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Question: is there need for prayer in sobriety?

Old 05-10-2013, 11:57 PM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Hi Legend,

For me prayer has been central in my recovery, but I understand others find other paths. I would say that prayer can be very varied. It can be talking to God throughout the day or it can be a more formal prayer. I find silent prayer often the most healing - simply sitting without deliberate thought or words (though initially there may be things I wish to hand over to God).

But I do think we need to remember that sobriety, and methods helping us achieve sobriety, is not competitive. People find different paths to sobriety, and different people may struggle differently, even on the same path. It's all, as we have all found out, very personal.
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Old 05-11-2013, 10:42 AM
  # 22 (permalink)  
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A good thing for all of us to keep in mind is to not confuse a program with the things people in the program say or react to. Very hard to do, I know but even if people say or react as if there is NO way to get or stay sober if you don't follow their program. I've never actually come face to face with a program that claims that.

If the program suggests or requires a particular activity as part of IT'S program that's one thing. It is not a judgement that everyone in the world is doomed to failure if they don't do it. But it might be a valid part of their program, so yes, they will promote it for participants in their program.

Some people may be shocked that someone who doesn't pray is able to get and stay sober, because THEY were not able to get and stay sober without prayer. Their surprise does not translate into judgment on you.

We can be very sensitive during early recovery and take things very personally when often they are not.
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Old 05-11-2013, 10:49 AM
  # 23 (permalink)  
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Some thoughts on "prayer".

Prayer has many different meanings, and it might be useful, for the sake of understanding where others are coming from and what they might be suggesting as useful, to become familiar with what prayer means to them.

If just the word "prayer" makes us cringe, for our own sake we might want to figure out why. I'm not saying everyone should pray, must pray etc, but if the word is that loaded we might be able to untie a personal knot by taking a look at that.

For many people across the world "pray" does not mean invoking a supernatural being to step in and alter reality for us.

There may be forms or concepts of prayer that might be useful to you, meaning someone might be suggesting something that would not be offensive, but connotations of words might be getting in the way of true understanding.

It might be interesting to ask "what does "prayer" mean to you?"

Sometimes our own sort of PTSD over a word, place, activity can get in the way of our recovery. I am not implying we must suddenly embrace everything, but just figuring out WHY a thing is a hot button can bring us freedom to move forward, even if we choose to never engage with that thing again. The freedom to choose. To act instead of react, is what we seek in recovery.
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Old 05-11-2013, 12:36 PM
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I haven't found a need for it. I am something between agnostic and atheist. For many years the idea of using AA for recovery just about paralyzed me because the spiritual emphasis went against my grain. My attitude from the beginning has been opposite of AA: Yes I DO have power over alcohol; I can decide not to drink it.

My battle has been quite difficult. I tried to stop many times and could not. I finally have gotten 4+ months of sobiriety and it is WAY more than I have ever achieved before. What I find helps me is being aware of my feelings -- physical and emotional When I want to drink I identify why I am feeling that way and then do what is needed to relieve those feelings. I also talk myself out of drinking. Sometimes, what helps is anything that encourages deep relaxation. That could be focusing on breathing, taking a very hot bath (while drinking a lot of cold water), or doing some intent visual focus (like on the flickering flames in my fireplace or a relaxation video on Youtube).
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Old 05-11-2013, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by scintillady View Post
I don't pray. I am turned off by AA because of their insistence that there is only one way to stay sober. I know they say that the higher power you believe in is whatever you perceive it to be, but it's just not for me. I applaud AA and all they have done for so many people, and I applaud anybody's decision to go that way. However, since I resist organized religions and resent anyone trying to talk me into it, AA will not be for me.
Oh dear, in over 30 years sober in AA I've never been to a meeting, 18,000+ and in many countries that state a religion is a must. I never was and am not today a church going person at all. I however do feel there is a higher power than this self centered alcoholic and I choose, for me it to be the Creator or Mother Nature. Pick your own if you want or think of yourself as that power, what ever works for the LONG run. BE WELL
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Old 05-11-2013, 01:13 PM
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Yes and I think if you have a religious background in your past it can often be helpful to seek input on prayer from someone from a different religion or denomination. It helped me to see prayer in a very different way.
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Old 05-11-2013, 01:16 PM
  # 27 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Threshold View Post
Some people may be shocked that someone who doesn't pray is able to get and stay sober, because THEY were not able to get and stay sober without prayer. Their surprise does not translate into judgment on you.
Bingo.
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Old 05-11-2013, 01:20 PM
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As stated above, I'm not a religious person. After much difficulty putting the plug in the jug, one day I surrounded and got on my knees and said something like "God please help me stop drinking" which resulted in a load being lifted from my shoulders and turned out to be the last day I had a drink. Coincidence? Maybe. The main thing for this alcoholic is That I had to get honest with my self centered progress or the things I saw and heard at meetings. It's said and I believe that alcohol is the tip of the iceberg and the unseen is the part causing the problems that this alcoholic needs to center on even many years later. Life happens and at time I really need the power of asking for help. BE WELL
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Old 05-11-2013, 01:52 PM
  # 29 (permalink)  
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"Prayer" is very subjective. I had to re-learn about prayer because of bad experiences during my upbringing. I went to a strict Catholic school where all the kids were given a book of prayers to memorize and recite, by yourself, in front of the rest of the class. If you messed up and forgot the words, you got your hands smacked with a ruler. Mind you the majority of these prayers were long, like maybe one prayer would be five serenity prayers long. Needless to say, I came to see prayer as the opposite of what it's supposed to be. Rote memorization plus punishment upon punishment for not remembering the words to some long and intricate prayer, the meaning of which you never really learned anyway.

Point being, not everybody has the same idea of prayer. I don't think anybody would say that the "praying" I just described is "essential" to sobriety.
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Old 05-11-2013, 01:57 PM
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Try your best to stay clean and sober without prayer , if it doesn't work, have an open mind and give it a shot. Certainly can't hurt!
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Old 05-11-2013, 02:01 PM
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Prayer is like talking, but instead of talking to you I am talking to God.


Hello God Can ya help me?
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Old 05-11-2013, 06:29 PM
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Of course some sober people don't pray. I wouldn't know which god to pray to: Odin, Ra, Zeus, Allah, Jesus. . . The list is endless. How could I know that I had the right one? I got sober when I decided that I wanted to be sober more than I wanted to drink. Its been working for a few years now. I got myself into the drinking mess and I got myself out of it.
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:18 AM
  # 33 (permalink)  
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Ok, take #2

One thing I know I am clear about, Prayer and Spirituality does not have to be associated with organised religions.

I pray AND meditate purely as a mechanism to deal with the un-curable Alcoholism.
Anyone who is a real alcoholic will understand what I am saying because we have it, same as those who I don't identify with that are not alcoholics...
I don't know what it's like to have 1 drink, same as they don't know what it's like to take one drink and want more.
Reason is, either of us has not had each others inner experience when taking alcohol ( metabolism)...meaning the physical side of how the body reacts to alcohol is not the same as for each and every one.
Not everyone can ID with the Jekyl and Hyde attributes either after that 2nd drink. Reason cos ya don't have that attribute, yet!

Same as prayer, I know atheist and agnostics who pray AND meditate because they have many similarities when it comes to advanced alcoholism, that is the "noise" in the head.
How does one know what is real and what is not when alcoholism's "noise" can get overwhelming and a important decision has to be made?
Pray is like a petition and meditate is the reply to that petition.
But what about the many "answers", or "junk mail" that try to deceive ?
My sponsor showed me to ask, that is pray and write stuff down as the thoughts are, withholding nothing. The filter it using the 4 Absolutes, is it Honest, Pure, Love and Unselfish?
This filters the "junk mail"..
Do I practice this 24/7 day in day out ?
No, I hate doing it, but I do cos I will get myself in the shites if i don't, even when sober.

So it does not matter if one is atheists, agnostic, organised religious or plain sober neutral....? If a real alcoholic has "noise", what is he or she gonna turn to?
The bottle, again??

We Turn Our Will, that is our THINKING to a HP that is not of us or human to a power greater than the bottle, at least, because Alcohol got me to the point where it no longer served as "the answer", it became the problem.
So do I pray to the problem, or seek out a solution??

If no human power can offer a solution and I am atheist or agnostic, I will have a problem when alcohol IS the problem!!

That's the dilema many faced in early AA.
It did not matter in the end, as long as one understood it personally, it does not have to make sense to the other, cos your HP will not make sense to me either.

You can borrow my HP, if that will help, there is plenty there...I never been charged, it's free.....I paid with my drinking.
If you can't afford free, then keep drinking, eventually the money will run out and King Alcohol will still be standing with all ya gold, silver and interests.
It's easier to declare bankrupt and surrender, it's only alcohol, plenty there to.

Choice-----> !
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