/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 enthusiastic about a prophecy.

I used to get up fearful, painfully questioning how I would endure the day, inevitably turning to medicine and alcohol to alleviate my stress, thus starting the vicious cycle of dependancy 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, over and over. 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 absolutely only a grand substitute technique (fellowship rather than 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 drawback: 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 doable? Being fairly comfortable and sober whereas being fairly unsure about God. With out query AA saved my life. With many questions didn’t God.

“God Is or He Isn’t.”

It’s one in all a number of strains within the Large Guide of Alcoholics Nameless I bristle at. There aren’t many thoughts you. However this assertion has at all times 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 may restore us to sanity. Nearly each thought, if not phrase, in Step 2 belies the absolutism of God is or He isn’t. “Got here to” and “may” seldom precede calls for.

God, like fact and love, is a giant thought – the most important. 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 doable, besides when to take action would injure them or others.” The reality, subsequently, must 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 continues to be love, is it not? Perhaps not pure love however higher than no love in any respect.  Large concepts will not be 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.

Nicely 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 sincere conversations have been essential. Nevertheless 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” continues 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 nevertheless it’s the “don’t perceive” piece that adjustments minds. How can anybody perceive one thing they can’t see or hear, not to mention know? We knew what getting excessive felt like. We don’t perceive what getting God seems like. Why trouble 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 enthusiastic about 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 at all times 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 stated, one of many atheist’s tee shirts made me giggle: To start with 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 admire the fables. I do. My favourite is the parable of Authentic 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 information. Is that this not a parable of dependancy? You’ll stay content material and comfortable so long as you don’t chunk that apple. Oops. With free will we additionally obtained the bags that got here with it: pleasure, lust, envy and all the opposite character defects we addicts know too nicely. Because the daybreak of man we’ve got been attempting to clarify 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 trustworthy, the agnostics and the atheists. And that is what I’ve come to imagine: there’s a fifty p.c likelihood God exists and a fifty p.c likelihood that he doesn’t. When all of the rabbis flip to mud and the non-believers too it’ll nonetheless be 50 / 50. Is that this a refutation of God? Or affirmation? Don’t know however this I do. If I may get these odds within the lottery I’d play it daily, twice on Sunday. Telling newcomers you may also remind your self: These are nice freaking odds!

One could be content material with out medicine and alcohol, or the next energy. I’m. I admire 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 can be higher. Someday at a time.

I get up a 7 and may simply bump that quantity up. Or I can select to be depressing. Free will 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 (out there 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 Main Counselor for the remedy of substance use issues 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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