Secular Humanists Anonymous: Addiction Recovery

An Addiction Recovery Program

Statistical Definition of the Problem

Like all addictions, secular humanism in its most general form is the overwhelming feeling that you cannot get through the day without a “fix.”

Studies have shown that as many as 65% of adult males who read the New York Times and up to 85% of those who read Rolling Stone call themselves “secular humanists” or refuse to identify themselves as members of any religious group.

97% of evangelicals surveyed called New York Times and Rolling Stone readers “really messed up.”

By contrast, 87% of women who read Prevention and 90% of men who read NASCAR Magazineidentify themselves as “very” or “damned” religious. When internet information sources are included, subscribers to, Slate, BBC, Daily Kos and Raw Story fall squarely in the humanist camp, while subscribers to Drudge, Fox News, Wall Street Journal and WorldNet Daily show a robust religious attitude toward world political and economic events.

Similar discrepancies were observed for viewers of Seinfeld re-runs (secular humanist) and Everybody Loves Raymond (religious, pro-life). A surprising result is that 75% of respondents who self-identified as humanists did not like PBS’s Woodwright’s Workshop while a roughly equivalent number (80%) of religious persons “thought they would like it” but had never heard of PBS.

Food habits are also important indicators: secular humanists and atheists* are likelier by a 10 to 1 margin to like curries, by a 7 to 1 margin to prefer whole grain bread to Holsum Country White, and by an 8 to 1 margin to ask a bartender for a real martini instead of “that blue stuff in a crooked stem glass.”

A random survey (Glitch, 2002) of 500 mall-walkers in Sarasota determined that only 1 in 7 persons who identified themselves as secular humanists considered sangria an alcoholic beverage while 6 out of seven considered it “a crappy fruit punch with floaties drunk by Texans.”

By contrast, only 3 out of 7 males who self-identified as born again Christians could correctly spell the word “samosa” or identify its ingredients. More than 60% of humanist-trending respondents claimed to like cucumbers, while 75% of religion-trending respondents stated that “cucumbers are what celery eats.” A significant minority of Jewish secularists surveyed called cucumbers “pickle fetuses.”


The growth, popularity and availability of humanist resources without government intervention amounts to a legalization of anti-religion in the United States.

The time is long overdue for an organization designed to help individuals addicted to humanism, secularism, and atheism. We believe that Secular Humanists Anonymous is that organization.

Founded in 2004 at the highpoint of the New Atheist resurgence, and now a 501c(3) not-for-profit educational entity, SHA began modestly enough in the recreation hall of New Life Temple Kingdom Church in Sandusky, Ohio, when Zelma Bickerston, got the idea of a secular humanist self-help and recovery program from her daughter Marlene, a self-identifying obese secular humanist with nowhere to turn.

We have now spread to three locations, two of them outside Sandusky in the “Research Triangle”: (Sandusky, Little Sandusky and Lower Sandusky Falls). The Research Triangle after seventy five years as a leader in paper machete innovation “is looking forward to new ways to improve the aesthetics of holiday centerpieces, birthday memorabilia and above all floats” (CofC Flier, 2001).

Our meetings are designed to minimize the pressure and stress one often feels by self-identifying as a secular humanist (atheist) or in similar drug and alcohol recovery situations.

Procedure for Induction

Normally, chairs are arranged in a semi-circle, the lights dimmed, and Jim Croce recordings are played in the background as a bonding mechanism. Random studies have found that “You Are So Beautiful” is preferred by a two-to-one margin of recoverers.

Members are asked to state their name, confess their addiction, and the duration and the severity of their affliction. A typical profession might go something like this:

“Hello, everybody. My name is Sam Siraznikov. I am a native of Sandusky, Ohio and my family lives on Oak near the old Witke house. I am a secular humanist. I have been a secular humanist for about five years. That’s when I started subscribing to Free Inquiry and National Geographic. Actually my wife let me keep my NG subscription but she says if I don’t quit reading atheist pornography I can just get out of the house.”

(Preceding used with permission of Sam Silverstein whose name has been changed here to protect his identity).

The members of the group then voice their appreciation of Sam’s courage in “coming out.” Different methods are used in the Lower Sandusky group, where they whoop, but here in the capital we say in unison, “Atta-boy Sam. Keep up the good work.” The inductee will then respond “You Betcha,” or “You got it,” or words to that effect.

Following the profession, the inductee is given a copy of Rudyard Kipling’s “If” and becomes our guest at the three-meat buffet supper. No vegetarian option.

Five Steps to Recovery

Many addiction programs have twenty or twelve point plans to guide the addict to total recovery. These programs tend to be confusing and cannot be memorized without a lot of trouble. For that reason, SHA has adopted the following five point program which we refer to as our “creed”:**

1. I really do believe in God, heaven, and hell even though I had my doubts to start with.

2. People who don’t believe in God cannot be my neighbors, but I can feel sorry for them.

3. Going to church [synagogue] is a privilege, not a right.

4. Atheism and humanism are like any other disease, but we can cure this one.

5. It is not true that “many, many great people have been atheists and humanists” because if they were they weren’t so great, were they?.

If you are suffering from the signs of addiction and want a sure-fire recovery program that is fun, easy and nutritious give to SHA and join us in Sandusky!

*What a secular humanist really is.
**A statement of things you believe.

5 thoughts on “Secular Humanists Anonymous: Addiction Recovery

  1. I think I’m a humanist without any adjectives. Always been a humanist without adjectives. I have never been religious, really don’t know, but always been interested in the religious. Or maybe I’m just me, unidentified individual, learning, growing and declining, relearning, every day. I’m a fruitarian who likes to include lots of fresh greens, liquorice tea and fair trade espresso, home spressed, and likes a glass of champagne, I subscribe to nothing but use the libraries alot.

    … actually humanists true to the humanism born in the Renaissance should take out the aitch so it doesn’t give expression to so much angst. The angst in aitch is hateful and horrid but an uminist ain’t angry at all. An uminist is inclusive and concerned with uman welfare and values and personal morality. An uminist is concerned with character, learning, imagination and exploration – together. An uminist has no need to be anonymous, not an umanist without any angst.

    Everyone loves ‘you are so beautiful’ – religious and probably even ‘orrible atheists and positively unidentifiable umans too. It goes with the 60s genre of beautiful love songs that I’ve clung to all my life, since learning to walk, run and play in the forests and the sea, way back in those flowery 60s. It’s simple, it’s pure, it’s about love.

    Religion was never polarised between fundamentalisms where I grew up – it appears to be an american phenomenon. So do ‘secular humanism’ and the CFI appear to be american phenomena, neither humanistic nor umanist true.

    I’ll go to any happy garden party as long as there’s no louts or lager but lots of laughter and loving instead. Everyone is invited as long as they’re happy and willing to appreciate diversity in the happy. I’m addicted to hippidom, happiness, nature and the sea. :-p

  2. Thanks for speaking up, steph.
    I’d like to say that, in regards to affinity to curries, I resemble that remark! I consider myself a humanist but would not, as intimated in Clyde Edgerton’s Walking Across Egypt, break into your home at night and do something “secular.” I regularly attend Sunday Humanism meetings in Second Life where I can vent a bit before returning to Real Life in the Bible Belt.
    I had not felt the need to vent before moving down here. I lived for nearly 40 years without being told I was going to hell. Being asked if I accepted Jesus as my personal savior was an event of relative infrequency that I was able to parry with a jolly “I will, if you accept Plato as yours!” Now it’s a code you must enter before doing business with some people or running for office. Shivering shibboleths, Batman! We compound the animosity each time either party reacts. What happened to peaceful co-existence? Oh, right – that never worked either.

  3. I wasn’t really marf. I think it’s more about the needing to include the ‘secular’ deflecting from the humanist true. Humanism has nothing to do with religion or areligion. It’s above beyond or over that because it’s inclusive, that’s all. And the post wasn’t so bad – it was about, I think, a group of angry Clowning Fancy Infidels who by their self definition of ‘secular’ negate humanist values … which include… of inclusiveness.

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