Anybody else have an substance abuse addicted friend, family member who turned to god, religion to help them stay sober? Sadly, she, like many others, 'found god' when she was her very bottom and it appears her new-found religious beliefs are helping her stay clean. I am close to her (we've weathered her hard times in the past) and in order for us to stay current with one another, we peruse our Facebook happenings. She posts daily about how god and jesus are great and how life is wonderful now that god 'showed her the way'. She goes to NA meetings daily and NA conventions etc. All I can do not to vomit while reading her posts praising god and how 'he' pulled her out of her darkness. I'm glad that my friend has found something that works for her and I support her sobriety (I am a non-drinker by choice)- I saw her in her terrible, addicted past. I am trying to overlook her god rantings. I know she's an free-thinker who would prefer to utilize an alternative to AA, NA tho'- there is no other option here in smalltown AZ. AA/NA is a cult mentality itself so I see how it partners with god, church etc.

It never ceases to amaze me how easily people get hooked. All it took for her was an AA friend recommending a church (it's a cult, independent church)- course all churches are cult-like. Then the church 'welcoming' committee made sure she felt like she was part of their church family and now my friend's whole family is going there PLUS her rich parents write the church checks for various 'needs' (a tool shed needed; plumbing needed to be fixed; missionary work costs etc etc etc). Of course, my friend is made to feel guilty for not tithing the correct %.

It seems churches prey upon (look for) weak-minded people who are of the group mentality or who feel the need to fit into mainstream society's trust of religious christians. people who are down-n-out but who might can bring $$'s to their church later on.

Sadly, I see my friend's posts of how she 'battles satan's temptations' such as friends who are negative; business situations that are challenging; familial dysfunction. When I speak to her, I do not discuss religion and I try to stay positive. I wonder if there will come a day when her religion, church, god tells her to disconnect from friends (aka Me!) who are not 'saved/christian'. Wonder if I'll get a formal 'Buh-Bye' or the subtle no return of phone calls or emails. This has happened to me before when friends, family get uber-religious and don't understand my point of view.

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Comment by mistercliff on December 29, 2011 at 8:46pm

By resorting to a reliance on the supernatural for help, they've equated morality with religion. It's hard to debate religious issues with people with this sort of history since I'm terrified that if they recognize that Jesus probably never existed and God almost certainly does not then they might fall back into their old ways. Religious-based AA results in an untenable position that could have been avoided if the unreal hadn't been forced in. My sympathies for you and your friend. I think the only real advice that I could offer is that while God is not real, you are. Show her that you are someone she can rely on and that way if one day she is able to look at religion with a critical eye, she'll know that there is human compassion and morality to support her falling into those challenging temptations. There's only so much you can do, though, it's up to her. I have heard rumors about a secular version of AA you might be able to lend a hand to or donate to. I don't know the program's name, but I think it came up on the "Atheists in foxholes" episode of the Thinking Atheist, which you might want to listen to anyway since it speaks about the same problem. Good luck!

Comment by LBGT Atheist/Secular Humanist on December 29, 2011 at 11:44am

Most AA, NA, Alanon groups are held at churches... the groups pay the church a small rental fee and the church get free advertising. Smart business move.

Comment by LBGT Atheist/Secular Humanist on December 29, 2011 at 11:42am

Yes Eric, I know about Preachers from the South. I'm originally from Texas and grew up in an assembly of god church environment. (speaking with tongue, laying of hands etc) The shouting and bible banging-on-pulpit scared me as a youngster and created fear in people who were 'weak' and followers who didn't want to think independently. Seems like every 4 square blocks had a southern church on it and every time a new subdivision developed, up popped a few churches there to get those people reeled in. I remember the funeral (& wedding) religion recruitments and how the preachers tried to make people feel guilty. I wonder if preachers, clergy etc take acting classes and psychology classes to learn how to target and reach certain types of people and how to custom push people's psychological buttons....hmmm, this might be a post itself, ha. Churches are getting desperate and are plugging themselves into civic groups (like rotary, pflag etc) in order to infiltrate to reach people (hmmm another blog perhaps?) Here in smalltown az, a church is offering 'free' New Year's Eve cab rides for drinkers... they got a free newspaper article (free advertising!) because their tactics are being 'spun' as a community service...there will be idiots who open up their checkbooks to fund that church's New Year's eve tactics and ironically... all the expenses (gas, wear/tear on cars, people labor) is done by the Sheeple church members, not funded by the church.

Comment by AgeOfAtheists14 on December 29, 2011 at 9:35am


Comment by Scott A. Hunt on December 29, 2011 at 7:25am

My mother found religion while attending Al-Anon, the support group for family members of alcoholics.  Both AA and Al-Anon are very religious and provide the community thing that secular groups don't (or don't do as well).  She also has an addictive personality though never got into drugs or alcohol.

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