Friday, March 19, 2010

An Atheist's Steps Two and Three

Someone in the Atheist AA Google Group wrote to say he was beginning his 2nd and 3rd steps. Did anyone have any advice? I replied to him this way:

Step 2 - Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

I used to use the "tables", the "fellowship", etc as my higher power. I had a very good, Christian man as my second sponsor and even though he knew I was atheist, he helped me to see that I had my own "understanding" of God as merely the power that rules the universe. No sentient being "created" it; but there are physical laws at work.
Then after 3 years in AA I came to realize that I was my own higher power when I stayed sober. Now that is completely contradictory to the Big Book, which says we must have a power higher than ourselves.
But at a 3rd step meeting full of Christians I explained that when I was drinking I always wondered why I could not do what I knew was right, and why I kept doing the things that always proved themselves to be wrong. Most of the time I even knew they were wrong before I did them.
Why couldn't I do the right things? I tortured myself over this for many years, but never once told myself that alcohol was the beginning of the problem.
Then one day I had a "miracle of my understanding" (obviously not from a sentient deity). But it was immediate and powerful and extremely painful, because I swear I did most of the steps in the span of 1/10 of a second.
  1.  In one fell swoop I admitted I was powerless over alcohol, that my life had become unmanaged (not unmanageable).
  2. Made a decision to do what I knew at that moment was right, and went to my first AA meeting.
  3. I had made a searching but fearsome inventory of myself, or I would not have gone to AA.
  4. I admitted to myself only, since there was no one in the car with me, what I knew about my wrongs.
  5. I was entirely ready to let AA show me the way out of my problems.
  6. I wanted out of my shortcomings, but of course it wasn't god who was going to do it for me; at least not a deity.
  7. I was ready at that very 1/10 of a second to make amends for all the wrongs I had done people.
  8. I sought the power to accomplish what I needed to do. AA was the right first step. I knew that.
  9. I knew that I had had a remarkable spiritual awakening, but as I said it was fearsome. I can completely understand why some old-fashioned Christians thought God was angry and would bring down His wrath. I felt as if I had been hit by a ton of bricks.
So after that 3rd step meeting, a man approached me and said, "What you said about not being able to do the right thing and always doing the wrong thing and not knowing why, is what Paul said in Romans 7." And he thanked me for my insight.

I related this to my own sponsor, also an atheist, and he chuckled. He said, "It is remarkable that we atheists often see religious principles better than some who call themselves religious." It seems to be intuitive with us. We know what we do not agree with and we figure out why, so then we know that the religious people have sometimes only accepted on faith often without ever giving it that second thought that we give it.

So if you have the right sponsor, one who knows you cannot give in to a deity, or be humble enough to get on your knees, you will be able to work it through.

I wish you all the luck, and hope that your sponsor is someone who understands you and can actually show you a good direction to go.

Curtis C

Alcoholics can get sober without god, since there is none.
Bill Wilson was wrong about self-will; but we must direct our will toward what keeps us sober. A higher power (HP) is no power at all if it doesn't help us. But as you will read in the page titled Higher Power, Part 2, that HP does not necessarily need to be outside yourself. ©

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Atheist AA

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1 comment:

  1. It's amazing to me how many theist have never read the bible. They let someone else tell them whats in it. They go to church just to pay someone money to tell them what to believe. Just pick up the bible and read the damn thing. Theres a lot of books that are a lot harder to understand and nobody goes to a building every week to study Finnigan's Wake or War and Peace. Trying reading the bible but warning Atheist have evolved from reading it from cover. Frank