One day at a time

Now they are going after Alcoholics Anonymous. To which it must finally be said to the secular cultists, “Have you no sense of decency? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

The article by Gabrielle Glaser appeared in The Atlantic magazine in March. In it, she excoriated Alcoholics Anonymous as a failed approach to sobriety. She dismisses AA’s famous 12-step approach as “faith-based” and points out that five of the 12 steps mention God. The horror. The horror.

Please understand that I am not a zealot on AA. I’m neither a defender nor a propagandist. For those struggling with alcoholism, I think that whatever works in keeping a person sober works. If it is AA, fine. If it is some other method, fine. If it’s standing on your head in a corner five times a day, fine.

But at long last, aren’t we all becoming tired of the secular cultists’ bigotry, their relentless attacks on anything outside their atheistic zeitgeist? We are experiencing free-range warfare on any public role in the culture and society for faith-based principles and beliefs.

Glaser is going after Alcoholics Anonymous, for God’s sake. AA is about the most loosely-put-together, not-in-it-for-a buck, not-in-it-for-power, not-in-it-for-influence, nonthreatening dis-organization in America. There are no membership lists, no checks to write, no central authority, no self-serving spin doctors.

AA is just a collective of small groups of people that meet in fraternal halls, church basements, spare hospital rooms, old gyms, civic centers, school classrooms public and private — just about anywhere that has easy rent and a place to plug in a coffee pot. They gather — maybe 2 million of them — to support each other in staying sober that day.

Begun by a couple of self-described drunks in 1935, AA offers a 12-step program for maintaining sobriety as outlined in its “Big Book.” The steps are based on admitting one’s powerlessness over alcohol and surrendering to a higher power. For some, that higher power is God; for others, it might be the strength drawn from the gathering of recovering drunken souls. You don’t need a believer’s ID card to get in.

But to the secular cultists — our current established religion — anything in the public arena grounded in faith or the appearance of faith will not get one inch of tolerance. The cultists’ rule of secularism rejects any relationship of the “spiritual” to solving social problems.

While the “Big Book” claims a 75 percent success rate, no one really knows because the very definition of AA is “anonymous.” Those with a vested interest in their own professional status are offended by AA’s amateurs — drunks helping drunks. Citing one of her fellow secular cultists, Glaser claims that AA has a success rate of about 5 to 8 percent, and ranks it no better than 38 out of 48 in methods for sobriety.

The “Big Book’s” 75 percent might be overstated. But I am certain the rate is nowhere near as low as Glaser guesses. The 12 steps and AA are too widely used by too many people for so many years. If they were such an abysmal failure, both would have disappeared years ago.

The problem really isn’t AA, it is the “God talk.” There is a calculated agenda to get rid of the “God talk.” Why? Because God talk has to go. Plain and simple. That’s the only reason necessary for the take-no-prisoners secular cultists.

AA will survive Glaser and The Atlantic because it helps people get and stay sober. It does so with self-described drunks coming together for a little bit of God talk, and a whole lot of surrender and support.

That doesn’t cut it in the worldview of the secular cultists. But where decency is cherished, that holds a lot of water.

Robert P. Lockwood writes from Indiana.