Saturday, 1 November 2014
Atheists in Recovery and the Fundy Factor
N.B. Absolutely no disrespect is intended to those of my close friends who identify as Christian, born-again Christian, fundamentalist Christian, or literal Christian. This piece is more a reflection on discrimination in the rooms of recovery directed at non-believers on the part of the more radical fundamentalist Christians who disrupt meetings with preaching and exhortation.
I love my conservative Christian friends. Period.
Yes, we do exist. Maybe we never believed in any gods and came in not believing. Maybe we decided we didn't believe during adulthood and also came in not believing. Maybe we came in believing but in the course of our recovery embraced atheism. [I fit into the third category].
Some newcomers are mad at their god or gods. They usually calm down after a bit and manage to forgive their deity or deities. They are not seeking information about atheism and that is their right. Some newcomers may have never been exposed to any teachings about divinity. Upon discovering that sort of thing, they become believers. That is also their right.
I am an atheist. I have thirty-four years of continuous clean time. The myth that "You must have a capital H Higher capital P Power" is a myth. There are more of us. I am not alone.
The steps were written to be suggestions only. Check the writings of Bill W. as expressed in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous if you don't believe me. Bill W. also gave permission for the first Buddhist group to change the word "God" in the twelve steps to the word "good." See page 81.
I don't pray. I don't meditate. I am not spiritual. I don't do woo woo. I had to rewrite the steps in order to be able to remain in recovery. And yes, I am very much in recovery.
Meetings vary according to geography. That is to be expected. In our area, there has been an increase in the expression of fundamentalist Christianity. I went to an A.A. meeting yesterday where an outspoken fundy got a few friends to chant "May you find Him now" and "God could and would if He were sought" during the reading of How It Works. Annoying? Well, yes. Also annoying is when the fundy chairs and absolutely refuses to call on me. For my part, I choose my battles today. Being ignored at a meeting by the chair is not such a big deal. The funny thing is, the fundy is an excellent chair who keeps the meeting moving and on track.
N.A. meetings here are traditionally more free-wheeling. But even there, I have been told things like "You're not a true atheist. You believe in the woods." [Huh?]
Alanon and Overeaters Anonymous have also fallen to the fundy factor round here. CoDA is a bit more lax. I haven't been to Gamblers Anonymous or to NicA. [No, I don't qualify for every XA program. They do have open meetings]. ACOA and ACA meetings are too full of pain and anguish for me to even consider going to them. Dual Recovery Anonymous has substituted "God of our understanding" but that program too has more religious members than not. I've been to meetings across the country and the fundy factor is not as evident in some of those.
It has never been my intention to convert people to atheism. And I refuse to do that now. The problem is when there is an overmuch of fundy talk, some new people are driven away. I do believe in equal time. At meetings when the fundy factor gets out of control, when it is my turn to talk [if I am not ignored by the one fundy chair] I let people know that belief is not required in order to work a solid program. Yes, sincere atheists in the rooms do tend to seek me out.
I read a joke on-line recently while doing research for a small e-book I am writing about being an atheist in recovery.
Question: If you object to all of the God talk, why do you attend meetings?
Answer: I am part of the Newcomer Rescue Squad.
sapphoq needing coffee says: I don't exactly feel that way but there are days when I am getting closer.