No way I’m sitting in a room of people talking about God!
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of religious people who find themselves alcoholic. That I know of, I have met two priests, one preacher and a bishop who are all alcoholic; not to mention all manner of God-fearing folks of all denominations. No one is safe from this disease. However, the alcoholic is so prideful and stubborn that those first few who wrote the Big Book felt the need to include a whole chapter entitled “We Agnostics” to show how this isn’t some sort of Bible-thumping, evangelical organization. No matter what our relationship with a higher power, we’re all sick to death of people preaching at us and we’re certainly not going to waste an hour sitting through more of the same from strangers.
The Big Book tells us, “if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead. If he did not work, he would surely drink again, and if he drank, he would surely die.” Time and again, the text impresses upon us the need to develop and maintain a spiritual life through conscious contact with a higher power. It says we have a spiritual malady and must undergo an “entire psychic change” if we are to have any real hope of recovery. Surprisingly, though, one cannot beat the alcoholic in the head with a Bible until he is overcome by the Holy Spirit and relieved of the compulsion to drink. As a matter of fact, that’s one of the quickest ways to ensure that he’ll be out drinking again in no time. Strangely, though, over the years, I have noticed that recovering alcoholics, even the ones who are atheist or agnostic, lead much more “Christ-like” lives than most Christians I’ve known.
The key is that alcoholics are ego-centric and live as if the whole world revolves around them. In recovery, we have to learn to stop playing God and find a power that is greater than ourselves, then allow that power to guide our lives. Those who are okay with the idea of God will find a way to plug into His power, while others will use the group or simply “Good Orderly Direction” as their g.o.d. The alcoholic “can choose any conception he likes, provided it makes sense to him. The main thing is that he be willing to believe in a Power greater than himself and that he live by spiritual principles.”
The Twelve & Twelve tells us, “Sometimes A.A. comes harder to those who have lost or rejected faith than to those who never had any faith at all.” Too, it addresses those who consider themselves devout in their religion, but can’t get sober to save their lives: “This answer has to do with the quality of faith rather than its quantity. We supposed we had humility when really we hadn’t […] we really hadn’t cleaned house so that the grace of God could enter us and expel the obsession.” It has been my personal experience that those who have a very specific and narrow view of God are the ones who find themselves out drinking again while those who don’t presume to know the mind of God, but continuously seek to understand Him better, live far more spiritual and rewarding lives.
My name is Laurie and I am an alcoholic. Every day, I must turn my will over to the God of my understanding. My God is mine alone. I don’t have to worship anyone else’s conception of God, nor can I compel anyone else to believe in mine. Whether my God is Jesus, Buddha, A.A., Yoda or the tree in my backyard, the only thing that matters is that I have a Higher Power I can feel comfortable guiding my life.