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Can atheists succeed in 12 Step?

Discussion in '12-Step Support Groups' started by Linno, Feb 15, 2015.

  1. Nancy D.

    Nancy D. Senior Contributor

    You can be spiritual and not religious...I do want to put this out there. However whether religious or not...believe in God or not...remember it is by your own merit that you shall succeed. Never let anyone tell you otherwise. I believe in a divine being but I also know it is us who makes things happen..through our hard work and sacrifice.
  2. Shenwil

    Shenwil Senior Contributor

    I think it's up to you to find a way to make the program successful
  3. djdrug

    djdrug Community Champion

    Love what you said there. Its so true. And yet, people sometimes become totally rigid when it comes to atheism which is then no different than the right wingers who refuse to budge either.

    Being spiritual definitely helps and does not require one to believe in anything other than themselves and the fact that mental, physical, and spiritual peace are interconnected.
  4. Nancy D.

    Nancy D. Senior Contributor

    It sure would and very well said. There is no way any clinic for substance abuse discriminates against such issues. It follows the same guidelines as any other business or service. Thankfully so...so therefore it is considered a safe place as well.
  5. xTinx

    xTinx Community Champion

    Well yes, only religious organization with drug rehab programs will insert Bible verses and religious principles into the discussion. But this is a given since from the outset you're aware what the organization is and what it does.
  6. johnyork

    johnyork Active Contributor

    As said before, it's not necessarily about God, just a higher faith in yourself, I have seen allot of non-christian treatment programs coming up. You can find one, just keep looking ;). Good luck to you!
  7. kgord

    kgord Community Champion

    Yes, I think it can work because the higher power doesn't have to be GOd, it could be the power of the community to to be your best self for instance. I mean you simply have to find something that is greater than yourself to allow it to work for you. I think an atheist can use the principles contained in AA but you have know what your higher power is.
  8. juno

    juno Community Champion

    A lot of people think of 12 Step as related to religion. It doesn't require for you to be a Christian per say. However, I think it involves some moral basis that can be related to faith.
  9. LovesBigFool

    LovesBigFool Active Contributor

    I think I am the oddball here as I think the 12 steps are a pathway to a spiritual experience that is validated by God being directly involved in bringing miraculous deliverance from disease, dependence and addiction.

    There is an often used phrase called hitting bottom. If you are at the true bottom of your life's path then you will no longer insist on continuing to believe the same thing and continue on as you always have done.

    There is much fear that is unhealthy. But there is also a fear that brings change. This bottom point is where most people begin the twelve steps. Openmindedly accepting that only God can make the change is .the beginning, middle and end of being saved from addiction.
  10. lost247

    lost247 Active Contributor

    not sure where I heard it first (sadly, I think it was "Eat, Pray, Love" lol) but long before I heard it, I felt this way.

    "God lives in you, as you"

    I was raised Catholic, and many things through my youth brought me further and further away from the church. By the time my early 20s came along, as well as my addiction and beginning my recovery, I noticed the same thing in the 12-step groups. I was turned off by the "God/Higher Power" talk. I don't remember what brought me to decided my strength and guidance should come from within, but once I discovered that I knew I could succeed. I discovered I had far more strength than I thought.

    From that point on, the mention of God or a Higher Power only meant me, my soul, my own strength.
  11. remnant

    remnant Community Champion

    I don't think the program can be undertaken by an atheist. There has to be a paradigm shift in your thought and belief patterns for one to succeed in the 12 step program. The fact that one is seeking for help means that others can offer it whether secular or otherwise and these in turn believe or recognize a higher power in the absence of which man should be the deity. Some secular programs do exist but they still have an element of a higher power. These are mystic programs like Transcendental Meditation.
  12. Bunnyriffic

    Bunnyriffic Member

    I have an issue separating the religious aspect from the 12 step program as well. It makes it hard for me to pay attention to the message because I'm sitting there trying to figure out some way I can relate to all these people talking about their "higher power". What I do is tell them I'm spiritual, not religious, just to get them off my back about it. Then when it comes to figuring out what my higher power means to me, I use my heart and my conscience as a substitute. Since no one else can tell me what is right and wrong, I have to figure that out for myself. We all have the inherent ability to do that, I believe. Just some people struggle with it more than others.
  13. Donnchadh

    Donnchadh Active Contributor

    I suppose this is a difficult one for a lot of people in early recovery.First thing to remember that the 12-step program is nothing to do with religion as was explained to me that a higher power dose exist. In order for me to understand it had to look back before I could see forward. See when I was a sperm my father's body was the higher power. Move on to when I was conceived and started to grow as a feteus in the womb before my birth my mother's body was a higher power. Now to my birth and here I am preparing for the next level I'm not going to say what my higher power is simply because I don't know same as i didn't know on the previous 2 levels until I passed trough them. And as sure as water is wet I'll pass this level and discard my body I believe it's then I'll see what my higher power was before I died. If that's to complicated to understand then I I'd suggest the air we breath is a power greater than ourselves why? Because without it is wouldn't be writing this and you wouldn't be reading this. A few people I know have used the above as a starting point to understanding that there is a higher power. And it's absolutely nothing got to do with religion for me. They're just my own thoughts they might be useful to you.But at the end of the day believe what makes you feel happy
  14. Dominica

    Dominica Recovery Advocate @ Moving Beyond Codependency Community Listener

    I think the 12 Step groups can be helpful even if you're an athiest or you believe in some other form of HP. Sometimes people are on an ego trip....and don't want to believe in a power greater than themselves... that will require humility... and then there are those that believe it's up to them to make changes... they are their own HP. I say each person has to figure out what works for him/her. No judgment.
  15. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Community Champion

    I read the the text book Alcoholics Anonymous and the history of Alcoholics Anonymous and for me, this ends all arguments...

    The 12 Steps is the text book Alcoholics Anonymous and is a suggested program of recovery , it has no dogma. The AA fellowship / meetings is not the suggested program of recovery, therefore there is no religion, only some AA fellowship members are religious. Here's what's written in the AA text, Chapter 5 HOW IT WORKS , page 59, "Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:" It doesn't say, here are the meetings we attended.

    Bill Wilson, the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous wrote a mini concordance "AS BILL SEES IT, here's what is says on page 95 last paragraph. "Every voice was playing its appointed part. Our atheists and agnostics widened our gateway so that all who suffer might pass through, regardless of their belief or lack of belief."
    1. Letter, 1954
    2. A.A. Comes Of Age, pp. 162, 163, 167
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
  16. True concern

    True concern Moderator

  17. Joshstillclean

    Joshstillclean Stupidity Exists - Fact.

    bills statement has always made me think of what Jesus said, "Wide is the gate that leads to death and narrow is the gate that leads to life. It is few, those who find it."
    before getting mad at me take a minute to think about this- this is what i believe, i didnt force anything on you. and what makes peoples o mad at us who believe this? Muslims dont think i will see paradise, but i dont get angry with them...
    True concern likes this.