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went to my first aa meeting...

Old 03-20-2008, 09:03 PM
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went to my first aa meeting...

and I cringed every time they talked about god and god's will. and they closed w/ the lord's prayer.

How do i get past this?? I need support, I need people who know what I feel. But I am an atheist, and I always have been.
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Old 03-20-2008, 09:11 PM
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Have you read the chapter--"We Agnostics" in the BIg Book. It talks about atheists, agnostics, people of faith...who all found their way to sobriety. The main thing is that you put your trust in something/someone greater than you. I alone couldn't get myself sober--my best thinking always got me drunk. Right now, other sober members and the program of my 12 step fellowship are my anchor. I believe that they believe that there is something keeping them sober.
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Old 03-20-2008, 09:12 PM
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Before my becoming a Christian, I would handle such by just letting such things go right over my head. As for the Lord's prayer... just as a sign of being polite to others, I would bow my head in silence and not say a word. Those who wanted would say it along with the others.
Back when I considered myself an atheist, such things never bothered me.
When I started to question what I truly do believe...is there really a God like others say? Well my own inner struggle did have things start to bother me.

So two things you can do... Look into if there is a God or just let it go right over your head.

Your at meetings to gather support and info to help you stay sober. Make that your focus for now.


and congratulations on making a meeting.
How was it other then that?
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Old 03-20-2008, 11:42 PM
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Congrats on making the meeting. We have a great new forum now just about secular folks who work the steps. Drop by and say "hi"
http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...step-recovery/
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Old 03-21-2008, 02:30 AM
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Originally Posted by SeekingSelf View Post
and I cringed every time they talked about god and god's will. and they closed w/ the lord's prayer.

How do i get past this?? I need support, I need people who know what I feel. But I am an atheist, and I always have been.
I have endured the same feelings at any twelve-step meeting. People told me in order to connect with my higher power I should just focus on anything at first, you know, like that tree or that lamp or that lake. It was futile. How in the hell could I put faith into a tree or a lake I said to myself?

SeekingSelf - I am now five years in an active state of recovery. A couple of years ago I finally realized that I have a choice in my recovery. I have personally recognized in myself that I do not wish to have religion or sponsors telling me what to do or being told to find a home group or being told to get involved by making coffee or told to get a higher power or told that I must label myself an addict or an alcoholic, well you get the picture. Being close to people like holding hands at the end of the meeting was just not me either. I was tired of being stagnant in my recovery by not being able to drive it myself or to do what I felt was right for me, afterall I am the "expert" on me. Not a sponsor or counselor or anyone. In my heart of hearts I always felt that way but I faked it because at that time it was all I was told would work. Until I actually Googled 'twelve-step alternatives' did I realize there were other ways to recover successfully without religion and all the other stuff. Twelve-step programs do not work for everyone just like secular does not work for everyone, just like cold turkey does not. This is an okay ideology!

In saying all of the above, I would highly encourage people to check out twelve-step meetings because it just might work for you. I have personally told people to go and check them out for themselves and see if it feels right and if it does then great. Some people need and want that type of structure.

Alternatively, there are many organizations out there that offer a wonderful secular recovery experience. I have recently discovered LifeRing Secular Recovery. LifeRing Home Page of LifeRing Secular Recovery takes a wholistic approach to recovery in that one should use whatever tools are available and whatever feels comfortable to the individual to achieve a successful recovery path. LifeRing works to maintain a motivation for total abstinence and to better manage our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. We do this in a peer supported, self-help and secular environment. Secular meaning NO RELIGION.

We meet in a circle where everyone can see each other. We do a check-in called "how was your week" by simply stating your name, clean time if you wish and then the highlights and lowlights of your week. We then take a topic from the check-in, maybe work through something someone encountered in the last week or choose other topics to go on. We then start a conversation where everyone can participate (with a moderator). We allow cross communication interaction which is so refreshing in a group setting. People learn how to communicate and share ideas, offer feedback if the other member is okay with that. We treat people like humans and allow them to feel like they are in control of their life and not under the control of someone/something else. We utilize a comprehensive 300 page workbook called Recovery by Choice that takes one through their recovery page by page with exercises and thought provoking questions to inspire one to really dig deep. We use this as part of our self-help component.

Very refreshing and enlightening stuff. Recovery does not have to be so complicated in my life. I still work on similar things as other people in other recovery programs but LifeRing's and other secular groups like SMART recovery totally have it right for ME.

In my personal opinion, I need to be the driver of my recovery. I need to feel empowered to enjoy my recovery free of all the things I mentioned above. There is only one person in charge of me and that person is ME. Not God, not my higher power, not the tree, not a sponsor, ME! Some people told me, oh don't worry about the God stuff it will come. Don't worry about I said, it is a major part of the program. I tried to get it, it did not work and now I have moved on and feel amazing and free to choose any path of recovery that works for me.

Good luck to you!

Last edited by sekular; 03-21-2008 at 02:49 AM.
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Old 03-21-2008, 05:04 AM
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Seeking self...while I don't cringe when God is mention, I cringe when people promise a newcomer sobriety conditional on a set of rules that they believe are set forth by God.

I choose to keep my sobriety and my belief in God separate....this is difficult in aa, but I believe it is possible to still utilize aa for the f2f support. I have been doing so for 9 months...I take what I want and leave the rest...we are in this together.

as far as the chapter to the agnostic.....it is simple a chapter that attempts to convert skeptics into believing his religious ideas. I find it demeaning and deceptive. JMO
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Old 03-21-2008, 05:11 AM
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I just posted this elsewhere and then read this thread...


========
I got sober through an inpatient program and then did an outpatient one after I was released.

For me I found AA was very helpful as an adjunct to my outpatient groups. I am not trying to sell anyone on AA, and I should remember that six months ago I laughed in the face of the person who suggested that I go to AA. For me it was a practical decision because AA is everywhere and (in NYC) all the time.

I'm sure there are many legitimate reasons why AA is not the right choice for some people (I was convinced that it wasn't for me), but I have since changed my mind. Are there things I don't like about it? Sure. Are there people in AA whom I find insufferable? You bet. Does the God talk make me want to puke at times? Absolutely.

But I do find AA offers me some suggestions that, if I practice them, help keep me sober:

1. They suggest I find one person I can talk to every day (sponsor) and call no matter what is happening or when
2. They suggest I get active by helping others (group service)
3. They suggest I attend meetings and call other members to offer rides, touch base, develop a support network.
4. They suggest I cultivate the qualities of honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness.

I had a psychiatrist in rehab who was extraordinarily intelligent. I told her my doubts about AA, and she responded that AA is simply a very effective form of cognitive-behavioral therapy. And that, if it helped me, I could think about the fact that it takes 90 days for a brain cell to develop, and that certain mental habits, such as humility, relating to others, identification, have been proven to help accelerate the process of growth and development of neural pathways in the pre-frontal cortex, which is the part of the brain responsible for executive function and which is typically damaged in most addicts and alcoholics.

So, her point was, that if I am an atheist (yes), I could make my pre-frontal cortex my "higher power".

Worked for me.
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Old 03-21-2008, 09:16 AM
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Honestly, the meeting didn't really 'do' anything for me. Maybe it's because it was the last meeting of the day and in the city, but there was only maybe 10 people there. 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.

I'm going to keep trying to go to different meetings and see if one of them strikes a chord with me. I wish there were more SoS meetings here; there's just one a week and right now I feel like I need more support than that.
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Old 03-21-2008, 09:23 AM
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Have you looked for any online meetings--for SoS? or any other type program that you may be more comfortable with? to help for the times when there are no actual face-to-face meetings going on....
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Old 03-21-2008, 01:10 PM
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SeekingSelf,

In my city there was no choice in recovery meetings as far as secularity goes so what I did two months ago was started the first LifeRing meeting in the city. To wildly popular success we had twenty people at the last meeting after only 8 weeks and more meetings will be starting in different areas soon.

After talking with mental health and addiction professionals and users of addiction recovery methods I knew there was a huge gap in recovery circles in Victoria for a group like LifeRing Secular Recovery.

Where you live if there is not what you want or need then you could alwats start your own meeting. LifeRing will offer you 100% support in doing so and I would provide my experience also.

LifeRing also has a huge online component and a member social networking site on Ning.
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Old 03-21-2008, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by SeekingSelf View Post
Honestly, the meeting didn't really 'do' anything for me.
Congratulations on wanting to do something about your problem and going to a meeting. The first meeting I attend in 1974 also did nothing for me. As a matter of fact it took twenty-five more years before I got a one year chip. Many meetings I attend today don't do anything for me. The difference between now and then is that I don't attend meetings just for me or so that I can get something. Today I go to possibly shake someone's hand. Maybe just smile at someone. Maybe to talk to someone who is lonely. Maybe just to give someone a hug. I found when I go to give, and not receive, I always get more that I gave..........weird isn't it?

Selfseeker..............maybe it ain't all about you. Hang around for a while and see what happens. You may be surprised...........

I love you and there's not a damn thing you can do about it..........toad
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Old 03-21-2008, 04:23 PM
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and I want to feel the pride and happiness of engineering my own recovery
I couldn't do it, and I'm smarter than anyone I know. I also have enough will power to overcome any obstacle I encounter. Pride ? I've got it in spades. But still, I couldn't do it. I doubt if you can, but wish you the best. Hopefully you won't take the beating I did.

It was only when I quit fighting, and trying to figure everything out that recovery came to me.
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Old 03-21-2008, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by GlassPrisoner View Post
I doubt if you can, but wish you the best.
SeekingSelf, the above is an example of "not a positive attitude" and hopefully comments like this will not be part of your vocabulary. It is similar to a "I told you so" attitude that I often see from people who are focusing on others rather than focusing on their own recovery. One of the treatment centers I went to in Canada had a saying plastered all over "don't focus on others, this is your recovery."

You can do anything you want with your recovery. You can be successful at any program you choose that fits with your lifestyle and who you are.

Sixty percent of successful American recoveries are done outside of twelve-step programs.
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Old 03-21-2008, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by sekular View Post
Sixty percent of successful American recoveries are done outside of twelve-step programs.
sekular:

I'm not trying to pick a fight here and I really am interested in looking into this and don't know how to ask it without just coming out and asking it, so here goes:

Could you share your source for this statistic? I'd be really interested in reading up on how that conclusion was made and also seeing exactly what definitions of "successful" and "recovery" were being used.

Thanks,
freya

SeekingSelf:

OK -- I'm a born-again 12 Stepper and I am very, very lucky that here where I live the people in 12 Step rooms really truly mean it when they say "Take what you like and leave the rest," and I have never, ever felt in any way "frowned upon" whether or not, on any given day, I am most comfortable referring to my HP as Higher Power, or God, or Goddess, or The force, or the Energy of the Universe, or the Collective Unconscious, or what-the-h*llever is working for me and comfortable for me at that particular time....(and the truth is that any, all, and/or none-of-the-above might or might not be working for and comfortable for me at any given time.)

What I do know always and for certain is that I am not the Ultimate Power in the Universe and that when I try to figure everything out for myself and make everything -- through force of my own will -- go where I think it should go and be what I think it should be, I tend to be miserable and overwhelmed and I tend to find myself contributing to the misery and resentfulness of others (...uh, I also tend to fail to achieve my goal of getting the world to fall in line with my plans). Now, of course, I always knew this intellectually, but thanks to my experience in 12 Step rooms, I now "know" it in a way that actually manifests in my life...and, WOW, what a liberating and empowering and uplifting lesson that has been for me.

In order for me to have a life that works and that feels -- physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually -- good and fulfilling, I have to be connected to whatever it is that holds all of existence together and I have to be in right-relationship to all of that.....By working my 12 Step program, I learn, on increasingly deeper levels and in ever more subtle but more powerful ways, how to do those things.

...and, I do believe, ultimately, learning those things is the goal of all human life....but I do not believe that 12 Step Programs are the only ways to do so..The bottom line is that you have to find something that works for you...and, if you're an addict or alcoholic in any kind of desperate situation, it is probably in your best interest to find it pretty quickly. So, yeah, check out whatever you think might appeal to you....But also be very careful because, if you find yourself repeatedly coming up with insurmountable reasons why things that are working for a lot of other people will not or cannot work for you, then the chances are going to be very good that it's not the particular "recovery" method, or program, or plan, or philosophy that is really the problem. The problem might be the incredibly powerful defenses that your addiction has built for its own protection and furtherance and, unfortunately, what "works" for its protection and furtherance can, if left unchecked, totally undermine your own.

Good luck in your search.

freya
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Old 03-21-2008, 08:50 PM
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Hi Freya,

No worries, I know you are not picking a fight. Check out sixty percent.
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Old 03-21-2008, 10:47 PM
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Old 03-22-2008, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by ANGELINA243 View Post
Have you looked for any online meetings--for SoS? or any other type program that you may be more comfortable with? to help for the times when there are no actual face-to-face meetings going on....
I can't speak for SOS but there are online meetings over at SMART Recovery
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Old 03-22-2008, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by sekular View Post
Hi Freya,

No worries, I know you are not picking a fight. Check out sixty percent.
No fight pickin' either, but that's still just some guy picking a number out of the air, MD or no MD, AA or no AA.

If I had to guess, I'd say the figure was even higher, but that would only be a random shot on my part. Would be interesting to see some more scientific data on it.
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Old 03-22-2008, 09:05 PM
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I couldn't do it, and I'm smarter than anyone I know. I also have enough will power to overcome any obstacle I encounter. Pride ? I've got it in spades. But still, I couldn't do it. I doubt if you can, but wish you the best. Hopefully you won't take the beating I did.
hmmm...well I don't belong to any programme, so guess you can say I 'engineered my recovery'...coming up to a year.

OK, it doesn't mean I won't drink tomorrow, but ...isn't that the same for any of us?

Not bashing programmes - my way was tough and had I known what I know now, I *might* have chosen a different route - but I find this absolutist attitude silly.
Just saying - it can be done.
D
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Old 03-24-2008, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by SeekingSelf View Post
and I cringed every time they talked about god and god's will. and they closed w/ the lord's prayer.

How do i get past this?? I need support, I need people who know what I feel. But I am an atheist, and I always have been.
I'm an atheist and have been so since a tender age. You can get sober and not believe in god...people do so all the time, so don't be discouraged by any voices telling you otherwise. I don't do AA myself, but if there are other valuable things you're getting from the meeting, I'd just go and politely sit out the lord's prayer...kind of like how I do when I have dinner with my mom. Take care...
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