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Studying my DOC

Old 04-29-2009, 03:32 PM
  # 101 (permalink)  
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I do understand your point about the religious aspects of AA and how that may not appeal to some people. I can only tell you that not all AA meetings are like the one you went to. AA meetings ares simply a microcosm of the area around them. I have troubles where I live right now because it is very rural and seems very closed minded. I have lived in large areas most of my life and have found more people who are open to different ideas ( its a numbers thing). I don't believe AA comes close to being religious. I do not believe in a deity, but consider myself spiritual, AA literature is full of stories about people who identify themselves as athiest are quite spiritual, here is an excerpt from one:

Many years ago a so-called "unbeliever" brought me to see this very clearly. He was an M.D. and a fine one. I met him and his wife Mary at the home of a friend in a midwestern city. It was purely a social evening. Our fellowship of alcoholics was my sole topic and I pretty much monopolized the conversation. Nevertheless, the doctor and his lady seemed truly interested and he asked many questions. But one of them made me suspect that he was an agnostic, or maybe an atheist.

This promptly triggered me, and I set out to convert him, then and there. Deadly serious, I actually bragged about my spectacular spiritual experience of the year before. The doctor mildly wondered if that experience might not be something other than I thought it was. This hit me hard, and I was downright rude. There had been no real provocation; the doctor was uniformly courteous, good humored and even respectful. Not a little wistfully, he said he often wished he had a firm faith, too. But plainly enough, I had convinced him of nothing.

Three years later I revisited my midwestern friend. Mary, the doctor's wife, came by for a call and I learned that he had died the week before. Much affected, she began to speak of him.

His was a noted Boston family, and he'd been Harvard educated. A brilliant student, he might have gone on to fame in his profession. He could have enjoyed a wealthy practice and a social life among old friends. Instead, he had insisted on being a company doctor in what was a strife-torn industrial town. When Mary had sometimes asked why they didn't go back to Boston, he would take her hand and say, "Maybe you are right, but I can't bring myself to leave. I think the people at the company really need me."

Mary then recalled that she had never known her husband to complain seriously about anything, or to criticize anyone bitterly. Though he appeared to be perfectly well, the doctor had slowed down in his last five years. When Mary prodded him to go out evenings, or tried to get him to the office on time, he always came up with a plausible and good-natured excuse. Not until his sudden last illness did she know that all this while he had carried about a heart condition that could have done him in at any moment. Except for a single doctor on his own staff, no one had an inkling. When she reproached him about this, he simply said, "Well, I could see no good in causing people to worry about me - especially you, my dear."

This was the story of a man of great spiritual worth. The hallmarks were plain to be seen: humor and patience, gentleness and courage, humility and dedication, unselfishness and love - a demonstration I might never come near to making myself. This was the man I had chided and patronized. This was the "unbeliever" I had presumed to instruct!


You can read the whole story at:

AA History - The Dilemma of No Faith - Bill W., 1961

What is interesting to me is that the spiritual lesson this man taught Bill could not happen in any religion I know of, but I am admittedly no authority on the subject
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Old 04-29-2009, 03:41 PM
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I know this is REALLY nerdy, but I started this thread and I am really proud we're on page 5 now. Not that it really had anything to do with me, but it's cool anyway.
The real victory is that there is no arguing yet ( fingers crossed!)
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Old 04-29-2009, 03:45 PM
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Navysteve,

It is AA's insistence on finding a HP that makes it intolerably religious to me. I know there are a number of secular people who are successful in AA by choosing their HP to be their dog or something like that, but to me it's blatantly religious. I do not trust my dog to take care of my alcohol issues any more than I would trust a god to do so. Hence, the religious bent is something that I cannot accept for my recovery. There are other reasons I do not do AA, and what I do works for me. And that's the whole point of recovery.
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Old 04-29-2009, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by navysteve View Post
The real victory is that there is no arguing yet ( fingers crossed!)
I think we've done pretty well so far. Knock on wood though. I think you're tempting fate.
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Old 04-29-2009, 03:53 PM
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I know there are a number of secular people who are successful in AA
I met an athiest in AA who told me that truth was his higher power. I definitely could not argue with that. A Dog, cat, or dare I say doorknob may draw a comment from me.

A power greater then me could be "we". I think you will find that AA is a bit more inclusive, especially if you are an alcoholic. I have been to some great Agnostic AA meetings.

OK, AA has a huge religious influence, so do calendars, so does farming, so does everything we come from. It all goes back to religion.
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Old 04-29-2009, 03:54 PM
  # 106 (permalink)  
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This thread is moving dangerously close to being locked. Let's all try to keep our ideas on the original post by geiss:

Originally Posted by gneiss View Post
I don't even know what the point of this post is, mostly just babbling. Perhaps someone will have something interesting in reply?

I guess I'm just a nerd at heart, but ever since quitting drugs I have become keenly interested in actually learning about their effects on the body, particularly meth since it was my DOC. It's almost like learning about my drug has replaced the actual drug. So often what I find is information and lots of well-intended misinformation that is caught up in a lot of politics and scare-tactics to frighten people who are thinking about trying drugs. It's hard to find any real solid information that wasn't written to scare people away.

When I read some of this stuff it worries me though. Say you have a kid, 15 years old perhaps, who is curious. They read this stuff (or maybe learned it from their DARE officer) and it does not scare them off, or at least not enough. So they try it. All the info they read does not really prepare them because a lot of it was intended to scare them away. They find out drugs are kind of fun and now not only are you fighting their desire to have fun but also a perceived lack of credibility on the part of authority figures.

And I can't help but think I'd rather have a cleaned-up druggie teach kids about drugs than have a cop teach them. A cop can tell me a lot of reasons to stay off drugs. A druggie makes the story real. Here I am almost 4 months since I really honestly quit (2 months since last use) and I still have sores on my scalp that won't heal. A cop can tell me how dangerous it is, but he can't tell me about the terrifying hallucinations and the crash after a week spent high with no sleep, about how miserable it was to take my physics final while crashing. About how I looked out the window one night and swore there were about 600 cops, 3 helicopters, and 50 drug dogs out looking for me. It was a hallucination.

I also know I'm not the right druggie to teach kids about it because I still look back at some of those incidents and laugh. Drugs are horrible but... damn. I had a lot of fun doing them.

The problem is that when reading about it occasionally I actually want some. The good news is that I have cut out the people I know who still use. Deleted their numbers, changed my own number and have no way to contact my old dealers now. And it never lasts more than a few minutes. I think about heating up the pipe, rolling it between my thumb and fingers so the meth doesn't burn and I can almost taste it in my mouth. Reading about snorting it makes my eyes water. I'm glad I never used needles, gawd knows what would happen then!
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Old 04-29-2009, 03:58 PM
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I don't even know what the point of this post is, mostly just babbling.
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Old 04-29-2009, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Alera View Post
This thread is moving dangerously close to being locked. Let's all try to keep our ideas on the original post by geiss:
Wow, that's kind of scary. Sure, it's gotten away from the original topic, but it has generated some really great discussion. People start talking and things go in different directions. Maybe I should read the rules with which I'm sure I tacitly agreed.
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Old 04-29-2009, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by doorknob View Post
Originally Posted by gneiss
I don't even know what the point of this post is, mostly just babbling.
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Old 04-29-2009, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by keithj View Post
Wow, that's kind of scary. Sure, it's gotten away from the original topic, but it has generated some really great discussion. People start talking and things go in different directions. Maybe I should read the rules with which I'm sure I tacitly agreed.
It has generated some great discussion. Sadly, some of the posts also are bashing other programs. I have deleted some of the posts already.

Here is a description of Secular Connections:

Alternatives to 12 Step Recovery
LifeRing-Smart-SOS, CBT, Problem Solving, Self Management, Self-Empowerment, Rational Thinking, Positive Lifestyle Changes, Self Assessment, Commitment and Follow-Through, Self-Acceptance, Motives and Goals, Peer Support
Please notice the emphasis is on secular recovery and lifestyle changes, not discussion of other programs.
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Old 04-29-2009, 04:17 PM
  # 111 (permalink)  
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I really didn't think anything was wrong with it. I did start by saying my post was pretty much babbling anyway, but so far I think people have been pretty respectful. As far as I could tell we are far from where we started but that's a pretty normal conversation. I don't think there's anything wrong with discussing the differential aspects of recovery programs as long as no one is "flaming" or getting too out of line. And I couldn't figure out what had been deleted from scrolling through the pages. I didn't notice program-bashing but if I said anything to make anyone upset I apologize. It was definitely not my intention.

(Flaming... I've always used it in reference to someone-- usually male-- who is blatantly, obviously gay. I mean wears-pride-parade-costume-to-work kind of gay. It's strange to use it in reference to a message board )
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Old 04-29-2009, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Phaleron View Post
If we reduce all of these tools down to their cores I'm willing to wager that nearly everyone here is a recovery pragmatist.
Yeah, that fits me perfectly. I only work the program I work because it has worked so well for me. If it didn't, I'd have cast it into the pile of everything else that didn't work. Studying my DOC (see how I worked that in to keep Alera happy ) or having labels is only useful if it leads me to a solution that works.

And really, with my particular recovery program, that alcoholic definition and what it means in the context of that program is the foundation of my recovery. I need to cling to that definition to make the rest of it work.

I used to think that I needed to understand my addiction, to understand how recovery worked, to understand a lot of things. Today I try not to think too hard. I do a bunch of silly little things that seem to have no relation to my alcohol use, and I experience freedom. Life took on new meaning. And as a bonus, the alcohol problem was solved. So, I don't question it much and try not to get lost in understanding it. I just do it because it works so well. That's as pragmatic as it gets.
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Old 04-29-2009, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by keithj View Post
So, I don't question it much and try not to get lost in understanding it. I just do it because it works so well. That's as pragmatic as it gets.
That's how I passed calculus.

It's not so much that I wanted to understand my drug use as a way to "unlock" my recovery. I've just gotten interested in what happens physiologically when I got high. I don't even know why it matters so much. I killed a lot of brain cells though, that's for sure. And I don't think I had many to spare.
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Old 04-29-2009, 04:53 PM
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I too became interested in learning about drug addiction. I wanted to understand the very thing that turned me into a hopeless dope fiend. Knowing as much I can understand about how a drugs action effects the brain and in turn behavior pointed me in the proper direction for addiction treatment.
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Old 04-29-2009, 04:57 PM
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I thank you all for a good conversation. I don't see a thing wrong with where it went. I appreciate when we show each other that we do indeed respect views not aligned with our own.
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Old 04-29-2009, 05:08 PM
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Navysteve—

I really liked your story about the M.D. I think it was a good addition to the conversation.
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Old 04-29-2009, 05:18 PM
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I think people get really hung up on the language of everything. I know that I can and I certainly did to a much greater extent earlier on. I am not in AA but the more that I come to know about AA and "the program" the more I feel that my program is almost the same. But then again I don't understand as was happening earlier the point of arguing (or comparing) between the AA program and willpower. How do you tell the difference? [<-- does this question make sense]

I don't formally do the steps or have a sponsor but there is some spiritual aspect to my program, that is not forced by me, a girl born in NorCal who has been to church about five times in her life. It just has sort of naturally come and honestly, thank god. I have been to a couple AA meetings and when people there talk about connecting to their higher power, I'll be honest, I don't get it. I don't understand the language. It makes no sense to me. I don't sit around and talk to someone above me. I don't feel like I have found God or anything like that. So why do I say there seems to be a spiritual aspect to my program? I think because more than anything, I feel more connected to life or Life. And I can't exactly find another word to describe it. Maybe I a just using it by default because everyone else calls it that. But I don't really relate to the wording of higher power so I am not going to use it. However, I am not going to get frustrated when other people do and I think I understand it as a similar change to the one I am having. But each person is different. Each person finds different language to describe their experience and sometimes, often times I think people end up arguing over language when their experiences are fundamentally the same.
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Old 04-29-2009, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by zencat View Post
I too became interested in learning about drug addiction. I wanted to understand the very thing that turned me into a hopeless dope fiend.
Now I'm just a dopeless hope fiend.

I agree with the others, thanks for the respectful conversation, everyone. Please continue it! I'm leaving for a little while but I will be back prob tomorrow sometime. I look forward to reading more on this one.
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Old 04-29-2009, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by gneiss View Post
Now I'm just a dopeless hope fiend.
I remember hearing that one before

My fave's are: my drug of choice were your drugs and...getting a date in NA: the odds are good but the goods are odd.
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Old 04-30-2009, 03:59 AM
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I really liked your story about the M.D. I think it was a good addition to the conversation
It's in Language of the Heart
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