I was at a meeting out of town when I was a couple of years Sober. It had a solid core group with quite a bit of sober time. This night a new comer was leading the meeting and he shared that he a atheist and was having trouble grasping the 2nd& 3rd steps and wanted to hear how others had dealt with this step. As the group started to share it became obvious that these guys all had same religious beliefs and they all agreed on who and what God was and how He worked in the steps. They all stated that unless he accepted God as they understood him he would never be able to stay sober and he better try something other than AA. This seemed to make the new guy vary uneasy.
About half way through the meeting one of the core group members got up and Shared that he was a Atheist when he first came to AA 20 something years before and he still was. The whole group actually gasped in unison! He said that he had the same beliefs as the young man leading the meeting that night and whenever he tried to talk about it he got the same reaction. You can’t stay sober if you don’t believe in God. He talked about his fear of drinking again and felt that AA was his only hope. He was afraid they would run him off so he just stared to say that he believed in God when he actually did not. And further more he still didn’t. He said they should all be ashamed of themselves for speaking to a newcomer to AA this way.
The group was shocked at this and the rest of the meeting was spent sharing how they never knew this member felt this way. They all said that they believed him to be the most spiritual man in the group and how he always talked about God and they just couldn’t see him as an atheist.
After the meeting I talked asked him about this and this is what he told me. He said he never in his life could see any concept of god in the conventional sense. Then one day he heard someone say that God had brought Good Orderly Direction into his life. He told me as he spent months contemplating this thought he had came to see how there was good orderly direction in nature. He could see it in the way our solar system worked. How the earth was just in the right distance from the sun for life to survive here. Any closer and we burn, any further and we freeze. He could see how it worked in engineering. Build a bridge right and maintain it stays up. Take short cuts in building it or don’t maintain it and it’ll come down. And he finally could see it in his life as he started to follow a path of Good Orderly Direction his life straightened out and his troubles went away.
He said his understanding of the word God was something worthy of devotion and he felt that this concept of Good Orderly Direction was definitely worthy of devotion. He told me when this concept became clear to him that he came to believe. Not in a deity or an entity but a concept of Good Orderly Direction. And to him this concept is GOD. From that he was able to make a decision to surrender his will to and turn his life over to God as he now understood him. He became a Atheist that believed in GOD.