Tried To Believe
On Threat Of Death
From: Kevin Martin
To: Positive Atheism
Sent: August 23, 2001 12:18 AM
Subject: Positive Atheism, Cliff's Writings
I have enjoyed reading some of your writings and hope to read more. As a member of AA/NA for the last 3 years I particularly liked "Alcoholics Anonymous, A religion in denial". I can sometimes sit in a meeting and think to myself "these people are all raving mad". The idea of some 'Supreme Being' killing off some addicts yet saving others seems quite absurd to me. Actually, I think it annoys some of them that I am staying clean.
I tried the 12-steps before a number of times over a 17 year period. Trying desperately to make myself believe that I believed in God -- but every now and then I'd be hit by the realisation that I did not believe at all. Of course, this was devastating as it carried the threat of a painful drug-death with it. I felt very much alone with it and kept on relapsing partly as a result.
The end result of all my drug use was the amputation of my left leg and I still could'nt stop. In the end I went back to meetings. I knew a few people who did'nt believe all the god stuff (though unfortunately they kept quite quiet about it). However, I have now got a number of friends at meetings who feel the same way and thats where I get my help from. I am quite vociferous about not believing in God or a Higher-Power. This is not to annoy the faithful (well most of the time anyway!) but so that anyone new who has the same struggles with it that I did can see that its not compulsory to believe in God.
Strangely enough, my friends and I have probably got a better rate of staying clean than the believers. I think its because we don't try and avoid the realities of life by denying them with God or phony gratitude. One place I have got a lot of help with my own ideas of recovery is
I don't know if you've read Dan Umanoff's book "The Hypoics Handbook" but it made a lot of sense to me. I would be very interested in what you have to say. Thanks
Kev -- Brighton, UK
From: "Positive Atheism" <email@example.com>
To: "Kevin Martin"
Subject: Re: Positive Atheism, Cliff's Writings
Date: August 23, 2001 6:20 AM
I haven't read that book.
It makes sense that the atheists would have a better recidivism rate, because without the religious aspect, the atheists actually have to work at it, and it's the work that does the trick, not the god or the faith. The faith part is just to snow certain lazy people into doing the work.
The idea that really got to me was when some clown announced that God had let some person die or relapse back into misery just as a lesson for the clown who was speaking! Can you imagine a god killing one person with a drug overdose just to prevent another person from taking drugs? I mean, doesn't God keep them clean? Why, then, does He need to kill someone just to keep some shiftless good-for-nothing, who can't keep a spoon out of his own nose (or whatever), clean and sober?
When you get down to the article about "The Chocolate Easter Beast," which is my highly lauded description of Rational Recovery's self-recovery method, tell me what you think. Let me know if you think you can stay clean and sober on your own power through planned, permanent abstinence.
Positive Atheism Magazine
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people with no reason to believe
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