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Old 07-09-2008, 10:09 PM
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The "Hot Seat"

Hello Everyone,

This isn't my first time here, but it's my first time writing a post.

Anyway, wanted to share with you a short version of a hellish AA 'intervention.' But first, a little background about myself. I'm an atheist, and as such, I didn't really feel that included in the whole AA thing. I went there for about three months before getting enough of a backbone to admit to my sponsor that I really didn't enjoy it very much on account of the overt preaching that went on there.

Anyway, I drank again and I got into trouble because my parents flipped out when they saw me drunk, and they called both the police and one of the guys I met in AA. Given my personality temperment, I'm not good with police officers, sober or not. I don't like them, and they know it; they don't like me for the most part. Adding to that was the fact that I was pissed off, both because I started getting pissed back at my parents when they knew I had been drinking, and also because I was pissed off at myself for drinking again.

The cops came, and I got into a real big argument with them, my parents, etc. The dude from AA came and offered to let me cool down at his place (which was really a good idea at the time). All in all, I'm grateful for this, but he also took it into consideration that now was the best time to shove religious nonsense down my mouth whilst I was incapacitated mentally.

It says in the AA Big Book that you should talk to new 'converts' when they're just coming off of a heavy binge; when they're shaky and most malleable. I really detest this sort of crap, due to it being very analogous to brainwashing. Anyway, he gave me a sermon about this god crap and I had to listen to it for a couple hours. When that was done, I got to go home, and we set out a date for another 'meeting.' Little did I know what I was walking into.

The meeting itself consisted of two AA members, who sat on either side of me, and my parents, who sat across from me. We started discussing things about the weather and such, small talk, and then we all of a sudden changed the topic under the direction of the leader and started talking about the alcohol.

This is when it got really bad. The two AA members obviously had a problem with the fact that I didn't like spirituality...they said that I needed to be spiritual or die. I came back with the fact that this was obviously a false dichotomy.

This went on for nearly two hours; I was sweating, because I had to deal with people basically berating me for the entire time. They asked me questions, then interrupted, saying that I was in denial about having a problem. They called me names, and told me that I wasn't ready to quit...unless I admitted to believing in a higher power.

Honestly, I have enough of a problem as an atheist in everyday life; so much of our culture revolves around religious beliefs that I don't ascribe to. This sort of dehumanization was really too much for me to take at the time, but I survived. Noone wants to hear that they're a piece of crap--that was precisely what these dudes were equating me to.

I guess my point is that I'd really like to hear about other secular people's stories about this sort of thing.

Thanks for listening. Oh, and it's been almost a month since I last used.
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Old 07-10-2008, 10:05 AM
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Hi and welcome to SR.

I have never had an intervention, but the style of them goes against the type of person I am.

Since I don't like to mix my recovery with my religion, I use another program called SMART. It has helped keep me clean.

Congrats on your clean time!
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Old 07-10-2008, 10:30 AM
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Boy, that really sounded like a mess. Sorry you felt you were being put down. I have heard of this kinda talk before. I just know some really believe in their program and think it works for everyone.

Glad to hear about your sober time. I quit on my own but went to couseling for awhile. Smart recovery is a self help program that is helping me still with learning life skills to cope with everyday life. I had to enter a program to get my license back. Really, I'm glad it worked out like it has because I have learned more. They do have a websight to check it out.
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Old 07-10-2008, 10:53 AM
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YSMART Recovery has literally saved my life. I really like the fact the meetings surround around the toolbox instead of the addiction itself. After I got clean, I have learned to apply the tools to many parts of my life that have nothing to do with addiction and it has improved my quality of life in general.
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Old 07-10-2008, 01:02 PM
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What a nightmare. I haven't had any bad experiences with AA people--I've found it easy enough to avoid the preachy types--but yours is not the first story I've heard of someone being given the "spirituality or death" routine.

For me, what most people call "spirituality" involves things I experience as complete mysteries, and I have no desire to stake my sobriety on a complete mystery.

Sobriety, again just for me, is about believing that life is worth living and experiencing with clear mind, and it involves just taking care of business--being with other people, showing up for work, that kind of thing. If someone really wants to call that a "form of spirituality," that's fine with me.

You might want to check out LifeRing, or SMART, or any of the other secular programs available (see the top of this forum). That way you can say to your parents, and more importantly to yourself, that you *are* working on a program of recovery. Or just work on your own, but keep checking in here if that helps.

Best of luck.
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Old 07-10-2008, 05:06 PM
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Thanks for all of the great information and support. I think that I'm going to get involved with SMART. I have been reading stuff about it for a while now, and it sounds really interesting.

Thanks again.
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Old 07-10-2008, 07:51 PM
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I preface this by saying all due respect to those who do believe in a god and I do have my own spiritual beliefs but sobriety for me has nothing to do with a "higher power" intervening.

I am successful at not drinking because I made a choice and a commitment because I saw the positive in it. I have my struggles with it like anybody else and I know I have people around me who care but I don't stay sober because of what someone else would want including the assumed feelings of a god or what not. I feel like this idea of surrendering to a "higher power" takes away from an individual's confidence in their own accomplishments.

Believe in yourself first and foremost. This above all things creates a paradigm in which all things are possible.
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Old 07-10-2008, 08:35 PM
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Greetings MrRommel

I too maintain my sobriety with 'SMART tools' and groups at the health clinic, plus a few other things thrown in. Undoubtedly AA is the big boy on the block with a quad-zillion meetings everywhere. With just as many followers to boot. But the times are changing. More and more people are going to recovery groups that don't fit the 12 step mold. And like myself they recover without the spirituality angle wedged in the mix. Find what works with you and stick with it. I believe one can recover if one chooses too and doing it in groups is best.
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Old 07-11-2008, 11:18 AM
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Sometimes those thumping 12 steppers kinda give me the creeps.
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Old 07-11-2008, 01:26 PM
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MrRommel, I'm glad you are going to give SMART a try. One thing I learned though is that it can be a bit harder without the physical support. When I started SMART I told those I trusted that I am quitting, so that they understood my moods and could offer support. I also set aside time every day to work my tools so that I had one less "out" to take the easy way and start using again.

Originally Posted by Stamps43 View Post
I preface this by saying all due respect to those who do believe in a god and I do have my own spiritual beliefs but sobriety for me has nothing to do with a "higher power" intervening.

I am successful at not drinking because I made a choice and a commitment because I saw the positive in it. I have my struggles with it like anybody else and I know I have people around me who care but I don't stay sober because of what someone else would want including the assumed feelings of a god or what not. I feel like this idea of surrendering to a "higher power" takes away from an individual's confidence in their own accomplishments.

Believe in yourself first and foremost. This above all things creates a paradigm in which all things are possible.
Stamps, no offense taken. I am quite religious yet I feel my sobriety has very little to do with a higher power "intervening".

In fact, your post got me thinking and I wrote this new thread: http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...ml#post1831743

I would love to hear your comments on it.
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:25 PM
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As an AA guy, it sounds to me like there is an awful lot of healthy recovery happening over here in the Secular connections area.
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Old 07-14-2008, 08:56 AM
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I don't believe that not being religious made me an alcoholic...so I find it absolutely annoying that the "only way" I can recover from alcohol is through finding a higher power! Sounds to me like religious people preying on people in weakened states to get them to convert.

I apologize if this offends anyone....I truly mean no offense.
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Old 07-14-2008, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by dancinggirl View Post
Sounds to me like religious people preying on people in weakened states to get them to convert.

I apologize if this offends anyone....I truly mean no offense.
Although AA is a spiritual program its quasi-religious nature dose confuse some people. I think AA works best for those who have a prior deeply established belief that is similar to those espoused in AA.

As for me, I'm unwilling to give up a belief system that gave me peace of mind even in active addiction.
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Old 07-22-2008, 08:41 AM
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i could write a (good) book on this subject. I'm an ahtiest myself and I worked AA/NA for about all of 3 months until I realized that it was doing more harm than good.

it's not even the whole GoD concept.. i'm grounded enough in my beliefs where I could honestly care less what other people say or do.

No, what got me is the mixed messages of NA/AA. you come in and it's a spiritual program not a religious one. then once you get to how it works, it's "the answer is god, let him find them now". Bill wilson rips off quotes from the Divine Comedy, goes from it's a "disease" to saying that "bottles were only a symptom" and I can go on and on.


What pisses me off is they are more concerned about the program than they are about you staying clean. you can stay clean for 6 years but ifg you aren't in NA/AA you are a dry drunk, whereas if you realaspse 5 times in 3 months you are working the program as long as you are in NA/AA. I got tired of it. I reazlied no, I didn't want what they had, and left.
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Old 07-22-2008, 08:44 AM
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it's so bad I live in a chem free house that is nothing but a recruiting ground for NA/AA. the classes you go to are NA/AA based, and the guy that is the head of the problem, called me to his office to preach to me.. litearly, about the "greatness of god" like i'm a child. I have a degree in Art History with a minor in history, with my speciality being on religous history (Art).. I know a thing or two about religon. I know enough to form my own opinion. when It became apparant that he wasn't getting anywhere he told me that I am not old enough and i am not secure enough in my thoughts to accecpt AA right now. I told him whatever.. all I know is that what I am doing now works for me. it'sl ike they don't care if you are clean or not, it does them no good if you are not clean ThEIR way. he wants so bad for me to leave/relaspse/get kicked out but i wont' give them a reason. my rent is paid 2 months in advance at all times, my room is always spotless, and I don't use and he hates it.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by VengeanceofRain View Post
it's so bad I live in a chem free house that is nothing but a recruiting ground for NA/AA. the classes you go to are NA/AA based, and the guy that is the head of the problem, called me to his office to preach to me.. litearly, about the "greatness of god" like i'm a child. I have a degree in Art History with a minor in history, with my speciality being on religous history (Art).. I know a thing or two about religon. I know enough to form my own opinion. when It became apparant that he wasn't getting anywhere he told me that I am not old enough and i am not secure enough in my thoughts to accecpt AA right now. I told him whatever.. all I know is that what I am doing now works for me. it'sl ike they don't care if you are clean or not, it does them no good if you are not clean ThEIR way. he wants so bad for me to leave/relaspse/get kicked out but i wont' give them a reason. my rent is paid 2 months in advance at all times, my room is always spotless, and I don't use and he hates it.
Sounds like you're doing great !! Remember that you don't owe any of those knuckleheads giving you krap a GD thing. If you're doing your own deal and you're successful then keep doing what you're doing. Good job !
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Old 07-22-2008, 01:21 PM
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Sorry to read the negative experience with AA/NA VengenceofRain. May I ask what program you are currently using, if any? Personally, I work SMART Recovery but there are quite a few good programs out there that help people deal with all the life issues a sober/clean life brings.
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:03 PM
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I've been using SMART for 3 months, and previously was in AA for 3 months too.

I have to at least credit AA for "breaking" me and getting me to be able to talk about my problem for the first time, it's also very immersive for newcomers, which may be helpful.

But after 3 months of being preached to, suspending my livelihood with 1-2 meetings daily, "faking it" as hard as I could, and being a little mind-twisted... I also decided I didn't want what they had.

I'm happy with SMART, the tools are useful, practical, you customize your own program, I think that might be a difficult thing to do for someone feeling completely hopeless (like I was). But now I'm sober, and *SANE*, I like that part.
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Old 07-23-2008, 12:12 AM
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I'm glad you found recovery. I can see where you are coming from. For me, I found the basic tools extremely helpful in the beginning. The fact I was working on "me" and not my addiction was a big plus when I was in the "I want to get off my meds but I'm not an addict" phase.

I did attend some great AA meetings in my early recovery though, and the guys in the meeting all were attending to keep their recovery by keeping themselves in check with one or two meetings a week. There were a couple of men who attended daily but for them it was more of a gathering where they would discuss the benefits of the program just as non-alkies and non-addicts will meet with friends at Starbucks.
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Old 07-23-2008, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by tesquizito View Post
I've been using SMART for 3 months, and previously was in AA for 3 months too.

I have to at least credit AA for "breaking" me and getting me to be able to talk about my problem for the first time, it's also very immersive for newcomers, which may be helpful.

But after 3 months of being preached to, suspending my livelihood with 1-2 meetings daily, "faking it" as hard as I could, and being a little mind-twisted... I also decided I didn't want what they had.

I'm happy with SMART, the tools are useful, practical, you customize your own program, I think that might be a difficult thing to do for someone feeling completely hopeless (like I was). But now I'm sober, and *SANE*, I like that part.
110%

I will give credit where credit is due. I took step 1. I won't say I was powerless but my life was defiantly unmanageable dealing with this damn white rock.

getting around other people who want to stay clean and understand your urges, cravings, is detrimental. that's why I still live at the chem free house otherwise I would have left a long time ago.

i am looking into the smart program, but I do my own thing.

I wake up, I meditate every morning (actually meditate, not read scriptures which isn't meditating), i reaffirm my goals everyday and see how I am doing to persue them.

I make sure i talk to someone about my recovery everyday, I make sure i read something, no matter how small, on my recovery everyday. EVERY day.

there are groups here 4 days a week, classes, and even though i don't have to go I don't' miss any. 2 hours a day.

I try to help someone whenever i can, i have a counselor here that i talk to once a week here and I have my own drug phycologist that i see once a week that i pay for myself out of pocket.

just as important as all that, I eat right now, and I work out 5 days a week. I've dropped almost 30 pounds in 4 months (was 200, I'm 175 now on the dot, i'm 5'9 so I am about 10 pounds from where i want to be), i swim 20 or so laps everyday, ride the bike for an hour and lift weights. I feel GREAT about myself. and people who feel great about themselves overall don't go out and use.

oh and I walk to the gym which is 2 and a half miles a way. so I walk 5 miles a day.
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