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Old 05-23-2007, 12:02 PM
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May I ask you a question?

Hi. Okay, my name's Emily, I'm an alcoholic. (Hi Emily! )

I have a question. Wait, before I ask, let me say something. I have been reading posts on here for a while now... at least a few months, and one of the things I've noticed is how bright and funny a lot of the cats that hang out in the secular forums are. Not that other folsk on here aren't bright and funny, but that's irrelevant. I just wanted to make sure that you all noticed me noticing that. We're drunks, our egos are bananas.

So, the question I'd like to ask all the secular kids is this : how is it that you (operative) don't believe in any sort of higher power? I really am just curious... my sister was an atheist, then swapped to this sort of on-again, off-again kind of faith, and she was always too mad to explain her beliefs (or lack thereof) to me. That being said, if any of you would like to share with me, I would love it. I wanted to ask TenChips, but he bounced before I could pm him about it.

I don't want any bashing, or flaming, whatever. It really is just an honest, open-ended question. Think of it as a research project, I don't want to change anyone's opinions (nor could I, if I wanted to), I just am curious.

Thank you, hip kids.
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Old 05-23-2007, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Emimily View Post
how is it that you (operative) don't believe in any sort of higher power?
Hi Emily
I just simply have no reason to believe.

I'll touch more on this later, I have to go get a root canal, which I'm dreading
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Old 05-23-2007, 12:44 PM
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Thanks for the question Emily. Not sure what I think of you "stealing" my avitar!! :-)

I'm working right now, but will reply later tonite. Take care.
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Old 05-23-2007, 03:27 PM
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I'm too stupid to understand such things.

I can barely scratch my name in the dirt with a stick.
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Old 05-23-2007, 06:03 PM
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The real deal for me is….I just don’t have any interest in God/ HP or the like. I like a good story as much as the next guy but , that’s all it is to me, a good ole story that helped out people in the past when that sort of thing made sense to them. Sure, it still makes a compelling account of how everything works and plenty of people believe in it still. It just doesn’t add up anymore as far as I’m concerned. The modern explanation of how the whole shebang gets on, astronomy, physics, biology and on and on, has enough information for human beings to either live in concert with everybody/everything or blow the whole deal to smithereens. I don’t believe I need the stories of God to tell me that anymore. As for the mysterious, the unexplained…that makes good science fiction and such. Frankly I don’t want to know it all….I like a good mystery, it puts some excitement into the day. Bottom line, God/HP…good, bad or indifferent, doesn’t resonate very well with me. God was a good way to show people around, back in the day but, I like finding my own way around.

I’m sure there are some holes in my explanation, just like the ones in my brain from years of relentless drug abuse. That’s ok with me. I get along exceedingly well with what I have, right were I’m at and it just gets better every day in every way. I may not know much but I know where I going and that’s way, way cool….thanks for letting me share.

Oh….. one more thing, the HP deal, if that’s supposed to humble me, help me shed my ego or I don’t care what….I don’t like that idea either. I’ll be pleased to find another way to do the same thank you… Zen is cool for this cat. I don’t have to throw me away to find me. I can start with what I got and go from there… thanks Emily, I hope this helps….peace be with you, in every day and in every way…. Ta-Ta for now.
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Old 05-23-2007, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by windysan View Post
I'm too stupid to understand such things.

I can barely scratch my name in the dirt with a stick.
Windy,

I've seen (or read) you drop major knowledge when you feel inclined. I'm not buying the 'stupid' act!!

D to da K
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Old 05-23-2007, 06:25 PM
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Hi Emily

I consider myself to be just another organism in this vast universe of ours. Granted, humanity seems to have conquered this planet given our cognitive abilities, but we occupy only a miniscule part of the universe as a whole. I don't believe in a HP, or force, or anything that would deign to help me personally.

I'm OK with that. I'm the one in charge of myself. If I screw up. I'm the one that's gotta fix it. That keeps me busy enough so that I feel no need to ponder any existence of what might be out there on whatever level.

So, there it is. I don't feel uncomfortable or deprived, and I'm perfectly happy living the rest of my life with this knowledge.

Keep well

Ron
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Old 05-23-2007, 06:29 PM
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I always thought that there had to be a spiritual or nonmaterial source of every thing material until I read the God Illusion by Richard Dawkins. It sparked a crisis of faith in me that continues to this day. There are many excellent posts on this book under the thread of the same title here on sr. While he needlessly attacks all spirituality I have not read anything that comes close to refuting his underlying logic. What possible chance is there that everything in the cosmos is just here without a grand designer behind the curtain to at least put everything in motion ? Quite high according to Dawkins. With an unlimited and never ending (or beginning) supply time it becomes a very different question. I also never knew that material can come into existence out of a complete void or vacuum. Put these two together and voila...I am less sold on the idea that the designer couldn't be there in any manner because if anything is possible with this never ending supply of time than everything is possible. Including a designer.
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Old 05-23-2007, 07:11 PM
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Hi, Emimily,

When I am in a total intellectual mode, I am fully an atheist.
When I'm in a spiritual mode, I'm fully a believer.
When I'm what the majority of folks are -- a mix of the two, and fully human -- I'm fully a G*D wrestler.
And there is no contradiction for me. I am neither Mr Spock nor an emotional bag of feeling, but a mixture of the two.

Good question; thanks for asking!

Shalom!
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Old 05-23-2007, 07:29 PM
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I guess for me I do have some spiritual principles, but I do not believe in "a higher power that I can turn my live and will over too." I feel that I am responsible for my problems and thus I am the only one who can change them. This may not be easy, but I feel I am in charge of my own decisions.

I guess I can describe my spiritual beliefs only as a "gut feeling". I feel that I know to do the right thing, but do not always choose to do so. I want what I want when I want it. That is the thinking I have to change. I need to listen to those gut feelings, they rarely lead me wrong.

I agree with Emiliy regarding 12 step programs. I have much respect for them as they have clearly helped many. I also had problems with the "fake it till you make it" theory as it seemed very contridictive to the principles of AA/NA. How you be completely honest when you are "faking it"? That said I also agree with Paul (aka Doorknob) that AA/NA is a program that has helped many, and I would, and have recommended it to many.

On a related note, I have to thank Paul for helping to inform me to the various Secular alternatives that are out there. As you can see, I have been a member here for some time, but it was not until I came across some of his posts that I realized that there are other choice for recovery than the 12 steps.

I also must thank this site for being receptive and open to other alternitives to 12 step programs. The vast majority of folks around here subscribe to 12 step philosophy, and it show true open mindedness for them to allow this forum to exist. This is a private site and they are under no obligation to allow anything that they don't want to. This is one of the very few recovery related sites where 12 step and secular folks actually get along. I'm not saying that there aren't arguments and problems that the mods have to deal with. But generally they deal with them fairly.

Well that was a very rambling answer to your question. Hope it helps you understand us "secular" folks!! Take care, and thanks for asking.
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Old 05-23-2007, 09:10 PM
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I tried very hard to believe in God. Everyone I was raised around did, or at least attended a religious institution with an element of sincerity about it.

I tried being Catholic (some of my family is), but it didn't feel "right"- though I credit a couple of excellent priests in educating me and not pressuring me- answering questions without judgement and with honesty.

I went back to Judaism, which has always been a sort of "default" setting for me- I love our traditions (mostly), our food (mostly), and our borscht belt humour (totally). I also love the social justice elements (not saying other religions lack them, I just like the interpretation within Judaism). But. But, I didn't quite catch the God element. I felt very guilty about this for a while.

Something Ann Druyan said at the Beyond Belief conference really struck home with me (I had already given up on trying to believe in God, but was still a bit sad about it- it was a loss of sorts)- what she said involved a member of her family (possibly her father) coming to his father, an old, very traditional Jew, and saying that he was not going to do it any more- not going to fast for the High Holy Days, not going to tie on the tfillim, not going to pray, none of it. Because he just did not believe. He was afraid his father would disown him, but what he said was:

"The only sin would be to pretend."

An enormous weight was lifted from my mind when I heard her tell about this. In order to live an honest life, I need to not pretend. This is the basicness of it. There are things about various religions which bother me (lots of things, lots of religions), but that's not so important as the idea of living an honest life.

God does not make sense, never has, and trying to force it to make sense brought a lot of distress. It was living a lie. Won't do it any more.
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Old 05-24-2007, 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by doorknob View Post
Windy,

I've seen (or read) you drop major knowledge when you feel inclined. I'm not buying the 'stupid' act!!

D to da K

What were we talking about again?

dang
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Old 05-24-2007, 08:49 AM
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I guess for me I do have some spiritual principles, but I do not believe in "a higher power that I can turn my live and will over too." I feel that I am responsible for my problems and thus I am the only one who can change them. This may not be easy, but I feel I am in charge of my own decisions.
Same here. My spiritual principle is an organized religion. I do not, however, let that excuse me from making my own decisions. My religion teaches that my HP gave me free will and personal responsiblity. I am the only one, at the end of the day, who can change my actions.
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Old 05-24-2007, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Emimily View Post
So, the question I'd like to ask all the secular kids is this : how is it that you (operative) don't believe in any sort of higher power?
I was raised in a totally secular/godless household. My parents didn't have any agenda. Religion/faith/god/atheism/spirituality just never came up except for maybe a passing reference. My mother made me go to Sunday school a few times, but we had just moved so it was probably a social thing, and it was a Methodist church so it was fairly low-impact.

Quick story: I was prolly 7 or so and a bus came around the neighborhood and took some us kids off to some Baptist church or something, maybe they promised us cookies at the end, I don't know. Anyway we all had to go to the front of the church and pray about something. I just mimicked what everybody else did which was kneel down and, well, pray. So the preacher is going on and on and I'm tired of it and look up and all the other kids had stopped praying. I'm thinking WTF? Seems I didn't know the keyword 'Amen' signals the end. They prolly thought I was really devout.

All these years later it seems like our house was a control sample in some alien religion experiment. Like, all around us there were petri dishes in which various belief systems were injected into families and allowed to incubate. Something like that.

So, to answer your question, it's quite natural for me to ask the reverse,"how is it that you believe in any sort of higher power?"
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Old 05-24-2007, 09:21 AM
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wow... good stuff here, thanks kids! if you don't mind, i wanted to address a few things :

-tyler, how do you know you didn't steal MY avatar?

-zencat, i totally agree with you about using zen practice as a way of humbling yourself. i do that a lot too, with meditation and a consistent reminder that we're all connected... it really helps me a lot.

hey everybody, thanks so much for being willing to open up and talk to me about your recovery and secular thought. i appreciate it... hopefully more people will share their experience, and i can keep learning. or, you guys could just share more. no pressure!

haha.



i just love the banana...
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Old 05-24-2007, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Emimily View Post

-tyler, how do you know you didn't steal MY avatar? .
Cuz I'm an oldtimer round here, so I had it before you!! ;-) Don't know why I can't get my smileys to work anymore!! Sharing has always been an issue with me. You seem cool though, I guess we can get along!! BTW, I chose it because I lived in Wilmington NC for 13 years, and really miss it. Take care.
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Old 05-24-2007, 11:36 AM
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i just got a tattoo in wilmington on sunday! what a cool town... we went to wrightsville beach to celebrate my first year sober, and i got on om tattoo and my friend liz got a hibiscus flower. my friend dave lived in wilmington for like, 6 months. anyway, yeah, wilmington rocks.

do you know port city tattoos?
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Old 05-24-2007, 04:18 PM
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I actually do believe in a Higher Power. I've spent a good deal of my life trying to understand what it is, trying to figure out its nature and its relationship to me. I have struggled with issues of morality. This seemed especially important when I finally faced my need for recovery and was told that it was an essential element of any recovery effort.

While I believe that there is a non-material force in the universe, something that connects us all - I can't reconcile a belief that it takes a personal interest in the lives of individuals in any kind of material ways. This actually comes from a certain a compassion, really. How can I believe in a HP that will help me, a fairly privileged woman with my issues, but will allow a child in Iran to be raped and murdered in front of her family? It just doesn't make sense. Why would it cure me of a disease, but not cure my neighbor's little boy of cancer? I know certain religions do believe that it does - Christian Scientists, I think - but that doesn't seem to work for them.

I suspect that it will be increasingly realized that addiction is a disease of the brain, more akin to schizophrenia than a spiritual malady. I know there are doctors currently working on research in that direction.

Now I do believe that having a sense of this greater connection between all life enriches anyone, addict or not, and can make one stronger and better able to do the things one has to do to find the ways to heal oneself. I think that's where the HP comes in. But, for me, I have found that a sense of personal responsibility for seeking my own treatment has been far more motivating than a sense of powerlessness and seeking an outside force to cure me.

I actually think that the longer I'm sober more capable of truly understanding spirituality I'll become. Kind of like putting the cart after the horse, ya know.

Last edited by Lunapro; 05-24-2007 at 04:21 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 05-24-2007, 05:04 PM
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First up, the metaphysical stuff. I just don't know.

Second the recovery stuff. I was lucky enough to come into AA at a very low point and I just did as I was told for a good long while, and slowly my life started to get better. I think, being honest, I parked my beliefs. Maybe I even put them up on blocks and threw a dustsheet over them.

So then what I had was a couple of years experience of starting to recover from alcoholism against which to compare my beliefs. I think I asked myself what had happened. I think my reply was that I had come to believe that everything was connected, I was a part of something bigger and when I stopped believing solely in myself, I began to feel better. Safer, calmer, stuff like that. I think I may have borrowed part of my new life from a Bill Hicks riff, but there you go. I think at that point I decided that I wouldn't throw out the old beliefs, because I didn't know when I might need them again, but equally I would leave them out in the garage, on the blocks, with the sheet on. As far as I know they're still there, I haven't looked at them for a while.

I think also that I decided that I would try and keep practicing the new things I had been taught because they made me feel better. I could see that some people I met who practiced those things were completely doolally - as if they were on spiritual steroids - while other people seemd to have these buff demeanours. So I figured - figure - that if I practice what they do I won't have to get the old beliefs off the blocks, I'll be fit enough to get where I need under my own power.
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Old 05-24-2007, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Emimily View Post
i just got a tattoo in wilmington on sunday! what a cool town... we went to wrightsville beach to celebrate my first year sober, and i got on om tattoo and my friend liz got a hibiscus flower. my friend dave lived in wilmington for like, 6 months. anyway, yeah, wilmington rocks.

do you know port city tattoos?

Yep, I know Port City Tat's. Don't have any ink myself, but had lots of friends there who do. I used to live right off I-40 as you come into town in one of the subdivisions on the left.

I'm going back to visit my son in July, looking forward to it already!!
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