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Why is it so hard to find real life secular support groups?

Old 12-03-2011, 06:47 PM
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hey good to see you DK

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Old 12-03-2011, 06:47 PM
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Right back atcha, D!
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Old 12-03-2011, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by doorknob View Post
They aren't excluded from any that I know of. Religious beliefs are OT for secular recovery meetings, so a persons faith or lack thereof is not relevant.
They usually are excluded by implication, especially if a program is associated with a parent organization that promotes Secular Humanism. Why should religious beliefs automatically be off topic? They may be quite relevant to a particular person's recovery. I ask this as a staunch atheist, BTW, the kind that doesn't even do new age spirituality.
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Old 12-04-2011, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Terminally Unique View Post
They usually are excluded by implication, especially if a program is associated with a parent organization that promotes Secular Humanism. Why should religious beliefs automatically be off topic? They may be quite relevant to a particular person's recovery. I ask this as a staunch atheist, BTW, the kind that doesn't even do new age spirituality.
For the same reason that politics would be off topic. It's inherently divisive, even at family dinner tables. I think in many situations it is better for a person to treat their religious beliefs or lack thereof like their genitals, keep them private. I've known a couple of people who were religious but preferred secular recovery groups for that reason. That said, in my experience, no one is attacked or alienated at a LifeRing meeting for bringing up religion, so long as they aren't proselytizing.
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Old 12-04-2011, 08:04 AM
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There is a difference between the principles of a group being secular, and the spiritual beliefs of its members. Trimpey, for example, is quite religious, isn't he? Yet RR does not require belief in a higher power.
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Old 12-04-2011, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by onlythetruth View Post
There is a difference between the principles of a group being secular, and the spiritual beliefs of its members. Trimpey, for example, is quite religious, isn't he? Yet RR does not require belief in a higher power.
One of the things I found interesting about the Journal of Rational Recovery is that you would literally have articles by fundamentalist Christians alongside those of staunch atheists. Part of the American addiction quagmire is that finding spirituality/religion has been placed as an obstacle to recovery, suggesting that if you don't get spirituality, you won't get recovery, either. I think, though, that as long as this is not the case, that there is no need to react in the opposite direction and rule religion out. Historically, addiction has been the purview of religion, after all, and addicted people's perceptions of addiction will be shaped by this fact.
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Old 12-04-2011, 09:35 AM
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I think the religion/philosophy thing has to be addressed sooner or later in recovery. Sooner if your personal view of the universe is not compatible with recovery, or later if you can make some progress with your view intact. However, I suspect it is a rare addict that can get comfortable in sobriety without some serious navel gazing along the way.
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Old 12-04-2011, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by recycle View Post
I think the religion/philosophy thing has to be addressed sooner or later in recovery. Sooner if your personal view of the universe is not compatible with recovery, or later if you can make some progress with your view intact. However, I suspect it is a rare addict that can get comfortable in sobriety without some serious navel gazing along the way.
What personal view of the cosmos would not be compatible with recovery?
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Old 12-04-2011, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Terminally Unique View Post
Part of the American addiction quagmire is that finding spirituality/religion has been placed as an obstacle to recovery, suggesting that if you don't get spirituality, you won't get recovery, either.
Indeed. It is also assumed that a person who has a belief in God will naturally want to be in a religion-based program, but that is also not true. I believe in God, yet I have no interest in religion whether or not it comes in the form of a recovery program.
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Old 12-04-2011, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by doorknob View Post
What personal view of the cosmos would not be compatible with recovery?
An inflexible one. To be comfortable in sobriety, I had to limber up a number of my long held notions about truth, right, and responsibility. It has been a constant process of moving between theory and practice - between cognition and direct experience.
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Old 12-04-2011, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by recycle View Post
An inflexible one. To be comfortable in sobriety, I had to limber up a number of my long held notions about truth, right, and responsibility. It has been a constant process of moving between theory and practice - between cognition and direct experience.
You said the universe, but now it sounds like you are talking about morality.
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Old 12-17-2011, 05:07 PM
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Great discussion here!

I have been involved in starting groups (recovery and other) and it is a labor of love. It takes time, commitment, money, and faith (not the religious kind) but a firm belief that there is a need/desire for such a group, and it is worth making the effort to create one.

I would suggest that anyone starting such a group try to find two other committed people to help with establishing it. That way, nearly all of the time, at least one person would be available to show up, open doors, etc until a core group forms.

I sat a LOT of nights in an unheated room in a basement keeping a meeting open in a community that seemed ripe for such an opportunity.

There are so many factors involved, that it is hard to predict if a group will take off. If you try and it doesn't gel...maybe try again in six months, of try a different location or day of the week. Hopefully you will hit on a formula that works in that community. It truly takes dedication, a sense of humor doesn't hurt either.

And I find it it always best to gather people for a positive purpose. Be there for recovery. Share true secular recovery. Don't degenerate into a group where people come to knock other programs and talk about what doesn't work. Good energy!
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Old 12-18-2011, 05:54 PM
  # 73 (permalink)  
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Thanks, Threshold, for the advice and the encouragement. Looking back over this thread, I have to say, I did at points see the prospect of starting a secular group as rather hopeless at points, as I read about RR and that jack stumpy guy and all the splinter groups and fighting, and I thought: Now that's not what I want! What was wanted was what you indicated: positive energy. It could also be a place to talk about what we didn't find helpful about aspects of other groups we experienced, but more than that, a place to move beyond that, and break through the strictures and limitations as opposed to merely complain about them.

I was thinking: I wonder how I might find a few other people interested in helping...any ideas, here? I could try and recruit outside of existing meetings that can not be named here, but I'd worry about people wanting to infiltrate, just to try and cause problems, and make it fail...something I have thought about...

Well, all a person can do is try; in a city of such a huge size, with so much drug and alcohol abuse, I think a secular approach would serve many people.
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Old 12-19-2011, 06:32 PM
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When I got involved in secular recovery (SMART) I let go of a lot of my preconceived ideas about addictive behavior, the biggest being that it requires lifelong membership in a group. I still occassinally attend a meeting but they are becoming fewer and farther apart, I'm basically "graduating" as SMART puts it and becoming independent of the group. The other major recovery group relies upon a revolving door of lifelong membership and discourages independence in order to maintain it's numbers and meetings. In some very real respects secular group growth can be hampered by their own success as they do not rely upon growth via the evangelization efforts of members and the successful members simply move on with their lives upon achieving their goals.
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Old 12-19-2011, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by HuskyPup View Post
Thanks, Threshold, for the advice and the encouragement. Looking back over this thread, I have to say, I did at points see the prospect of starting a secular group as rather hopeless at points, as I read about RR and that jack stumpy guy and all the splinter groups and fighting, and I thought: Now that's not what I want! What was wanted was what you indicated: positive energy. It could also be a place to talk about what we didn't find helpful about aspects of other groups we experienced, but more than that, a place to move beyond that, and break through the strictures and limitations as opposed to merely complain about them.

I was thinking: I wonder how I might find a few other people interested in helping...any ideas, here? I could try and recruit outside of existing meetings that can not be named here, but I'd worry about people wanting to infiltrate, just to try and cause problems, and make it fail...something I have thought about...

Well, all a person can do is try; in a city of such a huge size, with so much drug and alcohol abuse, I think a secular approach would serve many people.
I've thought too at times about how great something like that would be. A secular recovery group not tied to any agenda, methodology, theory of addiction, etc. Just positive energy and sharing about stuff that's helped. Maybe meetup.com (or something like that) would be a place to start.
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Old 12-20-2011, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Augie View Post
I've thought too at times about how great something like that would be. A secular recovery group not tied to any agenda, methodology, theory of addiction, etc. Just positive energy and sharing about stuff that's helped.
LifeRing would be the closest to this sort of thing.
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Old 12-20-2011, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Terminally Unique View Post
LifeRing would be the closest to this sort of thing.
Hey that looks cool -- thanks!
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Old 12-20-2011, 08:50 PM
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I went to a few LifeRing groups and loved that there was no set program. It was so freeing to sit and talk about alcoholism and recovery without a set program. They tend to focus more on what each individual can do to help support their own sobriety.

I'm so curious if meetup.com could work to set up a support or social group for non-drinkers or for people in recovery. I avoid lots of meetup groups because of the alcohol. (meetup.com is an online way of organizing in-person social events. it's not recovery-oriented)
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Old 12-20-2011, 10:19 PM
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'meetup.com is an online way of organizing in-person social events. it's not recovery-oriented'

That sounds perfect. Why not use that to form weekly get-togethers?
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Old 12-24-2011, 03:13 PM
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I did a search for "sober" on meetup.com and found an "Alcohol-Free" group in my area, with > 250 members. Looks like they're about social outings for sober folk and there's no mention of any purpose beyond getting us all together. Encouraging!
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