Agnostic in the Lifeboat

The first thing I ever identified with in the Big Book was the chapter “We Agnostics” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., pp. 44–57). I loved everything about it and still do. I love that the title says “We.” I love how the chapter is compassionate and understanding and does not talk down to anyone. When I first read it, I felt seen and respected, no matter what my spiritual background was or was not.

I followed that chapter literally, and “We Agnostics” became a guide for me on how to find a Higher Power and learn to create a relationship with that Power. At first, I had a visceral reaction when I read about stepping out on faith to reach toward a spiritual way of life—the idea frightened me. What if I surrendered and there was nothing there? What if the program was brainwashing? Despite many what-ifs, I took that step out on faith. I became ready to say, “Okay,” to whatever Higher Power was there.

I love our program of OA, and I especially love this wording in our Eleventh Step: “God, as we understood Him.” The freedom to find the God of our understanding opens the door to endless possibilities. It means everyone is welcome, and all can recover.

The First Step for me is like realizing the friendly dolphins I thought I was swimming with are actually sharks— I’m in a life-threatening situation. “Yikes!” sums up the First Step.

When I see a nearby lifeboat full of OA people, I can say, “Help!” That is the Second Step.

And when I approach the lifeboat, when people welcome me and motion for me to climb aboard, I can say, “Okay,” and take the Third Step.

In our program of recovery, we can practice the lifelong lesson of abandoning ourselves to the care of our HP as we all get in the lifeboat and stay in the lifeboat, one day at a time.

— Jean W., Aptos, California USA