Lately i've had Laura S.' book on AA and Buddhism on the table where i do sudukos and crosswords and other essential stuff. The book is inspiring me to look at the twelve step programs and the eight fold path together. And there is a rough correspondence between the two "programs." Steps 1, 2, 3, and 6 seem similar to the first and second steps (right view and right intention, i.e. "wisdom training). Steps 4 through 10 seem to me to have significant overlap with "ethics training" (wise speech, action, and livelihood). Steps 11 and 12 seem to cover much the same ground as "meditation training" ( wise effort, mindfulness, and concentration). In both Al-Anon and the eightfold path i started with the First step/step one. and faltered and struggled and failed to grasp the significant of these steps.
Powerlessness and detachment were eventually incorporated into my "view," and they were very freeing and eventually seemed "right." God and reincarnation are still not acceptable to me except through major distortions of the meanings given these words by most people.
The Buddha said there are founteen questions that he could not answer. Two of those questions related to God and the Soul. He could find no evidence for or information relevant to either. Therefore they are not important for Buddhism. But he was "aware" of 500 of his own previous incarnations so had no doubts about its reality, In Tibetan Buddhism "everybody" knows that High Lamas are reincarnations of previously deceased High Lamas. In India many young children recite detailed information about the lives of deceased persons that they could not possibly (?) have known anything about. Buddhists say that reincarnation is part of the universal wisdom shared by many cultures including Taoism* and Christianity. Most Asian teachers of Buddhism insist that "real" Buddhists believe in reincarnation. But this is a dogmatic statement and Buddhism (Mahayana Buddhism, anyway) has no "dogma" being a philosophy rather than a religion.
Most Western teachers, i am told, do not stress the need for a belief in reincarnation. (It is not generally considered essential in Western culture.) Reincarnation is only implied in the first three Noble Truths (samsara), and it is not stressed in any of the other steps of the 8-fold path. If i "really" wanted to be a "real" Buddhist, i don't think i would have to worry about whether i accepted a belief in reincarnaion.
Although someday i hope that my vision will be clear and my intentions pure, i find it easier to proceed to step 3 (Buddhism) and the Fourth Step (Al-Anon)
* In Taoist philosophy i have found no reference to reincarnation. If it is mentioned in either the Chuang Tsu or the Tao Te Ching, it was not noticed by me. As for Christianity, some Gnostic versions may have referred to it, but "the Church" specifically repudiated any belief in it. Anthropologicially it is associated with certain specific social and economic conditions which i can't remember, but they include settled life in small villages. still a reasonable description of rural India..
...but we had to live our way to a new way of thinking. -- (approximate) AA slogan