I've picked specific statements to illustrate the point:
- My only Higher Power is Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. I pray to Him and He gives me everything I need and relieves me of my difficulties with gaming addiction.
- As someone who doesn't believe in God, I've struggled with Step Two.
This may seem counter-intuitive, but one of these can create a serious problem for some newcomers and the other does not.
Statement #1 is one person's beliefs, stated as his or her personal beliefs, not pushed on anyone else, not implied as required of anyone else, not stated as being part of the steps or CGAA program. While some non-Christians might feel less inclined to talk about recovery with this person, he or she has made no misleading or potentially harmful statements.
Statement #2, on the other hand, contains the strong implication that the CGAA program advocates belief in God, which is not true. If a Hindu, Pagan, Buddhist, Taoist, Humanist, atheist, or agnostic newcomer hears this false implication, concludes that CGAA advocates belief in God, decides against further exploration of CGAA, and leaves never to return, the newcomer is harmed by cutting him or herself off from our support and we are harmed by losing another member.
The point is not to complain about or silence or discipline anyone. The point is to discuss how to maximize the chances of newcomers sticking around CGAA so they can recover.
This particular issue is very difficult to discern for people already familiar with recovery fellowships and lingo because of the automatic translations we already have going on in our heads. We've learned to interpret many statements in ways that make sense to us and help us. Newcomers who are completely unfamiliar with recovery fellowships don't have these auto-interpretations going on. They hear the same statements literally in the way those words are most commonly used outside of recovery fellowships.
If you've read this far, thank you. If no one has, it has still been helpful to me in figuring out how to clearly explain this difficult issue.