not your god again...
This is a first installment. Let me get this straight.
This is going to be messy.
There is comparison in 12 step rooms that goes something like this, Addiction is like diabetes, if we just take our medicine everyday, we can live a normal life.
If a cancer patient was told they could go to a 1 hour meeting once a day for the rest of their lives to be cured, Do you think they would say “That’s nice, but I don’t have time for that!”?
No, they would happily go to a meeting a day. But often, the addict in early recovery feels absolutely put out by the idea of a meeting a day with “those people”. It is an interesting comparison and there is some truth in that it showcases the absurd self destructive denial and behavior of the addict's thinking.
Recovery for an addict is not like a diabetic taking their insulin. It is more like a schizophrenic taking their anti-psychotic drugs or the voices come back. Did you know that schizophrenic voices are not “in their head?” They are quite literally outside of their head. Imagine hearing someone at your most peaceful times, out of nowhere, screaming at you. Screaming into your ear...
Luckily for the garden variety alcoholic/addict, these thoughts are much more subtle and quite. They do not come from outside of our bodies. They are what is known in recovery as the committee. It is more just talking to ourselves. Telling ourselves we are better than you or worse than you. Telling ourselves we should be much further along in life than we are. Not because we earned anything but because we are entitled to a lot of stuff and a lot of respect. Fame and fortune because, well… Just because.
But most importantly what the committee tells us is we are different, unique and special little snowflakes. We are separate John Wayne types. We don’t naturally ask for help.
I imagine everyone has some variation of these bad ideas and symptom that addicts have. For addicts though, they are amplified to what can be a debilitating degree. We are mystifying to someone from the outside looking in. If you are not an addict, you will never understand. It is experiential. You simply cannot understand. Just as the addict can not see any reason to drink a half of glass of wine. It to us would be like taking half a crap.
Why would anyone take half a crap?
And unfortunately for us addicts, we are entirely filled with an endless supply of crap.
Non addicts say why can’t you just stop?
It is as absurd as telling a Black man to be white. It would be so much better for everyone if you were white. It must be so hard being black. Choose white.
It is a choice right? Just don’t drink. Stop smoking Meth! Stop shooting heroin. Just say no.
The brain is an amazing piece of organic machinery.
Addicts and or “Alcoholics” are not the most mentally stable people. While watching a documentary about President James Garfield, Where his assassin was told by “God” to kill the president, I got to thinking about a meeting I had recently attended where the topic of prayer and meditation came up. It was november so AA all over the world is talking about the 11th step in honor of the 11th month.
Step 11-We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him.
“I get the concept of prayer and its benefits but I wonder about the current sanity of anyone who hears god talking back to them.
Prayer and meditation are tools. They work no matter what I believe. As a matter of fact, What I believe is irrelevant. It is my actions that matter. The action of prayer and meditation is one of the tools that keep the wheels on my emotional bus.”
Around the table we go. Everyone of the 7 men sharing. I was given an example of god answering someone with words. Someone who I respect because of his actions not his beliefs, gave an example of how God talked back to him. I was mystified by the fact that he believes some of his thoughts come directly from a deity or “God”.
It seems a little like that schizophrenic I described but a happier version.
This particular interaction with the mind of God was actually beneficial to everyone involved. Will it always be? I personally can not get my mind around this way of seeing the world and my place in it. Where does my personal responsibility begin and end?
If God starts talking back to me I will check in with a trusted friend and make sure it is not just me wanting to kill the president.
This is what he said.
“I was in a meeting and people were talking about my God/religion/higher power in a way I didn’t like at all. I started getting mad and was about to share about how I felt about what was being said when I heard God’s voice say, “I don’t need you to defend me” “
Is it really in the best interest of an addict to be told God is talking back to you?
Some people in AA meetings share things like
“Prayer is me talking to God, And meditation is where I wait for the answers.”
“So… Wait… How long have you been clean and sober? Where is the magic line where your own poisoned thoughts are suddenly God’s plan for you?” Is there any prerequisites or do you go straight to reading God's mind graduate school with 2 days sober?
The 9th step promises say we will intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle us. In my not so humble opinion, good healthy intuition is not knowing the mind of God. I guess I would have to believe in God though to have a fair view of this concept. What do the mental health professionals think? Is there a licensing agency? Class 2 God mind reading.
Sounds like trouble or worse, insane. But I digress. These are the things I think during some of these meetings that I generally keep to myself.
It is acceptable for people to share about what god says to them in AA in meetings. Outwardly it seems to be well accepted. But God forbid anyone say they are atheist. It can create a firestorm of self righteous indignation. More often than not people are respectful but not always. Remember, we are dealing with a room full of addicts. We can be a little more hot headed than most. When I say a little, I really mean a lot.
The circular thinking of justifying beliefs with beliefs is rampant and the book is full of such examples.
The book is full of circular thinking such as…
No one really understands electricity but we depend on it.
No one understands God and we depend on it.
Therefore there is a God because there is electricity?
I am again quite confused. The chapter “we agnostics” is so relentlessly preaching to the choir of believers. The same believers look to that chapter for we actual agnostics to change our silly ways. Like praying away the gay.
Granted, this was a meeting I don’t usually go to. This was a meeting in a rural area of American south where talking about Jesus as my Lord and savior is totally acceptable regardless of who it may exclude.
I personally feel that bringing up Jesus makes it no longer a 12 step meeting. At that point it is more of a bible camp. I am sure the members of that group would disagree.
They read the 12 step literature and the literature allows for that exclusive type behavior so they take it and run with it. There is a tradition that states.
Tradition 4-Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or the fellowship as a whole.
I do prefer the the care that went into traditions to that of the steps. That being said, the steps changed my life. I just had to contort myself to fit. I don’t like that non Christian thinkers need to contort. I find it to be somewhat exclusionary.
The supreme court has called AA a religious organization. Any time it has gone to state supreme court, when the question of whether AA was a religious organization or not comes up. The courts have all ruled that it is.
That contradicts the book and literature which states AA is a spiritual not religious organization. That is more wishful thinking.
Bill Wilson is the so called Co founder of AA, I say so called because in my opinion he was really the founder. Old Doctor Bob gets more credit than he deserves. Bill wrote the book, he was the businessman who worked tirelessly to promote the show. He is the guy.
He didn’t do it alone by any means, but he was the CEO.
All of this religiosity, ugh, It makes more sense for me most often to sit quietly and observe. I often wish everyone in the room would sit quietly and observes but the fact is, most of the people in the room have been numb for most of their lives until very recently. They now have a lot to say and a captive audience to listen. And then there are the people with a lot of time who feel compelled to take us all hostage at every meeting. So why do I subject myself to this mayhem you ask?
I have come to believe the fellowship is the only game in town for a guy like me.
I’m Mike and I am an Alcoholic/Addict. My clean date is January 15th 1991. I have a sponsor who has a sponsor. My home group is currently a club house that has about 30 meeting a week. I have spent most of the last 5 years chairing one of those various meetings. I have a key to the building that many people have, and the key to the supply room that 3 people of the hundreds of people who pass through that building every day have.
I am a trusted servant of that group. I go to a lot of meetings. I try to help people learn how to live without drugs and alcohol. And I am an Atheist.
Addicts are wired differently. Almost all of us will start our stories with, “I always felt different”
Even the ones of us who were popular and successful will feel like we didn’t belong. This is one of our many quirks. The truth is, we are right! We are different. And not in a good way.
The way nature works is like this. Print up a few million of something and see if a couple stick. The rest of you can die a miserable death and destroy everything you love or go to prison.
Addicts make up like 20% of the human population. You normal people are boring and dull.
We addicts shine like the sun and explode like hand grenades. What would you do without us?
We totally rock.
Anyway, there are usually “mental health” anomalies that tag along with these addict minds. Depression, anxiety, dyslexia, ADD, psychopathology, musicianship, artist or worse... politician, and the list goes on and on. The fellowship calls it “A disease of the mind” translated for the layman to “MENTAL ILLNESS”
I like to call it an anomaly because i am sure without us there would be so few artists, actors, musicians, lawyers, politicians or Presidents. Like I said, we rock. And more often than not in a bad way. I love the line “all great men are bad men” And I believe the vast majority of then have been addicts. From Alexander the Great to Donald Trump. You name a recent president who hasn’t been been an Addict and I will debate you. The only recent American President who even had a father was GW Bush. GWB was undeniably an addict. Why do we elect all of these fatherless men to be President? Because they are the ones who are running!
So this Jesus thing and recovery? Would a doctor ever diagnose someone with schizophrenia or cancer and tell them the solution is to pray about it? That doesn't seem right to me.
So this here is my thesis.
The opioid crisis is destroying a greater percentage of Americans than drugs ever have before. More than car crashes or wars. More than cancer. More than all of those things put together.
Having this God hurtle at the entrance to AA, NA, CocainA, MethA, Over eatersA and whatever other A is a horrifying issue.
Any excuse for an addict to not come through the door needs to be smashed!
I don’t know if that will ever happen but why I am writing this book is because there is mostly silent percentage of people in all of the fellowships that do not believe in God. If the fellowships will not make atheists welcome publicly, than this one addict is here to tell you that you need the fellowship more than it needs you. We need each other. Addicts need other addicts.. But for a twisted newly sober atheist walking into AA to be welcomed with no avenue for their current belief system, to be told
But there is One who has all power—that One is God. May you find Him now! And
“That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.” And that
God could and would if he were sought.
It is wrong.
It has a smell of immorality.
What are the statistics for success in a 12 step program? Who keeps the statistics? How many addicts are athiest? Is the amount of addicts who are atheists greater than the amount of atheists in the general population? Why all this God stuff?
Here is the deal. AA was born out of a Christian Fundamentalist group called the Oxford Group.
Once upon a time there was a man named Bill Wilson. He was born behind the bar in his Grandma's boarding house in Vermont.
Is that the stuff of mythology or what!?!
That is how the story begins…
He was a high strung kid. His father abandoned the family and his mother decided to go to medical school out of state leaving young Bill with his Grandparents. Young Bill was a very anxious boy. He said his first depression was after his parents left him.
He was from the wrong side of the tracks and longed to get himself on the right side of those tracks.
He fell in love with a girl in high school who was from the right side of the tracks. The daughter of an episcopal minister. One day the girl was whisked away to New York for a simple medical procedure. As the story goes, to have a “small tumor” removed. The results of that procedure was her death. It seems quite possible that this procedure may likely have been the abortion of their teenage love. If it was an abortion? let's keep that out of the story... It could upset the natives. For me, this tragedy and many other tragedies that AA seems to like to keep hidden make Bill's story and his life much richer and real. AA’s version of AA history in my opinion prefers mythology to reality.
And now back to our regularly scheduled mythology...
Bill went into his second deep dark depression when Bertha died.
There was a legend about Bill's Grandfather too. His Grandfather was a terrible drunk. One day he went to the top of the local mountain, with the cool wind blowing through his hair, He saw God in the form of a white light, picture a thin mint commercial, and he came down off that mountain never to drink again.
Bill was depressed. As the story goes he remained depressed for 3 years. 8 months into his 3 year depression he met Lois.
As much as Bill was a classic case addict, Lois was a classic case CoDependant.
Personally, I am convinced these types of people suffer from the same brain anomaly as addicts do. The symptoms may be different but the results are the same. Self centered misery.
The way humans are, we find familiarity. Like John Bradshaw said “I kept finding the same woman with a different head.” We can smell them in a crowded room.
Bill was class president, orchestra leader and a star athlete in high school but he was a sad depressed anxious guy.
Typical of the “i never fit in” “I always felt different” mentality. That is because you were different Bill! And Lois was going to save him.
But not until the following summer.
Bill would become her lifelong project. A normal healthy minded woman would have smelled his insane drama coming from a mile away. But no no no, not Lois, she smelled that drama and jumped all over it.
That is the evidence that she is different too. Purely anecdotal yes, but I have seen it a thousand times. This type of person is addicted to the addict just the way the addict is addicted to the drugs, sex, gambling, food, anorexia, bulimia, controlling people, power, money, exercise, cleaning, arson, murder, you name it. Anything that brings a sense of control or pleasure and often pain is the pleasure. Anything that makes us feel alive. Drama and chaos is a great one. You should see the drama in a 12 step meeting! Lord have mercy!
Bill’s first love died in November of 1912. He met Lois in June 1913. He went to college and began having regular panic attacks. He couldn't cut it. He was antisocial and withdrawn.
What this boy needs is a drink! But not yet…
Summer comes, Bill and Lois hook up and become secretly engaged.
Moving right along…
Bill is nearing the end of his depression now if my math is correct.
Lois told her 17 year old sister of her secret engagement to Bill. The sisters response was, “me and Bill have been fooling around all summer too!”
Bill was always a ladies man.
Bill explained to Lois it was all a scheme to cover up their secret engagement. She bought it! Awsome!
Wait! Is the depression over yet? I’m confused…
This is the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Bill manufactures bullshit and Lois buys it. But where do the Lois’s of the world get all the currency to buy such bullshit? It is quite mystifying.
They must have bullshit factories of their own.
Another special attribute of the Addict mind and lifestyle is hostage taking. We take hostages. Some people like to be taken hostage, this is a very exciting arrangement for everyone involved until it isn't. Love makes it easy to lose sight of reality and reality is often the enemy of the addict.
As a matter of fact, another key indicator that someone is an addict is that they manufacture bullshit and they themselves buy it. We are our own best customers. It is a closed loop. Light cannot enter. Do not disturb.
Which brings me to another bit of closed loop thinking that does not work for everybody. Religion/God think. Bill’s original solution for addiction. But we will get back to that later.
The first step is about denial and the lies we tell ourselves. Thank God for the first step! No God is required to fully engage the first step into your life.
Step One- Spiritual Principal- Honesty-Spiritual problem that needs addressing-Denial-I lie to myself about myself. I am a liar.
And now back to our regularly scheduled program…
All of Bill and now Lois’s little problems coincided with something else that was going on at the time. A war that came to be known as WW1. The European War or The Great War at the time. It was kind of a big deal and had to have influenced young Bill’s desires to be a hero.
Addicts will sell their souls to be cool. Anything to look good and be accepted. Accepted is a nice goal until you become accepted, then it is more preferable to dominate. World domination would be good. We simply can never get enough of anything. Our perceptions are quite skewed. Pouring the numbing poison into our black hole view of the world is a perfect solution for a while. Like everything else an addict does, we pile drive it into oblivion. We are the last to see how or when it turns into self destruction. Self centeredness to the extreme. You might call it narcissism with a twist of self hatred. Or like is often said “an egomaniac with an inferiority complex” We are dangerous contradictions.
I have no doubt that this anomaly is in our DNA. It is in my blood and bones. Just as I am a 5’7” white male with brown hair and hazel eyes I was born with this anomaly and I will die with it.
Nature does everything for a reason. Nature also over does it. A few million sperm to take a run at one egg and still there are many failed pregnancies. Many birth defects. Or like trees and pollen. Most pollen washes away. So it is with humans.
All shapes and varieties, some are successful and many or most fail.
Addicts, and I use that term broadly because I don't think you have to ever use drugs to be suffering from this anomaly, are driven by a fear that they are not good enough.
The high of a compliment or the low of an insult is totally out of proportion. We become overly attached to other people. We become obsessive about achieving things. I often think there would be no entertainment industry or law schools without this wonderful anomaly. Sports would be too boring watch. Football players and boxers would be too concerned about getting hurt to play.
There would be no political motivation to hoard all of the world's wealth and power. Nobody would be interested in controlling the world. I mean, who would want to control the world? What a shitty job that would be. Still, there are no shortage of assholes who want to rule the world. People and societies would be nicer without us but that isn’t the hand we have been dealt.
I am not only convinced that most Rock stars, comedians, actors, athletes, war hero’s, CEO’s and politicians have pathological issues, I am pretty sure you can’t get to those places unless you do. These are societies heros, we build statues to these people. We also fill our prisons and graveyards with them. The majority of insecure, risk taking lunatics end up dead early. A few become presidents and kings. Or, in Bill's case, they write a book and start a fellowship called alcoholics anonymous. Let's not make any mistake about this, Bill Wilson was a CEO of a fortune 500 company. I am not going to make any attempt at sorting through the accounting, but if you haven’t been paying attention, addiction and recovery is big business. Bill had every intention of becoming a wealthy man with AA. As time went on he truly saw that AA was bigger than him and he mostly stepped out of it’s way.
SHit! I am off on a tangent.
I need to review the WW1 story. I just repurchased the Bill Biography by Susan Cheever from Amazon. It is THE book about the life of Bill Wilson. That is NOT what I am trying to do with this book. A summary of Bill's story has to be told but this is an attempt to tell my experience in AA as an atheist. It is also to explain my thought about the parts of AA that are right and the parts that not so right.
It will take a few days to get here. I am trying to fill in the space between his Summer with Lois and her sister and his trip to Europe at the end of the War. I don’t know if it relevant to the overall point I am trying to make here or not. But Bill got on a boat to europe and I think this part of the story may be in her book.
I am about to be sidetracked... I hope this all comes back around to my original point somehow.
I leant the Cheever book to a guy in recovery I was trying to help stay clean and sober. He is a successful accountant. Meaning, he makes a good income. Has a nice McMansion style house, a beautiful wife, very attractive, thin, put together, nice nails and makup, expensive boutique clothes kind of deal. I met him about 7 years ago at a house party someone in recovery was throwing. He was playing rhythm guitar in a “recovery” cover band up on the deck in the yard. I was in a band before I got clean and have always wanted to get back into one for the fun of it. These guys were good but they couldn’t sing to save their lives and I started scheming to be their singer.
I took up the idea with the lead guitarist. A little guy with a larger than life presence. He was hilarious and dark. Very dark.
We started rehearsing in my basement. We got pretty good. This went on for about 6 months or so. We played at a recovery fund raiser event. That was our great claim to fame. After that Meatwash evaporated back into the ether from which it came.
Out of the 5 guys in the band two of us had over 20 years. The drummer had claimed to have some “long term sobriety” But the first rehearsal he stuck his head into my garage and took a hit of weed. It pretty much stunk up the whole basement. I freaked out on him and eventually, not nearly soon enough, he was booted.
This is one of the problems with a fellowship that is devoted to the abstinence from a specific drug. People can justify the most outrageous sorts of nonsense to keep from getting clean.
The lead guitarist, the little guy with the giant personality was our fearless leader and he had sympathies for our drummer. Sympathies that I would later find were quite misguided but I wanted to sing in a band so I went for the ride.
Me and the bass player saw things eye to eye as far as recovery is concerned. Abstinence from all drugs that are not prescribed for specific reasons such as depression. Pain medication? BEWARE!!!!!! Pain meds? slippery...
One night after a rehearsal, Me, my agreeable bass player friend and our fearless leader were talking in my front yard. The topic of marijuana maintenance came up. Our fearless leader blew up at our assessment that abstinence from all drugs is sort of a requirement for actual sobriety.
He went on a tear about how marijuana is his antidepressant and how could we even consider a substitute that comes from a pharmaceutical company. He claimed SSRI’s turn people into zombies.
Well, that is why he was sympathetic to our drug addict drummers plight. And by the way, the drummer as it turns out is still a pill popping pot head. But he doesn’t drink! And he still celebrates his sobriety every year by picking up a coin and telling us all how he did it. Of course he leaves out the part about that he isn’t really doing it. I suppose in terms of harm reduction he may be better off. I can’t say. In terms of being a more enlightened human being? Not so much.
Two Meatwash members never seem to have been clean and our good friend the accountant, as it turns out, I don’t think he was “not drinking” at this point either.
I never really got to know him back in the Meatwash days.
6 years pass, I still see the bass player. He is doing ok, still sober, still in touch with the other 3 lunatics. All of whom are still up to the same mischief as far as I know.
One night my accountant/rhythm guitarist friend walks into a 8pm meeting at the clubhouse inconsolable, crying like a child. I’m never drinking again. I have to stop drinking. I can’t drink anymore. My wife threw me out. I have nowhere to go. I’m sleeping in a hotel… All drama, the full catastrophe.
I talked to him after the meeting. He snapped out of it. He was happy to see me, laughing, crying, all over the emotional spectrum. He was not drunk at the moment but he was pretty toxic. Chernobyl melt down style toxic. We talked a little. I think we got some food.
His story was something like this,
He got into a fight with his wife, he was drunk. She locked him out. He punched in the glass of the front door. He was in his bare feet. He walked in the broken glass. She called the cops, the cops came, he ran and hid in the bushes, they found him. He thought he was under arrest. The cops said, ummmm, you broke your own window and hid in your own bushes.
Some really ridiculous drunken nonsense. Most likely only the next bottom in a long list of incredibly stupid events caused by his drinking. His wife threw him out. He didn’t care about her, so he said… it was the kids. The kids needed him. Mm hmm...
Bill Wilson talks a lot about bottoms in the book he wrote in 1952. In the “first step” chapter of his 1952 book he talks all about bottoms. His 1952 book is a little more experienced based than the 1st book he wrote.
With big ideas of fame and fortune he had 3 years sober when he wrote the book Alcoholics Anonymous. AA didn’t exist when he wrote that book. Both books are still driven by the misconceived notion that the only solution for addiction is God. Can you imagine a medical doctor telling his cancer patient the only way to heal this cancer is prayer and meditation? Did I say that already? There is a lot of that in the 12&12. Misconceived notions and circular thinking. The inner working of an addict's mind. Don’t get me wrong, there are many insightful descriptions of typical addict thinking and behaviors in this book. It is the conclusion that God is the only solution where it falls flat for me.
My guitarist friend had found another bottom. He was limping around for at least a week before he got the glass out of his feet. We talked a lot over the next couple of months. I hooked him up with a guy I love and respect to be his sponsor. I would call him when I didn’t see him at a meeting. His wife was making crazy unrealistic threats. Not letting him see the kids.
Over time as his story unfolded it seemed obvious that his wife must love this crazy drama. It became clear to me that his wife thrived on the chaos. I told him she wants you back and she prefers you drinking. He agreed. It feeds all of her control needs.
It is pretty common behavior for those of us with the anomaly. This anomaly manifests in her in a complementary form to the way it manifests in him. The two of them can spend a lifetime tearing each other apart and why not? They apparently have nothing better to do.
He was an atheist I think, Or perhaps just questioning everything, so I gave him the Susan Chavez book. Not because her book is an atheist promotion book, only because it is the facts minus mythology. How stupid I am? Never! Ever! Lend a book! Give them away. Don’t lend. Lent books never come home.
He came to meetings for a couple of months. Moved back in with his family and stopped coming to meetings. His sponsor started going through the steps with him and he said, look, I am not going to do this. He was all smiles and apologies. I called a couple of times and heard crickets.
That is about normal really. The vast majority of people don’t get clean. And most people don’t return books.
Could anyone reading this open your heart to the possibility that there are people in this world, who by no fault or choice of their own, Do not, can not, believe in God? And that some of these people are addicts or “alcoholics” who need help? People who may well die without our help. Are you really willing to force them to do psychological gymnastics before accepting them into AA? I mean truly accepting them? Do you think it is possible that some people will never be able to to believe in God? Thereby never be able to “WORK the 3rd step the way it is written?” Is it possible for you to put your own beliefs aside? Do you realize that Bill wrote publicly about his regrets about his closed mindedness on this issue? He wondered how many people died because of his closed mindedness? It is not in the Big Book. AA did not exist when Bill wrote the big book
I often hear the idea that "it was a different time" It was the archaic 30's. There were progressive people in the 1930s.
We agnostics should be called "we hate agnostics". Bill wrote the book with so little actual recovery experience. He had 3 years sober. There was no AA. It was Oxford Groups for very wealthy white men. Bill was an outsider in the oxford groups. Ebby wasn't. Ebby was the man who first brought the Oxford group message of recovery to Bill. Ebby came from American royalty. Most of the original men did.
Bill researched everything he could get his hands on and started writing the book. He justified his white light experience, the one that was exactly the same as his grandfathers, with this book. If you go to AA I am sure you have heard of it. William James's "Varieties of Religious Experience"
The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature, Being the Gifford Lectures on Natural Religion Delivered at Edinburgh in 1901–1902
James did important work in philosophy of religion. In his Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh he provided a wide-ranging account of The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902) and interpreted them according to his pragmatic leanings. Some of the important claims he makes in this regard:
Religious genius (experience) should be the primary topic in the study of religion, rather than religious institutions—since institutions are merely the social descendant of genius.
The intense, even pathological varieties of experience (religious or otherwise) should be sought by psychologists, because they represent the closest thing to a microscope of the mind—that is, they show us in drastically enlarged form the normal processes of things.
In order to usefully interpret the realm of common, shared experience and history, we must each make certain "over-beliefs" in things which, while they cannot be proven on the basis of experience, help us to live fuller and better lives.
Religious Mysticism is only one half of mysticism, the other half is composed of the insane and both of these are co-located in the 'great subliminal or transmarginal region'.
James investigated mystical experiences throughout his life, leading him to experiment with chloral hydrate (1870), amyl nitrite(1875), nitrous oxide (1882), and peyote (1896). James claimed that it was only when he was under the influence of nitrous oxide that he was able to understand Hegel. He concluded that while the revelations of the mystic hold true, they hold true only for the mystic; for others, they are certainly ideas to be considered, but can hold no claim to truth without personal experience of such. American Philosophy: An Encyclopedia classes him as one of several figures who "took a more pantheist or pandeist approach by rejecting views of God as separate from the world."
William James was a great American philosopher. His main coarse of study was pragmatism. He didn't believe in God at all.
The whole thing is ludicrous. God does not need to be part of recovery unless the individual wants it to be. This force feeding bullshit... Well, it isn't really all Bills fault. He really just wanted to make his fortune when he wrote the book. He believed he would make a million and live happily ever after. But the guys from Akron wanted more God. They liked the Oxford groups. By this time the NY Oxford groups threw Bill out. They didn't want this low class riff raff messing up the club.
PS I chaired an 8PM at the local AA club house last night. We read the 2nd half of the 12th step from the 12and12. At some point I shared. Bill nails the symptoms we suffer from. But he goes on and on about how sober people who have God in their pocket have happy great relationships yadda yadda... he wasn't going to the same meetings I go to. And if you learn about Bill, that wasn't his experience either. He was always selling this nonsense.
The guy was a real ass hole. but he was our asshole.
How is that for a nice hopeful share?
I am going to pause here.
A good friend of mine from another life just died.
I don’t know if I am ready to write about Pat yet. I don’t know how any of this works. How to respect anonymity and still tell his story, or my impression, understanding and my version of his story. Is my interpretation of his story accurate? What is in the best interest of everyone? At some point it is easy for anonymity to be secret keeping. Denial lives inside the ugly little secrets. I believe my version of his story, knowing what I know of addiction, may be the only accurate version of this man's story. Or of a portion of it.
Me and Pat drank and used the same way. Oblivion as fast as possible. Oblivion and beyond!!!! But not dead. We aren't supposed to die yet.
I am going to have to tell my own story for this to make any sense.
This is going to be messy
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