No "Higher Power" Required
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17-08-2015, 03:34 PM (This post was last modified: 17-08-2015 03:57 PM by TheMrBillShow.)
No "Higher Power" Required
I have battled a drinking problem for many years.

A major resource has been Alcoholics Anonymous. I started attending meetings around 2005, when it became apparent that my drinking level was not only abnormal, but interfering with my life.

I would manage to stay clean for weeks, even months, but something would happen or I would give in to a moment of weakness and be back hitting the bottle with the same amount of gusto as I had previously.

During this time, I would try to practice the AA steps. I did this with as much sincerity and commitment as I could muster. But when it came to finding a "God" or "Higher Power," my studies would fall apart on me. I just couldn't wrap my head around it. I would pray, I would meditate, I would read all kinds of spiritual and religious literature, I would listen to the testimony of others. I really tried. No lasting comfort ever came of it.

Worst of all, I sincerely bought the AA line that this was my fault. If I couldn't come to an understanding of a "Higher Power" when so many people I was interacting with had done so and were living fulfilled, sober lives, then I must be doing something wrong. It was all my fault. I love my sin. I'm ego run rampant. I'm broken.

This guilt, I know now, was a big contributor to me not being able to stay clean for an appreciable amount of time.

As it happened, my exposure to atheistic thought (The Four Horseman, mostly) changed my perspective. Maybe I wasn't "getting" the whole "Higher Power" thing because there just isn't any "there" there? Maybe I'm not constitutionally capable of forcing myself to believe things without evidence? Maybe I'm not broken, after all? Maybe my only fault was trying to believe in something that wasn't there? So much of my heavy drinking stemmed from me avoiding reality and fooling myself. What if I'm now attempting to do those same things only this time, it's not with booze, but with God? I let all of that go.

This shift has made all the difference.

I haven't consumed alcohol in 3 years. I still attend AA meetings but it's mostly for the social support and friendships I've developed. I haven't "come out" as a nonbeliever to anybody, mostly because I'm not really interested in a debate or any potential animosity. That day may or may not come but for now, I'm happy.

I don't drink today and as a result, my life is better, my health is better, and my relationships are better. I've enlisted the help of many people- both personally and professionally- but by and large, it came down to an honest, sincere decision for me to stop being a drunk. It involved me finding my own way to remain clean and sober, and not by following a pre-packaged, one-size-fits-all "program."

I do hear a lot of people in AA say how "God keeps me sober" or some such. I can't help but think "If God wanted you sober, why not just do it without putting you and your family through such torment in the first place?" I mean, congratulations on not being a drunk asshole anymore and if that's what it takes for you to stay clean, good for you. Still, do you ever think about things just a bit more than that?

I do feel a bit like a fish out of water in most meetings, what with all the "God Talk." Still, I try to approach it from the perspective of "That's what this person does to not be a drunk. If it works for them and they aren't trying to convert me, what do I care?"

Anyway, I'm interested to see if there are any others here with similar addiction issues and what you might be doing to stay clean today.

There is no "I" in "team" but there is a broken and mixed up "me."
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17-08-2015, 03:49 PM
RE: No "Higher Power" Required
(17-08-2015 03:34 PM)TheMrBillShow Wrote:  This shift has made all the difference.

I haven't consumed alcohol in 3 years. I still attend AA meetings but it's mostly for the social support and friendships I've developed.

And right there is your higher power. Thumbsup

Quote:I haven't "come out" as a nonbeliever to anybody, mostly because I'm not really interested in a debate or any potential animosity.

I did not hide my atheism in AA, nor did I criticize others' religious beliefs.

Quote:I don't drink today and as a result, my life is better, my health is better, and my relationships are better. I've enlisted the help of many people- both personally and professionally- but by and large, it came down to an honest, sincere decision for me to stop being a drunk.

Funny how things improve. Consider

Quote:I do hear a lot of people in AA say how "God keeps me sober" or some such. I can't help but think "If God wanted you sober, why not just do it without putting you and your family through such torment in the first place?" I mean, good for you that you're not a drunk asshole anymore and if that's what it takes for you to stay clean, good for you. Still, do you ever think about things just a bit more than that?

I do feel a bit like a fish out of water in most meetings, what with all the "God Talk." Still, I try to approach it from the perspective of "That's what this person does to not be a drunk. If it works for them and they aren't trying to convert me, what do I care?"

Yeah, that. I just quit attending meetings that had a high Jesus level and found ones that had more humanists.

Quote:Anyway, I'm interested to see if there are any others here with similar addiction issues and what you might be doing to stay clean today.

My experience was similar and I haven't had a drink in nearly 24 years. Drinking Beverage

Except I'm seriously addicted to caffeine. Weeping

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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17-08-2015, 03:56 PM
RE: No "Higher Power" Required
Worship SlavesWorship SlavesWorship SlavesWorship SlavesWorship Slaves

WELL DONE MATE!

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17-08-2015, 04:22 PM
RE: No "Higher Power" Required
(17-08-2015 03:34 PM)TheMrBillShow Wrote:  I have battled a drinking problem for many years.

A major resource has been Alcoholics Anonymous. I started attending meetings around 2005, when it became apparent that my drinking level was not only abnormal, but interfering with my life.

I would manage to stay clean for weeks, even months, but something would happen or I would give in to a moment of weakness and be back hitting the bottle with the same amount of gusto as I had previously.

During this time, I would try to practice the AA steps. I did this with as much sincerity and commitment as I could muster. But when it came to finding a "God" or "Higher Power," my studies would fall apart on me. I just couldn't wrap my head around it. I would pray, I would meditate, I would read all kinds of spiritual and religious literature, I would listen to the testimony of others. I really tried. No lasting comfort ever came of it.

Worst of all, I sincerely bought the AA line that this was my fault. If I couldn't come to an understanding of a "Higher Power" when so many people I was interacting with had done so and were living fulfilled, sober lives, then I must be doing something wrong. It was all my fault. I love my sin. I'm ego run rampant. I'm broken.

This guilt, I know now, was a big contributor to me not being able to stay clean for an appreciable amount of time.

As it happened, my exposure to atheistic thought (The Four Horseman, mostly) changed my perspective. Maybe I wasn't "getting" the whole "Higher Power" thing because there just isn't any "there" there? Maybe I'm not constitutionally capable of forcing myself to believe things without evidence? Maybe I'm not broken, after all? Maybe my only fault was trying to believe in something that wasn't there? So much of my heavy drinking stemmed from me avoiding reality and fooling myself. What if I'm now attempting to do those same things only this time, it's not with booze, but with God? I let all of that go.

This shift has made all the difference.

I haven't consumed alcohol in 3 years. I still attend AA meetings but it's mostly for the social support and friendships I've developed. I haven't "come out" as a nonbeliever to anybody, mostly because I'm not really interested in a debate or any potential animosity. That day may or may not come but for now, I'm happy.

I don't drink today and as a result, my life is better, my health is better, and my relationships are better. I've enlisted the help of many people- both personally and professionally- but by and large, it came down to an honest, sincere decision for me to stop being a drunk. It involved me finding my own way to remain clean and sober, and not by following a pre-packaged, one-size-fits-all "program."

I do hear a lot of people in AA say how "God keeps me sober" or some such. I can't help but think "If God wanted you sober, why not just do it without putting you and your family through such torment in the first place?" I mean, congratulations on not being a drunk asshole anymore and if that's what it takes for you to stay clean, good for you. Still, do you ever think about things just a bit more than that?

I do feel a bit like a fish out of water in most meetings, what with all the "God Talk." Still, I try to approach it from the perspective of "That's what this person does to not be a drunk. If it works for them and they aren't trying to convert me, what do I care?"

Anyway, I'm interested to see if there are any others here with similar addiction issues and what you might be doing to stay clean today.
You are your own higher power, & congratulations.Clap
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17-08-2015, 05:15 PM
RE: No "Higher Power" Required
Several people, especially Nurse, have written about the psychological effects of a rational person being indoctrinated into the idea that the fault is their own, that they have failed to meet an imaginary standard, and how freeing it is to let that go.

Congratulations on your sobriety-- chemically AND intellectually!

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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17-08-2015, 05:49 PM
RE: No "Higher Power" Required
Congrats on your sobriety!

I stopped drinking over 25 years ago. Not so much because I had a problem but my family tree is filled with people who do. I didn't want to go down that path. I guess my higher power was not wanting to be like certain members of my family. Unfortunately, none of them ever got sober...instead they ruined family relationships and in a couple cases drank themselves to death.

I remember one year at Christmas my mother asking if I was going to have a drink that year or did I still think I was better than everyone else. Blink I suppose when it comes down to it she has always realized, but couldn't admit, that she has no control over her drinking so she turned it on me. I was the one who was in the wrong.

Certainly I am not anti-alcohol....the best jobs I ever had were tending bar. Some of us choose not to drink and some of us know we shouldn't.

That higher power is within. But, the support of a group can't be discounted.

Congrats again! Thumbsup

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF

We're all mad here. The Cheshire Cat
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17-08-2015, 06:03 PM
RE: No "Higher Power" Required
I just wanted to express my happiness for you, & all your success.
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17-08-2015, 08:06 PM
RE: No "Higher Power" Required
Congratulations on your sobriety and for taking what you need out of AA meetings. I hope you continue to do well!

The higher power and god talk would bother me, as well. I do think for people struggling with addiction, the idea of where control over the habit comes from (without: god, within: oneself) is less important than coming to the belief that control is possible.
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17-08-2015, 08:12 PM
RE: No "Higher Power" Required
well done!

if you like TED talks there is one about addiction, IIRC, the opposite of addiction isnt sobriety, its connectedness.

I am happy to hear you are doing well.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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18-08-2015, 07:31 AM
RE: No "Higher Power" Required
Color me impressed with your fortitude, your honesty, your stick-to-it-ness. Well done!

We have enough youth. How about looking for the Fountain of Smart?
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