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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 07:07 PM
Original message
What should I do if I want to go clean without a 'Higher Power'
As in, eliminate certain substances without praying or believing in fairy tales?
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elleng Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 07:14 PM
Response to Original message
1. Not EXACTLY in your possition, but
I think of nature as my 'whatever,' that is, I believe/think nature 'provides' what we want/need.
Look to yourself; you can do it.
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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 07:17 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. The god of Einstein was the immutable laws of physics
Edited on Thu Dec-02-10 07:17 PM by Taverner
Impossible to sin in that kind of structure...
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elleng Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 07:25 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. OK.
and 'sin' ain't in my vocabulary.
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demosincebirth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 10:00 PM
Response to Original message
4. You've tried it your way for how many years?
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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-02-10 10:04 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. God is Dead. Get over it.
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demosincebirth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-03-10 11:14 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. In that case, good luck ...I truly mean it. eom.
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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-03-10 04:29 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. I'll take luck over a genocidal maniac any day
Edited on Fri Dec-03-10 04:29 PM by Taverner
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jazzhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-11 08:52 PM
Response to Reply #7
15. For what it's worth, I've been "lucky" for 24 years.

And I say that only to point to the fact that you can get "lucky" as well.
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progree Donating Member (129 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-05-10 08:21 AM
Response to Original message
8. Resources for Agnostic Addicts / Alcoholics
Here is some resource material for agnostics in 12 step programs

Agnostic AA reading material: http://www.agnosticaanyc.org/MemberZone/Reading.html

Agnostic 12 steps: http://www.agnosticaanyc.org/12steps.html

Meetings: NYC and worldwide:
http://agnosticaanyc.org/meetings.html
http://agnosticaanyc.org/worldwide.html

There are also some agnostic Narcotic Anonymous groups, though I've only seen two on the web -- both in the San Francisco area.

You are not alone in finding regular 12-step groups clearly and annoyingly religious.

Though they might not require belief in God, the whole program, Steps, and literature is proselytization about a prayer-answering favor-dispensing deity, one who will restore us to sanity, remove our shortcomings, manage our lives, care for us, love us, listen to our prayers, give us power, and guide our groups (this list from the 12 Steps and Tradition 2),

All regular 12-step groups that I've been in pressure you to work the 12 steps. AA's literature tells you that "Unless each A.A. member follows to the best of his ability our suggested Twelve Steps to recovery, he almost certainly signs his own death warrant" .

Take Step 11 for example,

"Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand Him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry it out."

Now what concept of "God" fits in the above other than a prayer-answering deity? Do you pray to the group, a light bulb, a tree?

And the Big Book (p. 63) says He is our all powerful Employer who provides us what we need if we keep close to Him and perform His work well. And God is described as Creator and Maker throughout the Big Book.

The Big Book spends a whole chapter (Chapter 4 "We Agnostics") demeaning non-believers as rather vain, foolish, prejudiced, perverse, and obstinate.

For these and many other reasons, four Federal Courts of Appeals (Second, Third, Seventh, and Ninth circuits) and Two State Supreme Courts (New York and Tennessee) have ruled that Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are religious and that nobody can be coerced by government authority into attending these organizations (as that would violate the First Amendment's prohibition against the state establishment of religion). No Federal Court of Appeals and no State Supreme Court has ruled otherwise. To date, the United States Supreme Court has declined to consider any of these rulings, thus letting these ruling stand.

That said, I attend regular A.A. and Al-Anon groups, and tell them honestly that I don't believe in a deity and that my higher power for recovery purposes is the help and guidance of others. I also am silent during the Lord's Prayer (being that it is a prayer straight out of one religion's holy book , with explicitly Christian themes). So far (at least several hundred meetings) I haven't run into any guff. And I've gotten a lot of help. So for me, its definitely take what one likes and leave the rest.

I hope that helps. Good luck!
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Iggo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-05-10 11:02 PM
Response to Original message
9. You go through the motions, but don't lie.
I went to meetings. I hung out with people who weren't getting high anymore. I did it until it felt normal.

And no, it's not quite as easy as I'm making it sound.

I never got a sponsor, because I could not honestly work the steps.

An atheist (like myself) cannot do an honest 12-step program. That's just a fact. (Read the steps. You'll see.)

What you do is stop doing whatever it was you were doing and don't ever start back up again...no matter what.

Hanging around those people helped me, until it became "us people".

You can definitely get clean without a Higher Power. I did it.
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elleng Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-05-10 11:51 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. ...
:thumbsup:
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jazzhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-11 02:18 AM
Response to Reply #9
14. Here's a set of steps that work for me:
Edited on Mon Jan-03-11 02:27 AM by jazzhound
FREETHINKERS TWELVE STEPS


1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe and to accept that we needed strengths beyond our awareness and resources to restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to entrust our will and our lives to the care of the collective wisdom and resources of those who have searched before us.

4. Made a searching and fearless inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to ourselves without reservation, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were ready to accept help in letting go of all our defects of character.

7. With humility and openness sought to eliminate our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through meditation to improve our spiritual awareness and our understanding of the AA way of life and to discover the power to carry out that way of life.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Count me among those who have managed to stay clean & sober without a Higher Power. (though I used the group as a Higher Power for some time) Celebrated my 24th year on December 20th.

ON EDIT: Just realized that the steps I just posted were included among the links in post #8. Oh well..........
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progree Donating Member (129 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-04-11 11:21 AM
Response to Reply #14
16. Glad you posted the steps. AAWS made agnosticAAnyc.org remove them
jazzhound writes: "ON EDIT: Just realized that the steps I just posted were included among the links in post #8. Oh well.........."

I'm glad you posted these steps. I've found them helpful too.

An interesting bit of info -- the NYC agnostic group Website (agnosticAAnyc.org) was asked by General Services to remove the agnostic 12 steps. They have complied but are still discussing their long term plan. (Actually the steps are still there, but they removed all links to it, so you have to be an "insider" to know that they are still at http://www.agnosticAAnyc.org/12steps.html

There is also circulating, by email, a 28 page - "White Paper On The Matter Of A.A Atheist/Agnostic Groups And Related Concerns" urging AA World Services to crack down on Agnostic A.A. groups (e.g. de-list them) I have a copy but don't know a place to post it so others can look at it (anyone have suggestions? would like it to be where anyone on the Internet can easily access it via a URL without having to sign up or join anything. Its a 2.2 MB PDF file). I did quite a lot of Googling hoping that it was available somewhere, but can't find anything.
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jazzhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-05-11 12:59 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. Interesting, progree -- thanks! NT
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get the red out Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-10 09:25 AM
Response to Original message
11. I think of the Universe as my higher power
I don't know all about the Universe, it has rules, we don't even know all those. Things tend to work out if I don't start trying to control everything myself. That much is true. Getting screwed up and trying to control my life, useless.

If you go the 12 step route you can check out enough meetings to find some that aren't extremist on what THEY feel your higher power has to be. I could get slammed saying this, but we are only human and some folks feel they need to impose their idea of HP onto others, human nature I guess since it works for them. You can also talk to people until you find a sponsor that is cool with someone who is Atheist or Agnostic or whatever.

You will have some choices, which meetings you attend, who you choose to be your confidants to aid you in the program of recovery. I know an Atheist that has been sober around 25 years, he just LIVES (sober) to piss hard-liners off, and he's done more real 12 step work than anyone I know.

Best of luck on your journey.
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Kajsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-10 10:03 PM
Response to Original message
12. You've gotten some very good suggestions, here.
Edited on Sun Dec-12-10 10:15 PM by Kajsa
Atheists and agnostics have gotten clean and sober working
the twelve steps- it can be done.

But please remember a number of us here are people of faith,
many faiths.
Just as I would never diss anyone for his/her beliefs or for being
an atheist/agnostic, I would hope no one here put me down for my beliefs
or diss them as "fairy tales".

Good luck, and I too really mean this.
This is life and death we are talking about here.
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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-01-11 10:35 AM
Response to Original message
13. you don't have to believe to begin
just be open minded. do the action, don't worry about what your head is saying.

you don't have to be Christian or Jewish or anything at all, you just have to be willing to admit you're not the most powerful thing in the Universe.

that's all is required.

Hang in there man, I know you've had a long hard road these last few years :hug:
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ismnotwasm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 11:49 AM
Response to Original message
18. When I first got sober
I lied, parroting what was around me. It's as dishonest and spiritually damaging a practice as anything else in AA, maybe more so because all the step's rely on a 'higher power'. Well there was this old timer, see, with one of those cute names old AA's used to have. He insisted he was an atheist everytime he talked. He was funny about it, told amusing stories. Died with 40 something years of sobriety and had a hell of a story.

That old guy probably saved my life. He gave me the ability to take away my lies, to myself and everyone around me. I return the favor now at meetings, just in case there is someone there who either is pretending or like myself, just doesn't have the mental makeup to believe in Deities. It's ok. And yes you can get throught the steps that way and yes you can stay sober practicing the principals.


Now, I'm more of an agnostic than a hard core atheist, which isn't to say I believe in any kind of creator diety--I don't. In fact, one of my most profound spiritual experiences was in a biology 101 class when I realized just how cool a single cell really is. It was uplifting and thought provoking. What is spiritually stimulating to me, is comtemplating the world of the very small all the way to the very large, and the forces that hold things together. Evolution, as well as the universe itself may well be purposeless, but it a purposelessness with grand style and incredible beauty and still contains so many mysteries and secrets, some of which I hope will be unlocked in my lifetime.

I find nothing wrong with meditation or prayer, to me they are mind clearing exersizes, a way of learning to listen to that healthy inner voice (once I obtained a healthy inner voice) Practicing it, along with the 10th step, as with anything else improves the skill and using an open mind and a clear heart had kept me away from drugs and alcohol for over 20 years now.

Oh, one more thing, people who do have faith, who do believe in a higher power don't bother me one bit. I don't 'get' it, but we get along just fine.
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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-11 04:51 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. great post
:applause:

and very much my own experience. and I make the Bible thumpers twinge because I am loud and proud about "not being a Christian, never been a Christian and have no interest in becoming a Christian"

If pushed I will allow I'm probably a Daoist since I agree with the "Three Jewels of the Tao: compassion, moderation, and humility" without a deity. But I do feel I've had a 'spiritual awaking as a result of these steps" so it works for me

:hi:
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