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Old 02-18-2012, 11:25 AM   #46
SamIam
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monster View Post
I'm quite surprised there aren't AA groups who have taken the belief part out of it, though?
Never! Any group that does that is no longer AA nor even a 12-Step group. "Step 2: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." Step 3: "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him."

You don't pull on superman's cape, and you never ever change ANYTHING about the Steps.

That "God as we understood him" phrase is AA's attempt to offer members an escape clause - ie You are not required to believe in the Christian god or the Jewish one or whatever. You can make up your own higher power if you want. You could even use the Flying Spaghetti Monster just as long as you considered it more powerful than you. I knew one person who used his dog as his higher power, but everyone in the group thought he was a weirdo - the AA member, not the dog.

Their is something called Rational Recovery (RR) that rejects the idea that god or a higher power is required for recovery. RR was started by a guy named Jack Trimpe who had a major resentment against AA. The Rational Recovery program is printed in the "Small Book," as against AA's "Big Book." And so forth.

Whatever.
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Old 02-18-2012, 12:44 PM   #47
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I may be missing something, but my recollection is only that you 'believe' in a power higher than yourself. Who's to say what that power is? It could be something as simple as the love of another: your child, your parent, your spouse.

I don't know what I believe but I know that there are powerful things out there, otherwise why is this collection of bits and pieces and molecules and dust a feeling entity? Thinking makes sense. Feeling never has nor will make sense.

There's always something to live for, and AA, for those who work the program, is their way of choosing to live.
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Old 02-18-2012, 01:40 PM   #48
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At my worst I had nothing to live for except the fear of an unsuccessful suicide.
I did try to believe in a power higher than myself, but I had no hook to hang it on.
Going to meetings where everyone else's hook was a definite deity - and one who intervened in matters in obscure ways which to me screamed coincidence - just alienated me.
Abstract ideas are all well and good, but when you come down to the meat and bones of AA they just don't cut it. At least none of them did for me.

Again - as Joe says - I was not deliberately excluded.
But the person I am means I simply cannot follow the 12 Step programme as it is set out.
No-one said I wasn't wanted, but it wasn't possible to commit. And for AA to work you really have to commit. Alcohol is a hard thing to quit and something I haven't managed yet.

And yes, as Sam suggests, my external power could be FSM.
But as she implies, I'd have to have belief in order to do so.
FSM is just cute shorthand to me.
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:13 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by infinite monkey View Post
I may be missing something, but my recollection is only that you 'believe' in a power higher than yourself. Who's to say what that power is? It could be something as simple as the love of another: your child, your parent, your spouse.

I don't know what I believe but I know that there are powerful things out there, otherwise why is this collection of bits and pieces and molecules and dust a feeling entity? Thinking makes sense. Feeling never has nor will make sense.
IM, it must be a personal power that takes direct interest in you, your sobriety and your life. That's the biggest catch for me. Too many truly awful things go on in this world and have gone on in the past. I cannot turn my life and my will over to a higher power which allowed the holocaust, for example. It just does not compute.
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Old 02-18-2012, 04:27 PM   #50
Aliantha
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You can make cakes without flour. Just sayin'...

They taste pretty good too.
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Old 02-18-2012, 06:38 PM   #51
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I knew one person who used his dog as his higher power, but everyone in the group thought he was a weirdo - the AA member, not the dog.
This exclusion of dyslexics has to spot!
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Old 02-19-2012, 11:00 AM   #52
infinite monkey
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Originally Posted by SamIam View Post
IM, it must be a personal power that takes direct interest in you, your sobriety and your life. That's the biggest catch for me. Too many truly awful things go on in this world and have gone on in the past. I cannot turn my life and my will over to a higher power which allowed the holocaust, for example. It just does not compute.
I don't recall ever seeing anyone keeping score of what you choose to represent your higher power. I don't know what you mean "personal" power. Personal power cannot be the love of your family?

Certainly, I know that part of the program is giving up the belief that you are so truly unique that the program isn't for you, couldn't possibly help you. You have to set aside a bit amount of egocentricity and pride to truly believe that you are powerless over alcohol or drugs, just like every other person in the room.

No, I don't believe it works for everyone. I do think that there are a fair amount of people on earth who are able to quit for a hundred other reasons, and I think that there are a fair amount of people who don't really want to quit and who like to think the rock they hit was the bottom...

I'm glad for those who conquer the demon in whatever way they can. For some the only way they can is AA. The only way they can get sobriety, and keep it, is to keep 'working it' as they say.
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Old 02-19-2012, 01:15 PM   #53
sexobon
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Originally Posted by infinite monkey View Post
I don't recall ever seeing anyone keeping score of what you choose to represent your higher power. I don't know what you mean "personal" power. Personal power cannot be the love of your family? ...
It seems that in this context the word "power" infers supernatural. It's human nature to be reluctant to surrender one's freedom of choice, freedom of action, to other people including friends and family. It's easier to submit to, admit to needing help from, interpersonal intervention by a supernatural power (real or perceived) that one has no control over. The love from/for other people plays a weightier role in situations of failure to thrive (morbidity) than failure to survive (mortality). Of course, the willingness and desire to do anything necessary to save one's own life must be there along with the realization that other measures aren't working. When it's the final option, these people would simply rather become indoctrinated than dead!
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Old 02-19-2012, 04:53 PM   #54
Aliantha
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I gave up smoking and my kids and Mum were my 'higher power' if you want to talk about what motivated me to stay on the right path. If I felt myself wavering, I would just think about them, or go be with them and I would find my resolve again.

Really it was all just about my own willpower in the end.

I went cold turkey from over 1 pack a day to nothing.
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:09 AM   #55
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I gave up smoking and my kids and Mum were my 'higher power' if you want to talk about what motivated me to stay on the right path. If I felt myself wavering, I would just think about them, or go be with them and I would find my resolve again.

Really it was all just about my own willpower in the end.

I went cold turkey from over 1 pack a day to nothing.
Same here. In my case I was just fed up with the idea of being dependent from such a small, stupid object. Plus I started going regularly to the gym and after a couple of weeks was less inclined to smoke because I could feel the effects so much more while doing sport. All it takes is some (real) motivation. No book can provide that, as dorky as it may sound.
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Old 02-27-2012, 03:25 PM   #56
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Yebbut, Ali & Salem, you did not commit to turn your life over to them (as your higher power) and accept that they could effect changes in your life that you couldn't yourself.

As both of you say, the bottom line was what came from within.
The Twelve Step programme is vehemently about what comes from without.

So to answer Infi, no of course no-one keeps track of what you are claiming as a higher power. Although if you have a sponsor (highly recommended) you will have frank and open discussions about all twelve steps and will be expected to name your higher power.

Personal power can of course be the love of your family, but it is a nebulous concept compared to the general idea that you have surrendered your life to an infinite power. If a member of your family blows up at you for no fault of yours, the hurt and rejection can impact your sobriety. On the other hand if you break the heel off your shoe, your umbrella turns inside out and there is a Tube strike, it doesn't mean God is judging you. You might feel it warrents a drink, but with willpower you will get through.

Yeah, that's a bit glib.
But that's what I heard when I went to meetings.
I cannot surrender to my family. I know them as flawed human beings also.
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Old 02-27-2012, 03:35 PM   #57
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Not surrendering to family. Surrendering to the love, the bond, of family. That unconditional kind of love...no matter what your family might be doing or not doing: that mutual unconditional love.

I've been to meetings myself, both in 30 day rehab and after, and in my stint in the looney bin. (Oh yes, those were the happy times in my life ) I guess I never felt pressure to believe in GAWD, but maybe I didn't feel the pressure because I'd hoped I'd find it.
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Old 02-27-2012, 03:52 PM   #58
Sundae
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See I don't believe in the immutable power of love.
Not between people and certainly not in a family.

Which is why I consider AA a YMMV solution.
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Old 02-27-2012, 04:43 PM   #59
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I'd just like to caution anyone doing the twelve steps ...
One of them (5 maybe) said something about admitting your wrongs to people.

For example, sharing with your spouse that you were repeatedly unfaithful for the past decade and that one of your kids might not be his ... Yeh - not such a great idea all the time. YMMV.
Personally, one of my issues with the plan is that the"drunks" get to "free themselves" from these burdens by transferring them to the offended person(s). Fuck that.
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Old 02-27-2012, 05:23 PM   #60
Aliantha
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundae View Post
Yebbut, Ali & Salem, you did not commit to turn your life over to them (as your higher power) and accept that they could effect changes in your life that you couldn't yourself.

As both of you say, the bottom line was what came from within.
The Twelve Step programme is vehemently about what comes from without.

So to answer Infi, no of course no-one keeps track of what you are claiming as a higher power. Although if you have a sponsor (highly recommended) you will have frank and open discussions about all twelve steps and will be expected to name your higher power.

Personal power can of course be the love of your family, but it is a nebulous concept compared to the general idea that you have surrendered your life to an infinite power. If a member of your family blows up at you for no fault of yours, the hurt and rejection can impact your sobriety. On the other hand if you break the heel off your shoe, your umbrella turns inside out and there is a Tube strike, it doesn't mean God is judging you. You might feel it warrents a drink, but with willpower you will get through.

Yeah, that's a bit glib.
But that's what I heard when I went to meetings.
I cannot surrender to my family. I know them as flawed human beings also.
Sundae, I turned my life over to my kids the moment they were born.

I'd been abusing them by smoking.

I gave up because I had my eyes opened to the horror of losing a parent to cancer and realised just how bad my abuse could be if I didn't stop.

I think in just about every addicts life there's a catalyst. A defining moment when they realise their current behaviour can't go on, so they seek help in changing, or simply make the decision to change. Some clearly need more help than others, but it comes down to the same thing in my opinion.

I doubt I would be a non smoker today if I didn't have kids. I'd probably drink a lot more if I didn't have kids, and I'd probably still do drugs in one form or another if I didn't have kids.

My kids are my higher power. They keep me on the straight and narrow because I know that ultimately I'm the one person they really really need in their lives, and I can't afford to risk them losing that before it's time for the sake of my own fun and games.

My kids made me a better person. Without them, none of you would want to know me. I can promise you that.
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