Saturday, 22 November 2014

A missed #AddictionChat

@LEAFcouncil from Wednesday night's 9 P.M. (E.S.T.) #AddictionChat on Twitter (tm) asked me to answer some of the questions from this past Wednesday. I had no time to go. I was teaching myself how to format so I could get my two e-books published. Ten hours later... I did!

Okay, here goes then:
1. Introduce yourself, what brings you to #AddictionChat and where you're from.
SpikedUpFrog, my computer brings me here and I'm from the Interwebz.

2. In your opinion, what is the role of spirituality in a person's recovery?
I don't know. I know what awe is but the concept of spirituality has not been personally useful to me.
I don't accept supernatural or preternatural claims at this time because good-enough evidence for these claims are lacking. Unfortunately, for those not affiliated with a religion, "spirituality" can lend itself to New Age beliefs and mysticism.
I understand something about belief, which is why I don't much argue with those who find comfort in faith. I have witnessed the harm that New Ageism can do and am much against that sort of thing.

3. Must a person be connected to a formal faith community to have long-term recovery?
I've been continually clean since September 8, 1980.

4. Some believe that 12-step programs are cult-like. Do they require a belief in God?
Thinking that a 12-step program is cult-like or has some characteristics of a cult is a separate question from the requirement to believe in God.
Alcoholics Anonymous shares a few characteristics with "cults" but also has some differences from a "cult." There is a newer word for "cult" but I can never remember it. It is actually a phrase. Not "newer religious movements" either. Something else referencing the manipulative nature of cults.

Bill W. was raised as a Methodist. He joined the Oxford group which was an evangelical Christian sort of outfit. The recovering alcoholics chose to separate from the Oxford group because Roman Catholics were threatened with ex-communication if they retained their association with the Oxford group.
The Big Book was set up with the idea that an A.A. member would believe in a God or would come to believe in one. This is most evident in the chapter to the agnostics.
Having a door knob as one's higher power does not work any longer when Bill W. went on to mention that the higher power that one chooses must be personal and loving. A door knob cannot love you. Neither can nature.

@SeanStOnge has the right of it when he talks about the Big Book and what it says about a belief in God. 
According to the Big Book, belief in God is absolutely necessary. The phrase "as we understood him" was added due to the intervention of an atheist in the rooms. The man called "Ed the salesman" was an atheist and in spite of what Bill W. wrote about him, he remained an atheist. It is reported that he penned a book about being an atheist in long-term recovery but I haven't located a copy yet.

For those of us who have a sincerely held non-belief, we have to do something else.

5. What about atheists? Does "spirituality" in recovery apply? How do they adapt 12-step programs?
I don't use the word "spirituality" or the phrase "spiritual but not religious." I had to re-write the steps so that way I could work them and remain in recovery.

6. How does spirituality enhance a person's recovery? This question applies to those with faith, agnostics, and atheists.
I don't do spirituality because I have not found it a meaningful term in my life.

7. When new to recovery, the "Higher Power" thing is a mystery. How does one figure that out?
I came in believing but as I progressed through my recovery, I found it more intellectually honest for me to be an atheist.

8. What are some ways that a person can nurture their spirit and enhance their recovery?
I don't recognize spirit as being something real. There are things that human beings in general can do and do do in order to nurture themselves and make a better life for themselves. People in recovery are not so different from other people.

9. When it comes to holidays, how does a person in recovery navigate faith if it is different from their family's?
I live in a country where right now it is not dangerous to self-identify as an atheist. My family situation is such that I am out to them as a non-theist. I eat Thanksgiving with them. I give presents to the nieces and nephews for Christmas. There is nothing that I have to do unless I choose to.

10. Finally, if someone has questions about faith/spirituality and recovery, what resources would you suggest?
If they are believers or they want to believe, I refer them to members who do believe. If they are atheists, agnostics, free-thinkers, secular humanists, or nones, they can go to the aa agnostica website or some of atheist forums which do offer support to those of us who are clean. There are also other means of recovery which are not 12-step oriented such as S.O.S.-- James Christopher's program Secular Organizations for Sobriety or Save Our Selves-- Women for Sobriety, and a few others.
I've covered the resources for folks like me in my newly published e-book called "Another Atheist in Recovery" up at Barnes & Nobel. It is an ePub so it can be read on any reader. It is also free from D.R.M. because I hate the D.R.M. You can buy the book if you are really interested in one example of how an atheist might work recovery at:

No comments: