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Old 04-26-2008, 06:08 PM   #1 (permalink)

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An Atheist Sponsor

I need one. I can do the 12 steps and willing to do the 12 steps but I need an atheist that is in AA to sponsor me. It would make my recovery so much easier without having to deal with "God" issue.

Deal with the "God" issue force me to convert back to Christianity and right now, I am not ready such a dramatic change in my life. I am almost an atheist.

Chapter Six of the Big Book put a real stumbling block in my recovery. For the atheists and agnostics, this one chapter that Bill W throw a roadblock in our recoveries. Bill W did not provide alternative commentary to Chapter 6 so now we are stuck and my local GSO will not help me find a big book study that skews towards atheists and agnostics. I know they exist because I Googled them

If they do not exist, than I will be forced to make a very difficult decision and that is move from Orange County to San Diego County for the sole purpose of getting the right recovery group. I have to request a transfer from work from Orange County to San Diego and this transfer is very hard for the Feds to argue with because I am being proactive about my recovery and telling them I do have support groups but the support group does not exist in my own county and in the early stages of my recovery, I cannot start my own group.

SMART Recovery is the correct group for me and SD has plenty of meetings and enough meetings online and face-to-face to supplant AA. I already have built-in social network in SD that will support my recovery efforts and while it is crowd that abuses alcohol, it will be very supportive in my efforts and will encourage me in my struggles.

My parents and my shrink do not like this. They want an OC recovery method but sorry, it doesn't exist. It is San Diego County and I have to move out and request a transfer. If I was to follow the government's own rules to get a security clearance, than I making the correct decision. I am willing to be part of support group, be active, promote it, and feel pride in doing it.

Nobody want this but this is the real solution to get me sober.
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Old 04-26-2008, 06:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have to say I can't help you with an aethist sponsor, but do know that's one of the reasons that keeps me from actively seeking AA at this time. I've got to get over that hump, too. I'm somewhat of a Buddhist and don't necessarily believe in a diety, even though I still participate in wiccan and pagan rituals/events as well. It differs from the standard Judeo-Christian concept of God. There is no one who'll let you think of the higher power as yourself, your will, etc.?

If not, I think you'll have to move. Better to get yourself right, I think. Fight the good fight.
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Old 04-26-2008, 06:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
is ☞ optimistic.
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"I must quickly assure you that A.A.'s tread innumerable paths in their quest for faith. ... You can, if you wish, make A.A. itself your 'higher power.' Here's a very large group who have solved their alcohol problem. In this respect they are certainly a power greater than you, who have not even come close to a solution. Surely you can have faith in them. Even this minimum of faith will be enough." Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, William G. Wilson, page 27.
As a Buddhist in AA I too struggled with the God thingy. What I come up with is my own understanding of what a higher power is for me: I believe the totality of AA is God in a non-deist way. This way I can respect my cherish beliefs and work a personal program that borrows from the AA program. It works exceedingly well for me.

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Old 04-26-2008, 06:30 PM   #4 (permalink)

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Remember that whether you're talking about Christian sponsor or Atheist sponsor the most important word is the "sponsor" part. I'm not religious as well but there are sponsors that will greatly bring religion into it and many that would respect your beliefs and not do so. If someone is pushing it and making you uncomfortable you can get a different sponsor.

Personally I wouldn't worry about the religion as it doesn't necessarily define the person and how you would interact with them.
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Old 04-26-2008, 06:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Your post kind of feels like you are talking when you should be listening. Like you want to find a reason that things won't work - that you are FORCED to move, rather than work the program. Moving looks like a big huge distraction.

AA doesn't demand that you believe in a diety in the Christian sense. The belief that it does is one of those "too much talking, not enough listening" things.

I don't believe in that kind of diety. What I cannot deny is that there is a lifeforce in nature and in human beings that is mysterious and powerful. We do not understand it, it is a mystery above all else. I would never pretend to understand how or why it exists. Or how or why it manifests in us. It's just a fact. Seeds bloom. Hearts beat.

There is talk about God in AA but all I do is take that word God and think about it as that mysterious and absolutely undeniable life-force that surrounds us every day. And although my sponsor is a Christian, we can agree that we talk essentially about the same thing. Her God just has features that help her relate to Him, whereas my God is primarily a mystery.

Good luck to you. I'm glad you're still posting here. I know you've been struggling and I've been wondering about you. Hang in there.
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Old 04-26-2008, 06:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
Im not crazy and neither am I

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uhmmmm.....Im not big on the god thing either
Im more with Native beliefs and or a Naturalist....Buddist too possibly ??

I am trying to clarify what my higher power means to me
We actually had a sober bonfire the other night and a meeting on this subject in particular

I am definetly finding that I DO need some sort of Higher power or whatever to keep me sober and sane.
I never really thought that I was my higher power but Im Sure of it now....
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Old 04-26-2008, 07:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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What does Christianity or Organized Religion have to do with God?
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Old 04-26-2008, 09:18 PM   #8 (permalink)

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I am a not so good buddhist. I believe that if there is a god, it is inconsequential. Or if god is defined as others seem to describe, I don't believe at all.

But those are JUST my opinions. I have been accepted by my local AA groups for the most part. My sponsor is of a completly different spiritual path than hasn't mattered that much. She just trys to understand how I translate things to fit my spiritual path and encourages me to follow it. Likewise, I don't try to convert people to my beliefs...but try to encourage people in the direction that they choose. Of course at times things can be bumpy...that is the nature of life.

I tend to get pretty irratable on the chapter to the agnostic. It does seem to me that bill was saying that we were going to be tricked into believing as "they" did. But bill was only human as well.

Whatever recovery method I choose is great. I just make a choice and dedicate myself to it. I also try to be open minded to changing directions when indicated.

Today I would move to another town if necessary to get support that I could accept in my journey of sobriety. This journey is that important...I just have to remmember where ever I go there will always be others with other opinions than mine....acceptance.
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Old 04-26-2008, 09:26 PM   #9 (permalink)
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For me, coming into AA as a firmly grounded agnostic, I didn't worry too much about the God thing. Honestly, that was the least of my worries. I just needed some help to stay sober. When I got to Step 3, I agreed that I was willing to believe in a power greater than myself. Oh yes I was. Where had not believing in that got me? So I was willing to admit that I wasn't the end all and be all.

So without worrying about who/what/whatever this higher power is, I've allowed , by being willing and opening myself up to the opportunity, a very blurry concept of a higher power to find me. I couldn't explain just what it is to you if I tried. But, it's something and it's personal.

Could you try to find a sponsor and keep an open mind and see where that leads you?
But I always think that the best way to know God is to love many things. ~Vincent van Gogh
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Old 04-26-2008, 09:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
same planet...different world
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I have to admit I found this thread interesting - but also humorous.

I mean, here I am in 'nowhere' Butte, MT -
and there's all three - just in this little local Fellowship.
Atheist, Agnostic ... and Buddhist.

And we all meet together.
They're sponsors ... it's no thing, I don't think.

You'd think that bigger, more 'cosmopolitan' cities ...
would have a larger assortment as well.

Thanks for making me appreciate where I am!

I wish you all the best in finding what you're looking for, crisco.
Knowledge is knowing that tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in fruit salad.
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Old 04-26-2008, 09:59 PM   #11 (permalink)

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I have a diesel car. Can someone fill up my car with unleaded regular gas? Why did the manufacturer of my car not allow me to put any kind of fuel in the car I purchased?

I like the taste of Coca Cola much better than Pepsi Cola. I like the look of the can Pepsi comes in. Why can't Pepsi put Coca Cola in their cans?

I live in an urban city. I love lakes. Why can't the city flood the streets in my neighborhood so I can have a lake?

Burger King offers a Whopper Bacon Cheeseburger. However, I prefer chicken over beef. I prefer spinach to lettuce. I prefer chopped liver instead of cheese. I prefer Liverwurst over bacon. I prefer matzoh over buns. If I ordered what I prefer would it still be a Whopper Bacon Cheeseburger?

There are quite a few secular programs out there addressing alcoholism and addiction to other substances. Rather than demanding that AA become something that it isn't or wasn't designed to be, why not go to those other organizations that more suit your needs?

Next time you go to Burger King order the Whopper Double Bacon Cheeseburger with chicken instead of beef, spinach instead of lettuce, chopped liver instead of cheese, liverwurst instead of bacon and matzoh instead of a bun. While you are at it, order celery french fries and a can of Pepsi filled with coke. Have It Your Way at Burger King goes only just so far before they tell you where you can put your order.

Why does the minority always demand that the majority give up what they want in favor of what the minority wants and the minority always claims they are being discriminated against because the majority doesn't want to become just like the minority?

Go to Secular Sobriety, SOS, Life Ring, Women For Sobriety, Rational Recovery, SMART Recovery or a bunch of other secular programs and get your non-believing "sponsor." Why demand that AA become just like them because there already is a them? The secular programs are waiting for you with open arms - go to them!
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Old 04-26-2008, 10:12 PM   #12 (permalink)
same planet...different world
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*we* even have a LAWYER.

so there.
Knowledge is knowing that tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in fruit salad.
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Old 04-26-2008, 11:07 PM   #13 (permalink)

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I'm speachless!

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Old 04-26-2008, 11:08 PM   #14 (permalink)

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I think I'll move to Butte:ghug2
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Old 04-26-2008, 11:19 PM   #15 (permalink)

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Hey crisco ---

You've gotten some good suggestions here that really caught my eye was.......:

crutch0108 said, "...Remember that whether you're talking about Christian sponsor or Atheist sponsor the most important word is the "sponsor" part..." AMEN ta dat, bubba!!!

I'm kinda where mle-sober is too.....I just reread your original post and it seems that you have something in mind for a recovery program for you, and folks just don't have it to offer to you....and what they do offer, you find all the excuses as to why they won't work.....hmmmmm

I find it hard to believe that there are no atheists in recovery there in OC. I realize that OC is pretty well full-up with born-again, fundamentalist Christians, but someone's religious beliefs have nothing to do with how they will sponsor you. A sponsor doesn't tell a sponsee how to work the steps; a sponsor just uses their experience as to how they worked the steps, and helps the sponsee find a way to work them for himself/herself..... (o:

I live in Houston (what I like to call my little corner of the bible-belt), and after just a few meetings, I found myself a sponsor, and what do you know....she was (and still is) an atheist (her sponsor was a born-again believer).....woooooweeeee But I have used another person as a sponsor for a brief period of time, and this person was a born-again Christian.....didn't bother our relationship atall..... (o:

I'm putting in a link here (I hope it works) to a previous post of mine. How I worked the 12-Steps of an atheist...Plz note that I am not telling you, or anyone, that this is what/how they should work the steps (as an atheist), but it is my ES&H with the steps..............: (titled: an Atheist's AA Program & Step Work)
It's post #19 of the thread titled: Sometimes I wonder, under the Alcoholism forum, dated 02/04/08


I hope this has helped, or at least not hindered you, or anyone.....if you want to PM or e-mail me, just check out my profile; all the info is there. I'd be more than willing to help you trudge the road of happy the right directio..... (o:

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Old 04-27-2008, 12:39 AM   #16 (permalink)

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Hi Crisco,

The `Higher Power' issue in recovery groups and the 12 steps is a big obstacle for me too, and one not to be underestimated by God-believers.

From an agnostic POV,a conviction that a benevolent higher power exists, based on `belief' rather than actual evidence, is like substituting substance addiction for another type of addiction : ie an addiction to `magical thinking'.

From an agnostic POV, it is just another way to feel better ie. Some benevolvent `other' will take care of things for you , and you won't die, you'll go to heaven. Pretty euphoric stuff, i must say, but wheres the evidence?

It is NOT the type of recovery I am interested in at all. As an agnostic, I know that i die and I have no idea what that means. It probably means I'll be dead, I will not exist, my body will decay, just like every other living creature.

And I don't think theres a benevolent force looking out for me. Only a human could come up with an idea so narcissistic. I think if I want something, i have to make it happen myself, keeping in mind that more powerful wills, and forces, will compete with my wishes. And I may not always have the capacity to see through my goals.

So comparing God-belief with non-belief, these are chalk and cheese, and no way is there a middle ground in recovery. The only thing we agree on is that recovery is something we want to do. But our motivations and pay-offs are very different. Even our strategies must be different insomuch as non-believers tend to to take MORE responsibility for their lives, whereas the traditional `12 step ' idea is to take much less, and let God do all the hard stuff.

I have tried mingling on religious orientated recovery groups for many many years, and I was liked, so long as tolerated the constant expression of beliefs opposite of my own. If I offered challenge to such nonsense, i was alienated and these people really can hold a grudge! Don't let anyone fool you- being a non-believer in such company does make a huge difference and it will stunt your recovery like it did mine. You will be fundermentally rejected by such people, because you represent the devil or at the very least a challenge their beliefs. Or you will hide yourself away, failing to disclose your true self for the sake of fending off rejection. In either case, your recovery will be minimal.

I want to offer you some encouragement in pursuing your goal to find the right recovery group. The right friends can help you to turn your life around; you don't have to be alone and voiceless. I only wish I had your options, and that there were non-religious recovery groups in my area. I can understand your decision, and it seems like the right one. I hope you can find the right sponsor too!
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Old 04-27-2008, 11:03 AM   #17 (permalink)

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Originally Posted by Mick HK View Post
I'm an atheist. AA helped me. I was not 'fundamentally rejected', nor did I find it difficult to simply stay quiet when other people talked about their faith (which didn't actually happen very often.) If your sponsor holds you down and tries to baptise you, try another sponsor. If the meetings you go to don't suit you, try other meetings or try another organisation. But please be aware that there are lots and lots of atheists in the rooms of AA.
I just had to quote and say again I worked the AA 12-Steps as an atheist, and I had no problems with the born-again believers in the meetings. There definitely are atheists in AA. My recovery was not stunted....I guess it could have been if I had let what others think/believe bother me, but I never have. I walked through the doors of AA, worked the AA Program, and am still sober to this day (no slips/relapses), with a 22 year anniversry coming up; I don't see any stunting there.....and ps, most of my friends in recovery are atheists, and all with at least 20 years each..... (o:

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Old 04-27-2008, 11:26 AM   #18 (permalink)

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Crisco, just my 2 cents here...I would pursue another program other than aa given your issues with the program.(I have them too) There are many ways to recovery aa is just one avenue. I got my start in aa, so I won't tell someone not to go, but if the program compromises you it won't provide the help you need. I wish you luck and hope you find your path. Stay strong you can do this!
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Old 04-27-2008, 11:35 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I have to respond to Bel303 -

First, welcome. I think you're new here? Glad you're here and posting. It's a great place.

Second, in my experience, there is a very wide expanse between being an athiest and being a "God-believer" as you put it. Spirituality is not a black and white thing. It's not like you believe or you don't. I'm personally always surprised by atheists who assert they know that there's not a God. To me, it's the same kind of thing as people to belong to a religious organization that can describe God's features and thoughts in detail. Both types of people are saying they know something that there is really no way to know. That doesn't mean I don't respect their right to believe that. Truth is, I don't know what their experiences are and they very well might know! All I know is my own truths. And I don't have to be offended by anyone else's truths.

Third, asserting that you do not believe in God and that those who do are narcissistic believers in a benevolent and imaginnary force who do not take as much responsiblity for their sobriety as non-believers is rather extreme. And it is alienating. You come out of the box with such force, it's a little hard to be sympathetic. You insinuate you were given the cold shoulder by those "God-Believers" and that stunted your recovery. This is a little delicate but to just be truthful, when you call someone narcissistic and lazy in their recovery, you might get the cold shoulder. Calling others beliefs nonsense is not tolerating. It goes both ways.

That said, I don't really care how or what you believe and I'm glad you're sober. That's what's important.
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Old 04-27-2008, 12:45 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Must our program be molded to meet our individual needs or should the individual adapt to meet the program? We are responsible for our recovery, but don't forget that the programs are intended to be worked a particular way. When you start making changes, you change the program, changing its effectiveness. Having the willingness to go to any length and keeping an open mind may require stepping out of our comfort zone. When trying to achieve sobriety, we may have to experience discomfort in order to achieve results. I know that was true for me. There were many aspects of the program I did not like, but I did not like being a drunk either. I dealt with issues and got through it. I think many of us forget that our options may be limited and we have to make "it" work for us. Sobriety is worth making certain sacrifices. Sometimes I wonder if certain expectations are realistic?
"Better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness."
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