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ClimbingUP 10-30-2008 06:46 AM

Annoyed by religious advice?
 
Does anyone else find themselves a little annoyed by the religious aspect of AA? I guess what really bothers me is all of the religious advice I keep getting about how to stay sober. I know it comes from a good place in the people who give it, but I absolutely cannot relate to it. Okay, something just dawned on me. All of the religious advice reminds me of the advice I was given from all of my ‘religious’ aunts and uncles while growing up. They all lived relatively f*ed up, unhappy lives, and it seemed like their ‘faith’ allowed them to ignore their own responsibility or culpability in creating a dysfunctional environment. Like they were just washing their hands of their own, inherent power over their lives and, in a sense, ‘blaming’ god for all of life’s ups and downs. From an early age, I’ve had very negative beliefs towards religion. So I guess when someone gives me religious advice, I automatically react negatively. I see belief in a religious higher power as more of a mental weakness rather than a strength. I know that this is incredibly judgmental and not coming from the best place in me, but that’s my gut feeling on it.

Subscribing to a higher power just doesn’t make sense to me. It’s akin to believing in magic or the tooth fairy. I’ve only been to a few AA meetings so far, but I found myself having to bite my tongue in response to much of the advice I was given. I was even met with incredulity when I said that I was an atheist and completely comfortable with that. Then I got into this explanation of string theory and said that if I were to believe in a connection between life forces on the planet, that would be it. I hope that this doesn’t prevent me from going to meetings, because I really do need the social aspect of it. I just wish I could find a more secular meeting in my area.

Thanks2HP 10-30-2008 07:15 AM

My Humble Opinion
 
I'm not trying to persuade you to change your mind about being an atheist. That is your choice.

I just wanted to point out that AA is a spiritual program, not a religious one.

I found the following link and have included an excerpt. I think it describes the differences relatively well.

Spiritual, But Not Religious - Beliefnet.com
The word spiritual gradually came to be associated with a private realm of thought and experience while the word religious came to be connected with the public realm of membership in religious institutions, participation in formal rituals, and adherence to official denominational doctrines.
<snip>
Spirituality exists wherever we struggle with the issue of how our lives fit into the greater cosmic scheme of things. This is true even when our questions never give way to specific answers or give rise to specific practices such as prayer or meditation. We encounter spiritual issues every time we wonder where the universe comes from, why we are here, or what happens when we die. We also become spiritual when we become moved by values such as beauty, love, or creativity that seem to reveal a meaning or power beyond our visible world. An idea or practice is "spiritual" when it reveals our personal desire to establish a felt-relationship with the deepest meanings or powers governing life.


I know of at least one atheist that I see in meetings from time to time. I don't know how she deals with the "spiritual" part of the program but she seems to have found a way.

Best of luck.

ClimbingUP 10-30-2008 07:20 AM

I know that AA is not supposed to be a religiously affiliated program, but the meetings that I've been to all closed with the lord's prayer.

Basically, I was just venting and trying to find some other like minded folks. Going to AA so far has felt almost like going to a christian therapy meeting, and I can't help but feel a little removed.

legallybarb 10-30-2008 07:38 AM

Hi ClimbingUp - I am in a different 12-step program, but I can totally relate!!! I understand what Thanks2HP is talking about (spirituality v. religious), and technically it is not supposed to be a religious program, but at the end of the day, LOTS of people in program either have a religious higher power or one that from an atheist's or agnostic's perspective, may as well be.

Personally, I consider myself to be agnostic - I can't say that there isn't a god, but I sure as hell can't come to terms with any kind of deity-type god to use as my higher power because I really just do not believe it, and I cannot afford for my recovery to depend on a game of pretend. I have come to terms with simply using the program (not the fellowship or the people, but the actual 12 steps and 12 traditions) as my "higher power" - step 3 is making a commitment to live my life in accordance with the 12 steps and 12 traditions - step 11 is seeking through study and mediation (which for me is just journaling) to improve my conscious awareness and knowledge of the principles of the program, etc.

I've spent a lot of time learning how to translate the language that I tend to hear in meetings in a way that works for me - sometimes I substitute the word "god" for "program" or "principles", and sometimes I just have to remove the word "god" (like when someone says "It's in god's time" or "I'm turning it over to god", I think simply "it's not in my time" or "It's not mine to control/fix/do/etc."). On good days, it works really well and I'll even find myself sharing in meetings about what my concept of a higher power is or how I apply it to my life. I'm often surprised about who will come up to me afterward and say that he/she struggles with the same thing or how much it helped them, etc. (people who have talked about god and their relationship with god, but end up struggling because they just can't come to terms with turning their life over to what their mind has defined as god).

On bad days, I'll leave the meeting super irritated and ready to just walk away from program for good. But fortunately the bad days are fewer are farther between now - one thing that I really have to remember, which the program teaches me to do, is to always look at what my part is in something - if I'm irritated, what is it in me that is making something bother me so much? (And it doesn't mean that the other side has no responsibility, but it doesn't help me to look at what that side is.) Just like when you were talking about your family and religion growing up - it's a trigger for you when people give you religious advice - good information to have! So when someone is giving you that advice, you can either simply ignore advice or you can actually say that you appreciate their concern but religion is a sensitive topic for me or you can simply avoid those people, etc. When I have a bad day, I have to remember that religion is a trigger for me and that it sends me over the edge - then I can just feel my annoyance but it doesn't have to ruin my whole day or make me want to abandon program all together.

Just my thoughts. :)

ClimbingUP 10-30-2008 07:41 AM

Thanks Legallybarb!!

SelfSeeking 10-30-2008 07:44 AM

Ditto, Barb. I do a lot of inner translation. The Lord's Prayer doesn't bother me anymore, I just have my own little silent meditation time when I think about community or fellowship or something along those lines.

Welcome, Climbing :)

Ananda 10-30-2008 10:17 AM

yep...i'm buddhist and don't believe in "god"....I always say I was born a translator...I translate eastern concepts into western so that i can understand since i am from america...then I translate the translated budhist into the AA and AA into the buddhist....what a tangled web :lmao

Well....mostly It all comes pretty natural and I use AA, buddhism, SR and a variety of tools to stay sober each day.

Tonight I have to speak at an AA speaker meeting .... eeeeekkkks...so i'll let you know how it goes :) I'm always honest about my non-belief in god and my spiritual path, but i do try not to be defensive, pushy, or make a bit deal out of it either.

So glad you all posted today:You_Rock_

Taking5 10-30-2008 04:06 PM

I do believe in a god of sorts, but he/she/it isn't anything I have found at church or an AA meeting. Every time we have a group conscience meeting in my home group I vote to not close with the Lords Prayer, and every time I get overruled. I'd love to go to a less christian AA meeting but I don't know where to find one.

Harley3801 10-30-2008 07:49 PM


Originally Posted by ClimbingUP (Post 1963161)
Does anyone else find themselves a little annoyed by the religious aspect of AA?

I got into this explanation of string theory and said that if I were to believe in a connection between life forces on the planet, that would be it. I hope that this doesn’t prevent me from going to meetings, because I really do need the social aspect of it. I just wish I could find a more secular meeting in my area.

I found the "God talk" in AA very disturbing for years but I also needed to be with people like me . . . Everyone I knew drank so I had to give up nearly everyone I knew when I stopped drinking. I needed sober friends and meetings were the one sure way I could find them.

I've said this on these forums before and I'll say it again . . . When I first considered going to AA, I wondered whether the program could help an athiest like me . . . a very wise man with 37 years of sobriety told me not to let God get in the way of being sober. AA is a spiritual program and it's up to each of us to define a God of our own understanding, whatever that might turn out to be. I wanted to be sober more than I wanted to drink so I kept going to meetings, listening and learning and teaching myself not to resent the talk about God and instead, learning to live a healthy sober life.

I didn't even have "string theory" to use as a higher power when I got started so you're a step ahead of where I was. Today I use that "spark" at the beginning of time and the Universe in all of her glory as my Higher Power. If the "string theory" works, use it. Use whatever it takes to stay sober.

zendust 10-31-2008 04:26 AM

The "religious advice" can get to me sometimes as well. That is why my Buddhist practice is integral in clearing the mind and keeping anchored in reality.

Also reading anything by Christopher Hitchens can be like Drano after a religious-advice-filled evening. LOL!!! ;)


(BTW, beautiful avatar Harley :))

bugsworth 10-31-2008 04:40 AM

Climbingup...while I do believe in God I don't believe that God operates the way some aaers claim he does. Soooooo...I continued to attend aa strictly for the support group aspect of the program. My sobriety is not based on my faith but rather it sits squarely on my shoulders.
I knew how important my getting sober was and made a plan to attend aa regardless how faulty the theology was.
After some solid length of sobriety had been obtained I left...no worries that my sobriety was contingent on my spiritual fitness.
Do what is best for you...take what you want and leave the rest.
Best of luck!

Zencat 10-31-2008 07:07 PM

ClimbingUP Hi ClimbingUP.


Originally Posted by ClimbingUP
Does anyone else find themselves a little annoyed by the religious aspect of AA?

I used too when I was going to A.A. except I would say A.A. is quasi-religious to me.

I understand the need for peer support as it can be important in addiction treatment. I find having my beliefs (non-theist) respected in the groups I attend make going to the health clinic groups a rewarding experience. When I used to attend A.A. I expressed my beliefs in a hope that someone could relate to me. I have experience the disappointment and frustration of being given advice completely counter to my fundamental belief system. But if A.A. is the only kind of support around I guess you could work a personalized recovery program and use the meetings for some kind of support. I tried that, however I would get a lot of resistance from other A.A. members when I spoke openly in meetings about my program of psychotherapy. A few members were kinda hostel wile others poked fun of my program. Needless to say I learned to keep my program to myself until I stopped going to A.A.. So if I were to offer any advice: don't share about psychotherapeutic techniques in meetings...LOL.

Some of the things I currently do for addiction treatment is check-in here where there is good amount (but not completely http://www.mazeguy.net/silly/rollingeyes.gif) of secular support. The treatment resources I use are: SMART Tools, reading addiction research info and articles featuring psychological based coping strategies.

Anyhoo welcome to the secular side of addiction treatment and support, where I value your beliefs as is without the need or inclination to challenge them.

doorknob 10-31-2008 07:32 PM


Originally Posted by ClimbingUP (Post 1963161)
Does anyone else find themselves a little annoyed by the religious aspect of AA? I guess what really bothers me is all of the religious advice I keep getting about how to stay sober. I know it comes from a good place in the people who give it, but I absolutely cannot relate to it. Okay, something just dawned on me. All of the religious advice reminds me of the advice I was given from all of my ‘religious’ aunts and uncles while growing up. They all lived relatively f*ed up, unhappy lives, and it seemed like their ‘faith’ allowed them to ignore their own responsibility or culpability in creating a dysfunctional environment. Like they were just washing their hands of their own, inherent power over their lives and, in a sense, ‘blaming’ god for all of life’s ups and downs. From an early age, I’ve had very negative beliefs towards religion. So I guess when someone gives me religious advice, I automatically react negatively. I see belief in a religious higher power as more of a mental weakness rather than a strength. I know that this is incredibly judgmental and not coming from the best place in me, but that’s my gut feeling on it.

Subscribing to a higher power just doesn’t make sense to me. It’s akin to believing in magic or the tooth fairy. I’ve only been to a few AA meetings so far, but I found myself having to bite my tongue in response to much of the advice I was given. I was even met with incredulity when I said that I was an atheist and completely comfortable with that. Then I got into this explanation of string theory and said that if I were to believe in a connection between life forces on the planet, that would be it. I hope that this doesn’t prevent me from going to meetings, because I really do need the social aspect of it. I just wish I could find a more secular meeting in my area.

I can relate to all of that. You most likely don't have f2f meetings in your area, but I'd recommend checking out LifeRing Secular Recovery. They have a variety of resources, including online meetings, email lists, forums, and a lot of good information.

doorknob 10-31-2008 08:00 PM


Originally Posted by Thanks2HP
I'm not trying to persuade you to change your mind about being an atheist. That is your choice.

I don't believe it's really a choice, I just don't believe.


Originally Posted by legallybarb
I understand what Thanks2HP is talking about (spirituality v. religious), and technically it is not supposed to be a religious program, but at the end of the day, LOTS of people in program either have a religious higher power or one that from an atheist's or agnostic's perspective, may as well be.

Exactly.

SelfSeeking 10-31-2008 08:10 PM

I like thinking of it as a choice. I didn't arrive at atheism because I got a lightning bolt of... anti faith? After years of hearing stories in church, I was slowly convinced that the story I was hearing in science classes made more sense. I do choose to be an atheist.

Oh... I am approaching working on step 2 and then 3, the scariest steps for me! I decided if I had an imaginary friend when I was 5, I'm not too good to have one now. What the he11. I make a total fool of myself with alcohol and other people know it, why should it bother me to talk to an imaginary friend inside my head where no one else can hear me??

(Following a suggestion I read in "12 steps on Buddha's Path" by Laura S. I adore this book.)

doorknob 10-31-2008 08:14 PM

For me, theism has never been believable. It's not a choice I ever made, it's just who I am.

Stubborn1 10-31-2008 08:16 PM

I was an athiest for a very long time and you could have never told me I would be a christian let alone a methodist. My church is nuts and everytime of person goes, tatoos and all.
For me it was a feeling. I had something very bad happen to me and I was shown there was a higher power. Sometimes I have doubts which is perfectly normal. we are supposed to.
If you just ask "show yourself to me, give me a sign" something might happen.
No matter..........to me life is energy, people give off energy......feed off of that. IF they mention a Higher power then thinkg "energy". Giving it to your higher power is like releasing it out to the stars, just something bigger then you.
I hope that helped a bit. I struggled with the higher power for a while.

Zencat 10-31-2008 08:49 PM

Me too.
 
http://www.mazeguy.net/happy/veryhappy.gif

Originally Posted by SelfSeeking (Post 1965274)
I like thinking of it as a choice. I didn't arrive at atheism because I got a lightning bolt of... anti faith? After years of hearing stories in church, I was slowly convinced that the story I was hearing in science classes made more sense. I do choose to be an atheist.

I rejected the G*d myths (G*d stories) of my childhood. I did this because I have come to understand that those stores were metaphors and not facts. I also learned I could create my own metaphors as religious http://www.mazeguy.net/fantasy/flyingspaghetti.gif truths, just like people have done throughout history. But above all I am amazed by all the scientific discovery's about the world around me. And for me there is but one conclusion that stands out the most: the creation of the universe is a mystery and no explanation, religious of scientific seems to come close as to fully explain it. But the scientific explanation speaks to my heart and and just as importantly my mind, so I have chosen science.

Zencat 10-31-2008 09:10 PM


Originally Posted by Stubborn1 (Post 1965277)
I had something very bad happen to me and I was shown there was a higher power.

I too had something very bad happen to me. It was a physical emergency. As I lay near death on the emergency room bed a marvelous feeling and a wonderful experience washed over me. I cant really explain it to this day other than: this is it, all of it and when we are gone, its over. I now know that, well I'll let John Milton say it: The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make heaven of Hell, and a hell of Heaven. Today I choose to live in in heaven with being alive and a healthy plan for living.

ClimbingUP 11-01-2008 07:59 AM

I was an evolutionary biology major undergrad, so I'm with you Zencat on the virtues of science in explaining our world.

I also had a bad experience a few years ago that made me 'want' to believe in religion. My most beautiful Sammy dog died, and I completely fell apart. I wanted so badly to believe that there was a heaven or some kind of afterlife because I didn't like to think that the beautiful creature that I loved so much just ceased to exist. I still don't know where his energy went, but my lack of understanding doesn't warrant a religious conversion.

I think so many people have such a problem with not understanding their world. Religion fills those information gaps for them. I'm okay with not understanding. I feel that if I live a life where I'm true to myself and I treat people well, then that's proof that I'm my own higher power.

Ago 11-01-2008 08:32 AM

Here is a quote I put in another thread about the same question, I too "believe" in Science, but, for me, AA is a spiritual, not a religious program, I went for years not reciting "The Lord's Prayer"

Today it's just not an issue, "in" AA I can have conversations with the most "right wing" christians and actually realize quite often we are basically saying "the exact same thing" except for "their" God has a willy etc. and I "have no "God" as such, but I use the word "God" frequently as there is no other word to explain the "concept" and I don't like the words "higher power".

I just don't happen to believe in ANY Christian Dogma, heaven, or hell, saints...etc...but I do believe in enlightenment, and I do believe in a "power greater then myself" I just don't like calling it God because that has connotations of an "otherness" which I don't believe in, but I have no other word to use really.

After reading "The naked Ape" about how prayer is exactly like primate juvenile begging gestures, I just can't "pray" on my hands and knees etc,

OT: The Naked Ape is one of the best reads ever on religion and sexuality for that matter, hilarious book with tons of ah-HA moments

anyhow, "take what you like and leave the rest" for me applies to the religious aspects of the program although I embrace the spiritual aspects and basically am on the same page as Ananda from earlier in this thread.


Originally Posted by Ago (Post 1957562)
interesting thread....

so what follows is my opinion, and strictly my opinion, I'm probably wrong, I am frequently wrong and that's OK with me.

Where I got sober, and am now, we absolutely don't argue about God, it's a non issue, and I'm very sorry to see the difficulty people have with it.

We have Buddhists, Taoists, Christians etc, but we take very seriously "why don't you choose your own concept of God"

I'm a pagan...of the worst sort...I take stuff from pre-Christianity ie; druids, Taoism, Buddhism....and as Christianity sees it, "I don't believe in God", I don't believe in an otherness, or an all powerful guiding intelligence, and I share at group level "My God doesn't have a willy!!!!"

Yet I'm well respected by everyone in the program, even to people who don't always agree with me or even like me very much. It's considered a "god given" right to have my "own god" hahahaha hohohoh ...ooooh, sorry

I talk to Christians, Buddhists, and for lack of a better word I have to use the word "God" on occasion. The program was based on a Christian group, so that's the language they use...no worries, for me.

it's a non issue.

I have been to meetings all over California, England, London, Liverpool, Scotland, Mexico, New York, in airports...

it's never been an issue with me, anywhere.

two stories, one, a guy goes to a monastery to get "peaceful" he tries to meditate but is unable to, one day he's talking to his teacher, teach asks him how he's doing, he says " I can't concentrate with all this noise, the cars driving by, the chanting going on outside, that school down the street with all the kids playing, it all bothers me, I don't see how any of you people can be peaceful with all this racket.

The teacher says, "are they really coming in here and bothering you, or are you going out and "fighting" with them?"

second, The Buddha says his teachings are like a raft, and after you cross the stream it's best to set the raft down, ie why are you carrying the raft on your head after it no longer serves it's purpose. He also said "people with strong opinions just run around and bother other people.

So, yeah, just like anywhere, in AA there are "emotional cripples" that try to get you to see things "their way" or will use AA to "sell" their particular brand of religion, they get shut down pretty fast.

As I see it, My Primary purpose is "to stay sober and help others achieve sobriety" and if that means shutting down someone who is trying to peddle his particular brand of religion, I got NO problem with that.

The "chair" at the meeting the other night had as his topic, "what is your concept of God"

My share was "My concept of God is none of your business, just like your concept of God is none of mine, If someone would have tried to push all this "God" crap down my throat at my first meeting, I would have bolted. What I was told was, don't worry about the word God there on the steps, take what you need and leave the rest. Time enough to cross the third step when you come to it.

The steps produce a "spiritual awakening" the definition in the book being "the personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism"

The steps work mathematically, they work, they really do, and for the steps to work, they need a "power greater then yourself" it doesn't matter what that power is, I usually suggest to my sponsees if they want instant access to a power greater then themselves they stick their tongue in an electrical outlet.

I could have the giant flying spaghetti monster as "my god" and it wouldn't matter "in my experience"

Alkie number 100 that fought tooth and nail to have "god as we understood him" put in the steps saved my life, he went up against all 99 of those other alcoholics to put that in, and If on occasion I need to be that 1 in 100 I just hope I have the same courage and conviction as he did to fight for what I believe in like he did.

Anyhow, to sum up, I don't believe in God, as Christians know "God", yet have no problem with the word God, nor with anyone in the program about their concept of Godand No One, NO ONE has EVER told me I needed to get "their" God in the program except once, and truthfully I offered to give him a black eye (it was a long time ago and I had stated I was angry at God for letting my sobriety brother Die, I was crying and sharing at a meeting and I was on my way to his funeral and some old dumb F**K countered shared me and said I needed to get AA's God, "God as WE understood him so after the meeting I might have mentioned if he was young I would have popped him in the eye, but that was ONE guy in ONE meeting in 16 years.

anyway, if anyone did try to push their God on me I'd laugh in their face, or convince them with a straight face that the flying spaghetti monster is my God and work on converting them but I'm evil that way, I'm just sorry to see it causes so many issues for so many.

bb quotes 1st edition


Thanks2HP 11-01-2008 09:34 AM


Originally Posted by Thanks2HP
I'm not trying to persuade you to change your mind about being an atheist. That is your choice.

Originally Posted by doorknob (Post 1965266)
I don't believe it's really a choice, I just don't believe.

We are all entitled to our beliefs. I also believe that "not choosing" is still making a choice. Since you know that there are many many people that do believe then it seems to me you are aware that there is something "to believe in" or something "that others believe in" and choose to "just don't believe".

I do not mean this as an insult and don't wish to offend. I really like this site because it offers so many different viewpoints about life and recovery. I'd like to think that we all come here for help and to help one another in our journey, hopefully without conflict. I readily admit that I may not be right on just about anything & I'm making my way as best I can as we all are.

I wish you well.

ClimbingUP 11-01-2008 09:47 AM

I can understand where doorknob is coming from. For some people, to call their belief system a choice is to trivialize what they believe in. It's like telling someone who's gay that they have merely 'chosen' a gay lifestyle over a heterosexual one.

BaldHeadedJohn 11-01-2008 10:24 AM

ClimbingUP;
Allow me to relate my story.
I am not 'secular' by the definition. I practice Wicca, an Earth-based natural religion. I attended AA for a long time, the longest of which was 18 months, and held service positions, was GSR of my home group, went to detox meetings, etc.
In Wicca, we ascribe to a higher force that is both male and female. That we are part of it, not apart from it. That through prayer and ritual, our thoughts and desires can be manifested. The idea that a god be only male is not something that I can accept. And the idea that diety would take a personal interest in my drinking was absolutley absurd.
I've heard in AA meetings that god was doing for someone something that they could not do for themselves. I simply didn't believe it. And when my feelings on the matter became known, I was pretty much shunned at meetings.
I have my own beliefs, and when they began to contradict AA orthodoxy, I knew it was time to leave.
I never liked the idea of closing a meeting with the Lord's Prayer (religious, not spiritual).
There was a lady who insisted god was female, and would say "God as we undestood God" instead of "God as we undestand Him". She too got many dirty looks, and some unflattering comments when she would drive into the parking lot. I felt bad for her, as she had some long term sobriety, but wasn't accpeted into the God's a Guy fold.
Looking into LifeRing- I have their workbook "Recovery by Choice", as well as read "Beyond the Influence" and "Above the Influence". All three are wonderful.
You do not have to change your beliefs to quit drinking. You are more powerful than you think, my friend!

Blessings.
BHJ

Ago 11-01-2008 05:37 PM

bhj...hehe...I just remembered I called one of my best friends tall bald john or tbj for years until he changed his name to something else.

Anyhow, ....about 15 years ago my father called me and said, "son, I'm a taoist"

I was like great, the old coot has finally slipped his leash.

He said, "Son, you're a taoist too, although you don't know it"

that's when I knew the old bastid had truly gone around the bend.

Truthfully, within a year or so, I realized I was a taoist strictly of the old "lao tzu" variety, as in "**** happens" that's it, that's the basic tenet of taoism, along with "the way things are" can't be explained, any more then I can explain the steps, I had to do them in order to get the effects produced by them.

anyhooow, I also suscribe to many tenets of "Wiccan Spirituality" however, my first Grandsponsor explained to me again and again, rigorous honesty is essential but I don't "lead with my chin" in that, just like I wrote earlier, my concept of God is no one else's business, just like their concept is none of mine.

If I start sharing about Taoism, Druids, Wiccan, Buddhism, I am doing the very same thing I am being intolerant of in others if they share about "christian based" beliefs.

Here I am being self rightous and indignant about them being non accepting of my beliefs while I try to push my beliefs on the group, and being angry if they come at me "with all this God nonsense"

If someone else shares something I don't like, if I have a problem with it, it's my problem, I can't control them, the only thing I have control over is me and my reactions.

If someone's faith in "God" gives them relief, and helps them be a better person, who am I to challenge that?

By the way, this only seems to apply to me in AA, outside of AA i seem to have the same intolerance of bigotry, stupidity, religious narrow mindedness, evangelicals etc trying for example to get evolution knocked out of schools, praying to cardboard cut outs of Dubya etc., now here's where it gets tricky for me.

I always display the character defect I'm professing to "look down" on in some form.

I'm bigoted against bigots, intolerant of intolerance, the bad news for me was finding out the spiritual axiom applies to me as well, If I'm upset, there's something wrong with me.

Anyhow, I don't "parade" my beliefs at meetings, and try not to let others beliefs bother me as well, and I "respect the house I am in" and that way it has been a "non-issue" for me for many years.

doorknob 11-01-2008 05:47 PM

I don't have a conception of god, and have no desire to make one up or pretend that I do. Neither do I have spiritual beliefs. I need a secular program and a secular support group, and this is the secular forum. :)

least 11-01-2008 06:01 PM

I sometimes have problems with certain members in some AA meetings who are very religious, to the point of disrespecting my own religious beliefs or telling me bluntly I'm wrong or I'm not 'saved'. I just try to keep in mind that these people are members of AA and not AA itself. My belief in God has come and gone and come back again. But my religious views have a portion of other religions and beliefs - especially Buddhism. I find a lot of comfort in the Eastern religions/spiritual practices, or whatever you call them.

That said, if you need AA's social support network, by all means go. You don't have to say any prayers at all and if anyone "gets religious" on you you can just say that you have your own faith and don't need theirs. I know what you mean tho, to some members AA is an extension of their church. I just take what I need and leave the rest - and I never apologize for my beliefs.

I hope this helped a little.:a194:

Live 11-01-2008 06:55 PM

I would like to thank everyone for their contribution to this thread.

To legally Barb, I would like to offer a standing ovation!!!!!

To Doorknob's earlier post, about it not being a choice...he said it much better...Doorknob, I understand completely and want to validate what you said. It makes perfect sense to me.

To the Buddhists, I watched some broadcasts of His Holiness not long ago and when his religion was brought up he answered with "That's confidential." with a simple smile and simply went on.

It was so effective...that from now on ......my answer is...awwww. ..you guessed it :)

I do not attend any meetings so I am applying this here at SR.
I try to avoid the subject at all if possible.

And I loved Ago's last share! ROFLMAO!

I, too, have learned how to finesse the issue here for the most part and be very tolerant, or deaf.

But out in the real world.......I hear you, except I cannot agree with what you said about being bigoted about bigots. My social and ethical conscience cannot allow me to "give silent agreement to" bigotry.
I WILL confront it. My usual tactic is to say, excuse me, you are talking about one of my best friends. This is an unexpected statement and often gives me a gentle platform to speak from.

I am grateful to be a part of this thread.

Thank you,
live/Tena

Ago 11-01-2008 11:35 PM


Originally Posted by liveweyerd (Post 1966147)

But out in the real world.......I hear you, except I cannot agree with what you said about being bigoted about bigots. My social and ethical conscience cannot allow me to "give silent agreement to" bigotry.
I WILL confront it. My usual tactic is to say, excuse me, you are talking about one of my best friends. This is an unexpected statement and often gives me a gentle platform to speak from.

Thank you for your reply and the kudos,

I actually said

I'm bigoted against bigots, intolerant of intolerance, the bad news for me was finding out the spiritual axiom applies to me as well, If I'm upset, there's something wrong with me.
and I am, I am intolerant of sexism, homophobia, racism etc. and I don't know if you gleaned from my last two replies here I don't have too big a problem with "confrontation" although I try and be gentle, I will confront, usually along the same lines as how you deal with it, and whenever possible won't "allow" bigotry, sexism etc to go by unchallenged, HOWEVER I do notice and find amusing I am having the very same character defect as the one I am confronting in a very real sense every single time as I'm being intolerant of another's beliefs because I think they are wrong.

I feel superior to self righteous smug Christians that feel superior to me because they are going to heaven while I am going to fry in the worst depths of Hell....it just goes on and on...and I truly do find it amusing.

@ Doorknob: I hear you and apologize, this is the secular forum, and upon rereading I realized I was trying to "sell my product", which is just religious/spiritual tolerance but that forum is two doors down on the right, :lmao my bad

For me, I was unable to put together any real "long term sobriety" where I was actually happy without AA and the steps, when I quit drinking without AA i am miserable, isolating, glum, and I can't get laid for the life of me....:lmao....whereas with AA, meetings, working the steps, etc. I do get "the promises" and my life gets good, I can "not drink" and actually get mentally healthy and happy, I've just never been able to do so without it, and that hasn't been for lack of trying, I always end so miserable eventually that drinking actually was a viable alternative.

So, for me, it's no big deal to have to hear the word "God" a few times a night if in return I get a life that's so vastly superior to my old one I can't compare the two.

Of course if I could still drink like I used to, it would be a non issue as well, and the only time I would have to hear the word God it would have "oh my" next to it and be in bed, and that's OK too.


seriously though, my mistake.

However.....

the flying spaghetti monster needs converts and money though, and God needs your money, and with just a small donation....oh never mind....

doorknob 11-02-2008 11:48 AM


Originally Posted by Ago (Post 1966323)
@ Doorknob: I hear you and apologize, this is the secular forum, and upon rereading I realized I was trying to "sell my product", which is just religious/spiritual tolerance but that forum is two doors down on the right, :lmao my bad

No worries, I almost deleted that post. I didn't want to run anyone off, not that I could, lol.


For me, I was unable to put together any real "long term sobriety" where I was actually happy without AA and the steps, when I quit drinking without AA i am miserable, isolating, glum, and I can't get laid for the life of me....:lmao....whereas with AA, meetings, working the steps, etc. I do get "the promises" and my life gets good, I can "not drink" and actually get mentally healthy and happy, I've just never been able to do so without it, and that hasn't been for lack of trying, I always end so miserable eventually that drinking actually was a viable alternative.
I don't know about the steps, but I definitely need and crave the group interaction. I wish the Spokane area had just a few of the LifeRing meetings that the Bay Area has. I was born and raised in Oakland, and took many drives to Muir Beach with my dog. At that point I was still enjoying my using and knew nothing about LifeRing. I did have the opportunity several years back to attend a few meetings while I was visiting family.


So, for me, it's no big deal to have to hear the word "God" a few times a night if in return I get a life that's so vastly superior to my old one I can't compare the two.
Hearing the word 'God' is one thing, but I have a really hard time with the proselytizing, patronizing, and condescension that comes from so many members, especially when my sobriety is tenuous at best. They may as well hand me a 40 oz and tell me to kick rocks.


Of course if I could still drink like I used to, it would be a non issue as well, and the only time I would have to hear the word God it would have "oh my" next to it and be in bed, and that's OK too.


seriously though, my mistake.

However.....

the flying spaghetti monster needs converts and money though, and God needs your money, and with just a small donation....oh never mind....
Don't leave out the Invisible Pink Unicorn!


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