The History of the We Agnostics Meeting in Stuart, Florida
by Susan G.
I had been attending AA in Florida since the late 1990s and was frustrated with the religiosity of the meetings, first in the Orlando area and then in Stuart. Of course, I sought out other members who shared my agnosticism/atheism. I knew just a few, but I also suspected that there were more who were just too intimidated to reveal their beliefs. For many years I tried very hard to “take what you need and leave the rest.” I used all sorts of mind games to avoid being turned off by the Christian dogma espoused by so many, for instance, substituting “love” for “god” in the literature or when others were sharing, trying to concentrate on just the steps that didn’t mention god, trying the “fake it until you make it” approach. Truthfully, those approaches sapped my energy and made me feel really hypocritical.
I attended a Women for Sobriety (a program started by Jean Patterson) meeting for two years, but when that folded, I returned to regular AA. I finally decided that I needed to do some research and try to start a secular AA meeting. While dealing with some health issues, I researched agnostic meetings online and put together a meeting format and a list of 12 Steps for agnostics. I made a list of secular discussion topics and found the book Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life. I was helped along the way by a longtime friend who helped me fine tune the format and Steps. The Unitarian Universalist Church offered us a meeting place. While doing the research, I found a name and phone number of a member of the Boca Raton We Agnostics group. She was very helpful, telling me about the history and format of her group, which has been meeting in Boca since the 80s. I had no trouble at all with Martin County Intergroup adding us to their meeting list. We had our first meeting on January 8, 2015. It’s not always a big meeting, but we’ve been going strong ever since then.
The We Agnostics group is a closed discussion meeting. We read from Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for12 Step Life & the discussion is, usually, focused on that day’s entry in this book. At the last meeting of the month we have a speaker tell their story with a discussion after.