks is religious. He meets Dr. Bob, and AA is born. I feel that’s the 4 founding moments. Anyway, we undergo that, and then we speak about what are the steps anyway. The steps are a description of the expertise of those individuals at that time. It’s their experience, not our expertise. They wrote it in spiritual language as a result of they got here from a spiritual organization, “The Oxford Group”. We in 2019, are going to describe our expertise just a little bit totally different, quite a bit totally different than they do. That’s why it’s good to use Jeffrey’s ebook Staying Sober Without God, as a result of it’s written in trendy language. We don’t need to interpret like watching Turner Film Classics. We will actually have real modern-day language to debate the steps. Now I have additionally used the Massive Ebook in these meetings as a historic reference, but that doesn’t come with out its challenges. That Huge Guide isn’t very nicely liked by our group. There have been two individuals who commented about not liking the “Doctor’s Opinion” that I assigned… I assign reading after the meeting.

20:36 JOHN S: One lady stated that she thinks it’s ridiculous, that Dr. Silkworth from the 1930’s appears to be the final word with reference to alcoholism. Like during the last 80 years nothing else has been discovered. She’s received a superb level. Why haven’t they updated that? Another lady, a youthful one Maggie, she hated that he was calling alcoholism an allergy. These are just little issues. Imagine how they’re going to feel once they read the “Chapter to the Agnostics.” I don’t even know if I need to put them by means of that sort of torture. Anyway, I just thought it will be a good suggestion to know the historical past of AA, and what conventional AA is like in order that they understand and recognize why we’ve to have these secular AA conferences. We now have lots of people who come to our group in Kansas Metropolis who have never been to a standard meeting. They don’t really perceive. I’d like them to see that we’re Alcoholics Nameless as Atheists and Agnostics, and we’ve been round because the beginning. This is the place we come from, and this is the place we are at present. That’s what we’re doing at the Secular Step Research.

21:49 JOHN S: I’m interested by taking the Secular Step to this podcast. Both with Benn, or Wes or each. We will talk about those steps utilizing Jeffreys guide. Perhaps even work by means of the steps on the podcast, and perhaps even discover a method to have some interplay with you as we do it. That’s just a bit of what is going on here in my life in Kansas Metropolis. Yeah, great things. I’m wanting ahead to the rest of the summer time, and I’m going to make a dedication to you to publish these podcasts on a extra common and consistent foundation. I’m going to attempt for as soon as every week. I do know that’s rather a lot, however I feel I can do it. As soon as I get into doing it, I really like it. I will want some friends although. In the event you’re interested, let me know.

 I feel that about covers it for as we speak’s podcast. I hope this hasn’t bored you to demise. If you consider it, if you need to help the podcast, I might love so that you can do this. It doesn’t should be a lot of money. Just send us a greenback or $2, or $three, no matter. If you can also make monthly contributions for a dollar or two that might be nice.

22:54 JOHN S: If everyone who listened with this podcast, and visited our website gave a greenback, we wouldn’t have to worry about money. We wouldn’t need to ask for it either, however don’t worry about it. We’re not right here to become profitable, however for those who can help it, please go to our donation page at AA Past Perception. It might be very a lot appreciated. Additionally, in case you are inclined to write down, please write one thing for AA Past belief and ship us your story. If you need to participate on the Board of Directors, and do the enterprise aspect for AA Past belief, please I need help. In the event you’d wish to be on the editorial board and do the artistic stuff, let me know, I’d like to have you ever. If in case you have website expertise, and also you want to redesign our web site, go for it. Let me know if you want to become involved because this is your website, it’s not my website, and I would like it to be your website.

As soon as once more, it was nice talking to you. Our subsequent podcast is going to be with Mike Collins speaking about sugar and meals habit. Till then, you all take care, be properly, we’ll speak once more quickly.

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