You Can Work A Program And Remain An Atheist!

Hello, My name is Mat and I am a drug addict and an atheist

I will start by posting the Secular version of the 12 steps that I choose to use in place of the originals....

1 We admited we were powerless over our problem - that our lives had become unmanageable.

2 Came to believe we couldn’t solve the problem on our own, but that this program and the group power of people in it could restore us to sanity.

3 We each nominated greater powers to remind us there are things bigger than ourselves and not to play god – then we began to let go of self-will.

4 Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5 Admitted without reservation to ourselves and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6 Every few months made a shortlist of our defects most in need of attention.

7 Made it a project to minimize one or more of our worse faults and improve our behavior.

8 Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9 Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10 Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11 Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our spiritual awareness and our understanding of the AA way of life and to discover the power to carry out that way of life.

12 Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

I have been in and out of 12 step programs for the past 8 years or so. I've had a few relapses and I have learned from every one of them.  The main problem, I do not and will not believe in god!  Now, 12 step programs claim you can choose whatever higher power you want, they then place the word god in there...Personally I have always felt uncomfortable with this, and that is why, in the years I have been in and out of recovery, I have never truly made it past step 2.  I tried...believe me, I tried to believe in god, but it never felt right to me.  And I always ended up relapsing, because I had no way of truly working the steps.  

I have now been sober for almost a year!  I have been attending normal meetings while taking what I can use, and leaving the rest.  I have been on step one this whole time.  I needed to truly realize my powerlessness over drugs and that my life completely unmanageable after just one use.  I've been coasting along with this for the past 11 months and felt as though I had hit a plateau, Something needed to happen, or I was back on the road to relapse, and I knew that!  I still don't have a sponsor, but I really don't feel that was the problem, I don't think there is one person in my home group that would TRULY understand atheism!  I've heard it all before "use the group for a higher power"....but nobody has been able to really explain that, they assume that everybody will eventually turn to religion.  But that road is not for me.  So....recently I have gone searching for supplemental reading to accompany my program of recovery, and I have found it in a book addressed to atheists looking to improve themselves.  This has been a real eye opener, FINALLY!  An atheist like myself that has found a way to do this!  

I have now started working a program, not based on a god, but on the principle that I am not the center of the universe, I don't need to control everything around me!  I have came to believe and accept that it's not all about me, I have abandoned selfishness!  And can accept the inevitable!  I realize the only thing I have any control over are my own thoughts and feelings!  This is truly an eye opening experience.  This does not require the hand of god, but rather a look deep within, painting an honest picture of just how small we are on the greater scale of things!  

I still realize I can't do this alone, which is why I continue going to groups.  Yes, I do use the groups as a "higher power" but now I truly understand what that means.  If i put my problems out there, or need advice, I just need to be willing to step out of myself and ask for input, and that is how the group conscience works, some say this is also the "hand of god" and that "god speaks through people at groups", I don't believe that, I believe that the more minds you put together to think about a problem, the more likely it is to be solved, and even if the group can't give me feedback, it still feels a lot better to get it out there.  I have a tendency to blow things out of proportion and by juggling them around in my mind, I will eventually use again.  I just need to clear my mind and realize just how small most of my problems are.  

Prayer.....I used to cringe when I heard this word, to me it was a sign of weakness.  Basically saying I can't handle this crap, so I'll hope for god to magically remove it.  Well, an open mind can go a long way.  By changing my definition of prayer, I realize what the purpose is, and that there is no need to address it to a god. The new definition of prayer is basically a way of keeping my mind in a healthy state, somewhat of a mental inventory.  It's a way of formulating my thoughts and keeping them healthy.  I think of it as a way of my drug addicted self talking to my program working self.  Once a gain, keeping my mind healthy by stopping and thinking about my program, no magical interference here!

And this leads to the Spiritual Awakening part of the program....Mine came when I finally was able to define "spiritual" in a secular way.  Now my spiritual awakening was when I finally realized that I could work this program without the god stuff!  The spiritual awakening is finally feeling connected to the rest of the group.  This is when I finally feel like my motives have changed and that there is hope for hopeless atheist such as myself.  I have finally stopped white knuckling and feel that I have something to work for.

I believe our purpose in life is to help one another, and I will end it here. 
HOPEFULLY this will spark some conversation!!!
Thanks for reading and Good Luck!

gnostik66 gnostik66
26-30, M
1 Response Jan 14, 2013

If I may, you say "I do not and will not believe in god" but you admit you pray. Who do you pray to and why?