Struggling with God

5 minute read

Today I had my daily call with my sponsor. And he had me read page 52 in the Big Book. The main part he wanted me to read is the following:

"We were having trouble with personal relationships, we couldn't control our emotional natures, we were a prey to misery and depression, we couldn't make a living, we had a feeling of uselessness, we were full of fear, we were unhappy, we couldn't seem to be of real help to other people" Wilson, Bill; Smith, Dr. Bob; Silkworth, Dr. William D.. Alcoholics Anonymous - Big Book (Kindle Locations 751-753). . Kindle Edition.

He said that he personally dealt with a lot of those things and that if I do, I’m definitely a real alcoholic. As opposed to a fake one I guess?

And…honestly I don’t relate to a lot of that. I have never had trouble with personal relationships. I have an above average number of close relationships with minimal drama. And the drama that we have had was largely not my fault. I’m very much in control of my emotions. I’ve never had trouble making a living, in fact I’ve been working since I was 16 and mostly an overachiever in school and work. I’ve never felt useless.

I can relate to the depression, full of fear (anxiety in my case) and general unhappiness. But the depression is in the last two years. The anxiety has been since I was a kid. And I don’t know where the unhappiness started. Probably there has always been some degree of unhappiness?

All of these issues pre-dated alcoholism though.

We Agnostics

This comes from the section of the book called We Agnostics. And of course, being agnostic, I couldn’t help but keep reading it. And I can’t agree with most of this. I don’t believe in it.

"we had to stop doubting the power of God. Our ideas did not work. But the God idea did." Wilson, Bill; Smith, Dr. Bob; Silkworth, Dr. William D.. Alcoholics Anonymous - Big Book (Kindle Location 755). . Kindle Edition.

I’m an Atheist. I don’t doubt the power of God. I don’t believe in God(s). Any of them. My ideas may not have worked, but the idea of a force in the sky that doesn’t exist won’t work either.

Then there is a section about the Wright Brothers. Which is totally relevant because I just went to the site where they achieved flight yesterday. And they did more or less achieve the impossible. But they achieved it. They kept trying. They refused to give up. It has nothing to do with God. They were self-sufficient. Not god-sufficient.

"When we became alcoholics, crushed by a self-imposed crisis we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is, or He isn't. What was our choice to be?" Wilson, Bill; Smith, Dr. Bob; Silkworth, Dr. William D.. Alcoholics Anonymous - Big Book (Kindle Locations 763-764). . Kindle Edition.

In the beginning of the book, the main premise, it says that alcoholism is a disease. That we are victims of it. Yet here it says that it is self-imposed. That’s contradictory. And confusing. And self-imposed or externally imposed (by disease), what does it have to do with God? Wouldn’t an all-powerful God have stopped the addiction? Or stopped the disease that makes some people unable to control their drinking?

"That was natural, but let us think a little more closely. Without knowing it, had we not been brought to where we stood by a certain kind of faith? For did we not believe in our own reasoning? Did we not have confidence in our ability to think? What was that but a sort of faith? Yes, we had been faithful, abjectly faithful to the God of Reason. So, in one way or another, we discovered that faith had been involved all the time!" Wilson, Bill; Smith, Dr. Bob; Silkworth, Dr. William D.. Alcoholics Anonymous - Big Book (Kindle Locations 768-772). . Kindle Edition.

No. We didn’t. We didn’t have faith in reason. Faith is the antithesis of reason. Something either is reasonable or it isn’t. It is either scientifically sound, or it isn’t. Faith has nothing to do with it.

"We found, too, that we had been worshippers. What a state of mental goose-flesh that used to bring on! Had we not variously worshipped people, sentiment, things, money, and ourselves? And then, with a better motive, had we not worshipfully beheld the sunset, the sea, or a flower? Who of us had not loved something or somebody? How much did these feelings, these loves, these worships, have to do with pure reason? Little or nothing, we saw at last. Were not these things the tissue out of which our lives were constructed? Did not these feelings, after all, determine the course of our existence? It was impossible to say we had no capacity for faith, or love, or worship. In one form or another we had been living by faith and little else." Wilson, Bill; Smith, Dr. Bob; Silkworth, Dr. William D.. Alcoholics Anonymous - Big Book (Kindle Locations 772-776). . Kindle Edition.

Again. No. I have not been a worshipper. I have placed a lot of confidence, admiration and respect on people. I like to have enough money to live comfortably. But I did not at any point worship them.

I find flowers, the sunset and the sea to be beautiful. To bring me peace. But that has nothing to do with faith or worship. That has to do with observation. And maybe a little emotion.

Love has more to do with emotion than reason, but it’s still not faith. I can love someone, without having faith in them. I can love someone but still know that it could all end tomorrow. We could break up, move away, drift apart, one of us could die, etc. It’s love. But with reason.

I have the capacity for love. I love fully. I love unconditionally. But I don’t worship or have faith.

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