I didnt scan far enough down to see this about starting a discussion.
So, to re-state my comments that went to all the members of the group, Im confronting the fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous, about the application of the program without the use of god. I have mulitiple years clean, and have done it without a god. If anyone in the group would like more details, I would be pleased to fill you in. I am fully aware that this will be a huge undertaking, since Im proposing to add to a system of recovery that has worked(unchanged) for the passed 60 years or so. But I welcome the challenge. One of the things that is talked about in the mtgs of NA, is the freedom of choice that we have inregards to what we want this power greater than to be. But the inherent bias that is presented in the literature and the mtgs themselves, from individuals, is unsettling. I myself do not fit into that cookie-cutter mold that the masses fits into. If anyone out there has any experience with anything like this, or wants to know more, please dont hesitate to ask.
Hi William. Good luck with your efforts. I tolerated/ survived AA for several years before flying solo and am still sober. There's a group here on AN, "Ateists in a programme" that's quite good. Have a look.
Right off the bat, I will admit to having ZERO experience with AA, NA or any such organization. Still I'm somewhat familiar with the whole 12-step business and their insistence on some "higher power" to accomplish the goals a member sets for him or herself.
My own personal philosophy which has developed over the years has informed me that self-understanding and self-ownership are the primary and mandatory parameters required to achieve self-change. This assertion has actually proven itself out to me over the past 10 years with a couple fairly major life changes I've gone through. Those changes include with them my own recognition of my atheism.
If I may suggest, I would tell the NA people the following:
I am the author of my actions. I am aware of no unseen external influence or "higher power" as you wish to call it, capable of moving me where I cannot. Certainly, there are external incentives which may aid in this process, but if anything is to be achieved here, I Will Do It; Nothing and No One Else Will. Perhaps that sounds egotistical to you. From my perspective, it sounds realistic and rational.
Honestly, I don't know if this helps or not, William, but I'm putting it out there to see if it resonates with you. All the best.
With you a large part of the way, Loren but the help gained through a sense of fellowship/community is important, so even though "I do it" others can be a great help. The problem with AA, NA and the rest is they sometimes press people into conformity when they are at their weakest, almost to the point of a kind of "internal exile" so sufferers are made to feel the odd ones out in a group. Contradictions abound, of course: "be completely honest" but also "fake it until you make it". It takes an extra effort to win sobriety if you're an atheist but it can be done and you may end up stronger as a result of the extra work.
The phrase: "fake it until you can make it" resonates in me, Ian ... but not positively. Some time back, I was in a bad situation which I could have acted on to change, but *I* wasn't behind myself enough to do so. Faking it for me has never been an option because, as I have said multiple times, I am positively LOUSY at fooling myself. I can either do something or I cannot at any given time, and back then, I simply could not.
Thankfully, since then, times have changed and so did I, but one thing has remained constant: the fact that I move and shake myself and no one else, and no amount of external pressure will change that, at least not in a positive fashion.
That's how I work. Your mileage may vary.
Best wishes to you, Bill. I am a clean recovering addict for eleven years. When I came to N.A I had no problem accepting God as a higher power. My own "spiritual" experience led me to become an atheist almost 4 years ago. I shared my awaking at my home group and got into conflicts with other members. I eventually stopped going to meetings two years ago. I miss the fellowship and friends and I went to two meetings at christmas. I was greeted warmly and welcomed back. I did not share and I felt myself getting annoyed listening to members sharing their gratitude to their higher power for keeping them clean.
I would like N.A to evolve to include atheists, but I cannot see this happening. I have accepted that Twelve step groups are for religious people who believe "there has to be something out there". I have found Atheist versions of the twelve steps and I apply their common sense approach to my life.
Whats up ant?
Well the 6th edition of the basic text has a personal story on page 274, that is titled-"Atheists do Recover". The evolution is happening, very slowly, and hidden, but, Im doing my part to bring it out of the darkness and into the light. People need to know that there is other ways of applying the program to your life. I can email you the version of the steps that Im offering as an alternative to the ones already in place. I can also send you my emails and responses from world services about this, if you like, just let me know.