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I worked my 2nd step this weekend.

Old 07-10-2006, 01:24 PM
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I worked my 2nd step this weekend.

Being devoutly non-religious, I have always been stand offish when Higher Power or God would come up in discussion with my fellow recovering addicts. I'd always run the maxim "spiritual, not religious program" through my head to keep me from popping off, so naturally steps 2 and 3 have always been kinda rough for me. I have a different sponsor this time and his views more closely align with mine on the religion thing (he is also a recovering catholic )
  • "we came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity"
So naturally when I read that I heard, "you have to believe in god and believe that he will fix you in order to recover." WRONG....

After going through all the step work he assigned me we got on the topic of religion and how none of the steps say anything about religion and how the word "god" isn't even in the 2nd step. It simply says that....well i already posted it above.....anyway I'm a very tangible kinda guy that wants stuff backed up with proof and cold hard facts, naturally "the Divine" is something I haven't invested much stock in.

What we came to a conclusion about is this. I can believe in Narcotics Anonymous b/c I can see people get better over time the longer I stick around, I can see drug addicts like me that have been in recovery for 20 some odd years and I can see them living happy and productive lives not controlled by drugs, I can see people go through horrible **** and not get loaded b/c of this program. This is all factual evidence that NA works. NA is a power greater than my self b/c it is built on the experience, strength and hope of millions of other addicts that came before me, it contains simple wisdom that is applicable to daily life. I can then make the logical jump that if NA is a power that is greater than myself and it has helped people before me regain some sanity, then it meets the requirements called for in the 2nd step and it can help me regain some sanity.

Now how does one allow NA to help them get better? By following suggestion, using a sponsor, working steps, going to meetings, doing service work, working with my sponsee, calling up people in recovery and asking for help when I need it, keeping myself in close contact with NA.....but that's getting into the 3rd step and I'm not there yet.

Just wanted to post this as my experience working through a 12 step program and being extremely non-religious.

later,
blake
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Old 07-10-2006, 01:51 PM
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Thanks for sharing Blake.

Last edited by historyteach; 07-11-2006 at 01:20 AM.
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Old 07-10-2006, 02:22 PM
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Thumbs up

I have never believed in the old white haired bearded god figure... I think I believed in Santa Claus longer than some fearful old fart and the myths of "his" martyred son.

I do believe in a power greater than myself and that made it easier to get passed the language of AA and get going with the program. I still rearrange the prayers and get rid of the "thous" and "thy's" just because they give me a headache and leave me empty and filled with contempt.

I believe the "take what you want and leave the rest" aspect of AA/NA to be the programs strongest appeal. The 12 Steps are an archtypal spiritual program. When I removed from my mind's eye organized religion's concept of god I was ever so able to move on and change my life for the better, inside and out.

Congrats on your getting past a major stumbling block of the program. I'm sure you will never regret it.

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Old 07-10-2006, 03:10 PM
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I find it very hard to explain to people that the 12 step programme is not about whether or not there is a God. It's about making the changes necessary in myself for me to live not only without substances, but to live with the consequences of living without substances. The training of the malformed ego is so reminiscent of taoist and buddhist monks, hindu brahmin, shaman, self-esteem enhancement - just everything that is good about humanity.

For anyone that's interested, I found Philip Z's book "A Skeptics Guide to the 12 Steps" to be a hugely respectful chronicle of one man's very open and honest journey in the programme.

I believe the "take what you want and leave the rest" aspect of AA/NA to be the programs strongest appeal. The 12 Steps are an archtypal spiritual program. When I removed from my mind's eye organized religion's concept of god I was ever so able to move on and change my life for the better, inside and out.
Great stuff. And congrats from me too, Blake.
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Old 07-11-2006, 12:17 AM
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Hi Blake.....

I noticed your HP solution closely resembles the 2nd and 3rd steps in the Humanist Steps Don S posted.

Thanks for sharing.

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Old 07-11-2006, 05:11 AM
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Thank you for sharring,.
A question if i may,because ive been trying to figure this out.
Why is it that when God,is mentioned,that some folks think about religion,right away,l?If God is relgious,what religion would He be?
Spiritual,is another word that some soon think after hearing this word also,they think about religion.Why is this?Can you help me to understand.
Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-11-2006, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Grasshopper
Thank you for sharring,.
A question if i may,because ive been trying to figure this out.
Why is it that when God,is mentioned,that some folks think about religion,right away,l?If God is relgious,what religion would He be?
Spiritual,is another word that some soon think after hearing this word also,they think about religion.Why is this?Can you help me to understand.
Thanks in advance.
I thinl it all comes down to background. I was raised in the south. I was raised catholic. I went to catholic school. It's kinda like a pavlovian response, but I'm working on it.
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Old 07-11-2006, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Blake
I thinl it all comes down to background. I was raised in the south. I was raised catholic. I went to catholic school. It's kinda like a pavlovian response, but I'm working on it.
LOLOLOL!
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Old 07-11-2006, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Grasshopper
Thank you for sharring,.
A question if i may,because ive been trying to figure this out.
Why is it that when God,is mentioned,that some folks think about religion,right away,l?If God is relgious,what religion would He be?
Spiritual,is another word that some soon think after hearing this word also,they think about religion.Why is this?Can you help me to understand.
Thanks in advance.
Perhaps it's because all three words are very closely related. 'Religious' and 'spiritual' are often offered as synonyms for each other, and 'god' is found in the definition of both.
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Old 07-11-2006, 05:48 PM
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Who says "god" is found in the definition of spiritual?
Just curious... it was my "safe" word ya know...
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Old 07-11-2006, 05:52 PM
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"Religion is for people who are afraid of going to Hell...
Spirituality if for those who have already been there"
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Old 07-12-2006, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Jazzman
Who says "god" is found in the definition of spiritual?
Just curious... it was my "safe" word ya know...
It's found in some, but not all. Either way, it implies something more than what we know of the natural world, and something that requires faith to believe in. Of course, that's only my interpretation of it.

spir·i·tu·al

ADJECTIVE:
  1. Of, relating to, consisting of, or having the nature of spirit; not tangible or material.
  2. Of, concerned with, or affecting the soul.
  3. Of, from, or relating to God; deific.
  4. Of or belonging to a church or religion; sacred.
  5. Relating to or having the nature of spirits or a spirit; supernatural.
re·li·gious

ADJECTIVE:
  1. Having or showing belief in and reverence for God or a deity.
  2. Of, concerned with, or teaching religion: a religious text.
  3. Extremely scrupulous or conscientious: religious devotion to duty.
For Grasshopper's question about the connection between God and religion, note the very first entry for 'religious'. Using that as a definition, something doesn't have to pertain to a particular religion to be characterized as being religious, only to the belief in a deity. Given AA's origins and language, and the numerous passages in the Big Book and other 12-Step literature that either assert or imply the existence of God, I just can't see it as anything but.
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Old 07-12-2006, 07:25 PM
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.....................

Last edited by kali ma; 07-12-2006 at 07:29 PM. Reason: meant to post as new thread
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Old 07-16-2006, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Blake

Just wanted to post this as my experience working through a 12 step program and being extremely non-religious.

later,
blake
Thank you for helping to disprove the urban myth about 12 Step programmes and religion.
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Old 07-17-2006, 01:55 PM
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Thanks Blake...
I am struggling with step 2, my sponsor is great but I am sure she is getting irritated. she is very religious....(not that there is anything wrong with that)..
BUT.......
I am not religious and have no desire to be invovled with any organized religion but I do believe in NA and what can be accomplished through working the program .
Living in the bible belt half my life has been like you growing up catholic...just does not work for me like it does for them.
I will remain patient and I am glad I was snooping around here today and found this thread. It gives me hope.
I went to your blog. I wish you the best in your recovery.


.
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Old 07-17-2006, 02:48 PM
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I think it's great that people can secularize what to me is inherently not secular. On one hand, I love the group interaction, and I do feel that I need those f2f connections. On the other hand, sitting there listening to everyone discuss what goes completely against my belief system, is frustrating enough to offset the benefits. Blake, are there any people in the meetings you go to who share your beliefs? Secular oriented folks are sparse in these parts.
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Old 07-18-2006, 01:00 AM
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I too praise anyone who can make the twelve steps fit there deeply held suspicions about the uinverse. You do get people in AA with strong autonomey, and politily say ' this is how I see it'.

Something I could never manage. I was talking to a 12 stepper who is a friend of mine, and he asked why I left and I said that I felt it was f uc king with my humanity. In other words it was doing things against my internal grain. Which is always justified by saying 'yes, but thats what it is supposed to do - its supposed to change you'. So, maybe I was not ready to be changed that much. I think AA works very well for a certain type of drunk, and it is a very powerful tool in that regard. It just not for everyone. Thats well known now.

Peace, 5.
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Old 07-18-2006, 08:17 AM
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DK, fortunately I live in the south and the religion is a palpable cloud that hangs over everything around here, so naturally alot of the addicts here are fed up with religion and have formed their own belief systems. THere are alot of agnostic people here in meetings, alot of deist, alot of "spiritual not religious folks" but there are also a ton of overtly religious people too. Some of my best friends in the program share my views, and alot of them are old old timers. My friend Pam has 25 years clean and has never once compromised her nonreligious beliefs. It is doable and in NA when ever someone brings up religion or starts bible thumping, I quote the basic text to stress that NA is a spiritual not religious program. It has nothing to do with religion for a large percentage of addicts. THe whole sticking part for alot of people tends to be the god word....which my sponsor told me can simply mean good orderly direction (suggestions heard in meetings or from a sponsor). I'm lucky that my sponsor lets me believe what I believe and as long as it works for me thats all that matters.

5,
NA does change you, but its a good change....it makes me a less sceezy person and gives me some of my humanity back. I can change as much or as little as I want to in NA. I will never compromise my spiritual beliefs though, they may evolve in the future, but they will allways be mine and I will never be a religious person....I've done way too much research on the topic to ever let that happen. 12 step programs are much more closely aligned with eastern schools of thought like buddhism and taoism than any western religion, and easten philosophy is very logic oriented.
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Old 07-18-2006, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Blake
12 step programs are much more closely aligned with eastern schools of thought like buddhism and taoism than any western religion, and easten philosophy is very logic oriented.
I guess it's changed since it's conception, because it was taken from a 6 step program used by an evangelical Christian movement, and then expanded on by Bill W. to make 12 steps.
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Old 07-18-2006, 09:07 AM
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Here are a few links DK:

http://www.flatmajic.com/spiritualit...ndrecovery.htm

http://www.dharma-rain.org/StillPoin.../SPNov95.shtml

http://www.5thword.com/

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/087...lance&n=283155 <-Excellent book on the topic of zen buddhism and the 12 steps.


The 12 steps may have been born out of a evangelical christian movement, but they were changed and adapted to make them non religious in nature. It's all about find the true self and getting rid of attachment. Living in the present and just being, experiencing life as it comes. Seeking wisdom through guidance and meditation. There are tons of parallels.
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