I was sober for 5 years in AA, here in RURAL East Texas. I am working the NA program for about a year and a half. NA is much less "God-centric" here but still I cringe when I hear a very simple minded member confuse the magical thinking of religion with the "power" NA ask you to find. NA is much stricter when it comes to not sharing your personal god stuff at meeting level. One of the reason AA repulses me here in Small Town USA, is because they don't even try to adhere to the traditions and opening share of Jesus, church and Sunday school. As a broken hearted, spiritually crippled gay man, I could practically see them wink when they advised people to find a "power greater than ourselves" and the unspoken was "and eventually you will come to Sunday school where you might teach lessons one day.
I tried with all that I had to believe in Religion. It failed me on ever level. It's frustrating to have friends in NA who are so smart and bright and then say stupid stupid stuff regarding their magical beliefs that I feel unsafe. I'm a gay man and when I here someone claim what a Christian they are, I tense up ready for the blow from "God hates fags" theology of the nuts that are in Texas.
At one point in the NA literature it says they are going to use the word "God" simply out of convenience, since we will understand the concept they are referring to. I think it's a complete cop out. They use God WAYYY more than "higher power" and "god of your understanding". It pisses me off to read one of the suggested literature pieces and have to say "god" when it is written.
If i had not been raised in hideous , slow thinking, bible belt Texas, I may not have been beaten by religion they way I have and I might not react like you have just offered my a drink of radiation when you mention it to me. I have a great understanding of life and how I fit in it and I am a part of the flow of energry. It has nothing to do with praying, asking Santa in the sky for blessings, presents or miracles. To speak of God or religion to me is to me is to show me you can't think for yourself and you need to make yourself feel better with mystical robes, communions and one horn short of unicorn magic. I do my best to respect the few friends or people I care for's relationship to religion BUT, I never let down my deflector shields a hundred percent with any of them.
AA is still a great place to sober up if you are white, Christian, straight and Caucasian, (and a middle aged-business man). Women and minorities suffer in both AA and NA in Texas. NA which I really like still has only a handful of minorities locally and way less than half the women compared to the men. That makes me wonder.
I don't have a choice in my circumstances to find any sort of organized approach to not using other than NA. I'm fairly vocal about my dislike for all the god-shit in the rooms. If there is a shot at me finding long term recovery and some peace/acceptance in a 12 step recovery I'm going to continue giving it a try. What choice do I have?
I really am powerless over drugs when I put the first one into my body, my life on drugs is completely unmanageable. So I have to put my hip boots on to wave through the religion spill over at times. I"m thankfully smart enough to separate the core of the steps from the misguided interpretations of it in Texas. I have a believe system, in the fact that I know that the energy that can take a seed and grow it to a fruit bearing tree is the same energy taking me from cradle to grave, but that is it. I can't win favor in an imaginary after life by being good during this life. This whole thing is like independent research or study project for me. I wish there was a place to just go and hang out with like minded people but in the end that isn't necessary. I'll recover in NA until they get sick of me and chase me out with burning torches and I will share my experience strength and hope when I get a chance to. There are many many people who sick of religion and how pervasive it is in our lives even when we ourselves aren't religious.
I wouldn't advocate changing the steps for the AA or NA program at all. The steps are theirs. I don't know, I don't know, I don't know. Aside of from the way they handle the God issue, I have more in common with them than not. Ever once in a while a Hispanic man will sit in a meeting. The Hispanic meeting meets less often. He doesn't speak very much English and I don't know what he can get from the meeting but he stays. I'm that way with the god stuff. I don't understand but I wait for bits to be shared about recovery I can use.