Greetings, Susan! Woah! That dog's bigger than you are. I notice you haven't been active at Atheist Nexus lately. <sigh> Sometimes it can seem a bit fragmented, with different groups for every interest. Please consider a group for socializing, where we talk about whatever's on our minds, Hang With Friends. :D You might feel more at home.
Susan, To answer your question fully it would take hours to explain where I have lived and where I have intellectually been in the past, but I am a former Evangelical Christian (You will have to forgive me:) and I have lived in Maryland, Texas and I now live in Virginia for the second time! If you are ever in Virginia I would be happy to tell you the long, long story of how I left Christianity.
Thanks Susan. I stumbled onto this site looking for alternatives to 12 step programs. I remember reading your post in the 12 step group and it was very helpful. I like the way you have been able to find some peace within the program. I have also but still am trying to be able to listen to all the god stuff. I do ubderstand what you said about the principles behind the steps and have shared that at meetings. I got started in aa in 1983 and got some relief for about 8 years. They were a very tough 8 years in spite of the fact I did everything they told me to do. Went to many meetings, worked the steps thoroughly with a sponsor and was very active in service. I even chaired a step workshop that meet weekly and was based on the oxford group and the 12 steps as layed out in the big book. In spite of that I was sober but miserable. I was told I just was not working the program hard enough or I did not have enough or I was just not being honest. I finally could not take the shame any longer and cut my ties with my groups and my sponsor. Today I accept that it was the right thing to do. I continued my journey and eventually returned to self medicating mostly with opiates and functioned well enough to build a very successful buisiness. Basically as I look back I realize that with the PTSD and it's depression and anxiety. The use of medication which alleviated the symptoms made a lot of sense. Probably kept me alive. However as you know eventually you must pay a price for what you get from your addiction. Along the way I was in 3, 30 day inpatient programs and did a lot of therapy. about 2 years ago I finally could not go on any more and was fortunate to end up at a treatment center in Arizona where they understood how trauma can be involved in addiction. I was diagnosed with the PTSD and spent 6 months as a live in patient doing very deep trauma work on a daily basis. I also went to at least 1 12 step every day. AA CODA NA ALANON COSA and SA. Out of space.