A.A./atheism, Depression, Confusion, but Determined to Be Sober?

Question by J T: A.A./atheism, depression, confusion, but determined to be sober?
Please give me some advise and/or suggestions, no insults or crap – I provide that to myself involuntary and it’s part of my problem!

I’ve been abusing substances, and particularly alcohol, since my early teens (now ‘middle aged’). Approximately 4-5 months ago, I finally had the insight that it has to change. I participated in a 2-months, intensive out-patient program, mainly based on cognitive and behavior modification, but it also had the A.A. concepts incorporated into it.

As much as I’m grateful for some (and very significant) help I received from A.A.’s concept, as an atheist, it is not possible for me to rationally approach several major of their steps.

I keep getting the message that ‘recovery’ is not possible without the ‘higher power’ concept and failure or ‘relapse’ is guaranteed if you don’t stick to all the rules. I talked to my brother who’s been abusing alcohol and other substances similar to me and he stated that he is ‘sober’ for the past 7-8 years. But he doesn’t practice complete abstinence and stops drinking after a few glasses, before loosing control. It is my understanding that apart from willpower, it will take a lot more to get a male’s body (with a higher muscle, and lower fat content) intoxicated than a female, so he stops before he even feels “high”. This is virtually impossible for me…I know from prior attempts to quit, and have “found myself relapsing” twice on prescription meds (not alcohol or illicit stuff) so far. At the same time I don’t want to be so harsh on myself and would like to put more emphasis on the positive than the negative (which is really my problem…)

There are no rational/atheist addictions/alcoholics groups around here. I’m attending ‘mandatory’ aftercare meetings and part of it involves that we attend A.A. meetings. I’m so discouraged and often times depressed when I do these meetings, because I don’t see how that can work for me (if I – for my own reasons – choose not to believe in any deities which I’m firmly convinced are too human and people invented them in the first place…).

In any case, a whole lot of crap was piling up and “suddenly” I found myself really depressed again despite being on heavy antidepressants. According to the A.A. concept depression is supposed to be self-pity(?) But I don’t feel pitiful, I’d rather be dead than depressed. However much they have excellent points and similarities, many of the things A.A. is claiming, I don’t see them apply to me or the majority of other females I know.

I’m getting very contradicting messages, I find the A.A. concept and many programs harsh. I’m beating myself up sufficiently already that my self-esteem can sink into below zeros, loosing all hope and wanting to abuse substances to buy myself some time instead of committing suicide (and that’s what’s at the core of ‘addiction’ anyway in my opinion). I’m not sure anymore what to do and wonder how it is going to be permanently better without feeling the way I repeatedly do and each time gets worse (despite med’s and all). Any suggestions on readings, thinking adjustments etc. that does NOT involve ‘higher power’ etc?

Best answer:

Answer by poppi
Here is something to ask yourself each morning when you wake up,
“if there is a god,then why does he allow such suffering & death??”

Answer by Mong
OK honey, here’s what you need to do. Call a center that specializes in substance abuse. You’ve probably already been there, but ask to speak to a counselor. Tell the counselor exactly what’s going on. Many AA meetings are held in churches, and so they believe God heals all. My dad was very frustrated with that stuff too. Often time, these couselors are familiar with alternative options in your area. If they are not, or if this is not an option for you, try calling a national help line or searching an internet support group. They may not be as good as having someone right there, but don’t let yourself get down in the dumps. Relapse is very common. Very common. Acknowledging that, and acknowledging the fact that you feel guilt because of it is a good sign. It means you don’t want to be doing this stuff any longer. take it one day at a time. Don’t aim for 7 years, aim for one day, then the next, then the next. Figure out what triggors you to abuse the substance, then try to find an alternative way of dealing with that triggor. Suicide is not an option, its an escape, and a very selfish one at that. If you’ve made it this far, you’re a survivor, and your to tough to take the cheating way out. Be proud of yourself for admitting you have a problem, for willingly seeking help, and for not being afraid to face others and admitt that you will conquer this. Just remember, that which does not kill us only makes us stronger. I have faith in you, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed for your recovery. One day at a time. Prove to not just everyone, but to yourself that you can do this.

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