Saturday, 13 September 2014

34 Years of Freedom

     I hit 34 years of freedom from active addiction this past Monday at 10:18 a.m. Hooray for me!

     This past year has been intense. It's been good and bad and annoying and happy and sad and peaceful and everything in waves. 

     Losing a parent is not an easy thing to go through. Dementia seems to involve little losses. At first, it was increasingly difficult for me to find remnants of my father's old personality in his Lewy Bodies. But I did find them. He is the bravest man I know.

     This year I participated in #AddictionChat on Twitter [tm]-- no copyright infringement intended. I quickly found that the focus there is chiefly on what can be done for the addict in treatment rather than on what we as recovering addicts can do for our families, our communities, and our worlds. The interesting thing is that the professionals seem to collectively think that working steps in any sort of program ought to take lots of time. Conversely, the folks in recovery who aren't professional took the opposite tact: Get 'em done. And get 'em done again. And again...

     Much to my unhappiness, I found that at least one rep of Scientology [yeah they got into the drug "rehab" biz too] became an active participant. Hearing about L. Ron and how "all drugs" retain traces in the system and can create flashbacks [patently not true b.t.w.] was not a high point for me. 

     Disagreeing with L. Ron I suppose might make me an S.P. in some circles. In actuality, it marks me as someone who merely disagrees vehemently with a hack sci-fi writer who started his own religion. L. Ron knew nothing about recovery from addiction, period.

     I also disagree with the professionals. For one, I do not perceive of addiction as a "disease." Here is the definition of addiction that I've cobbled together from various schools of thought and un-thought:

I made it myself and it is copyleft. Take it, download to your "My Computer" and do whatever with it. No hot-linking please, and as usual copyright trolls go away.

     I've read lots of books, tramped through lots of fields and woods with the old dog, and went to lots of meetings. I picked up a coffee commitment. I am writing. I continue to strive for a better life on a daily basis.

                      ~ sapphoq itching for yet another coffee

Saturday, 6 September 2014


     There appears to be people in recovery who "hate" religion far more than the strictest atheist. Religion is a special sort of bogeyman. It's fake. It's phony. It's organized and abstinent people truly cannot stand anything that imposes order upon chaos. Somehow, "spirituality" is supposed by some percentage of people in the rooms to be superior to "religion." But is it?

              "Pure religion and undefiled before                God and the Father is this, To visit                the fatherless and widows in their               affliction, and to keep himself                unspotted from the world."

                               - King James Bible "Authorized Version", Cambridge Edition

I took the picture of the cat and altered it myself with my legally obtained copy of photo manipulation software. If you want the pic, right-click and save to "My Computer."  If you are a copyright troll, just go away. You are not welcome here.

     The etymology of the word "religion" is a matter of some dispute. Some say it derives from the Latin verb religare which is translated as to tie or to bind. Others say it is actually from the Latin verb relegere which is translated as to read over again.[].

     There is some sense about the word religion as having a relationship to or a belief in the supernatural-- or possibly the preternatural-- rather than natural explanations for events. Religion can also denote organized religion as in a particular sect which then indicates certain ways of recognition and worship of one or more divine beings or powers. From an evolution standpoint, rituals bind people into a cohesive unit of society. Religion offers connection to something bigger than oneself as well as an interconnection with other beings and a shared moral code.

     In the United States, some percentage of people define themselves as "spiritual but not religious." Some attend services which are part of a particular religion but make this claim in spite of that. Others reject out of hand all organized religions, becoming personal mystics in the process. These others may embrace anything related to the New Age without any recognition that there is good to be found in organized religions.

     Those who identify as "spiritual but not religious" are subject to the pitfall of black and white thinking. The notion that anything of a personal spiritual nature is "good" and that anything deriving from an organized religion is "bad" is a form of dualism. 

GNUatheist2 by sputnik.

     The etymology of the word spiritual is from the Latin, meaning wind or breath. []. From that working backwards in time, we find the Old French esperituel rendered as that which pertains to spirit, or that which pertains to breath. []. There is some suggestion of the words wind, breath, mind, soul, and spirit all referring to the same concept-- something inside a human which is divinely placed, capable of a relationship with the sacred, and tangled up with life itself. [].

     The word "spiritual" is akin to the word "religious"-- with or without the inclusion of organized religion-- in that people are looking to some transcendent being for explanations of their special purposes here on earth and, usually, an unknowable capital P plan. Although some naturalists cultivate what can be referred to as "spiritual experiences" within the realm of the here and now, others prefer that the natural world remain good enough.

     Whether one is a congregational participant in a particular religion or religious group or a homegrown mystic, the pull of superstitious explanations over scientific ones is the same. Science is hard work. Having to formulate questions, evaluate evidence, test and test again, and then subject the results to peer review is a process rather than a set of quick "answers."

     At this time, I don't recognize the concepts of "spirituality" and being "spiritual but not religious" as having validity. When "spiritual progress" or "spiritual but not religious" or "spirituality" or a similar topic comes up at meetings, I substitute words. Being an authentic human being without the masks afforded by active addiction is certainly something worth striving for. I seek out how to be the best humane human being that I possibly can be. 

I took the picture of the dog and altered it myself with my legally obtained copy of photo manipulation software. If you want the pic, right-click and save to "My Computer."  If you are a copyright troll, just go away. You are not welcome here.

     I can be good enough without any deities. I strive to be the human being that my dog thinks I am. The fruits of the spirit [] referred to in Galatians 5:22-23 are available to all of us, although atheists recognize that practice is involved with character-building rather than some sort of divine rendering. Being an authentic human being means knowing who I am and what my values are. Neither members of a religious sect nor those who count themselves as spiritual-- with or without such membership-- holds the monopoly on morality. Atheists have moral standards also. 

     As an atheist, I favor natural explanations over supernatural or preternatural ones. As an atheist, the marvels in the world as exposed to me by science [and mathematics] are wondrous. No gods are needed to explain the stuff of life. 

This has the look to me of Fibonacci.

     Very soon, I will be celebrating thirty four years of freedom from active addiction. There are no gods in my recovery. I have no capital H higher capital P powers. And I'm cool with that.

                ~sapphoq itching for several more coffees