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Athiests in AA??

Old 07-28-2006, 10:20 AM
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Athiests in AA??

Has anyone who considers themself an atheist or pagan on this site ever gone to AA? I have been sober for 44 days, and I think I am going to make my first attempt at going tonight. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions. I know that you are supposed to take what you seem is prevalent and leave the rest, but does anyone have any more advise? Thanks.
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Old 07-28-2006, 10:38 AM
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I'm somewhat agnostic....deffinately not religious.....and I go to NA and it has saved my life. Recovery is supposed to be a spiritual process not a religious one. If you can get around the semantics used, 12 step programs are some of the greatest weapons addicts have against addiction.

THere is alot of "god" talk in meetings, but it also says that what is meant is god, as we understood him. So you can choose anything to be that power greater than yourself. I personally use the program of NA, itself, as that power greater than myself...and it's worked so far. I have grown a whole whole lot since I got clean.

Any one bible thumping at meeting is a poor poor misguided soul and they don't have a grasp on their recovery and should be ignored.

I think you'll be supprised how many people in recoveryare decidedly not religious....I'd say it's the majority (at least in my area it is).

Good Luck and congrats on the 44 days.

(there is a post or two on my blog (address in my sig) about this. the most recent one is called "ya gotta have faith" and the older one I think is called "one agnostic junky's view of the whole higher power concept of NA" or something like that.....all of it's just personal opinion, but it has helped me)
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Old 07-28-2006, 10:45 AM
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Hi ****,
Well, I scored as "Pagan" on that "What religion are you?" quiz Historyteach posted at the Cafe so I suppose I have pagan tendancies, and my family calls me a 'tree-hugging hippie freak'; does that suffice to qualify me to respond here? I've never attended an AA meeting but have attended about 16 NA meetings in the past year. God and Higher Power is an integral part of their philosophy, I understand why that is, and can work with it/ around it by understanding for myself what is my defintion of God. Mention of God does not intimidate or anger or upset me in any way because of that personal understanding. And the allowance of everyone else to determine for their own self what is the God of their understanding. I have no need to convert others or define or defend my position to anyone, and have never been asked to at an NA function, nor has anyone there ever tried to convert me. YOU determine for yourself what that is, and incorporate that into what you hear.

If you keep an open mind to consider the point behind why there's a need for one to incorporate God/ Higher Power in the program it might actually help you to define for yourself the reasoning behind your own thinking. Keeping an open mind is a cornerstone of recovery, because it allows new thinking to enter in. And addicts do need outside perspective to get outside our own best thinking. The more, the better, it seems. Good luck making up your mind on this.
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Old 07-28-2006, 11:11 AM
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When I go, it is strictly for peer support. I hate the religious/spiritual (means the same to me) dogma, but can tolerate it in small doses. If I had secular meetings to go to, I'd be a much happier camper.
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Old 07-28-2006, 11:44 AM
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Hey ****...in my first year of going to meetings, I struggled because I thought I had to put a face or mental image with a HP. However, the Big Book says to choose a God you can understand. The definition of God or HP is different for everyone. For some, it's Christ, Allah, Buddha or whatever...heck I listened to a speaker once who said that for the first four years of his sobriety a huge cottonwood tree was his HP...the man jumped a fence and stumbled through a rough pasture to get to his tree and sit under it and talk to it. And then, as someone else mentioned, for some it is the group itself...alone I am powerless, but two or more alcoholics/addicts gathered together is defintely a power greater than myself.
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Old 07-28-2006, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by mishelly
And then, as someone else mentioned, for some it is the group itself...alone I am powerless, but two or more alcoholics/addicts gathered together is defintely a power greater than myself.
I like that. Very well put. Thanks
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Old 07-28-2006, 01:02 PM
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When I went to my first AA meeting I was pretty freaked out by all of the God talk. I do not go to church and have no plans to start going. I likened the meeting to church because I had nothing else to base my experience on. At the end of the meeting they all gathered hands and said the Lord's Prayer. That about sent me over the top. I was way out of my comfort zone. I kept going back however.

I wanted sobriety more than anything else in the world. I felt that meetings were the only thing that could help me at that time. I still do not see myself as religious, but have grown as a spiritual being. I do not view the two as the same, because I have experienced the two separately and know in my heart the difference.

The God thing no longer bothers me. The term take what you need and leave the rest really applies here. Do no let any preconceived notions stop you from trying meetings. It may help you find some resolve and comfort in your life. Also, do not judge meeting by only attending a few. It takes time to fully understand the process and how it works. I walked into AA hurting, leery and very unsure. Today I walk out happy, serene and sober. I know I can learn to adapt to fit my needs. My sobriety depends on it.
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Old 07-28-2006, 01:43 PM
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After a year of sobriety I became a Buddhist, which is spiritual, but God is irrelevant. It's finding out the world doesn't revolve around me, and learning to be in the moment and have a good heart. There's a lot of good literature out there about recovery that isn't affiliated with AA; I like "Beyond the Influence" by Ketchan and Asbury. There are meetings specifically for pagans in some areas as well as atheists and agnostics. It's easier to connect on-line though.
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Old 07-28-2006, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Blake

Any one bible thumping at meeting is a poor poor misguided soul and they don't have a grasp on their recovery and should be ignored.
I guess my recovery is worth nothing then? Maybe I should just go out and use?
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Old 07-28-2006, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Ngokpa
It's finding out the world doesn't revolve around me, and learning to be in the moment and have a good heart.
Ahhh a key to Serenity.


Good post.
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Old 07-28-2006, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by best
I guess my recovery is worth nothing then? Maybe I should just go out and use?
Meetings are not the place for bible thumping best. just another way the new commer can pick out differences rather than similarities. it is not put up with in this area.

Attraction, not promotion is good philosophy in more areas than one.
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Old 07-28-2006, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Blake
it is not put up with in this area.
Yes I can see that.
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Old 07-28-2006, 02:00 PM
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Ngokpa said:

It's finding out the world doesn't revolve around me, and learning to be in the moment and have a good heart.
I share this sentiment with you very, very much Ngokpa. Thinking it matters what I believe is monumental arrogance - regardless of the nature of my beliefs. And for all those people who claim to seek truth - we're as likely to find it in the Pentateuch and the Gospels as we are in Lucretius or Budhist Suttas or the tao te ching.

If you want to get sober, go to AA and learn how to be humble. AA is as good a place as any to leanr how to be humble. It's not about changing one's beliefs until a set is found which makes me sober. It's about changing myself from an arrogant, self-righteous, angry individual into a humble, openminded, peaceful one. regardless of the words people around me use.
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Old 07-28-2006, 02:01 PM
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One of the reasons I wouldn't go to al-anon is that it seems very much a place for those who believe in god.

I think it's reasonable to be able to talk openly in here but there's no way I'd be as open at a religious meeting or at a spritual meeting where I knew most people felt they needed their religion to be well/happy etc.

I reckon (as a bystander - so shoot me!) it'd be good for 12 step prgrammes to be clear what they are. If religious then it's appropriate to be pushing the idea of faith - if non religious then it isn't - does that make sense?
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Old 07-28-2006, 02:03 PM
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and I have to say I find it very hard not to cut loose in this forum. My notion of "secular" and everyone elses seem to be very different. My favourite secularist thinker is a man called Karl Popper. Before we start disrespecting the Christian traditions we should see out what is best in them.
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Old 07-28-2006, 02:06 PM
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Equus said:

One of the reasons I wouldn't go to al-anon is that it seems very much a place for those who believe in god.
Withe respect, that's your problem, not the fellowships'. IT uses language to the best of its ability to explain and describe experiences which are difficult to describe. When we - me and you - dismiss AA or AlAnon because of the language they use we are missing the point. It's not the language that's on offer. It's the life-changing experience. When you - and I, because I did it for a decade and a half - dismiss the fellowship because of the language they use we are indulging a prejudice.
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Old 07-28-2006, 02:17 PM
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I'm very greatful that my area has wise oldtimers (some of which are very religious people) that keep religion out of the picture (somewhat millitantly) here and focused on spirituality instead, if it wasn't for that fact, I'd probably be dead.

NA is a "spiritual, not religious program" it's very clear about it in the literature

not that I'm knocking religion, alot of people find what they need in religion, and if makes them a better person, then good for them, but that is not what NA is about and it should be kept seperate.

I will allways defend this principle, b/c it saved my life and I owe it to the people that come after me.
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Old 07-28-2006, 02:38 PM
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I hate AA/NA basically cuz I'm an atheist/humanist.

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Old 07-28-2006, 02:45 PM
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well that's not true Marte.

Logically if you hate AA/NA b/c you are an athiest/humanist then logically ALL athiest/humanist would hate AA/NA....which is false. I know plenty of athiest/humanists in AA/NA.

Maybe your hate for AA/NA, has more to do with you than your belief system? (hate is such a strong word btw)
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Old 07-28-2006, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by paulmh
Equus said:



Withe respect, that's your problem, not the fellowships'. IT uses language to the best of its ability to explain and describe experiences which are difficult to describe. When we - me and you - dismiss AA or AlAnon because of the language they use we are missing the point. It's not the language that's on offer. It's the life-changing experience. When you - and I, because I did it for a decade and a half - dismiss the fellowship because of the language they use we are indulging a prejudice.

Hang on - I didn't say it was any problem with 'the programme', just that was a big part of my reasoning, which actually isn't a problem at all to me.

You'll have to forgive my confusion - on the one hand posters feel if they can't push faith there then their recovery is meaningless, there's posts about the lord's prayer - but despite that even suggesting that 'MOST' (tried bold last time so thought I might try caps) believe in god - is apparently incorrect?

Spiritual/religious whatever - there does seem some element of confusion to me and as most of the time I get to spectate that on here (like frequently!) without comment I simply made a suggestion.

Take it how you want but I wouldn't attend what I view as a spiritual/religious/believers meeting and spout athiesm.
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