I've never had an addiction but sometimes I feel like religion was
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30-08-2012, 10:09 PM
Sad I've never had an addiction but sometimes I feel like religion was

So I feel like the process (still not completed) of losing religion went slow at first but then hit me like a brick. Even though I gained so much, knowledge, internal freedom, and a new appreciation for life. However, I miss it, I can't lie. Sometimes I wish I could go back, it was all I knew and was connected to every part of my life. Someone died- its ok they are in heaven, you will see them again (so you didn't really have to learn how to really cope with death because they weren't really dead). A tragedy happens to you- god works in mysterious ways (he knows what hes doing so don't concentrate on how to make it better, or what went wrong depending on the situation because god made it happen). Something good happens- It's a miracle praise god (praise god all the time no matter what he is good, or so it was taught). And for me the most damaging was "leave it to god, let it go, he will take care of you, trust in him, give it to him (so basically hand all your shit to an imaginary friend just to have it someday all come at you at once).SadcryfaceSadcryfaceSadcryfaceConfused
So pretty much any emotional response or attempt at coping with anything in life was overshadowed by "god" the "god" I was taught about. I feel like I have stunted emotional growth. When you really come to the realization there is no god, everything and I mean everything, every emotional response to anything comes back and its like ok now what, now how do I cope with this. 28 years worth of life that was lived waiting for the eternal life later, it was fantasy, its hard to deal with all the emotions you never coped with before, and no direction on how to handle them because you are surrounded by the very people who did it to you in the first place.

“The highest activity a human being can attain is learning for understanding, because to understand is to be free.”
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30-08-2012, 10:20 PM
I've never had an addiction but sometimes I feel like religion was
Alice, a lot of your experience resonates with what I've gone through and in many ways have just discovered how horrible I am at coping with life because in the past I always prayed for help, or wisdom. I felt my steps were directed by the Lord and he was guiding me through life. Intellectually I can look at my past and be grateful that I now know all of those accomplishments were mind alone. However, to use your phrase, I too still feel emotionally stunted or developmentally delayed in a certain sense. I love the freedom of not being so obsessed with trying to live in a way that honored God. But in other ways, I'm just beginning to see how deep my damage was and feel like I'm starting over with learning some real basic coping skills to make life have meaning.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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30-08-2012, 10:59 PM
RE: I've never had an addiction but sometimes I feel like religion was
(30-08-2012 10:20 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  Alice, a lot of your experience resonates with what I've gone through and in many ways have just discovered how horrible I am at coping with life because in the past I always prayed for help, or wisdom. I felt my steps were directed by the Lord and he was guiding me through life. Intellectually I can look at my past and be grateful that I now know all of those accomplishments were mind alone. However, to use your phrase, I too still feel emotionally stunted or developmentally delayed in a certain sense. I love the freedom of not being so obsessed with trying to live in a way that honored God. But in other ways, I'm just beginning to see how deep my damage was and feel like I'm starting over with learning some real basic coping skills to make life have meaning.

I don't know about you but I feel like I don't even know where to start with those skills. How do they develop, do I just wait for them? I like your comment about seeing accomplishments as your own, I had never thought about that. At least that is a happy thought. I feel like I am in a urgent mode, like I don't have time to figure it out I need to know what to do now. I feel rushed. I have a 5 and 2 year old and we have bibles all over. bible stories, everything. they love reading them, well my 5 year old and just from the short time she was in sunday school she is sure jesus is real. like tonight she wanted for book time bible stories for girls, so we read it and she commented "that is real". She knows I don't believe in god and I want her to choose, but I want to make sure that SHE is actually the one making that choice. Thing is I don't even know what I am doing so how am I suppose to know what to do with them so that they never have to go through all of this. Im am dumbfounded. The afterlife was always there, now theres one, now what should I do with it? It's hard to accept, its hard to comprehend (even though if we were never exposed to religion it would be so much easier and we would have epic coping skills lol).

“The highest activity a human being can attain is learning for understanding, because to understand is to be free.”
― Baruch Spinoza
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30-08-2012, 11:09 PM (This post was last modified: 30-08-2012 11:14 PM by fstratzero.)
RE: I've never had an addiction but sometimes I feel like religion was
I was talking to a fellow atheist about your particular situation.

I'd say start teaching them about different denominations, then to different religions, the different beliefs about god, etc...

When they have a biblical explanation show them the alternatives, from science.

I'm not child raising expert but that might help.


I really wish we had a psychologist here on the forums...

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30-08-2012, 11:17 PM
RE: I've never had an addiction but sometimes I feel like religion was
(30-08-2012 10:59 PM)Alice Wrote:  
(30-08-2012 10:20 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  Alice, a lot of your experience resonates with what I've gone through and in many ways have just discovered how horrible I am at coping with life because in the past I always prayed for help, or wisdom. I felt my steps were directed by the Lord and he was guiding me through life. Intellectually I can look at my past and be grateful that I now know all of those accomplishments were mind alone. However, to use your phrase, I too still feel emotionally stunted or developmentally delayed in a certain sense. I love the freedom of not being so obsessed with trying to live in a way that honored God. But in other ways, I'm just beginning to see how deep my damage was and feel like I'm starting over with learning some real basic coping skills to make life have meaning.

I don't know about you but I feel like I don't even know where to start with those skills. How do they develop, do I just wait for them? I like your comment about seeing accomplishments as your own, I had never thought about that. At least that is a happy thought. I feel like I am in a urgent mode, like I don't have time to figure it out I need to know what to do now. I feel rushed. I have a 5 and 2 year old and we have bibles all over. bible stories, everything. they love reading them, well my 5 year old and just from the short time she was in sunday school she is sure jesus is real. like tonight she wanted for book time bible stories for girls, so we read it and she commented "that is real". She knows I don't believe in god and I want her to choose, but I want to make sure that SHE is actually the one making that choice. Thing is I don't even know what I am doing so how am I suppose to know what to do with them so that they never have to go through all of this. Im am dumbfounded. The afterlife was always there, now theres one, now what should I do with it? It's hard to accept, its hard to comprehend (even though if we were never exposed to religion it would be so much easier and we would have epic coping skills lol).

I'm glad I don't have kids to worry about. Just my dog, and I'm pretty sure she's an atheist too, although we never talk about it. Big Grin

I would imagine it won't be too long before she starts realizing if Mommy and Daddy don't believe then it must not be real.

I've had the same question as you about where to start as well as how? I'm in therapy, but my therapist is person-centered using a non-directive approach, so as far as actual tips to follow, I'm trying to discover my own. Yesterday I went to a psychiatrist to consult about my medications. He was the opposite of my therapist, asking tons of questions and making statements and giving ideas. I realized it might not be a bad thing to check in with him from time to time as a different way of approaching things.

Not so much lately, but I used to listen to the Living After Faith Podcast with Rich Lyons. I first heard him on TTA with Seth. He talks about his own PTSD experiences after being a minister for 25 years. I don't know if you're into Podcasts, but you might try it. There are some helpful ideas there, at least for me.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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30-08-2012, 11:20 PM (This post was last modified: 30-08-2012 11:27 PM by nach_in.)
RE: I've never had an addiction but sometimes I feel like religion was
I didn't suffer the same as you, I found the things that helped me cope with the world before I completely lost my faith so I had somewhere to start. I read a few things about uncertainty and how it permeates everything, not in a quantum theory point of view, from a more human "we can't know everything even if we had all the information available" way, and the idea of trying to embrace this uncertainty was really cool, I live with some kind of anxiety now, but not the bad one, that kind of anxiety we feel before an adventure but that's everyday.

If you don't know how you should feel, improvise, experiment with your own emotions and surely you'll find out you're better at coping with life than you credit yourself for Big Grin

About your kids, how's your husband about all this? is he atheist also? if yes, then you both could try to help your kids experiment also, in a more controlled/safe way of course. If not, then you both should try to discuss how you wish your kids to be raised.

In any case, kids are resilient, so don't be scared to plant some doubt seed in them, it will probably do more good than bad to them...

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30-08-2012, 11:23 PM
RE: I've never had an addiction but sometimes I feel like religion was
Here's a site to bookmark: Recovering From Religion. It's a great site.

I think in the end, I just feel like I'm a secular person who has a skeptical eye toward any extraordinary claim, carefully examining any extraordinary evidence before jumping to conclusions. ~ Eric ~ My friend ... who figured it out.
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31-08-2012, 02:05 AM
RE: I've never had an addiction but sometimes I feel like religion was
I think this is one of the single most difficult concepts in transitioning from a believing way of life to a non believing. So much dependancy and pseudo answers are given with indoctrination. The mind literally becomes an automated reflex of the larger mob-mentality (re: hypnotized) cult/congregation/way of life.

I have had a similar experience as well. Lucky for me, I could fall back on many skills I picked up in school (counsellor) and I also went to the best therapist EVER for other things, but this consequently influenced my new approach in a new way of living, which basically has to be molded from the ground up. And actually, it can be very simple, but it takes a lot of work (practice), so in that sense it's hard. But once it is drilled in (reformatted) into your brain, you can rely and depend on this in life when you meet minor or major crisis.

When we come to our problems in a believer's brain, it is crisis -> ask God and pray-> brain signals we've been heard-> crisis diverted (handled), all is well. And then the reality is a certain action was made, or a certain series of events happened and then things were solved more or less in our perception and we move on.

Now, as a newly non believer, the brain goes crisis-> no praying-> what do I do? -> problem is not solved/helped-> problem has become overwhelming.

So here, we are stuck at 'What do I do?' and our brain has no place to go. This is the skill. In neurology, we have learned about the various pathways and signals. With prayer, this is an in-fluctuation of chemical (a soothing chemical that sends the crisis away to feel averted) that is self-released (meaning you consciously signal this to happen) and this chemical has been available through practice (praying at church, everyday on the AM and evening, every meal and any crisis ever- that's a LOT over the years of chemical availability and pathway embedding- especially if you were very heavy into your belief, especially for a preacher because you are doing this for yourself and everyone else as a whole and individually- wow!). These are strong physical effects of praying. This IS the addiction you feel. In reality, in form. There is no way you shouldn't feel the way you do after, because of how actual it is.

So, what now? "What do I do"?

The new skill has to come in. Well, this is an analogy that helps many people in counselling. Have you ever taken a first aid course? If you haven't it may be beneficial not only just to have, but also to learn problem solving crisis skills.

The first thing in first aid is not to call 911, not to do anything. It is to stop and breathe. Slowly. It seems ridiculous but it does help. Mentally, this begins to release these same calming chemicals so you don't panic, just like prayer would do. It also helps oxygenate the brain to think clearly. It is incredible how a lack of oxygen will screw up how you think-if at all! This is why yoga and meditation are actually very beneficial for the mind.

Then you can go through your problem solving questions. Can I help? If I can't, who can? What are my resources? (friend, professional, forum here, etc) What do you do if you don't reach answers? What have other's done? I have to grab some books maybe this week, because I think there is an actual formula for this to memorize to help, too- I haven't been in this workforce for a few years (I have wee ones as well and am not doing this right now with clients). Myself, I have a fairly set routine for these things now. (living proof! Big Grin you can get there!)

Now, you will find that you have the right 'system' to deal with a wide variety of personal crisis. You will realize you have choices to make, and that's in your control. When a sense of control (vs feeling overwhelmed) starts to develop, confidence and self esteem grow. Amazing! This take practice to 're-route' your old way of thinking.


I have some other tips if you want, one is called 'scaling' and another is called 'miracle questioning' (don't worry, no fake or real miracles are preformed Wink )



Let me know if I wasn't being clear. There are many techniques and everyone has a different way of approaching, this is what I find works for most people and helped myself. The most important thing is to understand that this addictive feeling and this sense of overwhelm are for an actual physical reason and because the brain is AMAZING and can be manipulated and healed, re-routed and reinvented there is so much possibility to be where you want it to be. You don't have to feel overwhelmed forever.



________


I have children too, similar in age. We also have bible books still in the house and Grandma's and Aunties, etc, talk about God like God is real. I say flat out "I think this is a story. " I explain my view on things.

And then I flood their little minds with FACTS Big Grin And I buy ALL kinds of books- of course science, history, etc but also more fair tales and mythical stories. The bible is an extremely important piece of history and should not be feared. It just deserves the proper view.

Also, critical thinking is such a key component for the mind. There is a lot of information out there for how to develop this. Smile (I love the internet!)



So I've babbled a lot- I could babble more, too- but I'll wait to see if or what response this gets and go from there. Was this helpful?
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31-08-2012, 02:28 AM
RE: I've never had an addiction but sometimes I feel like religion was
What LadyJane said!!

I know your feeling. I was brain washed so much that still today sometimes I wish I could go back to believing.... It seemes all so much easier.
You can learn all this coping, and you will because you don't have another choice. What I did was thinking logically about the things. That is just how I did it and it worked. Things I can't figure out (how to react to certain things) I ask my hubby, for some reason he is good at explaining stuff like that.
About your kids, just start questioning them and teach them to question.
If your kid says "that's real" you can ask "why". You don't have to do more, just ask "why" everytime, and once she comes up with a reason (don't force her) you just keep asking. "Jesus is real" "why" "because the teacher said so" "how does the teacher know".... etc... At some point she will adapt this atitude. To ask and question, and she will find that Jesus is just a fairy tale, too. Once she is ready you can just compare... "If Jesus is real, why isn't Snowwhite?"
At some point you will reach a level where you have to explain things, about how the books was written and so on, but be patient Smile Your kid is brainwashed too, and she needs time to get over it, just like you.

Hope you are well Smile

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03-09-2012, 09:07 AM
RE: I've never had an addiction but sometimes I feel like religion was
(30-08-2012 11:09 PM)fstratzero Wrote:  I was talking to a fellow atheist about your particular situation.

I'd say start teaching them about different denominations, then to different religions, the different beliefs about god, etc...

When they have a biblical explanation show them the alternatives, from science.

I'm not child raising expert but that might help.


I really wish we had a psychologist here on the forums...

The fear I have with introducing them to any religion at least right now and later, while they are young, is I don't want to influence something like that. Facts and science are just that, but there is a lot of fear in religion. I am having such a hard time I would hate for them to choose a religion because they think they should. I don't know what age to really share those kinds of things with them, obviously they know about Christianity, so are you thinking to balance it? Maybe that would be a good idea.

“The highest activity a human being can attain is learning for understanding, because to understand is to be free.”
― Baruch Spinoza
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