A Secular AA Conference

About Us

WAAFT stands for We Agnostics, Atheists, and Freethinkers. WAAFT-AZ.org provides an online presence to support the Arizona secular AA community, and to make AA in Arizona more inclusive.

In the foreword to the first edition of the book Alcoholics Anonymous can be found the sentence: "The only requirement for membership is an honest desire to stop drinking." No religious belief was required of prospective members who sought to get sober. The only change ever made to that sentence has been the deletion of the word honest. Thus we believe that AA can be a program for recovery, and meetings a place of refuge for even those alcoholics who do not subscribe to conventional religious beliefs.

Our goal is to work toward an acceptance of AA meetings that "endeavor to maintain a tradition of free expression where alcoholics may feel free to express any doubts or disbeliefs they may have, and to share their own personal form of spiritual experience, their search for it, or their rejection of it. In keeping with A.A. tradition, we do not endorse or oppose any form of religion or atheism. Our only wish is to ensure suffering alcoholics that they can find sobriety in A.A. without having to accept anyone else's beliefs, or having to deny their own" (from the Beyond Belief Meeting Format).

Alcoholics Anonymous claims as its origin (officially) the date of Doctor Bob's last drink (June 10, 1935), but the seminal incident was the meeting several weeks earlier between Bill and Bob at Bob's home in Akron. Prior to their meeting, neither Bill nor Bob had been able to remain sober for long. Bill was about six months sober then but knew that he was on slippery ground. He had the crazy idea that he needed another drunk to talk to to stay sober much longer. He and Bob each had tried to get sober independently, but to no avail. Then they met. Bob had this to say about their meeting:
"[Bill] gave me information about the subject of alcoholism which was undoubtedly helpful. Of far more importance was the fact that he was the first living human with whom I had ever talked, who knew what he was talking about in regard to alcoholism from actual experience. In other words, he talked my language. He knew all the answers, and certainly not because he had picked them up in his reading. [Italics in the original]
    —Alcoholics Anonymous, third edition, p. 180

This nugget, tucked into the doctor's story like a hidden gem, is perhaps subliminal acknowledgement of the key to his long sought freedom from drink.

Bill never took another drink, and after one final fling on June 10, 1935, Bob never had another drink either. Following what has become the core of the AA program—meetings—millions of alcoholics have found long term sobriety. Many believe that a belief in a higher power has helped them achieve sobriety, and many who have found themselves unable to believe in a higher power have also been able to achieve sobriety by meeting with other alcoholics who also seek sobriety. It is salutary that AA started when two alcoholics who had both tried to get—and stay—sober were only able to get sober after meeting—and working toward sobriety together. The conclusion we draw from this is that the talking of one alcoholic with another about their common problem and their common aspiration is of paramount importance for AA. This conversation, many of us believe, is the true source of AA's power, irrespective of the belief in a supernatural power.


The Second Biennial Arizona
Secular AA Conference


Tempe, Arizona


Saturday, December 9, 2017


Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism. Hence we may refuse none who wish to recover. Nor ought A.A. membership ever depend upon money or conformity. Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an A.A. group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation.

Bill's explanation of the Third Tradition:

“So long as there is the slightest interest in sobriety, the most unmoral, the most anti-social, the most critical alcoholic may gather about him a few kindred spirits and announce to us that a new Alcoholics Anonymous Group has been formed. Anti-God, these rampant individuals are still an AA Group if they think so!”
    —Published in the July 1946 issue of The Grapevine

To thine own self be true

In 1957 Bill wrote in Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age:
“...this was the great contribution of our atheists and agnostics. They had widened our gateway so that all who suffer might pass through, regardless of their belief or lack of belief.” (p. 167)

I am responsible.
When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help I want the hand of AA always to be there, and for that I am responsible.

(Known as the Responsibility Statement, this was written for the 1965 A.A.International Convention in Toronto by former AA trustee,
Al S.
Many secular AA groups choose to use
it to close their meetings.)