Friday, July 15, 2016

A Different Solution

    I picked up a book at the library that seems to be working well for me.  It's "How To Quit Drinking Without AA" by Jerry Dorsman.  It's a psychological approach to alcoholism.  It describes the pros and cons of AA without ripping it apart and demonizing it.  It also says you can take what works from AA and still follow this book.  I still attend AA meetings on a weekly basis.
    At this point in my sobriety, I'm happy with my progress.  I'm over three months sober.  I haven't had an urge in a long while.  Life's a lot less stressful.
    I've been trying to define what spirituality means to me and I feel it's associated with nature and evolution.  I really connect to the science series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey hosted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson.  I live my life by strictly adhering to a simple set of rules.  Test ideas by experiment and observation.  Build on those ideas that pass the test.  Reject the ones that fail.  Follow the evidence wherever it leads and question everything.  And always be prepared to accept being wrong and admitting it.
    What drove me to search for another solution other than the Big Book was its insistence that God was the solution.  My 4th Step Workshop ended with the last paragraph of chapter 5: How It Works.  "In this book you read again and again that faith did for us what we could not do for ourselves.  We hope you are convinced now that God can remove whatever self-will has blocked you off from Him."  It doesn't give any other solution for those who don't believe in God.  The book assumes that you'll eventually come around to believing in a higher power that will magically remove your will to drink.  And although there's the ever present phrase, "God as we understand Him", what they're really referring to is Christianity.  I don't have a belief in any religion or god.  I have an understanding of nature; I'm an atheist.
    The 4th Step Workshop ended with the same assumption as the book that because you endured its five weeks you now believe God will keep you sober.  Out of the fifteen people that started this workshop only two completed it; I wonder how many of them left because of their lack of belief in a god as their solution.  And as the only other person left was praising the instructors in faith, I was getting ill and desired a drink.  I quickly excused myself.  What I really wanted to do was explain how useless this was, but I've had conversations with the instructors before and they are preachers, not listeners.  They have the mindset of a cult leader that nothing they hear can change their mind about anything.  And I came to this conclusion by discussing something completely unrelated to AA.  They act like those infected characters in that new show Brain Dead.
    So, I'll keep you informed about my progress with this new (to me) book.  Thanks for reading.

Sincerely Yours,

-- Without Wax


PJ said...

Wax, thanks for commenting on my most recent post. Reading your most recent one fills my heart with sorrow. We started following each other on Blogger over 10 years ago when I was still drinking. I've not had a drink since April 10, 2007, and my marriage is stronger now for us having to face and work through our issues. Your continual self delusion makes me both sad and angry. You are never going to get and stay sober if you insist on deluding yourself into thinking that you can control your alcoholism. It controls you. And until you accept that cold, hard fact, my friend, then you are the one engaging in magical thinking. Regardless of whatever the Big Book says regarding faith, AA as a whole, and in practically every meeting I've ever been to, stipulates only that belief and trust in a higher power is a necessary component of recovery. That higher power doesn't have to be God. It can be the universe or whatever else you choose. Just not you. You've tried your own power and created your own paths to recovery for years now. How's that worked out for you so far?

PJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PJ said...

Somehow, I had posted the same comment twice, and thought about deleting it altogether. I know it sounds harsh, unkind and judgmental. (Also, a tad self-righteous and smug��.) Please know that if I didn't care, I would have just posted something upbeat and positive, totally blowing smoke up your butt. My frustration stems from a sincere desire to see you strong and healthy in your recovery. I'm so doggone proud of your achievement of 3 months of sobriety, and I only want you to continue to grow. I know your spirituality has to be personal and what works for you. Just keep pursuing that. Sobriety is hard and sometimes it sucks, but having a life and a future with promise and hope is so worth it, even when that life occasionally sucks and that future is uncertain. No matter what or who you believe or don't believe in, belief in some power beyond our own means we can have a certainty that some force in the Universe is working out there for our good. That's all I want for you, my friend. Keep me posted on your continued progress, and know that I care and won't try to force my particular brand of faith on you no matter what. xoxo

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fancier atoms said...

As an atheist myself, I can understand your dilemma. Personally, I find comfort in knowing that I am right and all those that think there is a god will be sorely disappointed in the end. :-)

Life doesn't need meaning. It just needs to feel good. Exercise helps a lot. It gives you that high without the bad side effects. Running, biking, high exertion type stuff. It feels terrible at first (if you're out of shape), but if you push passed that and keep up the routine, it becomes pure euphoria. Basically, it becomes a healthy addiction.

Pam Jarnagin said...

You're right. It becomes an addiction. What happens when you get an injury that keeps you from exercising for weeks or months on end? It's not enough to substitute one addiction for another, because sooner or later, that addiction won't be enough, or will turn on you. I would not have energy to get out of bed if I believed life has no meaning beyond feeling good. Eventually, something is going to happen that makes that at least temporarily impossible. But, I guess, if life has no meaning, it's not a big deal to end it, either, so there you go!