Secular AA Open Meetings in the Portland Area

All are welcome regardless of belief or lack thereof

Beyond Belief:

Sundays @ 10:00 am, Portland Alano Club

909 NW 24th St., Portland

Wednesdays @ 6:00 pm, Lutheran Good Shepherd Church

3405 SW Alice St., Portland

Secular Sobriety:

Mondays @ 6:30 pm, Tabor Space

5441 SE Belmont St.

Thursdays @ 6:30 pm, Tabor Space

5441 SE Belmont St., Portland

Fridays @ 6:30 pm

5441 SE Belmont St., Portland

Secular ACA Meeting

Tuesdays @ 8:00 pm, Alano Club Annex Room Upstairs

909 NW 24th Street, Portland

She Agnostics

Saturdays @ 10:00 am, Alano Club in Study upstairs

909 NW 24th Street, Portland

Third Tradition:

Mondays @ 6:05 pm, First Baptist Church

125 SE Cowls St, McMinnville

Fridays @ 6:05 pm, Redwood Commons Rec Room

2161 NE Lafayette, McMinnville

Love & Tolerance:

Mondays @ 7:30 pm, Little Yellow House

715 3rd Ave, Seaside



” . . . this was the great contribution of our atheists and agnostics. They had widened our gateway so that all who suffer may pass through, regardless of their belief or lack of belief.”        AA Comes of Age, page 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!



November 11 – 13, 2016

for our second biennial convention

Check out

or email


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Where It All Began . . .

Coincidence? (1)

On Jill’s and my trip to Akron, a highlight was visiting again the Gatehouse of the Seiberling Estate where Bill and Dr. Bob had their auspicious first meeting from which blossomed Alcoholics Anonymous that today, more than 80 years later, is still bumbling along.

It’s the second or third time I’ve sat in this space, which I consider to be one of the most sacred places I’ve been privileged to visit on the planet. I never tire of hearing the story of how Bill hooked Dr. Bob into that several hour initial conversation despite the fact that Dr. Bob had proclaimed he would stay no longer than 15 minutes after the dinner Henrietta Seiberling served at 5:00 pm due to a raging hangover from the previous day’s binge drinking. Bill leaned over the small table in the library and proclaimed words to the effect, “I’m not here to get you sober. I’m here talking to you so that I stay sober.

As an agnostic atheist I was mightily pleased that the headline to the panel discussing this propitious meeting between Bill and Dr. Bob is one which is relevant to we atheists, agnostics and free thinkers.

I also had a most interesting conversation with one of the volunteers at Dr. Bob’s house on Ardmore Avenue about the need for AA to become less rigidly dogmatic that it has devolved into during the last 30-35 years. He related that he has a sponsee who struggles with the archaic language of the Big Book who is a non-believer, but who attends AA for the Fellowship, drunks sharing the human power of staying sober with each each other.

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And What A Fine Evening It Was . . .

Last night at the Wednesday night Beyond Belief meeting at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall on SW Alice Street a citywide gathering of secular AA members held our first monthly Celebration of Sobriety Milestones. Some 30 secular AA members form the Portland area gathered together to celebrate recovery together.

The following seven secular AA members shared milestones, which occurred during the month of September:

  • Eli                                 1 week
  • Todd                             10 days
  • Martyn                         60 days
  • Chelsea                         6 months
  • Dan                               6 months
  • Shelly                            9 months
  • Mara                              1 year

Allie provided a delicious homemade cake and pie for refreshments, while Syd  brought a bunch of organic bananas for folks with diet restrictions.

Each of the celebrants spoke briefly expressing immense gratitude for being sober in secular AA. A common theme was appreciation for the secular AA meetings in Portland within which all feel the full fruits of the AA Fellowship among like-minded and spirited members of AA.  The days of “faking it” are over — we can each be authentically and truthfully open about our unorthodox beliefs or no beliefs at all.

October’s celebration will occur on October 28th — mark your calendars !~!~!

Thomas B.

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Early Alcoholics Anonymous

Recently on the AA History Lovers Yahoo Group, the moderator Glen C. Chestnut  posted the intriguing article above. The article explicates that from the earliest beginnings of AA, non-Christian beliefs, other that the Christian ideology of the Oxford Group in the Big Book, have always had a prominent place in AA’s history.

This past weekend I attended the Oregon Area 58 Assembly in Le Grande, Oregon. One of the prominent pieces of business was the consideration of  a motion for Area 58 to request that the General Service Conference at its gathering in April of 2016 consider and approve the publication of a Grapevine book, consisting of the some 40 stories previously published by the Grapevine from atheists, agnostics and free thinkers. This book would be similar to the recently published Sober and Out for LGBT members of AA.

I was immensely gratified — heart-warmed, in fact — by comments in strong support of this motion from some 15 or so GSRs and DCMs throughout the Oregon 58 Area. As often happens with such motions of a non-emergency nature, the motion was tabled for further consideration to be voted upon at the November Assembly in Clackamas, so GSRs can take the motion back for group input. Hopefully, in November the motion shall receive substantial unanimity of voters — defined as two-thirds of the gathered voting members — and be approved to be forwarded to the AA General Service Office.

In my comments, I referenced the above article, as well as this amazing quote from co-founder Dr. Bob in an early Akron AA pamphlet:

The Spiritual Life is by no means a Christian Monopoly . . . The Buddhist philosophy, as exemplified by these eight points, could be literally adopted by AA as a substitute for or addition to the Twelve Steps.

Let’s remember that our other co-founder, Bill W., was mightily pleased when Buddhists who examined the 12 Steps in the 1940s could easily adopt them as a viable spiritual path for their adherents simply by inserting an additional “O”, translating God to Good.

A thought I have is that our secular AA open meetings, in which all are welcome to participate, both those with belief as well as those without, more truly reflect AA as historically it has always been, when compared to the  “Back to Basics” movement that only emphasizes the narrow pietistic and evangelical ideology of the 20th Century Oxford Group, which has become so influential throughout North American AA during the past 35 or so years — we’re more appropriately “Back to Basics” than the so-called Back to Basics movement is !~!~!

Thomas B.


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Yet One More Secular AA Meeting . . .

This past Monday, September 7th, the first open meeting of the Love & Tolerance group met at 7:30 pm in the Little Yellow House on Third Avenue in Seaside, Oregon. In strict adherence to AA’s Third Tradition, the Love & Tolerance group is for all alcoholics of any belief or no belief at all.

We had a rousing start with 13 persons from Seaside and nearby towns in attendance, who shared their experience, strength and hope about staying sober a day at a time. Two visitors from Asheville, NC were so impressed with the the format and quality of discussion regarding AA’s primary purpose, they were enthusiastic about checking out AA Agnostica and starting a similar group in western North Carolina.

Thus do we grow and expand — one meeting, one town, one geographical area at a time . . .

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New Beyond Belief Meeting

Wednesday night, the new Beyond Belief Wednesday meeting occurred at 6:00 pm at the  Good Shepherd Lutheran Church at 3405 SW Alice Street in the Fellowship Hall with an entrance off the lower parking lot.

Fellowship Hall is a large room with plenty of space to expand and has a kitchen attached. Greg volunteered to donate a 20-cup coffee maker to the group. Tom H. will initially open up and make additional keys with security code for others as needed.

Thirteen folks were in attendance. This augurs well, since the initial meeting of the Sunday Beyond Belief group had 5 folks and the first meeting of the Secular Sobriety group had 9 people attending. We continue to grow and expand.

The first half of the meeting was spent discussing organizational matters. We decided that the meeting would be another open meeting of the Beyond Belief Group and that our initial meetings will be as follows:

  • The first Wednesday of each month will be a Step Discussion meeting of the step that corresponds to the number of the month. Therefore, next Wednesday, September 2nd we’ll share experience, strength and hope on Step 9.
  • The last Wednesday of the month will be a city-wide celebration of secular A.A. birthdays. Folks who have achieved milestones of 1, 3, 6, 9 months of sobriety, a year and multiple years will get a chance to briefly qualify. We’ll purchase a cake and other goodies for a celebration during and after the meeting before another group comes in for a 7:30 pm meeting.
  • The Wednesdays, two or three depending on the vagaries of the Gregorian calendar in between, will be regular discussion meetings using Joe C.s daily musing as the suggested topic.

Generally we’ll follow the same format on Wednesday that we use on Sundays. 7th tradition monies will be given to Kendall, the current group treasurer.

The rest of the meeting was spend with an open discussion around the topic of inclusivity, suggested by Tom H.

It was another auspicious beginning,  another milestone for the evolving community of Portland secular members of AA.

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Time Passes, New Growth Evolves . . .

Been awhile since I’ve posted on our little PDX Secular AA website. Been involved in lots of activity though and here are some of the things that are happening:

  • Wednesday night, August 26th a new meeting will take place in SW Portland at 6:00 pm. It’s in Good Shepherd Lutheran Church at 3405 SW Alice, Portland, OR 97219. The first meeting will be an organizational meeting to determine initial format, whether it is another meeting of Beyond Belief or a separate group, etc.
  • A couple of weeks later starting Thursday, September 10th, there will be a new meeting of the Secular Sobriety group at Tabor Space, the same room in basement and the same time as the Monday and Friday meetings.

This means that now there is a Secular AA meeting five days of the week, Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday — can Tuesdays and Saturdays be far behind?

PLUS !~!~! Jill and Thomas with several other folks will be meeting with the Little Yellow House Board in Seaside on September 1st to explore starting a secular AA meeting on Thursday nights at 7:00 pm on the breezy, coolish coast.

In addition, Jill and I fulfilled our H & I commitment  at Providence/St. Vincent Mental Health Unit. We had an AA meeting with seven of the residents, which was mutually beneficial for all in attendance.

Onwards and Upwards . . .

Thomas B.


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Syd M. Shares Our Experience, Strength and Hope !~!~!

I experience great value from our agnostic/secular meetings. After attending Beyond Belief at the Portland Alano Club on Sunday, I felt energized and decided to go to another AA meeting, a very loving meeting on NE Broadway. After the meeting, I noticed that there were two  young ladies who hadn’t joined in the closing prayer.

One of the young ladies came up to me, saying she remembered me as one of her customers where she had been a barista. She and her partner are new to AA.

With tears in her eyes, she asked me, “Are there ANY AA meetings that are non-religious?!?!”

I, of course, replied, “You bet there are!” And with great enthusiasm showed them where our Beyond Belief and Secular AA meetings are happening  here in Portland.

I think we may have saved some lives, my dear friends. A special thanks to all who brought this whole shebang to us on the west coast; not a moment too soon.

Syd M.

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Plan to go to Austin Next Year


One of the highlights of my recent on-going recovery process was attending the first International Conference for Secular AA members in Santa Monica in November of 2014. I eagerly look forward to attending the second biennial conference in Austin next November.

Hopefully, lots of us Portland secular AA members will be able to attend to contest which is weirder, Portland or Austin. No matter how you slice it, Austin is in Texas, and though perhaps Texas is most weird, it’s a decidedly different shade of weird than Portland . . . 😉

Thomas B.

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We Agnostics Shine in Atlanta

Joe C., author of Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life, which we use for topics of our meetings, posted on Rebellion Dogs a report about the 2015 International Convention recently held in Atlanta, celebrating A.A.’s 80th anniversary.

With the theme “Happy, Joyous and Free,” the report includes an mp3 recording of the “We Agnostics” panel, whose three speakers certainly exuded mucho happiness, joy & freedom about being agnostics in A.A. with longtime sobriety. The first speaker, Diggins, mentioned how grateful he was to see posters spread throughout the convention announcing the 2nd International Conference of We Agnostics, Atheists and Freethinkers November 11-13, 2016 in Austin, Texas. For me, an added bonus was hearing Mike, whom I went to meetings with on Long Island in the 90s, share his bountiful spirit again.

An extra bonus was the link that Joe C. put up to the talk of the last speaker on the last panel of the last day — John K. from New York spoke on the topic from page 164 of the Big Book, “We Know But A Little.” The talk includes a segment of Bill Wilson’s remarks at the Toronto International A.A. convention 50 years ago in 1965 on the dangers of too much dogma in A.A. Our Responsibility Declaration was the theme of the Toronto convention

Thomas B.

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