Things are gradually changing. There are AAAA groups (Atheist and Agnostic Alcoholics Anonymous), freethinkers’ groups and an increasing catalogue of non-AA-approved literature supporting these ideas.
The slogan of a freethinker in this regard is: “You have to do it yourself, but you don’t have to do it alone.” There are other AA members walking purposefully along the same path.
The USA’s Christian majority holds such sway that for years one of the unofficial slogans in AA has been “Fake it to make it.” This is an idea that if you’re not sure whether there’s a god to use as a greater power you can pretend there’s one and complete the twelve steps successfully to stop drinking.
But this rather knocks on the head the idea of the AA program as honest, whereas rigorous honesty is advised. Therefore it would clearly be better for the fakers if they admitted they were unsure about god and called themselves agnostics. There are plenty of alternative greater powers they could pick such as energy, nature, the poetry of evolution.
All that one atheist twelve step program requires is that members choose a greater power that is big. Size is everything to help members realise how tiny they are in the scheme of things to help them downsize their overinflated egos. Other examples are a tree that a park-dwelling former drunk used to tell his troubles to and a Number Nine bus because it passed by the Coach & Horses pub which another member never could.
This program is the subject of Vince Hawkins book: An Atheists Unofficial Guide to AA available on www.Amazon.com