Thought for the day 6/18/2018

“We are quick enough at perceiving and weighing what we have suffered from others, but we mind not what others have suffered from us.”
~ Thomas à Kempis

I Don’t Believe In God. How Can I Work The Steps?

From time to time I run across people in the rooms and elsewhere who ask about my religious beliefs. When I tell them that I am agnostic, the responses vary from “Oh” to “I’ll pray for you.” (Not too many of those, thank goodness.) Occasionally someone will ask how it’s possible for me not to believe in a God, since I profess to have turned my will and my life over to a Higher Power. If they seem sincerely interested, I may try to explain.

To me, whether there is or is not a God (theism or atheism) is irrelevant to my program. I’m quite willing to admit that I couldn’t, the other folks in the rooms could, and I needed to learn from them and do what they did in order to survive my addiction(s). That, to me, exhibits all the humility and acceptance of my own non-God-ness needed to progress in my recovery.

Contrary to popular belief agnostics do not believe that there is no God, but rather that whether there is a God is ultimately unknowable. That is either a tenable position or not, depending on one’s feelings about an afterlife or lack thereof, but it’s really pretty balanced when you think about it. Not knowing is a pretty good mental state to maintain if we can, because that’s when we’re open to learning and experiencing new things. “Beginner’s mind,” as the Buddhists say, or as another of my favorites goes, “You can’t teach a man what he thinks he already knows.”

Most of us are more interested in what we already know, or think we know, than in learning something new. If I believe there is a God, and in reality there isn’t, no matter how obvious that is I’ll never see it because I am blinded by my belief that there is. Likewise, if I believe that God doesn’t exist, God could be right in front of me and I wouldn’t be able to see that because of my belief that there isn’t a God.

While it’s pretty scary to think that the safety net one has depended on to catch them at the next stage of existence might not be there, to me it’s even scarier to remember the way theistic beliefs blinded me to myriad wonderful things about the world and the universe that were contradictory to them. That’s especially true when I’ve yet to encounter proof one way or the other about the existence of a deity or deities. Should credible information come to my attention I might be swayed one way or the other, but it wouldn’t change one iota of how I live my life. I do my best and if a theoretical God asks for more than that I’m sunk anyway.

In either case our beliefs–whatever they may be–can blind us from seeing reality. To that extent an open mind, coming from either direction, is a desirable thing to have.

What Is Hindering My Recovery?

Buddhists speak of the Five Hindrances to Enlightenment:

  • Ill-will (resentments)
  • Sensory desire (craving)
  • Restlessness and worry (fear of the future and shame about the past)
  • Doubt (denial)
  • Sloth and torpor (laziness, apathy)

If I substitute recovery for enlightenment, how do these things bear on my sobriety?

Thanks Joe C.

Think About What You’re Posting!

Hell…think about what you’re thinking!

I was just browsing Instagram and found the following:

“The moment you doubt whether you can
fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.”

I see this kind of New Agey stuff frequently. It’s indicative of the lack of attention we give to the things we post and the messages we send. I’m sure that the woman who posted it saw the aphorism someplace and thought “Oh, inspiring,” then posted it without further thought.

But what is the underlying message? If you get discouraged, quit; it isn’t going to happen. If we applied that philosophy to life most of us addicts would be dead now (or wish we were) and very little would get accomplished in general. Continue reading “Think About What You’re Posting!”

Thought for the day: 5/25/2017

No two people see the world and their circumstances in the same way. How could they? We all come from a life of billions of experiences, all perceived and interpreted by our individual brains. These perceptions and interpretations are colored by a palette of emotions, feelings and conscious thought. The results can’t possibly be the same for two individuals. Where else could our reality reside but in our heads? Continue reading “Thought for the day: 5/25/2017”

Solutions



One of our biggest problems as addicts is that we pursue solutions that we like, rather than those we need.

Many times the best solutions to problems  do not produce the outcomes that we want.  Members who have been around the fellowships for awhile have seen it again and again: newcomers (and sometimes those not so new) who flail around and exhaust themselves trying to fight what more experienced folks see as inevitable: the need to make changes that we don’t like.

Usually, no one is saying that they need to be made all at once or right away. In fact, program wisdom indicates quite the opposite. In most cases not involving situations dire and immediate, we recommend that any changes be made slowly, with careful consideration of all factors. Since we’re all addicts and codependents, however, we tend to want to sweep things under the rug and ignore them indefinitely, or take the broom and beat them into submission. In either case, we want what we want and we want it now, and we want it the way we want it.* Continue reading “Solutions”