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went to my first aa meeting...

Old 03-24-2008, 09:26 PM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Sometimes I also cringe when meetings close with the Lord's prayer. You can bet there are other people in most of the rooms who felt the same way at some point, and many who feel that way right now.

Most of us agnostics/atheists who stay in AA (and I believe there are a lot of us) do so for the benefits we get out of it--a huge network of other people trying to stay sober most importantly. So, even though I've had my good/bad times with AA (and must admit I've just been staying home lately), I think it's great that you plan to keep going to meetings.

If you're at all comfortable sharing at a meeting, I'd advise saying you are a newcomer, then saying (as politely as possible) that you're not comfortable with the religious elements. That's what I did, and as a direct result I found an agnostic sponsor who has helped me get my life back together. I've had long stretches of sobriety before, but nothing like this, now that I've worked the steps, staying as agnostic all the way. The truth for me is that AA is a much "easier, softer way" than trying to stay sober alone.
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Old 03-24-2008, 10:10 PM
  # 22 (permalink)  
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Spirituality and Religion are two entirely different things.

AA practices Spirituality, not Religion

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Old 03-25-2008, 01:37 PM
  # 23 (permalink)  
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Thanks for the reminder, Serenityqueen, and I agree that there is an important distinction to be made between spirituality and religion.

I'm always happy to see people at meetings who really live up to the claim that AA practices spirituality, and who demonstrate that by totally accepting, for example, a guy who says that surfing is his spiritual practice and that waves are his higher power, or a woman who changes the "He" in the BB to "She" because she believes in a female deity. I also love the story in the BB from the woman who finds strength through the "great spirit," a Native American version of spirituality.

That said, I know that many people perceive the text and program as religious--even as specifically Christian. That shouldn't be surprising given that the basic text and the steps refer to God with a capital G, Him with a capital H, and so on, and that some meetings end with a prayer that comes from the New Testament. I suspect that's why seekingself cringed; I know that's why I cringed. I'm over it now, for the most part, but I think that feeling turns a lot of people away from AA, and it shouldn't.
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Old 03-25-2008, 02:13 PM
  # 24 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Yardbird View Post

That said, I know that many people perceive the text and program as religious--even as specifically Christian. That shouldn't be surprising given that the basic text and the steps refer to God with a capital G, Him with a capital H, and so on, and that some meetings end with a prayer that comes from the New Testament. I suspect that's why seekingself cringed; I know that's why I cringed. I'm over it now, for the most part, but I think that feeling turns a lot of people away from AA, and it shouldn't.
Had I believed it to be a religious program or one that forced me to accept the god of my childhood I would have run the other way and accepted an alcoholic death rather than play the religion game. I am so grateful for those that taught me there is a difference between spirituality and religion. Today I can be spiritual without conforming to others interpretation of what the right god or higher power is. I can feel comfortable with what my mind says it is.
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Old 03-29-2008, 10:26 AM
  # 25 (permalink)  
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"It frustrates me to hear that everyone wants to 'surrender' so that god can wave his hands and magically make them stop wanting to drink. I feel that alcoholism is MY problem to recover from, and I want to feel the pride and happiness of engineering my own recovery. I don't want to give someone or something else the credit for it."

The real program of AA insists that we take action and deal with our alcoholism. We who have travelled this path know that there is no easier, softer way. Really working the steps forces us to examine our part in the disease. We take a look at all the resentments that dominate outr lives and see where we have been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking, and afraid. I had to look at my part in thousands of resentments catalogued in notebooks and examine where my thinking was wrong. it was a revelatory, consciousness expanding experience that changed my life forever. No magic wand. Hard work and a belief that if I did the work (outlined in the BB) I could recover. I did and have.
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Old 03-29-2008, 11:20 AM
  # 26 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Yardbird View Post

I'm over it now, for the most part, but I think that feeling turns a lot of people away from AA, and it shouldn't.

Just a thought, I think a good percentage of the folks that reject sobriety are just looking for an excuse, I know I was one of them. While I may reject SOME of the practices of AA, I'm healthy enough to realize that the basic tenet of AA-that we are powerless of alcohol-is the only thing that really matters.
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