using a "Group Of Drunks" as a Higher Power [GOD] - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information
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Old 06-30-2017, 01:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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using a "Group Of Drunks" as a Higher Power [GOD]


In looking for readings for the Beginner's Meeting I'll be co-chairing, I ran into this in "As Bill Sees It." A few of us were discussing this in a different thread, but I think it's interesting enough to not get buried.


A Higher Power for Atheists, page 277

"I have had many experiences with atheists, mostly good. Everybody in A.A. has the right to his own opinion. It is much better to maintain an open and tolerant society than it is to suppress any small disturbances their opinions might occasion. Actually, I don't know anybody who went off and died of alcoholism because [of] some atheist's opinions on the cosmos.

"But I do always entreat these folks to look to a `Higher Power' -- namely, their own group. When they come in, most of their A.A. group is sober, and they are drunk. Therefore, the group is a Higher Power'. That's a good enough start, and most of them do progress from there. I know how they feel, because I was once that way myself."

LETTER, 1962



I don't care for the attitude towards atheists, but that's ok.
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Old 06-30-2017, 06:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I personally don't believe that a higher power or a group of drunks or otherwise can keep me sober. I don't understand the concept of anything or anybody but me controlling my limbs, my mouth, or my mind to prevent me from swallowing some more alcohol. I def believe that there are powers out there greater than myself, I just don't understand what they have to do with my drinking. Why would a group of people who admit that they cannot manage their own drinking or their own lives be able to manage mine?
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Old 06-30-2017, 01:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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My higher power when I worked the steps was the force that caused the Big Bang. That is a natural force. Drinking and my behavior while drinking went against where nature intends me to go. I was able to do the steps thoroughly and it left a good foundation even though I don't consider myself "doing AA" any longer.
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Old 07-04-2017, 03:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Why would a group of people who admit that they cannot manage their own drinking or their own lives be able to manage mine?
Very good point Zen. Obviously they could not. I cringe at the group of drunks concept when it is put forward as a long term higher power. People have feet of clay, they are fallible, and unreliable, even with the best intentions.

The idea of using the group as a Higher power in the early days of sobriety does make a certain amount of sense if no other power than your own is available. It worked ok for me. In matters concerning not drinking, they had something I did not. The ability to stay stopped. They obviously knew something I didn't, and if I accepted that and agreed to accept their guidance I might found out how that was accomplished.

I had no idea of any higher power other than the group, but after a time following their suggestions, I was able to develop a concept that worked for me. In this process the group never tried to impose its will on me, nor did they offer advice on anything other than how to recover from alcoholism.
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Old 07-04-2017, 03:56 AM   #5 (permalink)
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...On the other hand, I credit a community like SR with helping a hopeless drunk like me get sober

This particular 'Group of Drunks' must be doing something right....

maybe it's because we're not drunks anymore?



D
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Old 07-04-2017, 11:12 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
 
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Why would a group of people who admit that they cannot manage their own drinking or their own lives be able to manage mine?
I will say that I don't believe in the group of drunks concept, for the same reason you mention, but some refer to the 'spirit of the tables', which is essentially G-d as expressed through the group, or the group conscience. In my mind, this is still of little use to atheists, since they wouldn't believe in a G-d to express itself, but this is probably where the idea came from, along with AA's roots in the Oxford Group, and what was termed 'groupism' in its heyday.

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...On the other hand, I credit a community like SR with helping a hopeless drunk like me get sober

This particular 'Group of Drunks' must be doing something right....

maybe it's because we're not drunks anymore?
That's an important difference, Dee. Some say 'stick with the winners', and RR says stay away from a pool of non-swimmers if you want to learn how to swim. A group of ex-drunks, perhaps?
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Old 07-04-2017, 11:42 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Hi Algo!!!! It's good to see you back!


I would agree with a group of ex drunks being able to offer wisdom and advice, but being able to keep me or anyone else sober? No. Only I can keep me sober. I have to learn to stay quit despite my AV's desire to drink. Nobodies coming to save me, I have to save myself.
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Old 07-04-2017, 11:52 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
 
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Only I can keep me sober. I have to learn to stay quit despite my AV's desire to drink. Nobodies coming to save me, I have to save myself.
Good to see you too, zenchaser. I don't want to derail the OP's thread, but the above is your AV. Notice the verb tense that it used -- "have to" suggests that the drinking is not really over yet, and that more drinking might still be in the cards. Any thinking or feeling that supports, or even suggests, your possible future use of alcohol...
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Old 07-04-2017, 12:23 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Whoops! That doesn't surprise me actually. My AV has been very active this past weekend trying to seduce me back over to the dark side. It's all good though because it's not going to work. It's been awhile since I felt that craving, that attraction. My Beast is still quite alive even though IT had been hiding in the shadows for awhile.
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Old 07-04-2017, 12:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I think it is important to be clear about what guidance one accepts from a higher power---especially if it is people at a meeting.

Being sober in AA does not make one a good financial adviser, psychologist, matchmaker, or career counselor. Some guidance from the higher power should be rejected.

But for me, developing judgement is a big part of recovery.

I always worry about this idea of having a Group of Drunks as a higher power. It seems to me that a few caveats get left out.
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Old 07-04-2017, 03:43 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I think it is important to be clear about what guidance one accepts from a higher power---especially if it is people at a meeting.

Being sober in AA does not make one a good financial adviser, psychologist, matchmaker, or career counselor. Some guidance from the higher power should be rejected.

But for me, developing judgement is a big part of recovery.

I always worry about this idea of having a Group of Drunks as a higher power. It seems to me that a few caveats get left out.
That's where AA starts to seem a bit cultish to me...... when people start to be encouraged to stop thinking for themselves so others or God can do it for them. I'll admit though that I didn't spend very long in AA, I just never GOT it, I'm sure being an atheist didn't help. How can I turn my will and my life over to a HP that I don't believe in, let alone believe this force could cure me? I believe that the only cure is abstinence and that only I am capable of controlling my own mind and body. Plus that's a heavy burden to lay on a group of people who are infallible and no matter how well intentioned they are, basically incapable of keeping anyone but themselves sober.
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Old 07-05-2017, 02:21 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I will say that I don't believe in the group of drunks concept, for the same reason you mention, but some refer to the 'spirit of the tables', which is essentially G-d as expressed through the group, or the group conscience. In my mind, this is still of little use to atheists, since they wouldn't believe in a G-d to express itself, but this is probably where the idea came from, along with AA's roots in the Oxford Group, and what was termed 'groupism' in its heyday.



That's an important difference, Dee. Some say 'stick with the winners', and RR says stay away from a pool of non-swimmers if you want to learn how to swim. A group of ex-drunks, perhaps?
Well before AA came on the scene there was a group of ex drunks called the Washingtonians. No program, no religion, no higher power, just a great enthusiasm for sobriety and sobering up others. They grew like crazy. I understand one of their meetings had an incredible 35000 in attendance. Then after about five years, the leader picked up, then a few others did, then everyone did and, poof, they were gone. Even a huge group of drunks like that couldn't keep anyone sober.
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Old 07-05-2017, 06:15 AM   #13 (permalink)
 
 
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Well before AA came on the scene there was a group of ex drunks called the Washingtonians. No program, no religion, no higher power, just a great enthusiasm for sobriety and sobering up others. They grew like crazy. I understand one of their meetings had an incredible 35000 in attendance. Then after about five years, the leader picked up, then a few others did, then everyone did and, poof, they were gone. Even a huge group of drunks like that couldn't keep anyone sober.
Fellow SR member GerandTwine would probably know more about the Washingtonians than I do, since he has researched the history behind the recovery movement, but my understanding is that the Washingtonians were effectively swallowed up by the Temperance movement. The temperance movement reached its peak with prohibition, and then subsequently disappeared along with it, although much weaker variants still exist.

If I may use an AA phrase, the Washingtonians disappeared because they lost sight of their original primary purpose, and became involved with other, more powerful groups, who did not necessarily share in their original mission, or necessarily care about its survival. Indeed, this was AA's biggest takeaway from the history of the Washingtonians, and this influenced the Twelve Traditions accordingly.
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Old 07-05-2017, 05:24 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Thanks Algo. I think it goes to the point that a group of drunks on its own isn't enough. The didn't or couldn't stay on message, became distracted by one cause or another, and that was that.
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Old 08-11-2017, 07:28 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Group Of Drunks or God, HP all can be effective with a winning attitude. Drop all the inherent bewildering philosophy, sudo religion connotations that accompany fogging of the mind on this issue. Choose a personal secular spirituality that makes sense to you. It can be a soapdish, curtain rod, or a mattress spring, tho G.O.D. or Gods chosen people will work all the same

You have the power to accomplish what you will in the name of your choosing. You make it profound, the opinions of others can matter for not.
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