/Waking Up a ‘7’ / An Agnostic’s View on Serenity & Sobriety

Waking Up a ‘7’ / An Agnostic’s View on Serenity & Sobriety

Waking Up a ‘7’ / An Agnostic’s View on Serenity & Sobriety

September 10, 2020

It’s simpler to like the thriller than be obsessed on a prophecy.

I used to get up fearful, painfully questioning how I’d endure the day, inevitably turning to medicine and alcohol to alleviate my stress, thus starting the vicious cycle of habit one other 24 hours. That was my actuality. It’s one each addict and alcoholic is aware of sadly and deeply. I used to be within the grip of a Greater Energy that punished me after which saved me, again and again. Evil spirits introduced me to my knees, in a hideous caricature of prayer.

Is it any marvel Invoice Wilson deduced that one thing stronger than spirits was required to alleviate us from their bondage? He selected a spirit that was holy. God. Restoration is actually only a grand substitute technique (fellowship instead of barrooms, service earlier than self, and so forth), so I completely get the concept that solely a supreme energy can usurp one other.

Just one downside: What if there isn’t a God?

In AA conferences, I joke that on good days I’m agnostic. But, measuring my serenity on a scale of 1 to 10, most days I get up a 7. All days I get up sober. How is that potential? Being moderately completely satisfied and sober whereas being moderately unsure about God. With out query AA saved my life. With many questions didn’t God.

“God Is or He Isn’t.”

It’s certainly one of a number of strains within the Huge E-book of Alcoholics Nameless I bristle at. There aren’t many thoughts you. However this assertion has all the time felt spiritual, not non secular. Dogmatic. God didn’t make such a declare. He, She or It wouldn’t. An individual did. Got here to imagine {that a} energy larger than ourselves might restore us to sanity. Virtually each thought, if not phrase, in Step 2 belies the absolutism of God is or He isn’t. “Got here to” and “might” seldom precede calls for.

God, like reality and love, is a giant concept – the largest. However they’re all ideas, human constructs open to interpretation and gradations of which means. In 12-Step Restoration, we’re beseeched to make amends to individuals we’ve got harmed “wherever potential, besides when to take action would injure them or others.” The reality, subsequently, should be parsed. A murder could also be homicide or manslaughter, voluntary or involuntary. Which is more true turns into a matter of opinion. Conditional love remains to be love, is it not? Perhaps not pure love however higher than no love in any respect.  Huge concepts should not absolute; they’re versatile. As is God and the assumption in God.

The final word leap of religion, God stays improvable. “Coming to imagine in an influence larger than your self” is a course of, not an consequence. Many individuals have gotten sober with out subscribing to an all or nothing God, together with me. Scores have achieved long-term sobriety with out God in any respect. They too get up a 7.

Properly earlier than creating AA (not to mention placing God into it), Invoice W and Dr. Bob sat down to debate their crippling illness. These intimate and trustworthy conversations have been essential. Nonetheless inadvertently, that they had latched on to what’s, in my view, the best device in all of restoration: the ability of 1 alcoholic speaking to a different. Kindred spirits. Fellow victims. Rubbing antennas. Name it no matter you need. However this, not God, was the wellspring of Alcoholics Nameless. From right here got here the fellowship and sponsorship and a thousand million quiet conversations in Starbucks that has saved extra addicts and alcoholics than God ever has. That’s what I imagine.

For newcomers, skeptical of the “God factor,” even Invoice W’s famously italicized line “God as we understood him” remains to be not sufficient to assuage doubt and cynicism. To them, I say change the road with “God as we don’t perceive Him (Her or It).” The pronoun bit goes with out saying however it’s the “don’t perceive” piece that modifications minds. How can anybody perceive one thing they can not see or hear, not to mention know? We knew what getting excessive felt like. We don’t perceive what getting God looks like. Why hassle attempting? That puzzle has been agonizing students for eons. What likelihood has a withdrawing addict? For me it’s simpler to fall in love with the thriller than be obsessed on a prophecy. Love is summary, too. Whether or not one has love or not few individuals doubt that it exists. In lots of a church basement I’ve seen written: GOD IS LOVE. One needn’t perceive both of them.

There’s a religious atheist at my health club. I do know this as a result of he all the time wears tee shirts proclaiming his atheism. I’ve counted three totally different shirts to date. It’s bizarre. Unsettling. I’d really feel the identical manner about somebody sporting an overtly worshipful tee shirt. Selling such a private perception is off placing. That mentioned, one of many atheist’s tee shirts made me snigger: At first man created God after which all the issues began.Is it humorous as a result of it’s true? Perhaps. But I nonetheless suppose sporting the joke on his sleeve is inappropriate.

Simply because I’m not spiritual, doesn’t imply I don’t respect the fables. I do. My favourite is the parable of Unique Sin: the Christian perception {that a} state of sin has existed since Adam and Eve disobeyed God, consuming the forbidden fruit from the tree of data. Is that this not a parable of habit? You’ll stay content material and completely satisfied so long as you don’t chunk that apple. Oops. With free will we additionally obtained the bags that got here with it: satisfaction, lust, envy and all the opposite character defects we addicts know too nicely. For the reason that daybreak of man we’ve got been attempting to elucidate our impulsive natures. Perhaps that’s why God was created within the first place. To show us: “Simply Say No.”


I’ve listened to the devoted, the agnostics and the atheists. And that is what I’ve come to imagine: there’s a fifty % likelihood God exists and a fifty % likelihood that he doesn’t. When all of the rabbis flip to mud and the non-believers too it’s going to nonetheless be 50 / 50. Is that this a refutation of God? Or affirmation? Don’t know however this I do. If I might get these odds within the lottery I’d play it each day, twice on Sunday. Telling newcomers you may additionally remind your self: These are nice freaking odds!

One might be content material with out medicine and alcohol, or a better energy. I’m. I respect life’s nice thriller. I cherish rubbing antennas with one other addict or alcoholic. I attempt to change the dangerous issues in my life with issues which are higher. Sooner or later at a time.

I get up a 7 and might simply bump that quantity up. Or I can select to be depressing. Free will just isn’t purgatory, if used properly. The closing lyric of U2’s anthem, Metropolis of Blinding Lights sums it up properly: “Blessing’s not only for those who kneel… fortunately.”


Steffan has revealed two novels (obtainable on Amazon). Having labored a few years as a author/artistic director for a number of multi-national promoting companies, he now serves as a Major Counselor for the therapy of substance use problems at Serenity Knolls in Marin County. Steffan has been clear and sober for 17 years. He often wakes up a 7.

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