How cool is that?
Being an atheist in recovery is kind of lonely, and it’s one of the reasons I decided to take the plunge and start this blog. Of the few atheists who make it into the rooms in the first place, either by court order or because they’re so miserable they’re willing to try anything, few of them make it past step two. No matter how you spin it, Higher Power sounds like a euphemism for a magical godot in the sky. And telling an atheist they have to believe in that some higher power is going to keep them sober if they just believe just isn’t helpful.
There are those in the rooms who came in as atheists and through a spiritual awakening, found Jesus and are truly happy they’ve had that experience. But that would be kind of like me explaining to you how happy I am now that I’ve gone through my partial lobotomy. You’re probably not going to want what I have.
I was a bit nervous when I asked to join the Atheist Blogroll because a fair number of atheists look down on 12-step programs. Some of those folks think I’m a moron for participating in what they see as a cultish religious service. I wish I could say that doesn’t bother me, but it does. Luckily, it doesn’t often come up. Every once in awhile, someone will ask a direct question – a friend refuses rehab because they don’t want all the religious shit but the family is at their wits end – and I poke my head out of the closet and give my two cents.
That I’m atheist comes up more often in recovery forums. I’ve earned my chair in the meetings I attend and I’m clear about my complete disbelief in any kind of deity, especially if there’s a newcomer on the off chance they’re an atheist too. I’ve been asked to explain how I’m able to work a recovery program and be an atheist at the same time – not as a precursor to argument or debate – just because people are curious. One person asked if I would write down how it works for me because there was an atheist seeking help at his local meeting and the members of the meeting wanted to help him.
There are many other people who truly enjoy debating this particular topic. I’d rather get a root canal. If you believe in God, Jesus, an afterlife, you certainly don’t need my permission or agreement. I don’t believe in any of those things. I’m sober (not dry) and enjoying my recovery. Life is good.