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Old 07-13-2013, 11:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I had been one year in recovery and had a relapse a short while back. After some huge problems that it caused in my personal life and in my everyday life at first, i seem to be back on the right track. I have been attending AA meetings and going to see my counselor

However I am an atheist, and after going to my AA meetings i realized why I hated them so much, absolutely everything is centered around God, or a higher power. I hate it so much, i simply don't believe that there is a God or any sort of higher power out there that governs my life, it is why i stopped going to AA meeting in the first place and why I hate being at them again. Even my personal counselor does not seem to understand this, because in every session he badgers me about finding a higher power

is there anyone out there that can give me advice, or tell me of a program, or somewhere that does not make accepting God or a higher power a number one priority of sobriety?

i went a year without believing in God and staying sober so I know it can be done, but i need help

thanks for taking the time to read my rant
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Old 07-13-2013, 11:36 AM   #2 (permalink)
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AA Atheists | Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics & Freethinkers in Alcoholics Anonymous

You don't have to believe in God to work the AA program, all you have to believe is that there is some power greater than yourself. It doesn't say what that has to be. Some people can't get past that. If you can't then I would agree that AA will not work for you. There are several other types of recovery programs that are secular in this forum:

Secular Connections - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information
Secular 12 Step Recovery - SoberRecovery : Alcoholism Drug Addiction Help and Information

I know there are several atheists that are members here that are in AA. Hopefully they will see your thread and respond. I would suggest looking around the site as you might find an alternative to AA that works for you. I just wanted to let you know that AA works for some atheists.
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Old 07-13-2013, 11:46 AM   #3 (permalink)
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AA is bit one of many recovery programs Wilber. As pointed out in the previous response, there are many secular methods as well, many of them have subforums here too. You just need to find one that works for you. The SR forum is my main support method.

Instead if worrying about what doesn't work, or disparaging recovery methods because of philosophical differnces, focus on finding something that does.
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Old 07-13-2013, 11:49 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Have you looked into AVRT/Rational Recovery?
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Old 07-13-2013, 11:52 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I have not, could you tell me more about it? i don't believe i have heard of it
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Old 07-13-2013, 12:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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AVRT pretty much teaches you to recognize your "addict voice" in your head and to basically render it powerless. I actually just found the site Rational Recovery | Welcome to Rational Recovery this morning and have been reading through the "flash cards". It does not subscribe to any of AA's steps.
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Old 07-13-2013, 12:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Please visit The LifeRing Home Page | Sobriety, Secularity, Self-Help

If I hadn't found these people I have trouble believing I would be 42 days sober and counting. I identify completely with how you feel in AA meetings. They make my skin crawl, and that can't be good for my long-term sobriety.

I go to Lifering meetings and I feel - calm. Like AVRT, RR, SOS, and some of the other secular alternatives, it has no steps, no sponsors, you don't need to introduce yourself as "I'm so-and-so, and I'm an addict," and you don't even need to subscribe to the "disease model" to do Lifering, just to be committed to sobriety and to make it a priority in your life.

Also note they have chat meetings throughout the week on the LR page, I enjoy those a lot.
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Old 07-13-2013, 01:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Welcome to SR Wilber,
I know exactly how you felt. I don't do religion and dislike it and the Lord's prayer being forced on me at the end. While not an atheist, and feeling access to a higher power, I still don't do or deny the beliefs of others. Too bad so many don't reciprocate that tolerance. I did AA and here because I needed face to face with folks that didn't judge, and had been where I had been. In addition to my counseling, doc, and supportive friends and family. I took what I could use from AA and left the rest. AVRT was not on my radar because I wanted camaraderie, and people around me. AVRT seems to appeal to folks wanting to keep it secret locally. Another secular alternative is SMART, and there are still a few chapters meeting in some places. I was a well health counselor at one point in my life and was an adherent and was trained in reality therapy and RET, which both SMART draw most of their rational irrational concepts from. I needed more and for three months here and AA. Then after three months I used just Sober Recovery and realized my friends here helped a lot. I am coming up on three years sober. I am recovered which does not mean I can drink moderately. Just that I have moved beyond self medicated self-indulgence.

I am not deprived, Just had my fill.

Many use here alone. If you need other structures that include face to face and free then AA, and SMART if you are lucky enough to have one near are your best bets. AVRT may suit you too. Check out the secular sections here as well.

If you read here enough you realize that recovery methods and methodologies can be as intolerant of each other as religions can be. Whatever works for another is fine by me. When people start book thumping to frighten or demean my or another's choices, I have to walk away.

Having said all that, when you are up to your axe in alligators, it is hard to remember your original objective was to drain the swamp.

Stay sober, and fight that fight with us here together.

It does not matter if you are religious or atheist, AVRT or AA. What matters is you, and your commitment to yourself, family, and friends, to stay sober and in their lives by staying in life. Drinking can take us away that way too.

So git r dun, however, and whatever way you can.
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Old 07-13-2013, 01:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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It genuinely baffles me why people tie themselves in knots about this. Surely staying clean is about what works for you? Nobody is forcing a particular program down your throat. You might be an addict but you still have choice how to decide to change that. If you don't like a direction, do something else.

I can understand it when information was less readily available and the prevailing currency was "AA-get with it or die." But that's simply not the case now. "Alternatives to AA"? A random Google search should do the trick or there's a ton of info on here.
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Old 07-13-2013, 02:18 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I found reading the work/thesis or anti-thesis of U G Krishnamurti , nietzche and buddha useful in working out what i was in relation to everything else .

I'd rather be sober and go to AA meetings that wind me up than be on the drunken spiral . luckily i haven't needed them yet .

Bestwishes, m
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Old 07-13-2013, 02:22 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Itchy View Post
I am not deprived, Just had my fill.
What a great, positive and succinct way to say this. Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Itchy View Post
Having said all that, when you are up to your axe in alligators, it is hard to remember your original objective was to drain the swamp.
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Old 07-13-2013, 02:47 PM   #12 (permalink)
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For me the solution seemed to be joining an Agnostics and Atheists group within AA (there are such, primarily in major cities), trying to benefit from the better aspects of AA while seeking the companionship and advice of others in recovery. There are such folks in AA. Try to seek them out. Try to avoid folks who tend to be dogmatic or overly aggressive in their approach. Sometimes this is not easy, particularly in smaller, primarily rural communities. In such situations websites like SR can be helpful. Perhaps it may be possible to seek out a friend on SR, someone with some success in recovery who is not self righteous or a know it all. The word "sponsor" can seem intimidating, controlling, invasive. Maybe all that is needed is somebody with whom one can walk down the path, who has been through the forest before, who knows some of the safer ways, and where the nettles and thistles lie. When I started into recovery there was no real internet. These days it can be a big asset. SR can put you in touch with people all over the world. Maybe that's the solution to world peace. Alcoholics, who have a common bond, who are not primarily concerned with power, money, career, prestige, who only want to get and remain sober, free of the mess and misery of addiction.

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Old 07-13-2013, 03:04 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I'm an atheist as well. AA will not work for me. AVRT is perfect for me and so easy to learn.
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Old 07-13-2013, 03:10 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I tried AA, but I always left at the end before everyone held hands and recited the serenity prayer. People noticed after a while and I think they may have been offended. Otherwise, I found Speaker night to be much better and beneficial.
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Old 07-13-2013, 03:20 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Wilber.... I have found AVRT to be really helpful. I am not an atheist and do not attend AA. However, I think I get where you are coming from. IF, as a Christian, the most "respected" place to get help for my alcoholism had, as part of their program, statements which, if I said them, would imply that I DID'T believe in God, I don't think I could go. Most people never look at it from that stand point that that is what most atheist go through when they attend AA. Research the AVRT stuff when you get time. It has been a powerful tool for me to use! All the best to you!
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Old 07-13-2013, 03:58 PM   #16 (permalink)
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IHowever I am an atheist, and after going to my AA meetings i realized why I hated them so much, absolutely everything is centered around God, or a higher power. I hate it so much, i simply don't believe that there is a God or any sort of higher power out there that governs my life, it is why i stopped going to AA meeting in the first place and why I hate being at them again. Even my personal counselor does not seem to understand this, because in every session he badgers me about finding a higher power.
When I first started going to AA all I focused on was the god part and powerless part. I didn't "listen" to anything else. However I know I used this as an excuse not to do anything about my drinking. But I'm just talking about me here, not anyone else.

I go to several different programs and I find I get something out of all of them. I just take what I need and leave the rest. I am actually thinking of doing the AA steps as I think I am ready and can do them with an honest and open mind.

At the end everybody has to find something that works for them. Anything that keeps you sober is okay in my books. Everyones journey is personal and different from everyone elses.
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Old 07-13-2013, 04:28 PM   #17 (permalink)
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As a fellow atheist (or anti-theist) I say "right on" and keep fighting the good fight! There is no reason you can't continue to recover successfully without an invisible friend. I applaud you seeking the truth, and more importantly I congratulate you on your sobriety! Good luck and thanks for the thread!
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Old 07-13-2013, 04:35 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Hi Wilber,
Rant away. We all do about something at one time or another.

If you live in a small community, this may have more to do with that then the actual program. I'm not a member but I live in a large city and there is an AA meeting for every flavor known to man. You may very well have to look for an alternative or find a way for it to make sense if you don't have those options.

To me, and as I said, I'm not a member, I always looked at it as it was their party and just like I wouldn't go to my Jewish friend's house and expect her to cook me a ham, I wouldn't expect any club to alter their ways to me. If they are nice enough to let me join in, I would just keep my views to myself and take what I needed and let the rest go and like any club, if they tried to corner and convert me, I wouldn't go back but just find another way. I would apply this to any group and I'm certainly not singling out one specific one.

I kind of also believe I have a lot of control over myself, but I also don't have a problem believing I don't control much outside myself.

I have no idea how all this world we live in came about. I do know for a fact that it wasn't me that had anything to do with it though. That's enough for me for a higher power and I don't even feel the need for a higher power.

I'm sorry it is difficult for you, it sounds like you do like a lot of the program. Keep searching, there is a path for everyone. There are many ways to right.
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Old 07-13-2013, 05:14 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Meetings make me cringe too. But I go anyway, just to get around the people. I have a sponsor and he tells me just to keep going, even if I hate it. If it helps keep me from drinking, I'll go. I wish there were other recovery method meetings in my town, but there are not.

I've given up on God too. But I decided that even if I don't really believe in God, that doesn't mean he might not be there. And if that can help keep me from drinking, I'll stick to that for now.
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Old 07-13-2013, 06:19 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I find my support and fellowship here at SR...its open and accessible 24/7.
Keep on keepin on Wilber!
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