- Why is religion/church not enough?

Why is religion/church not enough?




Help for alcohol abuse addiction alcoholics who want to stay sober

Why is religion/church not enough?

Postby sunlight » Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:33 pm

This time of year I think about my sister who, after 20 years sobriety, drank herself to death. :(

She had decided that she didn't need AA anymore and joined a church. She got involved in their activities and stopped going to meetings and associating with other alcoholics. When she learned that I got sober she gave me all her recovery materials.

As you probably guessed, she started drinking again around the holidays and 5 weeks later she was dead.

People ask me why religion and church is not enough to get and stay sober and live a happy life, since they both have to do with God. I'm not sure how to answer that, but I know from experience that it isn't. I used to sit in church drunk & tell God how sorry I was, but I couldn't stop drinking!
And I know others who left AA for church and are either drinking, miserable or arrogant buttheads! :roll:

It sort of baffles me why religion & church don't work for us alcoholics. I suspect it has to do with my favorite nemeses, honesty and humility.
I'm sure grateful the AA program of recovery works! :mrgreen:

Anyone have experience with this?
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Postby Dallas » Tue Dec 28, 2010 6:07 pm

Really sorry to hear of your sister. I have a similar situation w/ a brother that died a few yrs ago. I had tried to encourage him to explore AA. But, because we allow people to define, comprehend and understand "God as the individual understands God" -- my brother said "we're heathens" and he got his Bible tried the church routine and died drinking.

I had a personal spiritual experience of the religious type many years before I came to AA. It was one of those white light hot flash experiences much like Bill W. had. I got sober alright. Totally. And, I discovered what I later found to be 11 1/2 of the 12 Steps in the Bible and I started doing that. It worked for several months and it helped me to do some mostly controlled drinking for a few years -- until my bottom rose up to meet me again.

The two things that I've noticed that are different are "Primary Purpose" and "Singleness of Purpose."

In A.A., even though our solution is a spiritual solution -- we have but ONE Primary Purpose. To stay sober & help another alcoholic to achieve sobriety.

And, that is also our "Singleness of Purpose."

We're not here to lead people to God, to get them saved or born-again, to join a church, or to be God's Agent's to lead them to the Lord. However, we do become God's Agent's (at least there is a reference to it, in Step 3, Big Book, I believe it's on pg 62 or 63) "to help them achieve sobriety."

I recently listened to an old talk by Bill Dotson, AA #3, who explained that "this is what AA was when it was only him, Bill W. and Dr. Bob" and that he prayed it never changed!

Most alcoholics do get square w/ God and establish a relationship w/ God, because of their activity and actions in AA and the 12 Steps. Not all. But, most do. And, I've seen those that do and those that don't -- stay sober.

We don't try to teach about God, or push what we believe God wants for others and we don't tell anyone how to believe or instruct them in religious matters. We simply pass on our experience of "how we have learned to live sober and productive lives."

THE DIFFERENCE IN CHURCH & RELIGION:

Church & Religion -- as I understand it -- is to lead people to God. That, I would consider as their "Singleness of Purpose" and "Primary Purpose". And, to "teach people about God" and "instruct people in God's ways -- as their religion understands it."

They help alcoholics to achieve sobriety and I've known of some alcoholics dating all the way back to my childhood -- that did get sober in church. (My dad had been the preacher, pastor and evangelist -- that led them through their conversions) and I knew the people personally -- many years before I even had a thought of my first drink!

I believe that's the primary difference -- as I understand it.

Dr. Silkworth, who was Bill Wilson's doctor -- knew what our problem was. It was a physical abnormal reaction (allergy?) to the substance alcohol. (Just like I'm allergic to chicken and to peanut butter!). If I eat chicken or peanut butter -- I can die from it because my body doesn't process it like a person that's non-allergic. And, it's a condition that center's in the mind -- the sub-conscious -- that to the alcoholic, the solution is alcohol and the problem is sobriety. :wink:

Dr. Carl Jung, knew what the solution was. A conversion experience (similar to what he had witnessed in churches) that would transform the thoughts and attitudes of the alcoholic. But, he didn't know how to produce one. Bill Wilson, later considered Jung, as a Co-Founder of AA, because it was Jung's work on Roland Hazard, his patient -- who eventually joined a religious movement and got help for his drinking problem -- and then later carried "his testimony" to Ebby Thatcher -- who later became Bill Wilson's sponsor. Ebby didn't stay sober. He did, they say achieve about two years of sobriety at the end of his life, and most of that was, as I've read, spent being locked up sober. Roland H., never did become an AA and remained w/ the original religious movement where he got his conversion that kept him sober.

In around 1901, the American Psychologist, William James, was giving lectures in Scotland -- on studies that he had conducted of "the not so normal" religious experiences of extreme religious movements -- that was, in essence, creating psychological transformations -- through religious conversions. William James -- had figured out "the components of the formula" to produce a "religious conversion."

A book was later published of William James, lectures, and it was titled: "Varieties of Religious Experience".

Bill Wilson read that book, after his own conversion experience and discovered that the same formula that he had used to experience a "religious conversion" was what James had written about.

So, now in the early 1930's -- we have knowledge of what the problem is, knowledge of what the solution is -- and a formula to produce the solution. Bill mixed these together and it was eventually what became known as "the 12 Steps" The first Step being: awareness, acceptance, admitance, and convinced -- to the innermost self -- that the individual has an abnormal reaction to alcohol and is therefore an alcoholic.

The early AA's left the religious movements because there was a conflict of purpose. And, it was the Singleness of Purpose and Primary Purpose that I mentioned above.

Please look over my typos! I haven't spell checked or proof read any of this as I typed! I've got my day job waiting for me! :lol:

Dallas
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Postby Dallas » Tue Dec 28, 2010 6:16 pm

Note: One example I left out. AA is about "one alcoholic talking with another alcoholic -- for the purpose of recovery from alcoholism". Church is more about "one religious person talking with another religious person about what they think God and God's ways are."

So -- why doesn't it work the same?

When AA starts pushing God and religion it's a "house divided amongst itself" and it doesn't last.

When Church starts pushing recovery from alcohol-ism it becomes a "house divided amongst itself" and it loses it's effectiveness.

That's my idea on it. :wink:
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Postby Pebbles » Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:11 pm

Hello, through my experience I've learned that God and the Power are different. When I hit my bottom, and asked for help, I heard the words "Go to AA" in my head. God gave me the solution to my problem, which is AA--going to meetings, working the steps, working with my sponsor, and giving away what was so freely given to me by working with others. The Power is in AA....with other people like me, who are "doing the do". If I quit going to AA (where the Power is) I quit getting what it is that I need-I become Power-less, again. And then I will drink, again.
I hope this helps you out....
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Postby sunlight » Tue Dec 28, 2010 11:00 pm

Wow Pebbles, you brought me back to my first AA meeting!

I stumbled down those stairs and, drunk as I was, I felt such a tremendous Presence and Power in that room that it was almost tangible. I remember reaching out to touch it! Then thinking, "What the heck is this?" :? Thanks for the flashback!

And thank you for the reply Dallas.
Is this what you're saying?: that if I focus on the church and religion, I am no longer focusing on my alcoholism. I am no longer putting first things first (my alcoholic problem) and pretty soon I've lost the first step and I don't think I need any steps and I don't need to help others recover cuz I'm not hanging out with those people anyway. :lol:

There is a church here that has a 7 step recovery group & they keep inviting me to join. I tell them I might consider it once they find those other 5 steps!! :lol: :lol:
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Postby Dallas » Wed Dec 29, 2010 1:17 pm

I think Pebbles reply explains it. Principles. Like the Law of Attraction. We attract & manifest the things that we most think about. And, I'm sure, not because I've seen proof of it -- that some secular, private, public, religious and anonymous organizations are out there that are making a difference in treating alcoholism and producing recoveries. In AA, we have no monopoly on God or Sobriety -- we simply have a way that has worked very well vor very many of us -- consistently -- over time. It has proved it's effectiveness by the number of long-term recoveries.

The Power. In electricity -- valence shell electrons is what makes the electricity useful to us. When we increase the number of valence shell electrons -- we increase the power. Power = "the potential" or "ability" to produce work (results). The Application of Applied Principles = Power. Power to recover. I can't see valence shell electrons. I can't see electricity. But, I have no doubt that it is there. I can measure it. I can see it's results.

If God is the Creator, in my thinking :lol: then it's because of God that we have Principles. So, I could say, the Higher Power = "the application of applied principles" and since I can't offer a logical explanation of The Power, I simply call it God.

This may or may not apply. :lol: I once owned a combination washer & dryer. It was wonderful and worked great for a while! Did a great job on my clothes! Then, when it broke it was a disaster trying to get it fixed again. I finally threw it out and went back to using a washing machine to wash my clothes and a dryer to dry my clothes. And, that works better for me! :lol:

I've been in and around sobriety for a while now. I've watched it. I've watched the people. Watched those that succeed and those that fail. The ones that go out to Combo Plans either keep coming back over and over starting over again -- or they end up worse than they were when they started out and don't make it back. The one's that stick with the Single Plan seem to do quite well. And, when they break -- their easier to fix. :lol:
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Postby GeoffS » Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:42 pm

There are many people in the fellowship here, who had a profound belief in god, and drank uncontrollably.

Faith without works is dead.
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Postby sunlight » Wed Dec 29, 2010 11:32 pm

Thank you for the clarity! :idea:

Sometimes I see through a glass darkly, even if I'm not drinking!
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Postby Dallas » Wed Dec 29, 2010 11:45 pm

Sunlight wrote:Sometimes I see through a glass darkly, even if I'm not drinking!


I understand. :lol: :lol:

Lately -- I'm having trouble seeing through windshields -- day or night, and I haven't had a drink in 24 yrs! What the heck w/ that? :lol:
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Postby GeoffS » Thu Dec 30, 2010 10:08 pm

Right with you Dallas.

Guess its called life.

Glad we dont have to deal with it on our own
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