Frustrated with AA

mordo212mordo212 Registered User regular
So I am trying to clean up my act with drinking. I am an atheist and I just can't move past AA`s own reliance on the use of god. I have been attending meetings at different locations for a few months now and I can't find a single person who would say God is their higher power. When I say I don't believe I always get told some version or give it time or give God a chance or something very similar. I don't know if anyone here an help or advice.

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  • bsjezzbsjezz Registered User regular
    edited December 2015
    you've recognised there's a problem and acted on it. that's the sort of intrinsic motivation that suggests you're probably ready to make change without the coercion of an external power which has its own vested interests

    the social factor is no doubt important, but there are other support programs and other ways. make sure you keep talking about it. why not blog? the experiences are valid and important to share, and could be that vital outlet when you're feeling low or wondering what the point is.

    in any event, you've done well to get this far and have made a good, hard decision. you'll feel like you're swimming against a hard tide at times but you're not alone and you're not the crazy one.

    bsjezz on
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  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited December 2015
    Spiritually has always been a part of AA though I understood it to be not pushy, just sort of there.

    If you like AA but not the guy who's turning water into wine, check out this site:
    http://www.agnosticaanyc.org/worldwide.html

    Not sure how current it is, but you're definitely not alone in being uncomfortable about the religious portions.

    MichaelLC on
    "Never believe management about anything anywhere." -Aistan
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    I tried to do a 12-step program (not AA) once and only made it through one session, because even though it's not that pushy, it's there and that bothers me. And I'm not even an atheist, I'm Jewish.

    Also people try to dismiss it every which way (you can just ignore that part, it can just be a general god/power, etc.), and somehow that's worse because it's such a big part of those 12 steps and made to be so important in them that it just makes the whole thing feel really insidious and manipulative.

    Depending on what exactly you're looking to get from AA, there may be other programs that serve your needs better.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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  • JuliusJulius Registered User regular
    mordo212 wrote: »
    So I am trying to clean up my act with drinking. I am an atheist and I just can't move past AA`s own reliance on the use of god. I have been attending meetings at different locations for a few months now and I can't find a single person who would say God is their higher power. When I say I don't believe I always get told some version or give it time or give God a chance or something very similar. I don't know if anyone here an help or advice.

    I'm not a big fan of AA, both because of the god thing and the focus on having no control, and research has indicated that it only works for certain groups of people. The standard treatment here is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and for me that worked great. One of the benefits is that it can be tailored to suit individual needs, meaning you can focus on the things that are problems for you and skip over the things that aren't.

    I don't know your location, and I know little about services outside my area, but my advice is to look for a place near you that offers a variety of treatments so that you can find what works for you. Treatment preferences are pretty personal, and what works for one may not work for another. The place I went had a couple of intake talks after which we came up with a plan and form of treatment. AA isn't the only thing available, so if it isn't working for you there are plenty of other ways to tackle this problem.

    Good luck!

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  • Lord PalingtonLord Palington he.him.his Registered User regular
    Smart Recovery could be another option. I can't personally recommend it, but I know some people who have done it. While individual members might be religious, the program isn't geared toward that or any other 'higher power.'

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    The Ender
  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    You may also want to look into Naltrexone or acamprosate. The disease model that AA pushes is not really backed up by science.

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  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    If possible, talk to your doctor about options or reach out to some of the substance abuse organizations. They can likely get you connected with some other local options. AA isn't for everyone, so don't take it as a personal failure.

  • walnutmonwalnutmon Registered User regular
    edited December 2015
    I'm not a member of AA, but I am a member of Al Anon and I am not religious at all. The fact is that the 12 steps can be interpreted in ways that are clever and helpful and don't require an actual "god".

    This is a controversial area, but the way I have dealt with it is to recognize that AA is more about the people and support, than just the steps. I have seen first hand the lack of control, I'm not sure how bad you've gotten, but some people cannot control their drinking, at all, ever. Or a good quote is "I can enjoy my drinking, or I can control my drinking, but I can't do both".

    What I do know is that some groups are practically prayer groups, while others are much more open to interpretation. In cities you will find a lot more of the ones I like, in rural areas it can be difficult.

    Try to keep in mind though, AA is not about god, it's about people trying their hardest to support each other in a mission TO NOT DIE. This disease (I choose to call it that, it's fine if you think it's a disorder or something else, I don't care) literally kills people. I have witnessed things that are awful and it's amazing to sit around and shoot the shit with people who will listen to me tell stories that would have a normal group of people in shock, and they shake their head because they understand.

    Any program you use though will require discipline, the thing AA has going for it is that it's generally accessible to anyone because it is so large. It may be difficult to find SMART, or some of the others.

    EDIT: Let me be clear, if you have the kind of drinking problem I've witnessed, don't let religion get between you and recovery. Anything is better than the fate of an alcoholic without treatment. Even belief in something that probably doesn't exist ;)

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  • RiboflavinRiboflavin Registered User regular
    I'm late to the party but I've heard some people use their homegroup as their higher power.

  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    Don't use this as an excuse to keep drinking. Find a non-religious support group. Go to your doctor and ask if you can be referred to a non-religious rehab.

    MegaMek
  • mordo212mordo212 Registered User regular
    edited December 2015
    Oh i haven't been drinking. I just find that every time i go to a meeting i find myself leaving more angry than when i walk in because it basically is a prayer group. The closest non religious group is over an hour away once a week. I just find the whole thing hypocritical. I am almost a month now without drinking. I know i am not smarter than anyone at these meetings or better than any of them, at the same time i want to show up with a pasta strainer on my head because i know it would piss pretty much every one of them off.

    I should also state that on Jan first i am getting health insurance back and will be seeing a psycologist and asking to enter into a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy program as suggested in this thread. So i thank you all for your advice.

    mordo212 on
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  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    Congrats and keep at it!

    "Never believe management about anything anywhere." -Aistan
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  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    Keep at it, and don't give up if you do happen to fall off of the wagon; you can always get back on.


    SMART recovery (as previously mentioned by @Lord Palington ) and SOS are alternative support groups that have no religious underpinnings. If there aren't meetings in your area, you can call them to set-up a meeting yourself.

    With Love and Courage
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