No "Higher Power" Required
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18-08-2015, 01:44 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.
I have quite a strong addiction. AA/ NA was useless for me. Sitting around talking about my addiction just made me want to get blasted when I left. Had to leave town/ association. Never would have beat it completely without the eventual acceptance of a higher power. I wish you the best of luck. Just know that we can deceive ourselves and falsely rationalize anything in order to get what we want.
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18-08-2015, 01:59 PM
RE: No "Higher Power" Required
(18-08-2015 01:44 PM)popsthebuilder Wrote:  Just know that we can deceive ourselves and falsely rationalize anything in order to get what we want.

Irony is so amusing.
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18-08-2015, 02:01 PM
RE: No "Higher Power" Required
Congratulations on your sobriety. I'm more or less of the same mind as you, if these people think there's a higher power helping them to stay sober, if that's what they need to stay sober, I'm generally not inclined to remove their delusions. But I also can't help but think what a pity it is that they'll never truly give THEMSELVES the full credit they deserve for the hard work they put into fighting their addiction. To me the achievement is all the more profound when viewed realistically and honestly as the good work of the addict and the community he builds up around himself. Divine intervention sort of cheapens it; at least it would for me.
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18-08-2015, 03:09 PM
RE: No "Higher Power" Required
I'm cutting back my drinking, though I haven't quit entirely. It's hard to think about wanting that. I know I can't do what I've done in years past, though, and I've looked into some secular programs. Hard finding one out here where I live, but with Austin an hour's drive away, I don't doubt I can find something.

Congrats on your sobriety.
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18-08-2015, 04:31 PM
RE: No "Higher Power" Required
(18-08-2015 01:59 PM)unfogged Wrote:  
(18-08-2015 01:44 PM)popsthebuilder Wrote:  Just know that we can deceive ourselves and falsely rationalize anything in order to get what we want.

Irony is so amusing.
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Unfogged,

Yeah, we'll see, won't we. You willfully ignorant bitch.
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18-08-2015, 04:40 PM
Re: No "Higher Power" Required
Congrats! That's great. I can say that the Anonymous meetings I attended slowly became horribly preachy. I didn't attend for long.

I drank heavily, on and off for about 15 years. I suppose it was substitution, since the "off" times were full of various drugs.

I kicked the drugs myself, one at a time, but I still drink. However, I no longer drink heavily. It's like a long, drawn-out lesson in self control.
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18-08-2015, 04:41 PM
RE: No "Higher Power" Required
(18-08-2015 04:31 PM)popsthebuilder Wrote:  
(18-08-2015 01:59 PM)unfogged Wrote:  Irony is so amusing.
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Unfogged,

Yeah, we'll see, won't we. You willfully ignorant bitch.

Perhaps you don't realize that this is a protected area of the forum. This kind of behavior is unwelcome here. Take it to the main board please.

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF
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18-08-2015, 04:48 PM
RE: No "Higher Power" Required
(18-08-2015 02:01 PM)Mr. Boston Wrote:  Congratulations on your sobriety. I'm more or less of the same mind as you, if these people think there's a higher power helping them to stay sober, if that's what they need to stay sober, I'm generally not inclined to remove their delusions. But I also can't help but think what a pity it is that they'll never truly give THEMSELVES the full credit they deserve for the hard work they put into fighting their addiction. To me the achievement is all the more profound when viewed realistically and honestly as the good work of the addict and the community he builds up around himself. Divine intervention sort of cheapens it; at least it would for me.
The thing is; based on the severity and duration of the addiction, possibly coupled with other negative happenings that may not even have anything to do with it; it could just be to much for some people. Even when one quits, or thinks they have quit an addiction, they most often switch it for another one, or eventually go back to it with devastating effects. Think about it. What are you addicted to? Not just prescription meds(drugs), or something easily perceived as negative, but what you do repeatedly without fail. What you rationalize to your self in order to do, even if it puts off easily more healthy, obviously, beneficial outcomes that help all involved. Yeah, I'm ranting a little. Maybe some sentence strings, or fragments.
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18-08-2015, 04:59 PM
RE: No "Higher Power" Required
(18-08-2015 04:41 PM)Anjele Wrote:  
(18-08-2015 04:31 PM)popsthebuilder Wrote:  Unfogged,

Yeah, we'll see, won't we. You willfully ignorant bitch.

Perhaps you don't realize that this is a protected area of the forum. This kind of behavior is unwelcome here. Take it to the main board please.
So I'm just supposed to take a blatant attack at my very way of being on the chin like a trooper, huh? You would think that the general consensus would be that of victory of some sort, seeing as how scripture tells us to do just that.

Anyway; duly noted.
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18-08-2015, 06:18 PM
RE: No "Higher Power" Required
(18-08-2015 04:41 PM)Anjele Wrote:  Perhaps you don't realize that this is a protected area of the forum. This kind of behavior is unwelcome here. Take it to the main board please.

You are right, I did not notice the different color background. It just doesn't stand out on my monitor. I apologize if I disrupted the thread.

Atheism: it's not just for communists any more!
America July 4 1776 - November 8 2016 RIP
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