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My 2 Cents on Secular Recovery

Old 05-07-2008, 03:43 PM
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My 2 Cents on Secular Recovery

Hello Everyone,

I'm going to attempt to not come across as hostile, but I've got to get something off of my chest. As with anything that anyone says on here, it's just my two cents, nothing more.

I'm non-religious, and on the advice of two psychiatrists, I went into AA, only to be disgusted with the overt religiousness of the whole program. I felt like I was being actively indoctrinated (and in a way, I was). I was repeatedly told that without going to meetings and "seeking a higher power," that I would be doomed to go back to drinking (which is a gargantuan lie, I have to point out).

So I've cut back my AA meetings to maybe one or two a week now, and I've been sober for two weeks, five days...without the help of a "higher power," which is nothing more than a sly synonym for "God."

Cut to last week, when I began to supplement AA's program with some independent study of secular recovery programs. This is where it really got shocking to me, because the secular recovery programs were MORE repulsive than AA! At least in AA, there wasn't constant bickering between every single member about every single nuanced issue. Secular recovery groups seem dead-set on having a continual debate about anything they can scrap over. Additionally, so much of said secular group's focus centered around AA-bashing, the point of which was lost to me.

Why aren't these groups centered about sobriety, and not a) religion or b) debates?

So I've decided to split from both AA and RR, and I've created my own 12-step program. It's one-step, repeated 12 times. "Don't drink." Period. End of discussion.

Last edited by best; 05-07-2008 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 05-08-2008, 02:00 PM
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If your version of the 12 steps works for you, beautiful. "Don't drink" is the message that really matters, after all.

And no one should ever tell us that we are "bound" to drink again if we don't do this or that--I've met a few people in AA who are dogmatic about that too, and they irritate the hell out of me. Well, on my good days, I'm sympathetic to them, since they've often been to hell and back, have good intentions, all that...

But most of the time I feel like just telling them to **** off. (I've never done that, tho, since the dogmatic ones, for some reason, are also usually the big, burly guys who could slap my skinny *** through a wall if they felt like it.)

Also, if the "don't drink" 12 times method ends up not working for you, you might want to check out other groups, other meetings, all of that. There are even secular versions of AA in some areas.

By the way, I'm in AA and would never dream of calling my higher power "God" or "Vishnu" or any of those others...just other people. Haven't been going to meetings much lately, but I have lots of people I can call if I feel weak, and that is still working for me.

Anyway, best of luck to you. Keep checking in here if that helps.
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Old 05-08-2008, 03:16 PM
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I don't do meetings of any kind. I pretty much don't like being around people. I find fishing to be good therapy. I just hang out with my family and a few very close friends.

and there you have it
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Old 05-09-2008, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by mbachman View Post
Hello Everyone,

I'm going to attempt to not come across as hostile, but I've got to get something off of my chest. As with anything that anyone says on here, it's just my two cents, nothing more.

I'm non-religious, and on the advice of two psychiatrists, I went into AA, only to be disgusted with the overt religiousness of the whole program. I felt like I was being actively indoctrinated (and in a way, I was). I was repeatedly told that without going to meetings and "seeking a higher power," that I would be doomed to go back to drinking (which is a gargantuan lie, I have to point out).

So I've cut back my AA meetings to maybe one or two a week now, and I've been sober for two weeks, five days...without the help of a "higher power," which is nothing more than a sly synonym for "God."

Cut to last week, when I began to supplement AA's program with some independent study of secular recovery programs. This is where it really got shocking to me, because the secular recovery programs were MORE repulsive than AA! At least in AA, there wasn't constant bickering between every single member about every single nuanced issue. Secular recovery groups seem dead-set on having a continual debate about anything they can scrap over. Additionally, so much of said secular group's focus centered around AA-bashing, the point of which was lost to me.

Why aren't these groups centered about sobriety, and not a) religion or b) debates?

So I've decided to split from both AA and RR, and I've created my own 12-step program. It's one-step, repeated 12 times. "Don't drink." Period. End of discussion.
Don't know, but it sounds like you're looking for negatives. I have been involved in secular recovery for many years and AA and have no clue what you could be talking about. Also, RR is not even a group, but now a "program" for individual sobriety. I would say in the short time you have been sober that there is no way that you could evaluate anything. I do think your twelve step program of "don't drink" twelve time is really the bottom line. You don't have to participate in any group or program as long as you have that down. I found that sometimes the harder I worked to just not drink, the quicker I drank. All of the awfulizing did no good. The bottom line is that I know that drinking does nothing at all for me and a lot to me so "what's the point?"
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Old 05-09-2008, 06:19 AM
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by non-religious, do you mean that you're an atheist? that's different than being non-religious. i'm non-religious, but i definitely believe in something bigger than me... i've had too many close calls to assume that it's all me running the show.

just curious. AA's not religious, rather spiritual, but not religious. i wouldn't be there if they were.
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Old 05-10-2008, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Emimily View Post
by non-religious, do you mean that you're an atheist? that's different than being non-religious. i'm non-religious, but i definitely believe in something bigger than me... i've had too many close calls to assume that it's all me running the show.

just curious. AA's not religious, rather spiritual, but not religious. i wouldn't be there if they were.
I find the 12 step groups where I live to be religious. In fact, all but one AA group (the one that meets at the Catholic church actually) end in the Lord's Prayer. That's as religious as you can get.

BTW, I am religious. I just don't like to combine religion with my recovery.
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Old 05-10-2008, 08:04 PM
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Non-theist from my understanding is having no concern about God mythologies or God for that matter. Being an atheist is refuting the claims of Gods existence. I waver between the two depending on my mood.

Originally Posted by mbachman View Post
.....I'm going to attempt to not come across as hostile, but I've got to get something off of my chest. As with anything that anyone says on here, it's just my two cents, nothing more......

I believe AA is too quasi-religious for me to work their program but I do attend meetings sporadically. Sometimes just being in a meeting to share my solution seeking to problems in my like helps. Even if the feedback I get is not aways useful it still helps to vent. Its good to vent.
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Old 05-10-2008, 08:34 PM
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Thumbs up Religion & Sobriety

I took one week to detox and by the second week I could get from home to a meeting but didn't really understand what really was going on at the meetings yet.

I do not mix God with my recovery...I have my own individual way of dealing with my Spritualism. I attended AA a long time and now do most of my AA here at Sober Recovery...or I should say...I do daily what I need to do to continue to stay sober with interaction with other sober people and sharing my experience, strength, and hope that I have gained and still work for on a daily basis.

I have been sober continuously since July 10, 1988. I wanted to be sober more than anything else in my life and I worked hard to stay sober. It was much easier to get sober but to stay sober one day after another was a constant job. I really didn't worry about the Big Book Thumpers or the God people...I worked with my sponsor and did the steps as best I could with her help.

I went to AA to share my views and experiences with the different topics that were chosen to discuss. I only took away what I knew would help me and even some of the negatives I would hear at a meeting would help me.

The Serenity Prayer was my most valuable tool and that prayer does happen to be in the Bible in a longer version.

This prayer helped me decide what I could or couldn't change about my life and what was happening around me. I wasted so many years worrying about things that I could not change no matter what I did. The frustration would come and then the drink would come...the drink never did solve a problem for me...it just carried it over to the next day.

I am not disagreeing with what you said in your post. I am just saying how it was for me. It took me a long time to put everything in the right order in my head to work for me. And it continues to work for me.

kelsh
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Old 05-11-2008, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by zencat View Post
Non-theist from my understanding is having no concern about God mythologies or God for that matter. Being an atheist is refuting the claims of Gods existence. I waver between the two depending on my mood

Gosh - that pretty much describes me! Still not certain where I fit...not sure if I do secular 12 steps, don't seem a match to the 12 step under the alchoholism thread because I guess that is suppose to mean "AA" as defined by the posters. It all seems to hinge on how "secular" or "AA" is defined by individuals. Very confusing. I do know that what I am doing with AA, my "religion" and being a "non-theist" seems to work. Guess that what matters.

Thanks for all the sharing.
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Old 05-11-2008, 03:36 PM
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my experience with freethinker's AA was as you described it; a reunion of the Bickerson's.

so, while there is much silliness in AA, there is much more that I like, and I go to meetings to hear the message of recovery being shared. I tune the bs out.

See, I practice the same 12 step program as you do. Step One: don't drink, and repeat. But I do it within AA. I am still a freethinking, non-Christian happily agnostic sober member of AA with no interest for the debates.

Its about not drinking after all.
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Old 05-12-2008, 03:54 PM
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I think it is normal to wonder, doubt, debate, and argue when you first come into the program. My sick thinking was trying to find every reason why I didn't belong. I wanted to argue every point, prove how it didn't pertain to me and I wanted to change the program to fit my needs. Then reality hit. I needed help and my way wasn't working. So I shut up and started listening. Quite honestly, we can not form an accurate opinion of a program after only a few weeks. It is impossible to get a full grasp or understanding of how it really works. Having patience and open mind helped me immensely. Not something I was very familiar with, I might add.
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Old 05-12-2008, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by steamvessel View Post
I am actually worried about AA being a de-motivator for me. One of the things that keeps me motivated is the fact that I am self-motivated. I 've already noticed some pretty black and white opinions on this board, and there seems to be an AA correlation with some of those comments. I'm worried that people telling me I'm not following the steps, or doing it for the right reason will aggravate me and make me question what I am doing. Right now, I don't have any questions. I come on this board, I'm not drinking, I'm feeling great. I'm not religious, even though I was baptized catholic and went to a catholic high school. I am highly sensitive to people telling me I need to be a certain way to do things, and when religion is combined, I have a tendency to rebel. I'd rather not mess with that. I don't have anything personally against AA, as I don't know that much about it. But for now, there is no reason for me to go there.

I'm not meaning to offend anybody that is currently in AA or taking anything away from it, this is just where I am at with my thinking right now. There is a reason I am posting this in the Secular Recovery section of the forum.
You make some very good points
Right now, I don't have any questions. I come on this board, I'm not drinking, I'm feeling great.
If you are doing fine without a program such as AA then that is great. It sounds to me that what you are doing is working for you.

AA is not the only route to recovery, although many who are in AA are very protective of it and some misinterpret the Big Book to mean it is the only way to sobriety. There are many programs that do work if one chooses to utilize a program of recovery. We have a variety of people here at SR that represent many different methods of getting sober. Some have done it with no organized program at all. IMHO what ever works to get someone sober enough for their life to get better I am happy about.

Personally, AA is what has worked for me but I have fought with the religion connotations of AA. I have resolved it by studying for myself to find out that I do not have to work the program of AA in a religious way, I can work it with my own concepts of spirituality which isn't centered around a "God" or something I have to worship.

Good luck to you on your recovery. I am always happy to read other people's posting who have found sobriety through other methods.
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Old 05-12-2008, 06:59 PM
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I just had to find support within AA for myself. People never seem to really agree. That seems to be part of all life. I'm learning to listen to the experience they share rather than the words they use. I am a rebel too, but it has been nice to learn to let people walk there own path as I walk mine.

Thanks Steam - always enjoy your posts.
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Old 05-12-2008, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by steamvessel View Post
....I'm worried that people telling me I'm not following the steps, or doing it for the right reason will aggravate me and make me question what I am doing.....
I say forget those who are eager to tell you what program will get you sober. You know in your heart what you need to do to be healthy. There is no wrong way or right way, just what and what not to do. Seek a path that is right for you and there are plenty to choose from or make one of your own. Stay away from detractors and find support from those that encourage you to follow your chosen path (whatever you deem healthy) and work it to the best of your ability.
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Old 05-13-2008, 01:14 AM
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Originally Posted by zencat View Post
I say forget those who are eager to tell you what program will get you sober. You know in your heart what you need to do to be healthy. There is no wrong way or right way, just what and what not to do. Seek a path that is right for you and there are plenty to choose from or make one of your own. Stay away from detractors and find support from those that encourage you to follow your chosen path (whatever you deem healthy) and work it to the best of your ability.
Very well put, thanks.
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Old 05-15-2008, 05:17 PM
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I'm not much of a follower LOL I did the 'don't drink' 12 step programme..(well 10 'don't drinks', one 'help others' and one 'be a good Dee - where possible')

it seems to work for me - which is the main thing, right?

Don't let arguments and bickering sway you steamvessel - we all know when somethings right or it's not.

my advice is to shut up and listen to your instincts - trust the inner compass.
Failing that, listen to those you trust, I guess

D
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Old 05-21-2008, 04:37 AM
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I agree with Dee... I did not trust myself and tried so hard to fit in. I "worked it" and it did not work for me.

Trust yourself and find what feels right to you!

T:bounce
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Old 06-18-2008, 09:37 AM
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I was raised in ALATEEN way back in the 60s...My MOM forced us kids to learn the big book and togo to meetings to help us understand Alcoholism...I guess it helped in a way???I started seeing my Dad as sick,not bad.When I searched for help in my own recovery,as an Adult,I was so completly turned off by what seemed to me to be a cult mindset.Our way or you are doomed to Drink...I dont think so.I stayed sober for over 17yrs. without them.They treated that as if it was a fluke.I put effect into searching for AA recovery rate and ran acroosed a very interesting web site.If any of you are interested,google...Orange papers AA...it pretty much sums up my ideas on AA.It works for some but I am not one of them...Hippy
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Old 06-18-2008, 09:53 AM
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Welcome Hippychic...17 years of sobriety is awesome not a fluke! AA is not the only way...have you looked into Smart or SOS? The information on the internet regarding addiction seems to be endless. Wishing you success!
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Old 06-20-2008, 06:59 PM
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Hippychic,

I LOVE the orange papers! LOVE them! LOL Even though they are a bit (maybe more than a bit) aggressive, the information is real and all researchable. That guy put YEARS into finding out the truth.

Have a great day!

T
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