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A proposal to change the word God into Chair
in Alcoholics Anonymous literature.

This article is written by nationally recognized historian and oft-quoted Alcoholics Anonymous archivist Mitchell K.

Let’s change the word God into Chair in AA literature. We made a decision to turn our lives and our will over to the care of a Chair as we understood it.

Since people have such a problem with the word God, why not a Chair? However, what kind of Chair? Would it be a corner chair, Chesterfield Chair, Eames Chair, a Farthingale Chair, a Reclining Chair or the thousands of other descriptive and named chairs there are in the world? It could be a Chair carved out of rock or coral. One made of wrought iron or plywood or even different types of polymers and plastics. How about one made of corrugated cardboard or gold?

After all, the Power greater than ourselves should be a Chair as we understood it. I personally find my Eames Chair with ottoman much more comfortable than a hard wood Adirondack Chair. An 18th Century Bachelor’s Chair can be sat on and it also can be converted into a step stool, ladder and ironing board. A Chair can be for sitting or it can be for reclining such as a reclining Chair or a Long Chair (also known as a Chaise Lounge). It can be used for piling books on or draping a coat or jacket.

Here is an exercise on how to define the word Chair. Take a hundred people and ask them to close their eyes. Then ask them to listen as you say a word. Then, after picturing that word in their mind ask them to write down the image they saw. The word you are going to say is Chair.

After the exercise is over, take all the descriptions of the images and compare them. Most people will have varying images of Chair as they “understood” the word. You might even be surprised as to the amount of different images described.

The same is with the term God. After all, isn’t the word followed with the explanation of “As we understand…”? Yet, people at AA meetings have arguments ad nauseum about the word God and what that stands for as if there is a universal consensus. Would people also argue about the type of Chair one is talking about? Some people would prefer to sit on the floor or on a couch or bed and not a chair. Would those people argue that the description talked about at a meeting would have to be the Floor as we understand Floor?

Let’s change the word to Floor. Would it be a hardwood Floor. A laminate Floor, wide plank Floor, linoleum or tile? Would it be sub-flooring or just plain plywood or dirt?

People in AA argue about the silliest things. Rather than focus on staying sober and helping others to achieve sobriety or recovery as the Primary Purpose they focus on Chairs, Tables and Floors. Is it more important to argue about how or by what method one has become a new creation or rejoice in the fact that the person has changed and is now living a new life, more useful and less destructive to themselves, their families and loved ones and the world around them?

Once we relegate staying sober and helping others to achieve sobriety to a secondary purpose and take arguing about concepts of a Higher Power and the word we use or understand as that Power to the primary focus, we lose sight of the real purpose and mission; to stay sober and help others achieve sobriety. I could personally care less if you believe the same as I believe. I do however care if you are seeking recovery that someone reaches out their hand to you and offers Fellowship and tells you of the solution that they have found for themselves. The choice the seeking individual has was, is and always will be - theirs. If they don’t agree with the solution you offer them they can move on and find another whose solution is more to their liking.

Sometimes what is to their liking doesn’t work for them either but that is another proposal…

More will be revealed…

Mitchell K.
the_archivist@excite.com

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