Mountain range just behind the retreat grounds

Beyond Belief

An Atheist and a Theologian go on a 12 Step Call…

12 Step recovery series Loving sober retreat at Sedona Mago Retreat
Sedona Recovery series - 12 steps at the Healing Lake
12 steps towards spiritual awareness
An Atheist and a Theologian go on a 12 Step Call – Both have found happy, joyous sobriety in AA. How do they each communicate their experience of the 12 Steps?

Come to this ground-breaking weekend in the majesty and serenity of the Sedona Mago Retreat. Not a debate, nor a set up for conversion, this weekend is designed as an honest investigation of the 12 Steps and how to effectively work with others, no matter what their background or beliefs.

Beyond Belief is about the dynamic of recovery, based in action. This experiential retreat will address the un-addressable, including:

  • How do atheists work steps 3,6,7 &11?
  • Does spiritual language hinder recovery in a post religious world?
  • How does the language of the 1930s serve alcoholics and addicts now and how will it serve 100 years later?
  • How might the sober atheist or agnostic respond to the quote, “God either is or He isn’t. What was our choice to be?” (Alcoholics Anonymous, pg.53)
  • Is there a difference between the “no god” of the agnostic or atheist and the “no god” of the Buddhist AA?
  • How does a sober theist sponsor an atheist or agnostic, and conversely, how does a sober agnostic or atheist sponsor a believer?
  • How treatment professionals can best translate AA language to their clients?


Joe C. (Toronto, Canada) is a columnist, author of Beyond Belief: Agnostic Musings for 12 Step Life and host of Rebellion Dogs Radio (

John McAndrew (Palm Springs California) is a partner in Sensible Spirituality Associates ( A parish priest for 18 years, he most recently served as Director of Spiritual Care at The Betty Ford Center.

Centering Prayer at Sedona Mago Retreat